I started to do research on a little glass bottle which had a glass tube within it and the words “You-Mix-It” embossed diagonally across the front.


There was foil over the top which read “Manhattan” and “Not Genuine If Seal Is Broken”.


But do you think I could find another example of a similar bottle? No.  Luckily, however, I was able to find some ads.  The earliest ad dated to September 1913.

motor vol.20 sept. 1913

Although the illustration of the bottle in the ad did not appear to have “You-Mix-It” on the front, the ad indicates that “You-Mix-It” was a trade mark of the Symphony Cocktail Co. of Chicago, Illinois.  It went on to state “withdraw the cork from the outer bottle (no corkscrew necessary); pour the contents of the inner bottle into the outer bottle, then pour in the cocktail glass.”  The ad stated these cocktails were available in Manhattan, Martini and Princess.  Princess???? What the heck was a Princess cocktail?  Curiously, the words “Trade Mark” were beneath the word Princess.  So the Symphony Cocktail people trade marked the Princess cocktail.  Something else to research!

1916 life, volume 67, issue 1748 pg821

The 1916 ad above sheds a little light on the Princess cocktail. It says it is “a new, distinctive and delicious gin cocktail”.

1917 rand mcnally philadelphia guide-1

The 1917 ad shown above does not show “You-Mix-It” on the bottle, but it does show a patent number.

life, volume 69 1917 pg469

Another 1917 ad shown above adds the “Celery Nip” to the mix.  It might be difficult to read but it says that these nips are available in bourbon, rye or scotch whiskey in the outer bottle and there is celery tonic in the inner bottle. It states “Your money back if anyone can detect whiskey odor.”  Hmmm, I didn’t know celery tonic could do that. You learn something every day.

So off to find that patent!

1909 callahan 1

And here it is!  A 1909 patent by A. F. Callahan for “Bottle Structure”.

1909 callahan 2

The Symphony Cocktail Company was established as a corporation in 1919.  See various info below.


My little bottle is a molded bottle produced by an automated bottle making machine.  My bottle reference books states that “In 1909, improvements to the machine made it possible to produce small prescription bottles”…similar to my bottle.  The timing of the patent and the formation of Symphony Cocktail Company fit in perfectly with this machine improvement.

Okay, so what about that Princess cocktail?  I knew it was made of gin and I knew it was offered in the teens. So I started looking in bartender guides for that period of time.  I looked at lots of them and came up empty.  And then I got lucky.  I found a recipe for a Princess cocktail that had gin as one of the ingredients in J. A. Didier’s (known as Jake to his friends) “The Reminder, Up-To-Date Bartenders’ Vest Pocket Guide”, the fifth Edition printed in 1917.  The recipe follows:

the reminder j.a.didier 1917 pg148-49

The first edition of this book, printed in 1909, does not include this recipe.  In his Preface for the fifth edition, Jake states “There are many new recipes contained in this book never before published, and all are up-to-date”.  So this must be THE Princess cocktail recipe.

I was surprised to see Creme Yvette listed as an ingredient. See 1916 ad below. Creme Yvette is a blend of berries and violet flowers and was introduced in 1890 I believe.  It survived Prohibition and was available until 1969 when it was discontinued.

1916 life, volume 67, issue 1748 pg820

But it has recently be revived and is gaining popularity.  I don’t see anyone these days making a Princess cocktail with it.  Come on, folks! Revive that Princess cocktail!

Posted in Creme Yvette, Didier Bartenders Guide, Princess Cocktail, ready to serve cocktail, Symphony Cocktails, Uncategorized, You Mix It | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Quaker Silver Company

I knew nothing about the Quaker Silver Company until I came in the possession of a 12 inch long sterling silver cocktail stirrer. The back of the very shallow round bowl had hallmarks which were a “Q” and a crown symbol followed by some other symbol which I could not decipher.



The finial at the other end looked like this:


Researching the “Q” and crown symbol hallmarks, I found that the series of marks on my stirrer belonged to the Quaker Silver Co. of North Attleborough, Massachusetts. Now I needed to find out their history.  And it turned out to be a little complicated. (So what else is new?)  I think the best way to explain it is by tackling it chronologically. Following is a compilation of snippets tracing the origins of Quaker Silver back to the year 1924 and the Williams & Green Co. of Providence, RI.  Harold K. Green was one of the principals of this company.  For some reason unknown to me, the Quaker Silver Co. of Attleboro, MA was incorporated in 1926 for the purpose of taking over the business of Williams & Green.  Harold K. Green was president and sales manager of the new company.  James W. Jennings, who was treasurer and general manager of the old company assumed the same positions in the new.

1. Williams Green Quaker 1920s

In 1927 Mr. Green and Mr. Jennings obtained a patent for a vase, which follows.

