Cobwebby ~ Ferrigan and Pattullo's Cobweb Hall Whiskey Bottle


"Cobwebs are stretched across the walls and the ceiling; gauzy seas of them have veiled every object — the pyramids of ale-casks, and the demijohns at the bars. From every corner and crevice the eye meets them depending by their silken threads; but, notwithstanding their plenitude, it would appear less sacrilegious to the custodian to rob an altar of its plate than to destroy one of the finely-spun nets that have given his establishment its name." [Source]

Ever feel a little cobwebby? Well, if you drank the original contents of your antique whiskey bottle, you just might have. it's old-timey slang for drunkenness.

When Peachridge Glass threw down the 'can-you-find-this' gauntlet after the owner posted this bottle, wanting to know more about it, I found an interesting story.

It is embossed H.F. & BRO / LATE D PATTULLO / 80 DUANE ST NY.

So, a google searchin' we go.

  1. A variation of this bottle was posted on the forum, with the expanded embossing giving me the "F" mystery sir name: H Ferrigan & Bro / Late David Pattullo / 80 Duane St New York
  2. Then we find that David Pattullo opened a bar named Cobweb Hall at that address in 1840
  3. And Hugh Ferrigan then purchased the saloon in 1864. [Sources: NY Times archive pdf and here]

According to Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York City, eccentric Scotsman Patullo started out as a salesman for Royal Lochnegar Whiskey, then opened his unusually decorated bar in which the rafters of the saloon were famously covered with actual cobwebs.

Ferrigan, the succeeding owner, kept them in place until an 1885 fire in a whalebone factory above the hall destroyed the ceiling. Apparently the cobwebs were gathered up and displayed in a glass case.

From the Utica Sunday Tribune / Oct. 31 1886 [link]

Posted on an interesting blog called Secondat, I found this insurance map of the City of New York, Borough of Manhattan, showing where Cobweb Hall was. (Volume 3. Published by Sanborn Map Co., 11 Broadway, New York. 1904.) 

According to Secondat's research, there was another fire in a celluloid factory near Cobweb Hall in 1901. 

It seems the cobwebs had been allowed to reaccumulate, as the NY Times wrote:
The Times reporter assures his readers that "the well-known landmark called Cobweb Hall, which has been standing since the memory of the oldest inhabitants began,... was not hurt except by having its walls and interior saturated with the thick smoke."  
Another Times article described the place: "Rusty silverware, ceilings dusty with cobwebs, bar furniture, tables, and chairs of remote date, old prints on the walls, and Pattullo's name [that of the founder] in silver letters, on the front windows of the hostelry." (NYT, November 16, 1902)

Louis Comfort Tiffany painted this dark image of Duane Street, New York in 1878. [Brooklyn Museum], and it agrees with what descriptions I found of the area at the time.

I did not find an image of the actual establishment called Cobweb Hall, but if you google-map the address you'll see the spot is now a stretch of wide paved street, just off Broadway.

That Peculiar Influence

And finally, all that google searching led me to the Cobweb Hall trivia that: ''from the peculiar influence produced by the liquor is derived the New York slang for drunk — cobwebby''.

Findlay Antique Bottle Club
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