Back in June, I wrote about Warner’s foreign offices in Melbourne and Dundein, New Zealand. With help from Wayne Harris, I shed a bit of light on the opening of those two offices as Warner’s business was beginning its upward rise. Apparently, the early bottles from Melbourne and Dundein was imported from the United States or possibly London. It was not until the H. H. Warner & Co. Ltd. bottles appeared in the 20th Century that one can say with conviction that the Melbourne bottles were home grown.
The more important question is in what order did the Melbourne bottles appear in the market and what is there relative importance among Warner’s collectors. After talking with those who I consider to be the experts in this, I am prepared to offer up what I think is the most probable sequence of those bottles with the caveat that I’m not sure that anyone can provide an absolute answer. It is also reasonable to expect that there was overlap between the Melbourne Safe Cure bottles.
The Safe Cures
There is no doubt that the Safe Cures were the first to arrive on the scene in Melbourne. They consisted of the Safe Cure, Nervine, Diabetes Cure and Rheumatic Cure and each of them had the specific Cure embossed on the bottle. In other words, the Diabetes Cure had “Diabetes Cure” embossed on the bottle. These are great bottles and were made in the United States and shipped down under. The most often appear in shades of amber with an occasional puce. They appear in the pint and half pint sizes (Safe Cure and Nervine are the only half pints). Clearly the Nervine, Diabetes Cure and Rheumatic Cure are difficult to get and fetch a nice price.
The Safe Remedies
The next in line were likely the “Safe Remedies,” which were the first Melbourne bottles without the specific Cure embossed on the bottle. I have not seen a labelled version, but I suspect that Warner still offered his Safe Cure, Nervine, Diabetes Cure and Rheumatic Cure but distinguished each with a specific label adhered to the “Safe Remedies” bottle. Undoubtedly, this would have been done as a cost control measure. They appear only in the pint size and in shades of amber. These are very desirable bottles and can fetch close to $1000 in good condition.
The Safe Medicines
The Safe Medicines likely followed the Safe Remedies and probably appeared on the scene about the same time that the 1906 Food & Drug Act was passed in the United States. At this stage I am not sure if the Warner’s Safe Company was still marketing the full range of remedies, but as with the Remedies, they would have been distinguished by product-specific labels. The Safe Medicines appear in amber and, unlike their predecessors, they appear in both a pint and half pint size. They are somewhat less scarce that the Safe Remedies, with the half pint being particularly hard to get.
H. H. Warner & Co. Ltd./Warner’s Safe Cure (Concentrated)
These bottles bear the monogram “AGM” on the base and were actually manufactured in Australia. The AGM mark stands for Australian Glass Manufacturers Co. Dating them is a more difficult task. They probably came out in the 1910’s and the HHWCL bottles appear in both a pint and half pint size in amber and a much rarer olive. The Concentrated bottle appears in amber. Generally speaking these bottles are not considered hard to find, but labelled versions fetch a higher price.
My effort to try to fix the progression of Warner’s Safe bottles from Melbourne is my opinion and I would welcome any information that anyone has that would either support my theory or rebut it. G’day.