Q: Hi Dave,
I’ve been searching the internet for information on a hexagonally shaped bottle patented by Eugene R. Durkee. The only information I could find was your article "A Brief History of U.S. Commercial Hot Sauces" which said that no bottle has ever been found. I have one in my possession, and I wondered how I could obtain information on it.
A: Hello Barbara:
In the book Ketchup Pickles Sauces: 19th Century Food in Glass, Betty Zumwalt has photographs of Durkee’s round bottles which contained salad dressings. Apparently there are two Durkee hexagonal bottles. One reads "ERD & CO PATD FEB 17 1874” around the base and “E.R. DURKEE & CO.” on the bottom. It is a "rich blue-green, 6 sided, common." She goes on to state: "Eugene R. Durkee began as a druggist and like most druggists of the 1850’s he sold spices, extracts, etc…. We find many of these rich, blue-green bottles attesting to the popularity of the brand." But the hexagonal bottle I was referring to was for a chili sauce. Betty published the patent specifications and a drawing of the bottle, but no photo. She said, "Another design was patented in 1875 for ’Chili Sauce or Essence of Chillies’ but an embossed specimen has not been found to date (1980)." If you have the chili sauce bottle, it’s undoubtedly very valuable. However, the other one (described first) is common.–Dave