Warner’s Foreign Offices: Melbourne (1887-1915) and Dundein (1891-1900)

When I originally wrote my post about the Warner Foreign Offices, it was my intention to profile each of them in future posts in the order in which they appeared on the scene. I held to that plan for one future post about the London Office.  Well, following that logic, you would now be reading a post about the Toronto Office. Oh well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. When I started drafting my post about the Toronto Office, I realized how little I knew about it. Unlike the London Office, Toronto remains somewhat of a mystery, except, of course, for the 3-Cities bottles which are familiar.

In my effort to learn more about Toronto, I was introduced to Wayne Harris. Wayne is a Warner’s collector who resides down under in Australia. Wayne knows lots about the Melbourne and Dundein, New Zealand Offices and, through a chance encounter, was able to purchase a wonderful collection of documents from the Melbourne Office. Wayne has been researching Warner’s foreign offices, including Toronto and hopes to publish a book in the future. He has provided me with some interesting information about Melbourne and Dundein.

According to Wayne, the Dundein Office was, at best, a local agency, if it existed at all. He has failed to find any evidence of it at all. The 4-Cities bottles identified with Dundein were widely used in Australia and, indeed, for some period of time the bottles for both Melbourne and Dundein were manufactured in the United States and shipped down there. Wayne suspects the Melbourne bottles were also available in New Zealand. Because the Australian glass industry was in its infancy, it did not have the capacity to meet the demands of volume manufacturers like Warner. So, when you pick up a Melbourne or 4-Cities bottle that’s embossed with the familiar Safe, chances are it was made in America (at least until the English Syndicate that purchased the company returned it to Warner). The later Melbourne bottles embossed with “H.H. Warner & Co. Ltd.” were manufactured in Australia and bear the glassworks mark on their base.

Thanks again to Wayne for his insights and I’ll keep working on Toronto. Also, photo of Melbourne Safe Cure with box and label courtesy of Jack Stecher.

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