Warner’s Foreign Offices: Pressburg (1888 – 1890)

One of the great mysteries about Warner remains his selection of cities to establish his foreign offices. London, Toronto and Frankfurt are no-brainers. They were significant commercial centers in the late 19th Century and remain so today. Melbourne, while a significant city today, was much more primitive in that era and had to import its Safe Cure bottles from New York until much later in its existence. Dundein, New Zealand is a complete mystery, although the current thinking is that it was little more than a laboratory and certainly less than a factory. And then, there is, of course, Pressburg. I recall when I first picked up Seeliger’s book and saw a Safe Cure from Pressburg. Like most, my reaction was “where?” Even now, if pressed (no pun intended), I would find it difficult to find the city on a map of Europe. And for good reason.

Pressburg is the German name for the City of Bratislava located on both banks of the Danube River bordering both Austria and Hungary. It is the seat of government for Slovakia and, as you can imagine, it has changed hands down the centuries as the borders of Europe have been redrawn many times. It was renamed Bratislava in 1919 and appears to be quite picturesque. Apparently, Germans still refer to it as Pressburg. The above photo is courtesy of Wikipedia.

For whatever reason, in 1888, Warner elected to open an office in Pressburg. Perhaps it was an effort to penetrate more into the market of central Europe. Whatever the motivation, the Pressburg Office has short-lived. It lasted only two years, until 1890. This, of course, accounts for the relative rarity of Pressburg Safe Cures. Indeed, when Seeliger published in 1974, he listed only one variant from the Pressburg Office, an amber pint Safe Cure the rareness of which he rated as “few known.” (Seeliger No. 46). Even thirty years later, Pressburg Safe Cures are still rare. Frankly, I don’t recall seeing one “in the flesh” until the mid-1990’s. The Safe Cure appears only in a pint size in amber, olive green and aqua, with amber being the most frequently seen. The only other Pressburg variant is a pint Diabetes Cure with only one example known to exist.  Both the Pressburg Diabetes and the aqua Pressburg Safe Cure rank in the top 10 of the Rarest Warner’s. The labelled Pressburgs shown above are as rare as they come.

Undoubtedly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of commerce with Eastern Europe had made more of the Pressburg bottles available to collectors. However, given the short life of that Office, Warner’s Safe Cures from Pressburg will never be anything less than rare.


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