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OLD / I.W.HARPER (letters are inside a grass stalk wreath tied with a ribbon)

ID#: RRP169
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Glass Category:Liquor advertising
Glass Type:Thin-walled shot with a heavy base, 13 ground flutes around bottom
Label Type:Usual white-etched label
Dimensions:2-5/16 " x 1-15/16 " x 1-7/16"
Edmonson:Not listed
Bernheim Bros. listed from 1889-1919.

Isaac Wolfe Bernheim was born in Schmieheim, Baden, Germany on November 4, 1848. He was the son of Leon Solomon and Fanny (Dreyfuss) Bernheim; his father was a merchant by profession.

1867: With Europe in the grips of war, Isaac emigrated to the US, arriving in New York in April. He had intended to take employment in an Uncle Livingston's cotton and yarn mills, but the US Civil War had caused the business to fall on hard times, so instead he set up as a traveling salesman, working his way through Pennsylvania peddling small ladies' items such as handkerchiefs, needles, and thread.

1868: Isaac followed his Uncle to Paducah and took a position as book-keeper and salesman in his firm, Livingston & Weille. Later that year, he moved to the prominent liquor wholesalers Loeb & Bloom and became their book-keeper at $40 per month. His steady income allowed him save enough to bring Bernard Bernheim, his younger brother by two years, over from Germany to join him in Paducah.

1872: Isaac and Bernard established Bernheim Bros., a liquor dealership, with the help of silent partner Elbridge Palmer. The brothers are believed to have contributed their life savings of $1,200 to help fund the $3,200 start-up.

1875: Palmer's interest in the company had been bought out and the two brothers were joined by Nathan M Uri (brother to Isaac's wife, Amanda). The name was changed to Bernheim Bros. & Uri.

1879: Bernheim Bros. register the "I W Harper" brand. The "I W" initials were borrowed from Isaac's own name, while Harper was the surname of a famous horse breeder (F B Harper). The brand went on to win multiple medals for quality, the first being at the New Orleans Expo. on 1885.

1888: The company moved to Louisville.

1890: The company acquired an interest in the Pleasure Ridge Park distillery 7 miles SW of Louisville.

1891: On June 1, Nathan M Uri left the partnership and set up his own company..

1896: The Pleasure Ridge Park distillery is destroyed by fire, leaving Bernheim Bros with a $1m tax bill on the bonded whiskey that had been stored in its warehouses. The Brothers begin building the Bernheim Bros. distillery (RD #9, 5th District of KY) on Bernheim Lane and it is in production the following year.

1903: The company incorporate as Bernheim Distilling Co. with $2m in capital.

1906: Bernheim Distilling Co. acquired the Warwick distillery (RD #1, 8th District of KY). The company apparently also had a stake in the Mayfield distillery (RD #229, 5th District of KY).

1911: United American Co. was organized with Albert S. Roth, president and Milton W. Barkhouse, VP, to assume the property and interests of the Bernheim Distilling Co.

From 1920 to 1933 both the Bernheim Bros and Warwick plants were partially dismantled and the property sold, but Bernheim Distilling Co. operated as a medicinal whiskey distributor. In 1934 Schenley purchased the brands, ultimately becoming the property of the present-day United Distillers.


The History of Kentucky, Vol. IV, by W E Connelley & E M Coulter, The American Historical Society, 1822.
The Kentucky Encyclopedia, J E Kleber Ed., University Press of Kentucky, 1992.
The Encyclopedia of Louisville, J E Kleber Ed., University Press of Kentucky, 2002.

Brand names used by this company include: "A Fair Exchange", "Comet", "Crestmore", "F. F. V.", "F. F. V. Rye", "I. W. Harper", "Kentucky Reserve", "Metropolitan", "Old Complimentary", "Old Continental", "Old Moorehead", "Old National", "Owl Hollow", "Prosperity", "Shaw's Malt", and "The Whiskey Your Grandfather Used."

Company name timeline:
Bernheim Bros. & Uri (1875-1891), Bernheim Bros. (1892-1903), Bernheim Distilling Co. (1904-1919)

Address timeline:
135-137 W Main (1889-1897), 646-650 W Main (1902-1909), 626-628 W Main (1909-1919)

Find out more about Bernheim Bros.

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This glass is shown for informational purposes only and is not for sale.

We MAY be able to find a glass like this for you, however.

Be warned, these glasses are rare antiques, around 100 years old. Prices typically range from $30 or so on the more common glasses (e.g., a Hayner or a Detrick) to $250+ on desirable picture glasses.

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