A.M. Binninger & Co. No. 19 Broad St. New York
A. M. Bininger & Co.
No. 19 Broad St.
Abraham Bininger, Isaac Bininger, Abram Merritt Bininger
New York City, N.Y.
Amber Handled Cylinder
Provenance: Chris Bubash Collection
Antique bottle collectors cherish Bininger bottles from New York City. The variety of shapes, embossing, glass color, labels, and history is remarkable. Abraham Bininger would establish the famed A. Bininger grocery house. His brother Isaac and his son Abram Merritt Bininger were responsible for the parallel Bininger liquor empire and A. M. Bininger & Co., located at No. 19 Broad St. in New York City.
Our museum example of a 7 7/8″ tall x 2 7/8″ diameter handled Bininger spirits bottle is embossed in three lines creating a typographic oval. The first line reads, ‘A. M. BININGER & CO.,’ in a serif typestyle, in a convex arc. This copy sits over a horizontal, straight line embossed ‘NO. 19 BROAD ST.’ This second line of copy is in a sans serif typestyle. The “T” is raised, smaller, and underlined. The third line occurs in a concave arch embossed ‘NEW–YORK.’ The bottle was made somewhere between 1861 and 1863 based on the embossed address. This excellent golden amber glass cylinder has conical shoulders, an applied handle curled at the lower attachment, and an applied double-ring collar. The handle is centered on the embossed copy side of the bottle. The base is smooth.
You can find examples of this bottle in shades of amber and olive green glass. Extremely rare variants exist with the handle on the reverse side of the copy side of the bottle, on the side of the bottle, and without a handle. An embossed dot occurs where the handle would have been attached. There are surviving labeled examples reading “Bininger’s Peach Brandy” and “Bininger’s Strawberry Brandy.”
The eldest or founder of the American Bininger name was Abraham Bininger, born in 1720 (d 1811) and a native of Bulock (or Baden-Bulach) in Canton Zurich, Switzerland. In 1734, he came with his father, Christian Bininger, and mother on a brig from a port in Europe to Savannah, Georgia.
The vessel was within two days’ sail of her port when Christian Bininger and his wife died, and their bodies were committed to the deep. Young Abraham, then a lad, was educated in the great Methodist Whitfield Orphan School in Savannah. A large crowd of Moravians had settled in this Southern city. This group emigrated north to Philadelphia, and young Bininger came with them, where he was educated in the Moravian tenets with the intention of becoming a preacher in that faith.
Abraham settled at Christian Spring, a mile from Nazareth, and there began his preaching. He married at the same time and became the father of five sons and a daughter who died very young. The second eldest was named Abraham, who was destined to found the great Bininger grocery house in 1778 in New York City. His brothers were Christian, Joseph, John, and Isaac.
In 1761, Abraham was dispatched to New York to begin an apprenticeship at a tanner and leather dresser trade in the Swamp. Back in the early days of New York, Manhattan was narrower, swampy, and full of things called slips, narrow slivers of harbor left for boats. Abraham served there for seven years but did not like the business and declared he would never engage in it for a living.
After his apprenticeship, Abraham made a living by working a day’s work as a common laborer. He hired out wherever he could get a job. He had at this time a friend named Peter Embury, who was a nephew of the Methodist minister, the founder of John Street Church. Peter was also a celebrated and well-known grocer and wine merchant. Embury went early into the grocery line and was located at the corner of Beekman and Nassau streets. Peter had a sister, and she married Abraham Bininger when he left the tanning business.
Kate Embury Bininger was a beautiful, outgoing girl and was very smart. She soon discovered that it was uphill work for her husband Abraham to support a family with the earnings of a day laborer, and she proposed to assist him by taking in washing and ironing. Abraham agreed, and their little money-making endeavor commenced. Kate then suggested that Abraham should purchase a sales table to stand outside of their door, and she would, while washing, keep her eyes looking out of the window at this table and its contents of their merchandise.
Their place of business was a little shanty on old Augustus street, eventually City Hall Place. At first, the young wife only sold a few cakes, cookies, and sugar plums. It changed to cabbages, potatoes, fruits, tobacco, snuff, and a few groceries. Here was indeed the first seed of the great Bininger grocery house.
As noted previously, Isaac Bininger was the brother of Abraham and, after the war, lived with his father at Camden Valley, N.Y. He was rather educated compared to his brother Abraham. Isaac opened a store at Camden Valley, which was described as the most extensive store between Albany and Montreal, even though this was a rather primitive region and time. Isaac was the genesis of the A. M. Bininger liquor empire.
