DUFFY'S PURE MALT WHISKEY Bottle Amber Glass Original Duffy Paper Labels Circa 1910
A patented DUFFY’S PURE MALT WHISKEY bottle with original Duffy paper label on both sides.
In 1886, DUFFY’S PURE MALT WHISKEY was advertised as “the greatest heart tonic.” Distiller Walter B. Duffy also claimed it was a cure for consumption, bronchitis, dyspepsia, malaria,and everything in between, although the product contained nothing but distilled spirits.
Duffy’s unsupported claim that “malt whiskey” really was medicine even convinced some Temperance advocates, but not the Federal government, who tried for years to shut down the business and its claims. To support his claim, Duffy went as far as to design the brown corked bottle so that the product appeared to be medicinal and created an elaborate marketing scheme to take advantage of the popularity patent cure-all medicines at the time.
The tall dark amber-colored round glass bottle is about 10” tall by 3 ⅛” wide and in great condition with the chips or cracks. The top is a simple straight ring-finish and was designed to be corked. The cork is broken but inside the bottle. Mold seams run up to the neck and are visible on two sides
While finding a DUFFY’S PURE MALT WHISKEY bottle is common for bottle collectors--this example still has both of its original Duffy paper labels. The labels are in good condition other than the edges being slightly worn and discolored. A portion of the paper seal/tax stamp is attached to the finish/neck.
The paper label on the front is about 4” wide and adhered to the lower front sidewall of the bottle. The small print includes the whiskey’s adoption date of June 1st, 1886, its trademark logo claiming its “pure and unadulterated," and that the whiskey is only guaranteed if it is from a sealed patented bottle. Above the paper label is large oval embossed mark that reads, THE DUFFY MALT WHISKEY COMPANY, ROCHESTER, N.Y. USA, centered around an emblem.
The paper label of the back states the product is guaranteed under the National food and drugs act, June 30, 1906 and contains an alcohol content of 44%. It also lists the whiskey’s treatment use—coughs, grippe (influenza), colds, bowel troubles, etc., we well as the general directions for both adults and children. Embossed below the mark on the heel are the words, ONE FIFTH GALLON. The base is embossed with the mold number 5 and patent date—PATD AUG 24 1886.
Based on the label referencing the food and drug act of 1906 and that after Duffy's death in 1911 the company removed any reference to medicinal claims, other than being a "tonic stimulant," to avoid scrutiny, the bottle is most likely circa 1910.
Note: Historic bottles should not be used for food or beverage storage.
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