Bennett & Carroll No. 120 Wood St. Pitts Pa (Barrell)
Bennett & Carrol
No. 120 Wood St.
William Bennett & Daniel J. Carroll, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Olive Amber Figural Whiskey Barrel
Provenance: Chip Cable Collection
Bennett & Carroll bottles are extremely rare as the partners were only in business together from about December 1859 to December 15, 1860, when a Dissolution of Partnership was posted in the Pittsburgh Daily Post. The two gentlemen have their last names prominently embossed on a figural barrel and a flattened chestnut, both cherished by antique bottle collectors.
Our museum example is referred to as a figural whiskey barrel though the barrel form suggests that this is a bitters product. If so, it would have been sold as medicine using a whiskey base. A label or advertising would have confirmed the product, but that has not been found.
The rare-color, olive-amber barrel is ringed on the top and bottom, 10–10. There is embossed serifed copy in three lines on the smooth face of the bottle. The first line reads ‘BENNETT & CARROL’ in a convex arch. The “L” is missing in “Carroll.” Contained within, almost at the center of the bottle, is horizontal straight-line copy reading ‘NO. 120 WOOD ST.’ The “T” in “St.” is raised and smaller.” The third line is embossed ‘PITTSBURG’ in a concave under arch. The “H” is missing in “Pittsburgh,” a correct alternate period spelling. The entire typographic arrangement creates an oval shape. The reverse side of the smooth area between the rings is where a paper label would have been placed. The 9 ½ inch tall bottle has an applied square collared mouth and an iron pontil scar. Typically the bottles have a lot of character, are shades of amber glass, and were probably made at a Pittsburgh district glasshouse.
William Bennett was born around 1825 in England, according to an 1850 United States Federal Census report. He was 25, living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the restaurant business. His wife was named Elizabeth and was two years younger. Her mother, Alice, 56, must have been living with them.
The 1850 Pittsburgh City Directory lists William Bennett as the proprietor of the eating and drinking establishment “Our House” located at 24 Diamond Alley. He must have known or was a friend of Daniel J. Carroll, as Daniel was listed as an engineer located at “44 Diamond Street.” This directory relationship would last all the way through the 1850s until a December 24, 1859, Pittsburgh Daily Post advertisement for “Bennett & Carroll, Importers and Wholesale Dealers in Brandies, Wines, Gins Old Monongahela & Rectified Whisky, &c. Tobacco, Cigars, London Porter and Brown Stout, Sauces, Ketsups, Salid Oil, &c. No. 120 Wood St.” The 1860 directory would also list Bennett & Carroll.
The use of a second “L” in Carroll differs yearly in historical listings and is even different on the chestnut flask and our subject figural barrel.
By 1861, Bennett and Carroll were no longer listed together. William Bennett would stay at 120 Wood St. as a liquor merchant as he had bought his partner out, and Daniel Carroll would return to his engineering profession. Whether they remained friends or parted ways under a dark cloud is unknown. There were probably leftover and unused bottles unless William Bennett used them.
Not much more is known about William Bennett other than he spent quite a bit of time in court in 1855. Bennett had been taken on by the Temperance League, who had reported that he was serving and selling alcohol such as brandy, ale, and whiskey in his “restaurant,” which was sometimes referred to as a “saloon.” On October 3, 1855, William Bennett was arrested, causing a sensation in the city. One newspaper report said, “The Temperance League have procured able counsel and express their intention to test the law to the uttermost.” Bennett was going to be a test case in a controversial new law.
See the museum example “Bennett & Carroll No. 120 Wood St. Pitts Pa” chestnut flask.
Primary Image: “Bennett & Carrol No. 120 Wood St. Pittsburg” figural whiskey barrel imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Secondary Image: “Bennett & Carroll No. 120 Wood St. Pitts Pa” chestnut flask imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support Image: Auction Lot 131: Bennett & Carrol / 120 Wood St / Pittsburg” Figural Whiskey Bottle, America, probably a Pittsburgh district glasshouse, 1855 – 1860. Brilliant yellowish golden, or light honey amber, barrel form, applied square collared mouth – iron pontil scar, ht. 9 ¼”, very near mint; (a little minor roughness along the back edge of the square collared mouth, otherwise pristine perfect). A beautiful example of this very rare whiskey barrel, bright, crisp and nicely whittled. Note; we have added an additional photo taken on a bright, slightly overcast sunny day to show the beautiful yellowish and honey tones evident in this particular example. – John Pastor, American Glass Gallery, Auction #9
Support Image: Auction Lot 70: “BENNETT & CARROL / 120 WOOD ST. / PITTSBURG”, (Denzin, BEN-31), Pennsylvania, ca. 1855 – 1870, medium yellowish amber barrel, 9 1/2”h, smooth base, applied square collar mouth, perfect condition. A rarely offered barrel, and it’s a good one having nice glass whittle a bold impression and almost no trace of wear! A Pittsburgh classic! Ex. Robert Pattridge Collection. – Glass Works Auctions | Auction 98
Support Image: Auction Lot 21: “Bennett & Carrol / 120 Wood St. / Pittsburg” Figural Whiskey Bottle, America, 1845-1860. Barrel form, bright yellowish apricot, applied square collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 9 1/2 inches. H #1352 A scarce bottle with a crude exterior surface. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #195
Support: Reference to Bennett & Carroll – Figural Barrel Series, Peachridgeglass.com
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