2. 1927 73373

In 1930 Quaker Silver obtained a trademark featuring the face of a woman with a bonnet, a “Quaker Girl” I would call her. It mentions that this trademark had been in use since February 1926.  The following image also shows the Quaker Silver mark used on their sterling pieces.  And lastly, a 1931 ad mentioning pewter products offered by them, including cocktail shakers.

3. Trademark & Ad

In 1929, James W. Jennings met by chance a young woman named Belle Kogan who was just starting in the field of art and design as well as working in her father’s jewelry store in New York City.  A most popular product of Quaker Silver were salt and pepper shakers, many of which Belle had sold at here father’s store. Ms. Kogan was invited to Attleboro to visit.  She was hired as a designer for the company. The “Mr. Stone” mentioned in the snippet at the top of the following image is Samuel M. Stone, well known for various jewelry related companies, included the famous “SWANK” men’s line of jewelry.

But, by 1936, Quaker Silver Co. had gone out of business (see following snippet from court documents):

4. End First Quaker Silver Co. 1926-1936

In 1939, however, the name Quaker Silver Co. had been “revived” by James W. Jennings (president and treasurer) and the company was established in North Attleborough, MA.  Note: Some people spell this North Attleboro and some spell it with the “ugh” at the end.  The Quaker Silver Co. trademark (first used September 28, 1939) is shown below as well. This is the mark on my stirrer.

5. Jennings Quaker Silver Co.

Following is an image from a 1950 Chilton’s Jewelers’ Circular showing a “Windsor Bowl” in sterling (mentioned above as well).

6. 1950 Chilton's Jewelers' Circular Keystone

So, what happened to Belle Kogan, you may ask.  According to the following snippets from 1939 publications, she was designing for Quaker again when the new company opened.  And it was reported in a 1951 issue of Modern Plastics, that she had her own studio and was co-owner of Quaker Silver Co.

7. Kogan

The following article from a 1959 issue of the Spokane Daily Chronicle states that “she (Belle) and her father bought the firm (Quaker) and moved it to North Atttleboro.”

8. Spokane Daily Chronicle Aug 3, 1959

Ethel Lewis, in her 1942 book “Decorating the Home” shows a table set with silver designed by Belle Kogan for the Quaker Silver Co.  With the exception of my cocktail stirrer, I have not found any flatware attributed to the Quaker Silver Co. If any of you reading this know of flatware manufactured by this firm, I’d love to hear from you.

9. Decorating the home, by Ethel Lewis. 1942 smaller

The October 17, 1959 Meriden Record reports that the Quaker  Silver Co. had been acquired by Gorham Manufacturing.

10. 1959 Meriden Record Oct 17, 1959

So there you have it, the tale of two Quaker Silver Cos. I have a feeling that my cocktail stirrer was designed by the first famous female industrial designer, Belle Kogan!

Posted in Belle Kogan, Harold K. Green, James W. Jennings, Quaker Silver Co., Uncategorized, Williams & Green | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Looking for a Christmas gift?

Finding a good gag Christmas gift can be difficult.  But when you are looking for a gift for that special someone, like dear old Uncle Jim or your favorite bartender, the job becomes even more difficult.  Following are some suggestions for vintage cocktail related gifts.

1. Cocktail Mittens

I would love to find a pair of the cocktail mittens shown above (believe me, I’ve looked). Not only are they practical (keeping your hands toasty warm while you shake up a batch of daiquiris) but they are musical as well.  Little bells are sewn inside, so you can actually play Jingle Bells while shaking. Some enterprising someone should sew up a few of these mittens (with bells, of course) and offer them for sale.  I bet they would sell like hotcakes!

2. Jigger Whack

The Jigger Whack sounds like a practical gift….combination ice mallet, ice scoop and jigger.  The top ad says it has “a thousand uses”.  Hmmmm.  In any case, the good news is that you can actually find these on line!


The “merry-go-round” revolving bar was offered in at least three different versions and you can find them on line.  It certainly would add interest to someone’s vintage barware collection.

4. Hang Over Mixer Set

Other than having a clever name, the “Hang Over” mixer set doesn’t seem to have much of a purpose.  The high hat jigger hangs off the side of the mixing cup. And the purpose for that would be????

5. Jigger Chaser

The “jigger chaser” might look familiar to some of you.  They are known as quaffer double bubble layer shot glasses today.  You see many new ones on line with the Jack Daniels logo on them.  But the patent for this design actually dates back to 1939.  If you look hard enough, you might be able to find a vintage jigger chaser.

6. Swizzle Stick Termometers

These thermometer swizzle sticks look down right dangerous.  Mercury cocktails anyone?  But vintage boxed sets can still be found.  The Ohio Thermometer Co. offered a version as did the John L. Chaney Co.


The “sportsman’s mixer” is kind of strange.  You get a canoe paddle stirrer, a tennis racquet strainer and a shotgun shell shaped mixer.  Unusual grouping.

