Researching a Shot Glass
- A How-To Guide
Up a Level Ephemera Bookwork Microfilms Post-Pro Updates

l The best place to begin when researching a newly-acquired glass is with Barbara Edmonson's classic "Old Advertising Spirits Glasses", because you may find that she's already done a lot of the legwork for you.

This book should already be on the shelf of all self-respecting shot collectors' library, although those who have only recently been introduced to the hobby may have difficulty finding a copy.  "OASG"  was her second contribution on pre-pro shots and the index is cumulative, containing a complete listing of glasses appearing in both books, organized by city and state.   It also has a section that provides background material on many of the old distillers and wholesalers (names, dates, and addresses) and again it's arranged by city and state. 

Unfortunately, consulting OASG fails to reveal any reference to a "Humphrey & Martin" of Philadelphia PA, so we have to turn elsewhere.

The second best place to turn is to this website, although it wasn't available to me when I first added the Bouquet glass to my collection.  Not only has this website acquired the copyright to both of Barbara Edmonson's books and made them freely available to anyone who wishes to consult them, we're also building a shot-glass database that is organized much like Edmonson's two reference works.  Unlike a printed text, however, the  database is updated on a regular basis to include most recent findings.  Ultimately, it will  contain all known pre-pro glasses, although the project may well outlive the current glassmaster before achieving this lofty goal. 

The database entrance page shows that the listings are arranged alphabetically.  Clicking on an alphabetical range takes us to a relevant index page.  Since the first word on the Humphrey & Martin glass is "Bouquet", we need to be in the "B" listing pages and there we find an entry "Bouquet Rye Humphrey & Martin" - the very glass!

Clicking on this link then takes us to the listing page with a picture of the glass, together with information about the glass and as much information as we know about its issuer.  

We could also have searched the database for "Bouquet", "Humphrey", "Martin", or even "Philadelphia".  That would have brought up more glasses from Humphrey & Martin, variants that are similar to the one that we're interested in.  Unfortunately, did not come online until 2002 so there was no database for me to search when I first acquired the glass.

A third option is to use Google or some other search engine to comb the internet for any possible clues about Humphrey and/or Martin.  Possible search terms might include "Humphrey" and "Whiskey" and/or "Philadelphia".  The two surnames on the glass are so common that these searches bring up many thousands of irrelevant pages -- but one never knows what's out there to be stumbled over.  By way of example, searching for "McHenry" and "Distillery" very quickly leads us to a lavishly illustrated page on the old company and its history.  The page is part of a website on the history of Benton, PA., the distiller's home town.

Another surprise informational bounty emerged when I was researching an unknown, unlisted "Jessup Rye" glass.  An internet search turned up a census records from the town of Jessup clearly showing the name, address, and family history of the glass' owner, John Slivka.

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