Vol. 4, No. 6, Thursday April 3, 2008

by dick bales

This article is the last of a three-part series that showcases the shot glasses of the pre-prohibition period by comparing them to their modern counterparts. The historical information contained in this article appears courtesy of (what else?) the pre-pro.com database.


The Old and the New  (Part III)

Joseph Washington Dant ran a small still in Kentucky in as early as 1836. He had seven sons, one of whom was named Jacob Bernard. J. B. Dant built the Cold Spring Distillery at Gethsemane, Kentucky in 1865 and contracted to sell his whiskey through Taylor & Williams, a Louisville wholesale liquor firm. He later took a position with and ultimately assumed control of Taylor & Williams. Dant is credited with introducing the Yellowstone brand later acquired by the Glenmore Distillery (see below). Dant brands include J.W. Dant and Old Ballard.

Shown here are a pre-pro Old Ballard glass, a modern J. W. Dant glass, and a J.W. Dant magazine advertisement, circa 1970.


  Calvert whiskey was named after Lord Calvert, the first governor of Maryland. The distiller was located in Relay, Maryland. The whiskey dates back to about 1894.

This pre-pro Calvert glass is truly a beauty. Unfortunately, the modern Calvert glass is mediocre at best, awful at worst.


The Calvert ad is from 1945.


James Thompson, an Irish immigrant, founded Glenmore Distillery in 1871, naming it after the castle in Ireland that was near his home. Glenmore’s main whiskey was Kentucky Tavern. In 1944 the firm purchased the Yellowstone brand from the Taylor & Williams Distillery of Louisville.

The names “Glenmore,” “Thompson,” and “Kentucky Tavern” are all notably displayed on these early and modern shot glasses.

The Glenmore advertisement is from the 1950s, and the Kentucky Tavern ad dates back to 1942.


Robin notes in his database that the origins of the Carstairs Company are confusing because the Carstairs family was a large one, and everyone seemed to be in the liquor business. James Carstairs, Jr. was the original member of this company. Records show that in 1860 he was in partnership with Joseph F. Tobias and George W. Wood.

In 1870 Carstairs & McCall consisted of James C. Carstairs, Jr. and John C. McCall. In 1879 the name was changed to Carstairs, McCall & Co., the partners being James C. Carstairs Jr., John C. McCall, and Charles H Nickels.

By 1890 Daniel H. Carstairs and J. Haseltine Carstairs joined the company, but the two senior partners (James C. Carstairs and John C. McCall) died soon after. Daniel H. Carstairs and J. Haseltine Carstairs continued the name of Carstairs McCall & Co. After the death of James Carstairs, the company dissolved. Daniel H. Carstairs and J. Haseltine Carstairs then formed the Stewart Distilling Co., which operated until Prohibition. (There are no Stewart glasses in the pre-pro database.)

As is so true with most of the glasses pictured in this article, the modern glasses pale when compared to their pre-pro counterparts. The post-pro Carstairs glass shown here is certainly no exception. The advertisement is from 1959.

In 1849 William Larue Weller began a wholesale liquor business as W. L. Weller & Sons. After the Civil War, two salesmen, Julian P. Van Winkle and Alex T. Farnsley, joined the firm, and they purchased the business when Mr. Weller died. The company’s main brands included Old W. L. Weller. Messrs. Van Winkle and Farnsley purchased whiskey on the open market and later contracted for large lots from distillers, one of which was Stitzel Bros. in Louisville.

During Prohibition W. L. Weller & Sons obtained the Old Fitzgerald brand from S. C. Herbst. After repeal, the Stizel-Weller Distillery produced both W.L. Weller and Old Fitzgerald whiskies.

The W. L. Weller & Sons pre-pro glass shown here is beautiful, probably designed by George Truog. (I wrote about Truog glasses in two previous columns.)

Alas, Mr. Weller would probably roll over in his grave if he saw this hideous post-pro version that bears his name.






The Old Fitzgerald glass is certainly no better. The Weller advertisement is dated 1979, and the Old Fitzgerald ad is circa the 1960s.

And so concludes this three-part series. If anything, this article should make all of glad that we collect pre-prohibition glasses and not the modern equivalents!


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