Warner’s Safe Cure: 3-Cities (Canadian vs. British?)

The Warner’s Safe Cure bottles that were produced from the Toronto Office were unique in that they bore the names of Warner’s foreign offices at the time: Rochester, Toronto and London arranged around the face of the bottle. It became conventional wisdom that these 3-Cities bottles were all Canadian. But, as with so many other aspects of the Warner patent medicine empire, there is always an exception waiting in the wings.

The Toronto 3-Cities variants have common features: double collar lip and the full spelling of CANADA and ENGLAND. Although the 3-Cities bottles do not come in variety of colors, they are great bottles and, with the exception of the Safe Cure, can be truly difficult to get.  Indeed, the half pint Nervine is considered a Top 10 bottle by many.

In the mid-1990’s a previously uncataloged 3-Cities Safe Cure pint emerged. Unlike the its Canadian cousins, this variant had a blob lip rather than the double collar and the words “Safe Cure” were on one line, rather than two. In addition, the names of the two countries on the left and right sides of the bottle were abbreviated: “LONDON, ENG” and “TORONTO, CAN.”  The question became, if these 3-Cities were not from Toronto, where were they from. No one knows definitely; however, because many of the known examples have surfaced in England, it is reasonable to conclude that they represent a British 3-Cities.  As far as the question of “why,” the best possible explanation appears to be that Warner may have been experimenting with a generic Safe Cure bottle that could be issued out of any of his foreign offices with the mere change of a label.  While the Canadian 3-Cities Safe Cure is considered a good bottle, its more recently discovered British cousin is rare.

The bottle pictured on top is the Canadian 3-Cities Safe Cure and the one below is the British 3-Cities Safe Cure. I apologize for the sub par lighting on these pictures, but if you look closely, you will see the bottom picture has the abbreviated country, the blob lip and “Safe Cure” on one line rather than two.


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