8. Thingama Jigger

If you are looking for a gift for your plumber, the Thingama-Jigger would be the perfect choice.  But try to find one!

9. Martini Meter

Now I really like this “martini meter”.  It has a cork top with a little green bulb that looks like an olive.  It is made to fit into your bottle of vermouth. Squeeze the bulb and dispense vermouth into your drink, drop by drop.  It holds 724 drops (one ounce total). Invento RX Martini offered these with Noilly Prat branding and a box with gorgeous graphics.  Every now and then you see one for sale.

10. Walking Jigger

These walking jiggers are truly a fun gift.  Both Poynter Products and Invento offered them (the Invento jigger came in a leather like case).  There are some that can be found on line. I do like the concept.

11. Martini Spike

You can definitely find these vintage Gorham sterling silver martini spikes on line (in the original box).  Nice classy gift.

12. One Arm Boozer

I really don’t know how this slot machine whiskey dispenser “one-arm boozer” works. I have seen one, with box, on line (directions included) and it looks complicated! It takes all coins except 50 cent pieces and is battery operated.  But it is different, that’s for sure.

So there you have it! Hope you find this list helpful. Unfortunately, you can’t find any of these items at my Etsy shop.  And I’m really serious about those martini mittens. Someone should be making them….

Posted in bartender, barware, Christmas gifts, cocktail, cocktail strainer, vintage | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Toddy Culture

Recently someone asked me about toddy sticks.  I was familiar with toddy strainers, I even had one (photo below) for sale in my Etsy shop, but had never researched toddy sticks or, for that matter, anything toddy related.


My understanding of a toddy strainer was that it was similar to a julep strainer, but smaller…a little over 4 inches in length.  But now that my woeful ignorance of all things toddy was brought to my attention, I decided to do some investigating.  I’ve assembled the following tidbits of information for my further reference.

A toddy is basically strong spirits (like rum or whiskey), sugar and water.  It can be served room temperature or hot.  For our purposes here in this post, we will be discussing the hot toddy.  So if that recipe of alcohol, sugar and water is correct, why would you need a strainer?

I found the following paragraph in Alice Morse Earle’s 1906 “China Collecting in America”:


I had no idea that porcelain toddy strainers existed and love that sentence of Ms. Earle’s “I fancy some luxury-loving, toddy-drinking, money-spending old Newport merchant invented, explained to the Chinese, and imported to America these pretty porcelain toddy strainers.”  And Ms. Earle also solved the reason for the strainer, those pesky lemon and orange seeds.  I have since learned that toddy recipes varied according to individual tastes; some put spices and herbs in their concoctions in addition to citrus.

It appears that toddies were made and served in various ways….in the tavern, at home with family and when company came calling.

Let’s start with company.  To really impress your friends and neighbors, you would pull out the old toddy bowl or two.  These toddy bowls were smaller versions of punch bowls and measured approximately 10 inches in diameter.


Many of the pottery bowls were manufactured in the 19th century by Scottish potters, such as J. & M.P. Bell and the Annfield Pottery of John Thomson (shown above, picture from the Scottish Pottery Society).  These bowls are hard to find today most likely because 1) those that have them are hanging on to them, 2) they have broken or 3) those that are selling them don’t know they are toddy bowls and are not describing them as such.


The April 28, 1897 article of The Jewelers’ Circular featured an article on a silver punch bowl and toddy bowl sets made by Whiting Mfg. Co. and presented to the battleship Oregon by the citizens of that state.  Pretty fancy for a battleship, no?  In any case, you can see the relative size of the toddy bowl to the punch bowl.  Ladles were included as were glass punch cups in silver holders and tray. I don’t know if the punch cups were also used for the toddy.


The article above came from the 1908 Stirling Antiquary and mentions that toddy ladles could be found made of wood, brass, bone, pewter and silver.

Another interesting way to transfer the toddy from the bowl and into the cup is the toddy lifter.


The above article, from “Collecting Old Glass, English and Irish” by J. H. Yoxall,  mentions that “The earlier way of doing this (transferring a drink from a bowl to a glass) was by a silver or wooden ladle, but about the year 1800 the glass lifter (which is really a pipette or siphon) came into use.”  This really says something about how long we have been consuming toddies!  These toddy lifters have a hole at the bottom which, when sunk into the toddy, allowed the fluid to fill the chamber. Placing your thumb at the opening at the top created a vacuum and you could then transfer your toddy to your glass.

And speaking of glasses, most likely footed cups with handles or rummers were used for toddies.  A rummer is a goblet like footed, short stemmed glass.  You wouldn’t want to hold on to a hot glass, so most likely you would want to use something with a stem or handle.

The following article from “Antique English Pottery, Porcelain and Glass” mentions “giant rummers” being used in combination with toddy lifters.