Isaac was very successful and sent word down to New York City for his brother Abraham to come up and share in the mercantile prosperity of the Bininger stock. Abraham departed from New York, leaving his wife Katy in charge of the shop on Augustus street, and joined his brother at Camden Valley as a partner. After a short time, the brothers decided that Abraham should come back to New York and sell or barter away the produce and products from his and Kate’s stand and buy goods for the return trip. Abraham, following the agreement, returned to New York, never to leave it again as all this experience allowed him to start the great grocery house under his name. Up to this period, Abraham and Kate’s business had not progressed beyond selling a few penny’s worth of snuff, sugar, tobacco, candies, and vegetables. After working with his brother Isaac for some time now and being the sole agent for New York City, they dissolved the partnership, and Abraham received his share of the profits.
Abraham would open up a small grocery store in Maiden Lane, opposite the old Oswego market. It was a great store in those days as it became the place to buy fresh produce, fruits, and groceries. Prosperity flowed in, and the prudent grocer bought two lots opposite the market, Nos. 10 and 12 Maiden Lane. By 1843, it was said that no house in the United States had such a large stock of grocery items, choice wines, liquors, cigars, and such.
Abram Merritt Bininger, Isaac’s son, was born in 1800 and would follow a similar path, starting in groceries. He founded A. M. Bininger, eventually becoming A. M. Bininger and Co., located at No. 19 Broad Street. This address is embossed on our handled bottle. This company was responsible for all the great bottles, advertising, and labels.
Interestingly, both entities said they were the “first” retail Bininger, which is another story. A. M. Bininger would die in October 1870. His obituary said he was one of the oldest merchants of New York City and was a gentleman that was highly respected and esteemed by all who knew him.
See the museum example of a Bininger’s Peep-O’-Day flask.
Primary Image: A. M. Bininger & Co No 19 Broad St. New York handled cylinder imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support Image: Auction Lot 56: “A.M. Bininger & Co. / No. 19 Broad St / New-York” Handled Whiskey Jug, America, 1860-1880. Cylindrical with applied handle, medium yellow amber, applied double collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 8 inches. H #184 Crisp. No wear. Fine condition – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #146
Support Image: Auction Lot 46: A.M. BININGER’S / NO. 19 BROAD ST. / NEW-YORK, (Denzin, BIN-32), New York, ca. 1865 – 1875, olive-green jug, 8”h, smooth base, applied handle and double collar mouth. A chip is off the end of the lower handle attachment finial; otherwise, perfect. Usually seen in amber and is considered scarce in this pure green color. One of the ‘grand slams’ of handled Bininger’s. Purchased from Jim Mitchell in 1992 at the FOHBC Expo in Toledo, Ohio. – Jim Hagenbuch, Glass Works Auctions #112 – Bob Ferraro Collection
Support Image: A.M. BININGER & CO. / NO. 19 BROAD ST. / NEW-YORK, (Denzin BIN-32), New York, ca. 1855 – 1870, golden yellow amber, 8”h, smooth base, applied double collar mouth. Only Bininger jug Glass Works has ever auctioned not having an applied handle! A raised dot on the shoulder is where the lower part of the handle would have been attached, but no handle! – Jim Hagenbuch, Glass Works Auctions | Auction #96 (Part 2)
Support Image: Auction Lot 313. Handled Whiskey, “A.M. BININGER & CO / 19 BROAD ST. / NEW-YORK”, (Denzin, BIN-32), (Bender, pg. 103), New York, ca. 1865 – 1875, yellowish amber jug, 8”h, smooth base, applied double collar mouth and handle, 98% original label reads: ‘Bininger’s Peach Brandy, A.M. Bininger & Co. Established 1778, Sole Proprietors, New York’. The bottle is perfect and has some glass whittle. Fairly available bottle, but with an extremely rare label! Ex. Charles Gardner Collection #2730. Bill Litle Collection. – Jim Hagenbuch, Glass Works Auctions – Auction #124
Support: Reference to The Old Merchants of New York City by Joseph Alfred Scoville, 1863
Support: Reference to Abraham Bininger by John B. Pine, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Devoted to the Interests of American Genealogy and Biography (1870-1910); New York Vol. 33, Iss. 3, (Jul 1902): 135.
Support: Reference to A. M. Bininger Bottles by Jim Bender, Sprakers, New York, 2017
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