The R stands for Rudolph Sprenger who, according to census records from 1900, immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1882. As best I can tell he ran a small beer bottling business located on the east side of Manhattan during the 1880’s and 1890’s
Rudolph Sprenger was first listed in the 1884 NYC Directory and later in the 1885 directory as a bottler at 209 East 88th Street. Sometime in 1885 or 1886, he partnered with Henry C. Timm and moved the business to 203 East 92nd Street. Sprenger & Timm was listed at that address in both the 1886 and 1887 directories.
The partnership apparently dissolved in 1887 or 1888. In the 1888 directory Sprenger was listed individually at 203 East 92nd Street where he remained through 1897, sometimes with the occupation bottler and other times beer.
In 1898 and 1899 he continued to be listed as a bottler but had moved to 172 East 91st Street.
In 1900 he moved again, this time to the west side of Manhattan, at 1725 Amsterdam Avenue, where he was listed with the occupation liquors. The 1900 census records called him a liquor dealer.
The bottle I found is mouth blown with a blob finish that’s embossed with the 203 East 92nd Street address. This likely dates it between 1888 and 1897 when the business was individually owned by Sprenger and located at that address. Note: The 203 East 92nd Street address no longer exists. It’s now located within the footprint of a modern apartment building called the “Easton.”
The bottle was produced or at least supplied by Karl Hutter of New York whose name appears on the base.
According to a paper found on the Society of Historical Archeology’s Historic Bottle Website, written by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey and Carol Serr, Hutter acquired the patent for a bottle closure called the “Lightning Stopper” and was also a supplier of bottles. He used this embossing from 1877 to 1900 which encompasses the period that Sprenger was in business.
On a final note, the name Sprenger was well connected with brewing in the state of Pennsylvania. The J. A. Sprenger Brewery, later referred to as the Sprenger Brewing Company, operated in Lancaster Pennsylvania from the 1870’s up through the start of Prohibition and again after it ended. While the name is rather unique and the timing works, I can’t find anything that connects the Pennsylvania operation with Rudolph Sprenger’s bottling business in New York.