Salutes to the 2015 San Luis Obispo Antique Bottle Show – Morro Bay


Salutes to the 2015 San Luis Obispo Antique Bottle Show – Morro Bay

by Ferdinand Meyer V

22 March 2015 (R•040315)

Well…I salute along with the soldier and sailor dolls spotted on a dealers table. Another San Luis Obispo Antique Bottle Show in Morro Bay, California has come and gone but the adventure continues as Jerry and Helen Forbes, and my wife Elizabeth and I, head up to Monterey after breakfast here at Dorn’s which was the original Breakers Cafe. We come here each morning to regroup and recharge. Fresh orange juice and every kind of great breakfast imaginable. Nice way to start the day, just across the street from our inn.


Hard to believe that just a few weeks ago we were in Baltimore in that cold, brisk weather for the 2015 Baltimore Antique Bottle Show. Quite a difference in scenery as in Baltimore we stayed at the inner harbor and here in Morro Bay, we are staying at the Blue Sail Inn facing Morro Bay and the famous rock. Quite relaxing watching the boats, water and sun movement. We leave the balcony door open each night to a symphony of sounds including sea gulls, sea lions, a fog horn and waves crashing on the jetty.

Read: 2014 Morro Bay Bottle Show



Elizabeth and I flew in from Houston, last Thursday, connecting in San Francisco on a small propeller plane to San Luis Obispo. Jerry and Helen picked us up and we quickly headed up to Morro Bay to unpack, relax and eat seafood. Elizabeth (pictured below) and Helen shopped quite a bit. I’ve always said, “a happy wife makes for a happy bottle collector.”


This is quite a charming town with an equally charming little bottle show full of fun people. Much more of a social event especially when you throw in the Friday evening cook-out with home-made sausage (four kinds), monster thick steaks and local harvested wine. All put on and contributed by the local bottle club and their generous leader, Webb Tartaglia.

Read: Morro Bay Meat Eaters


Of course, besides the antique bottles, the bottle show is connecting with friends. Great to see so many. That is Dave and Cindy Maryo and Dar Furda from the Los Angeles Historical Bottle Club below. The second smiling couple is Dale and Barbara Santos from El Cerrito, California. I don’t know who the two island girls are? The last picture in the series is Cutter, like the whiskey brand. This is the Forbe’s Min Pin dog.





Bill Ham recently purchased a rather large collection of more common bitters including labeled and full content examples. I think of my friend and fellow collector Frank Wicker. I had heard that these bottles were coming to the show, so I quickly set up camp near Bill’s table and started going thru boxes to see if I could find any hidden gems. The bottles had to be empty because you can’t travel through airport security with more than 3.2 liquid ounces and I certainly didn’t want to put these fragile, and possibly leaking bottles, in altitude, in my suit case. The first shots come from Bill’s fully loaded table.







I quickly find five aqua bitters that I do not have. Here is a group shot below. The take includes a Clarke’s Compound Mandrake Bitters, a Clarke’s Constitution Bitters (embossed Lincoln), a H. Theilmann’s Bitters, a Dr. Carson’s Stomach Bitters and a smaller, Gwilym Evans Quinine Bitters. Not bad.


Clarke’s Compound Mandrake Bitters, a Clarke’s Constitution Bitters (embossed Lincoln), a H. Theilmann’s Bitters, a Dr. Carson’s Stomach Bitters and a smaller, Gwilym Evans Quinine Bitters.

Next I see a Beriaults Hair Bitters that caught my attention for a number of reasons such as the use of the bitters for a hair tonic, the label with a man holding a hair piece, the bottle contents and the accompanying packaging hand-stamp for the product. Pretty cool. Obviously a late bitters.

Read: Beriaults Hair Bitters – Hair Bitters Manufacturing Company


Beriaults Hair Bitters with accompanying packaging hand-stamp for the product.

Then I see a nice pair of fully labeled, with contents, Electric Brand Laxative which is a variation of Electric Bitters. Read: Looking Closely at an Electric Bitters Label. Then I see three different Boonekamp Stomach Bitters


Fully labeled, with contents, Electric Brand Laxative


Two variations of a fully labeled, with contents, Boonekamp Stomach Bitters


Wrapped like a mummy – Boonekamp Stomach Bitters


Fully labeled, with contents, Eilert’s Stomach Bitters


Fully labeled Dragon Brand Genuine Orange Bitters by E. M. Corthell in Boston, Mass.


Labeled, with contents, Buffalo Bitters by Nelson Distilling


Labeled, with contents, ERSO Anti-Bilious Bitters, Gaines, Pennsylvania


Labeled, with contents, Wild Cherry Bitters

 See Part 2: Some other pictures from our 2015 West Coast Bottle Trip