Now, let’s move on to imbibing of the toddy at home.


Most likely you would boil some water and place it in a toddy kettle.  Toddy kettles have little feet on them, so as not to damage the table by the hot contents. Some toddy kettles, as the one shown above from the 1883 Army & Navy General Catalogue, have a spirit lamp as a heating source to keep the water hot.  It should be noted that toddies were usually consumed after dinner (in addition to cold and damp weather) and more than one was usually had, so it was important to keep that water warm.

Toddy plates, on which to place the mug and spoon, were also popular.  These plates were usually pottery (Scottish or English) or pressed glass.


The image above was taken from the book “Glass Tableware, Bowls & Vases” by Jane Shadel Spillman.  She dates this plate to 1827-35 and attributes it possibly to the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company.

So, your sitting at the kitchen or dining table.  You have a toddy kettle, mug or rummer before you on a toddy plate.  You would also have a decanter or bottle of your spirit of choice.  And you would have sugar available.  Now you need a spoon to mix the concoction.


The first image above comes from a 1907 Good Housekeeping magazine. The second image came from an 1894 B. A. Stevens catalog.

Following are some interesting snippets from various publications.  The one entitled “The Old Family Toddy” tells of an old Kentucky tradition of passing around the “toddy glass” among friends and family.  Must have been one really big toddy glass.

wp-1541164113761.jpgAnd the “History of Leominster” article mentions that young people setting up housekeeping should have “two decanters, a dozen tumblers and at least as many toddy sticks”. These people were serious about toddies!




The page above is from the 1884 Vajen & New Hardware Catalog, and shows an example of “Muddler, or Toddy Sticks”.

And this brings us to the tavern setting.


The image above is from the 1900 “Stagecoach and Tavern Days” by Alice Morse Earle. It shows the toddy stick in the glass and also shows what is called a “loggerhead” on the table next to it.


The image above was taken from “Iron and Brass Implements of the English House” by J. Seymour Lindsay. These loggerheads, toddy irons or mullers as they are sometimes called, were how the tavern toddy was heated. You would have your mug or glass filled with water, sugar and liquor and the hot loggerhead would be inserted in the glass, producing pronounced steam and sizzle.  I believe each toddy would be served with a toddy stick. The sizzling and hissing of the loggerhead and clinking of the toddy stick filled taverns with their own peculiar form of music.

It should be noted that loggerheads were sometimes also used at home as well, not just in the tavern setting.  Paul Revere is said to heat his toddies at home using a loggerhead.

So there you have it.  If you are a serious barware / bar tool collector you certainly have many items to be on the lookout for: toddy strainers, toddy bowls, toddy ladles, toddy lifters, toddy kettles, toddy mugs / glasses, toddy spoons, toddy sticks, toddy irons / loggerheads.  Let me see, did I forget anything?

Posted in hot toddy, loggerhead, toddy bowl, toddy kettle, toddy ladle, toddy lifter, toddy plate, toddy stick, toddy strainer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Napier Novelties,Gimmicks and Gadgets

When I came across the following utensils with the “Napier” mark, I thought they were lovely… and unusual.


The pieces are only just over 6 inches in length and the bowls are 3 inches wide.  What were they?  Salad servers, a dessert or ice cream serving set?  What?  The “fork” tips are very sharp. So, being the snoopy sort of person I am, I got on the internet and searched, sure that I would find an answer.  But I didn’t.  I still do not know what the intended use was.  But I did find some very creative Napier cocktail related ads.

Napier started out in North Attleboro, MA in 1878 under the name of the E. A. Blisss Co. manufacturing gilt men’s watch chains. The company moved to Meriden, CT in 1890. During World War I (and again during World War II) they ceased jewelry production and produced war related items such as medals and medallions. James Napier became president of the company in 1920 and the company was renamed The Napier-Bliss Co. In 1922 the company name was changed to The Napier Company.    The company was bought by Victoria & Company in 1999, and is still manufacturing jewelry today under the umbrella of Jones Apparel Group.

Although most people think of jewelry when it comes to Napier, the company was very successful with their line of barware, much of which is highly collectible today.  They manufactured “The Penguin” cocktail shaker, which was designed by Emil A. Schuelke and patented in 1936. This figural shaker is rare and very desirable as is their “Dial A Drink” shaker.  But, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to concentrate on their cocktail related novelty line.


Shown above is the earliest Napier novelty ad I could find.  It came from the November 1922 issue of Vanity Fair.  Remember, the company was renamed The Napier Company in 1922 and this must have been one of their earliest ads.  Actually, most ads with Napier products were retailer ads.  I didn’t find that The Napier Company advertised themselves to any great degree.  The ad above ran during prohibition. They show both New York and Paris addesses and call their flask a “flasque”. The top becomes a collapsible drinking cup. Creative, no?


