Baker's Pure Rye 1847
The Brand

 
 Label reads,
 
"Baker's Pure Rye Whiskey" was a famous brand in the 19th century. It was the product of W.T. Walters & Co, as mentioned in this early ad from 1855:
 
1855 Ad from The Statistical Gazeteer of the State of Virginia, showing W.T. Walters & Co. Warehouse in Baltimore and Baker's Rye Brand Whiskey, among many others 

“We guarantee the finest stock of OLD RYE WHISKEY in the United States,” it proclaims. And “Baker” is their primary brand. By 1857, ads frequently used this graphic:
 
1857 ad from The Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer, with text and barrel graphic

Portrait of W.T. Walters in older age.
William Thompson Walters was the man behind the company. It brought him serious wealth and local fame. Even today, The Walters Museum still stands proudly in Baltimore, showcasing Walters' art collection. His biography describes him moving from Pennsylvania to Baltimore in 1841 "to join the ever-growing ranks of businessmen, particularly commission and liquor merchants." In 1852, he opened a huge liquor warehouse -- that's it in the top ad above. The Baltimore Sun called it “possibly the most complete establishment of the kind in the United States.” 
 
The Baker’s brand grew so valuable that it became front-and-center in Walters's advertising, like in this 1873 ad:
 
Ad reads in large capital letters, Sole proprietors of the celebrated Baker's Pure Rye Whiskey. 
 
See how they emphasized they're the "sole proprietors?" Walters saw his brand being diluted by competitors' inferior "Baker's Ryes," and he fought to maintain his claim to the name. Even the barrel graphic stressed “W.T. Walters & Co. Baker’s.” Trademarks were traditionally defended via advertising; actual government trademark registration was still a new thing.

 

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