But the rest of Illinois isnít
exactly a glass junkyard. It has several wonderful specimens, and some
of the best are those shots that I call the Zahringer glasses.
It certainly is timely that I write about these now, as several
specimens have turned up on eBay in recent weeks.
John Zahringer operated the
Oriental Liquor Company in Peoria, Illinois. This city is in the
central part of the state, in (where else?) Peoria County. Zahringerís
brand names include "Camelís Head," "Oriental," "Oriental
Uplands Rye," "Peoria Country Club," and "Zahringer."
The pre-pro data base indicates that Zahringer was in business in
Peoria from 1914 to 1919.
John Zahringerís glasses feature a very unusual illustration. The data
base describes it as a "complex design featuring a frosted camel head
emerging from an outlined silver moon with grain stalks in the
background, a sun rising behind two pyramids and palm trees, an
obelisk, and a temple portal with an Egyptian man/sphinx within."
|Part of Illinois is known as
"Little Egypt." Is this where Zahringer drew inspiration for his
glasses? Consider, for example, the logo of Southeastern
At first this seems plausible, but this is
undoubtedly not the case. The towns in "Little Egypt" with names
like "Cairo" and "Thebes" are in the far southern part of the
state, and as noted above, Peoria is more centrally located.
No doubt Zahringer adopted this
design simply to illustrate the mystique of his "Oriental Liquor
Company." (Remember Agatha Christieís 1934 novel, Murder on the Orient
Express? It begins with famed detective Hercule Poirot boarding the
train in Istanbul, Turkey, for a journey to France.)
There are at least five distinctly
different Zahringer glasses. The first example reads "ZAHRINGERS PURE
STOCK." Note that the word "ZAHRINGERS" is in large block text that is
all the same height.
The second glass also features the words: "ZAHRINGERS PURE
STOCK," but the text is completely different, with a raised "Z."
This glass also includes the words "SOLE OWNERS" by the pyramid,
and the "fine print" at the bottom is quite different.
Note that the first glass shown here appears on page 200 of
Shot Glasses. The pre-pro data base indicates that this first glass is
"similar but earlier" than the second example that is pictured here.
The third glass reads "Peoria Co.
Club/SOLE CONTROLLERS." This simple design with just the
words "PEORIA, ILLINOIS" at the bottom is completely different
from the fourth glass, which features the words, "Peoria Co.
Number four also has "fine print" at the
bottom of the glass that does not appear in the third example.
The fifth and final glass is a simple
"text only" glass that asks, "Met Zahringer Yet?"
Is it possible that John Zahringer
commissioned this glass when he first started his company? Then,
as he became more prosperous, perhaps he designed the more orate
(and undoubtedly more expensive) examples shown above. This is a
nice theory, but we will probably never know why this fifth
example is so different from the previous four glasses.
Zahringerís unique illustration enthralled even Barbara Edmonson. On
page 215 of Old Advertising Spirits Glasses she exclaims that an ad on
page 31 of Snyderís WP "gives prices and illustrates their remarkable
pictorial trade mark!"
Three of these five glasses have been sold on eBay within the last two
months. Example #1 sold for $53.00, the third glass sold for $63.00,
and the fifth example traded hands for only $10.00.