There is quite a lag between the 1922 ad and the 1931 ad shown above for the three-in-one spoon. Again, this is still during prohibition and there is no mention of cocktails in the wording. They state “it is good for cooking as well as for preparing all kinds of beverages.” I believe Napier manufactured a sterling version of this spoon without the bottle opener.  The Meriden Daily Journal, December 21, 1931 edition, ran an article about local pilots being given Napier “silver jigger spoons”.  I’ve seen both versions of these spoons with “Patent Applied” or “Patent Pending” on them. I have never seen one with an actual patent number. It is interesting to note that a patent for a similar spoon was issued to J. A. Lavin on May 5, 1931.


Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933 and the words “jigger” and “cork screw” were being used in ads clearly related to alcoholic beverages. The Red Cap Caddy ad above dates to 1940 and this gadget was patented on April 11, 1939.  I’ve never actually seen one of these; they must be very rare.


The 1947 Pittsburgh Post Gazette ad above shows the Napier “silver-plated valve jigger on stand” which “automatically releases liquid”.


The ad shown above is from a 1948 issue of the Milwaukee Journal.  It offers two sizes of jiggers, the “jumbo jigger” and the “horse-and-pony”.  I have a jumbo jigger for sale at my Etsy shop:


This jigger is truly jumbo in size.  It is a double jigger with a two ounce measure on one end and a four ounce jigger on the other.  It is over 4 inches tall and has a good weight to it.


The Shreve Crump & Low ad above is from a November 1952 Boston Symphony Orchestra Programme.  Extremely creative design and only 4 inches tall.


The ad above is from a September 1953 issue of the Milwaukee Journal.  The silver gavel like double jigger is for use by the “Chairman of the bar”.


I think the personal shaker shown above might be my favorite design. The base has a built in strainer and the top can be used as a drinking cup (that doubles as a cigarette urn as it says in the ad…yuck!).  It holds only four ounces.  But where do you get the teeny weeny ice cubes needed for this shaker?  The ad came from an October 1953 issue of the Wilmington Sunday Star.


The ad above is from a February 1954 issue of the Joplin Globe.  The graduated measuring cup shown is a classic design….very popular and reproduced today by another company.


And talk about popular!  The “bottoms up” jigger shown in the 1958 Meriden Journal ad above has to be one of the most popular Napier products.


The article shown above starts out by discussing a Napier musical baby cup and segues into a musical jigger that plays “How Dry I Am”. For the “man who has everything”.   Taken from an October 1959 Meriden Journal.


Taken from an October 1961 St. Petersburg Times issue, the ad above shows raised finger jiggers signifying one or two ounce capacity.



The “cat-nip jigger” shown above is another one of my favorites.  I believe it also came in a chubbier “fat cat” version. Taken from a July 1963 Ocala Star Banner.

So lest we not forget, this post started with mystery serving utensils (which are available at my Etsy shop  If anyone has any suggestions as to what these might be used for, I’m all ears.

Update: Those mystery utensils have sold.


Two of the three Jigger spoons shown above are Napier. One is a silverplated three in one jigger, spoon and bottle opener. The other is a sterling jigger and muddler. Both available at my Etsy shop.






Posted in bar, bar spoon, bar tool, bar ware, barware, cocktail, cocktail shaker, jigger, mid century, Napier Bottoms Up Jigger, Napier Co., Prohibition, vintage | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tipping Jiggers

A while back I came across a tipping jigger marked “Industria Argentina”.  I began to research and found that there were quite a number of this style jigger produced in South America.  Then, I found a sterling silver jigger produced by Webster Co. See the following photo:


I began to wonder if there were any patents issued in the United States for a tipping jigger. I knew Napier produced the famous “Bottoms Up” jigger and Tiffany produced their own versions of a tipping jigger.  But did anyone actually patent this design?

The earliest patent I could find for this type of jigger was Patent No. 115,831, dated July 25, 1939, granted to H. B. Kaempf.  He called his design a “measuring container”.


Kaempf’s patent was not assigned to anyone and the patent had a 14 year term. The patent description really didn’t say much:


In the August 1946 Plastics Magazine, the following ad appeared.  It seems that Kaempf is looking to sell his patent rights (due to expire in 1953), molds and his established business.  Also interesting is that he is calling this jigger the “Akret Jigger”. Where this name came from, I have no idea.



Whether Kaempf actually sold his patent rights and business, I do not know. In 1939 Kaempf had been offering his jigger in two sizes, one ounce (which he called the “Hostess” jigger, offered in silverplate) and one and a half ounces (which he called the “Host” jigger, which he offered in both silverplate and sterling).  This photo shows the “Host” jigger (the patent number is stamped underneath each handle):


The following ad comes from the July 1947 Popular Science Magazine.  It is showing a plastic jigger, looking very much like the jigger shown above.  It refers only to Akret Products with no mention of Kaempf.  Perhaps he was successful in selling his business and patent rights.


