I’ve been so distracted by work this past couple of years that I completely missed the fact that, as of 2022, pre-pro.com has been live for over two decades now. I need to check to see when our 21st birthday is – I think it’s somewhere toward the end of August.
I’ve always been appreciative of the artistry that went into the design of pre-pro glasses and my main reason for wanting to grow the collection has always been to add another prime example to the display case.
The goal of the website is a little different. Twenty-one years ago, the internet was still in its infancy and learning more about the origins of pre-pro glasses meant contacting Barb Edmonson to buy one of her books. Opportunities to buy pre-pro glasses were few and far between and usually meant weekly visits to local antique stores and hitting the local bottle shows to see if the diggers had found any interesting go-withs.
eBay was a game-changer in so many ways. It now became possible to put together a respectable pre-pro collection in a matter of just a few weeks. But eBay also became an information goldmine because each day brought a fresh selection of bottles, jugs, trays, corkscrews letterheads, flyers etc, all of which made it possible to start building databases to help figure out where liquor dealers operated, under what name, and what brands they used. That’s been an ongoing project and likely will never end.
But eBay offerings have also helped us begin to provide an answer to that most elusive of questions – who made the shot glasses and how were they distributed? We assume that they were handed out to saloons and then to customers by the distillers, but I’m not sure that we have a very definitive answer to this yet. Snippets of information continue to surface. I included some of these in the newbie’s guide to shot glasses on the site. I’ve also picked up a couple of boxes of glasses that showed up for sale on eBay over the years. I wrote about the box of I.W. Harper glasses addressed to a hotel in PA in a previous post, but I also won a 12-count box containing 7 glasses in mint condition: two Owl Hollows, two more I.W. Harpers, two Old Rockwells, and an an Old Hickory. The box had no address on it, so I can only guess about its destination. Owl Hollow and Harper were Bernheim brands, so maybe the Old Rockwells and Old Hickory came from them also.
Just recently, I ran across this neat little find – a small box addressed to Henry Doerr of Saxonburg, Penna. from Birchwood Distilling Co., of Newport, KY.
Inside was a personalized shot glass advertising Birchwood:
This is clearly a hand-engraved premium of some kind. Who was Henry Doerr and how he came by the glass is a mystery – maybe he collected and sent in coupons, or maybe it was a reward for buying so many jugs of Birchwood. I have no idea, but it’s an interesting piece of history.