Kaempf also offered a Master Host jigger, which was a 2 ounce jigger shown above.


A month after Kaempf’s patent expired, the following patent application was filed:


It wasn’t approved for many months and has a patent date of April 13, 1954.


Although the jigger image changed slightly, the description write up is pretty much the same as Kaempf’s.  Note that this John T. Jackson patent was assigned to Old King Cole Displays, Inc. I can find no example of an Old King Cole jigger.


In 1959 Frederick W. Rettenmeyer obtained a patent for a “liquid measuring cup” and this patent was assigned to The Napier Company of Meriden, CT.


This Napier jigger was known as the “bottoms up jigger” and was sold for close to fifty years (a good run)! It is highly collectible even today.


The sterling silver “Tipsy” jigger shown in the above ad from a June 1963 “Spotlight” publication appears to be the Tiffany & Co. jigger shown below:


In 1960, Tiffany advertised the “Tipsy” jigger in sterling as “a practical bar accessory that fits over the glass and tips to empty”.


The photo above shows a form of tipping jigger, known as a ” trip jigger”. It is marked “Irvinware Inc. Patent No. 3527270, Made in West Germany 18/8 Stainless Steel”.

This Patent No. 3527270 for “Liquid Measure With Tipping Cup”, dated September 8, 1970, was obtained by Karl-Heinz Weil. The intent is that pouring liquid into the jigger would trip the mechanism so that it would tip over and pour the liquid into the cup below. There is no indication of how much liquid would trigger the cup to tip and there are no measuring marks on the cup. I tried pouring in one ounce and it tipped before I was finished pouring. Perhaps half an ounce? I really don’t think this jigger is an accurate measure but more of a novelty.


The above shown December 1978 Bailey Banks & Biddle ad shows yet another version of the tipping jigger.

The Kaempf, Webster, Irvinware and Tiffany jiggers are all available at my queenofsienna Etsy shop:

Posted in Akret, H. B Kaempf, jigger, Napier Bottoms Up Jigger, roll over jigger, Tiffany Jigger, tipping jigger, tipsy jigger, Uncategorized, Webster Sterling jigger | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

An Old Fashioned Blog Post

I learn so many interesting things researching vintage and antique items that cross my path.  Take for instance those flat bottom or bent tip little spoons with red ball tops that I had found.  They were less than 4 inches in length, were marked “E.P.N.S” and “Great Britain”.  The flat bottom shape to the tip of the bowl seemed to indicate that they were to be used as a muddler.  The decorative red ball end seemed to say that these were to be placed in the glass when serving the drink.  But what drink would that be?

624219785 Old Fashioned Cherry Spoons EPNS Great Britain

I found images of similar spoons on the internet and saw that some people were calling them jelly spoons or baby spoons…which made absolutely no sense to me. Then, thanks to Cheryl at, I found an advertisement that explained it all.

1939 New Yorker Nov.4,1939 Abercrombie

The ad shown above was for Abercrombie & Fitch and was in a November 1939 issue of The New Yorker magazine. These spoons were called “Old-Fashioned Cherry Spoons” and were to be used to crush sugar.  They were also available at Von Lengerke & Antoine in Chicago.

1950 Chicago Tribune Dec.17,1950

I found an earlier ad for similar type spoons in a 1935 New Yorker Magazine calling them “Old Fashioned Cocktail Spoons”. A 1935 Scribner’s Magazine called them “Old Fashioned Muddler Spoons”. The Chicago Tribune carried an ad for these spoons in 1950 (shown above).  In 1952 these spoons were still being advertised in The New Yorker.  They appear to be been offered in boxed sets of eight.  Quite a long run for this design.

Versions of these spoons have been marked “Made in England” in addition to “Great Britain”.  The only manufacturer’s mark that I have come across on similar spoons is for Barker Brothers of Birmingham, England.

There have been many versions of the “Old Fashioned” cocktail over the years.  It originated as what was called a “Whisky Cocktail” which was basically a small lump of sugar, a couple dashes of bitters, whisky and perhaps a little water. That was it.  But over the years, inventive individuals added other ingredients such as fruit, including cherries.  There were those who still wanted the “old fashioned” whisky cocktail, however, and that name stuck…the “Old Fashioned” cocktail.

Many of the early “Old Fashioned” cocktail recipes call for the drink to be served “with a spoon”.  This must have been to stir and dissolve any of that remaining sugar at the bottom of the glass.

Stephen Visakay, in his book “Vintage Bar Ware” shows similar type “drink stirrer / muddler” spoons but the round Catalan tips were yellow not red.  He indicated they were English circa 1930.  Chase offered their own version of the “Old Fashioned Muddler”.

Apparently “Old Fashioned” cocktails remain tremendously popular.  Within the past few years two books have been written solely on the subject of the “Old Fashioned”. In 2013 Albert Schmid published “The Old Fashioned: An Essential Guide to the Original Whiskey Cocktail”.  In 2014 “The Old Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail with Recipes and Lore” was published by Robert Simonson.

There aren’t many bar tools that are specific to a particular cocktail.  There is the Tom Collins spoon, which is a long bar spoon which is used to stir the drink when making it  but not served with the drink. There is the julep strainer which could be used to strain a drink but, at least in early times, it was also served in the glass. And then there is the Old Fashioned spoon.  I have learned something.


The muddler shown above is a Napier sterling silver combination mudder and jigger.


And the muddler spoons shown above are manufactured by Barker Bros.  These would make a nice addition to your Old Fashioned cocktails. Both these and the Napier are available for sale at my Etsy shop

Posted in Abercrombie & Fitch, bar spoon, bar tool, bar ware, Barker Brothers, Old Fashion Muddler, Old Fashioned Cherry Spoon, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Old Fashioned Spoon, Uncategorized, Whisky Cocktail | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Bernard Rice’s Sons

In the blog post immediately preceding this one, I discussed Bernard Rice’s family but didn’t discuss Bernard Rice’s Sons’ well known cocktail shakers.

A successful cocktail shaker line offered by this firm was the “What’ll yer have?” shaker.

1933 D89653 Rice

Louis Rice’s description for the patent follows:

1933 D89653a Rice

Although the 1933 patent for this shaker does not show it, the shaker itself contains recipes for 18 different cocktails. The description does mention that the panels are divided for the display of recipes.  Of interest, the patent was filed in October of 1932 and issued in April of 1933.  Prohibition didn’t end until December of 1933. Those Rice boys knew a change was coming and they jumped right on it, including cocktail recipes on the shaker in case you forgot how to make them during that long dry spell. Ha!

For those of you with inquiring minds, the 18 recipes are as follows: Harvard, Jack Rose, Manhattan, Maple Leaf, Martini, Pink Lady, Side Car, 20th Century, Yale, Absinthe, Alexander, Bacardi, Bronx, Canadian, Clover Club, Coronation, Dubonnet and Eggnog.


The above illustration, compiled from images taken from the 1934 L. & C. Mayers catalog, shows three different styles of this shaker.

“What’ll yer have?” drinking cups were also available from Bernard Rice’s Sons:


These cups have three cocktail recipes on each and I believe a total of six were available in a set.


Two different examples of these cups are available at my Etsy shop.

1924 1493501 Rice stopper

Years earlier, in 1922, Louis Rice had obtained the patent shown above.  Although this “stopper” could be used on a cocktail shaker, he did not use the term “cocktail shaker” on the patent as he did on the “What’ll yer have?” patent.

In 1924 Louis Rice obtained another patent, this time calling it a “beverage shaker”.

1924 1509981 Rice

The following Bernard Rice’s Sons ad from the January 30, 1924 Jewelers’ Circular is for yet another “shaker”:

1924 Jewelers Circular

Bernard Rice’s Sons offered many other versions of cocktail shakers and were quite successful. I’m sure they  would have made their father proud.

Posted in antique barware, Antique cocktail shaker, Apollo Silver, Bernard Rice, Bernard Rice & Son, Bernard Rice's Sons, cocktail shaker, Uncategorized, What'll yer have? | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Bernard Rice’s Family

You might be familiar with the company known as Bernard Rice’s Sons.  They are well known for cocktail shakers bearing their mark (sometimes accompanied by the Apollo mark) during the 1920s and 1930s.  But little hard documentation can be found about their history.  Some reference has been made that this company is somehow related to or succeeded Redfield & Rice, a company that went out of business in the early 1870s. I could find no connection or link between Redfield & Rice (James Rice) and Bernard Rice’s Sons (Jacques and Louis Rice).  Let me share with you what I did find.

It really all started with Ignatius Rice (1838 – 1910), Bernard’s brother and Jacques and Louis’ uncle. New York City directories show that Ignatius was in business with an gentlemen by the name of Gustavus Oberndorf in the mid 1860s.  Rice & Oberndorf were manufacturers of and agents for various items such as pocketbooks, combs, brushes, perfumes and notions.  In 1866 Ignatius obtained a patent for a comb design and that same year he was assignor to another comb design patent.

Following are snippets of directories and patents from 1864 to 1884:


The 1867 – 68 Trow’s New York City Directory shows that Ignatius went into business with his brother Bernard (1836 – 1896).  The following article comes from an 1884 publication “New York’s Great Industries”:

1884 New York's Great Industries pg206

The two brothers continued in business until 1891, the year that Bernard went into business with his eldest son, Jacques ( 1869 – 1935 ).  The business was known as Bernard Rice & Son.

1891 New York Herald Jan. 28 1891

The above notice from the January 28, 1891 New York Herald also mentions that Ignatius went into business with William Rice Hochster manufacturing tortoise shell, celluloid, rubber and horn novelties. Their firm was call Rice & Hochster.

Bernard Rice died in 1896.  Bernard Rice & Son was succeeded by Bernard Rice’s Sons in 1897 with brothers Jacques and Louis ( 1872 -1933 ) at the helm. The 1901 Trow’s Directory lists Apollo Silver Co. (registered trade name) as belonging to Jacques B. and Louis W. Rice.  The April 10, 1906 Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office shows the trademark as a “fleur-de-lis inclosed (sic) in concentric circles, with the words “Apollo Silver Co.” between the circles granted to Bernard Rice’s Sons.

I have seen speculation that Apollo Silver Co. existed prior to Bernard Rice’s Sons involvement but I could find no evidence of that.

Jacques and Louis also originated “Riceszinn” a pure non-tarnishable metal of secret composition! The following is from a 1902 publication, Geyer’s Stationer:

1902 Geyer's Stationer pg17 June 12 1902

And this is an ad from a 1902 Jewelers’ Circular:

1902 Sept. 1902 Jewelers Circular

Some beautiful items were made combining Riceszinn and iridescent art glass.  I don’t think many are aware of the connection between Bernard Rice’s Sons and Riceszinn.

Following is a chronological listing of information from directories and publications from 1889 through 1909:

Rice notes 2

Bernard Rice’s Sons continued in business into the mid 20th century.  Quite a successful run for a company with roots that began almost one hundred years earlier.

I intend to write a separate blog post on Bernard Rice’s Sons cocktail shakers.


Posted in Apollo Silver, Bernard Rice, Bernard Rice & Son, Bernard Rice's Sons, Jacques Rice, Louis Rice, Rice & Brother, Rice & Oberndorf, Riceszinn, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Herman Strater’s Hawthorne Strainer

Original Hawthorne strainers showing D. P. Sullivan’s name, the Oct. 11, 1892 patent date and the manufacturer, Manning Bowman & Co. are not easy to find these days.  Finding one with an additional name, Herman Strater & Co., Boston, is pretty much a miracle.


Dennis P. Sullivan operated the Hawthorne Gentlemen’s Cafe and Restaurant on Avery Street in Boston in the late 1800s. William Wright, of Boston, patented a “strainer for mixed drinks” in 1892 and assigned it to Dennis P. Sullivan, also of Boston. It was manufactured by Manning, Bowman & Co. of Meriden, CT.


The ad shown above is from the 1896 Harvard Advocate. Note it says “No Student’s Sideboard complete without the Hawthorne Strainer…” Pretty good, those Harvard students had sideboards with cocktail apparatus back then.


Herman Strater & Sons, located on Sudbury St. in Boston, produced high grade workboards, electric pumps, bar faucets and fittings, as well as copper funnels and other bar sundries for clubs, hotels and saloons. They started in business in 1834 and continued into the 20th century.


How Herman Strater got his name stamped on the front of the handle of this Hawthorne strainer, with D. P. Sullivan’s name on the back of the handle, I don’t know. They were in related businesses in the same city during the same period of time. Most likely they knew each other, I would think.  Avery Street is less than a mile away from Sudbury Street.


Sudbury St. is at the top left side of the above map in Section 11.  Avery St. is in Section 16 in the lower left corner.


Some snippets from Boston directories and other info are shown above.

1895 539965

Herman Strater is probably best known for his copper funnels.  He patented the funnel design shown above in 1895.


The Strater ad shown above is from a 1916 Current Architecture publication.


The “Practical Christmas Gifts” ad shown above was published in 1915 in Vanity Fair. I know I would be delighted to receive any of these items for Christmas. I especially like the “Something Novel” grouping shown in the lower left corner. Note the cocktail strainer at the bottom…I have a feeling that this might be a Hawthorne strainer with Strater’s name on it similar to what I have. Remember, this is 1915 and the strainer was patented in 1892. Maybe Dennis Sullivan had a few boxes of surplus strainers that he sold to Strater.  And note the book…Strater’s famous Recipe Book for Cocktails. I haven’t been able to find a copy anywhere.  This ad was in a high class, popular magazine, Vanity Fair. He must have made some sales as a result. Why can’t I find this book? How come there are no Strater strainers out there except for the one I’ve come across.  Maybe your great grandfather got this set for Christmas a little over one hundred years ago and it’s still in its Strater box in your attic, basement or barn. Go look! It was offered for sale at $6 back then, delivered. I’d be willing to pay a little more than that.

This Strater Hawthorne strainer is available for sale at my Etsy shop.



Posted in Boston MA, cocktail strainer, Hawthorne strainer, Herman Strater, Manning Bowman, Massachusetts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments