|Vol. 10 No. 5 May 2012|
|Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News|
|Member Club of the F.O.H.B.C.|
It is Sunday evening, April 29th, and it just dawned on me that May starts on a Tuesday! I hate when that happens! I should have started on the newsletter days ago! Before I forget, let me give you a brief summary about your old buddy, Uncle Al since the hospitality suite.
That was Friday the 20th. I spent much of the day at work loading my Ford Explorer with most of my shop for the show. You cannot imagine what a job it is to load all the detectors, make sure I have manuals and warranty cards for each one, and load all the other supplies. It never fails that on Friday evening after loading, a car will pull into my store, a customer will come in and ask, "Do you have a whatever?"
And the answer is, "Of course I do, it is at the bottom of that giant pile of stuff in the back of my Explorer!"
Thursday night, the night before our show party, I stopped on the way home from work with my list of stuff to buy. Kevin's pre-printed meeting agenda sheet was a true blessing! Honestly, I have no idea why someone didn't think of that sooner! If we get too organized, I may start to love all this again!
There it was, right on the sheet. I picked up the sandwich cheese (Swiss, provolone and cheddar,) butter, mustard, mayo, ketchup, onions, pickles, cottage cheese . . . . well, you get the idea. The only thing I had left to do the evening of the party was to get a serving tray and arrange the cheese. Well, at work when loading the car it occurred to me, "Wow, I don't feel so hot!" I had been thinking about going to Gordon's Food Service to find some sort of toss-a-way serving tray so I could walk away from the party and not be concerned with leaving anything behind. Well, that was my plan. By the time I left my shop, I sure didn't feel like doing anything but going home . . . bed sounded good.
When I did get home, my wife was reclining on the sofa. When I told her I didn't feel so hot, she told me she was sick and not going at all! Wow, how am I going to pull this off without her help? Thank goodness she had already taken care of all the final details.
By the time I got to the party, I was so darn sick! I stumbled into action and started unloading all the goodies I brought. Dee and Kevin were already working on things and, Lord knows, they both did a great job. I'll come back to this. The morning of the show, I woke up so sick, I was sick during the show, and it is one week and a day later and I am still sick! I called my regular doctor on Wednesday and I was told he was booked ahead for a solid week! I figured I would wait another day and see how I felt. The lady at the Doctor's office suggested I go to Express Care. Well, I have been there and done that . . . no thanks! If you ever want to be sick for sure, the easiest way is go to Express Care!
My wife had to work Sunday the 29th and my plan was to stay in bed. By 11:00 on Sunday, I was so sick I figured I would go online and see what the hours were for Express Care. It said they would be open at noon. I was 15 minutes early and sixth in line. What I thought was flu was an out-of-control case of Strep Throat!I just hope in pray that none of you got sick because of me! (Or of me)
Our last meeting was really a lot of fun! The following members were present: Dee Cole, Kevin Seigfried, Bill Drake, Edward Nickerson, Jim Jesiek, Judy Jesiek, Chuck Parker, Mary Hamilton, Vincent Grossi, Scott Hendrickson, Al Holden.
We had been encouraging people to bring in local Kalamazoo area stuff hoping to get more people involved with the Kalamazoo Display table. Well, I don't know how the rest of you felt, but Kevin Seigfried had some stuff that was amazing!
I just hope I remember it all. One of the items was early dovetail wooden boxes with the black stenciled letters. I love those items! I don't know how many of you know this, but in the 1860's, 70's and 80's, there were several Kalamazoo wood shops turning out these small boxes and shipping them all over the Midwest. Truth is, many of these little wood mills in town were major fire hazards and they were an important detail included on the early Sanborn insurance maps.
Many businesses passed out a complimentary box. One we saw was Zander & Walter Artistic House Decorators. The box states; "Wholesale & Retail Dealers of Paint, Oils, Wall Paper, Artist Materials, Picture Frames. Located at 204 N. Burdick Street, Kalamazoo."
Another great wooden box from Kalamazoo was: "Kalamazoo Optical Co. Box# 573 Kalamazoo Mich. Wholesale Only."
As I recall Kevin picked up that box at an estate sale where he also found a small eyeglass tool embossed, "Kalamazoo Optical Co." Now, how cool is that, you Kazoo collectors? It gets better!
Kevin also found a wooden box. I am sure these were all made in Kalamazoo, back in behind where Bimbos' Pizza is now, and along the R.R. tracks. This box has a paper label which is about 80% complete. The label reads, ". . . . . & Co's Extract of Vanilla" The bottom of the label lists the distributor as "B. Desenberg & Co., Kalamazoo Mich." See what you missed! I wanted to make Kevin an offer, but I saw Scott foaming at the mouth! Scott has a great Desenberg collection already started!
So, do you want me to fill in the blank? The very top of the label was missing so I will have to make an educated guess, but, with my brilliant mind, a guess is usually as good as gold! I'm 99% sure it said, "A.M. Todd & Co's Extract of Vanilla." Please hold your applause. What a Kalamazoo Treasure!
OK, Kevin had several more items. I know he had me in mind from the moment he found it. It was a small glass jar with the tin screw cap and paper label from Otsego, Mich.! Kevin knows that one of my favorite purchases 'ever' from the Kalamazoo show was a horseradish bottle from my grandfather's Michigan Cottage Cheese Company.
Back when my grandfather had the business, they offered many more food products than just cottage cheese. They were taking advantage of the fact that they had their foot in the door at food stores across Michigan and northern Indiana, which was not easy!
My father and my step- father were both route drivers and the stories I have heard about battles for cooler space inside the stores would fill another newsletter! Also, they had refrigerated trucks, so the more products they could manufacture and peddle, the more money could be made.
Kevin walked over and put it in front of me at the Kalamazoo show with an $8.50 price tag! I couldn't get the money out fast enough! Wow! There was another great Otesgo collectable and evidence of another horseradish product from Otsego! I saw, and took a picture of this at the meeting, but I was so focused on covering everything, I actually missed too much. If you want me to notice something special, just make sure I am awake!
Here is the rest of the story! From the moment I took the picture of the Sam Beck bottle, I was anxious to ask my mother or stepfather about it. They are both walking history books about things "Otsego!" But, I was still thinking it was very likely a shot in the dark. The bottle looked to be from the 1920's so there was a great chance Mr. Beck had slipped under their radar.
The label was not flawless and I was not 100% sure the first name was Beck. With the type font and the tiny missing specks, it could say Seck. I got my mother on the phone and told her that I had purchased a horseradish jar from Otsego and I asked, "Have you ever heard of Sam Beck or Sam Seck?"
I no more then had that out when she said "Sam Beck! Yes, he worked for your grandpa!"
When my grandfather started the cottage cheese business on Hammond Street in Otsego, it was in their home. At first, he could make about 400 pounds a day, which was a lot back then.
My grandmother and his two daughters washed crocks. During the day my grandfather would deliver the product. (He didn't get much sleep) As the business grew, he simply added onto his home. If you drive by the old factory and look up at the roof, you will see the roof of a house sticking up!
At one point, after he had several routes established and a small fleet of delivery trucks, he put in his own underground tank and gas pump for the trucks. At night the trucks would be emptied of any spoilage that the drivers bought back, cleaned, loaded with fresh product and gassed up. My grandmother was a big one for keeping good records. When she passed away, we found lists showing how well her hens were laying, how many eggs she sold and how much she was paid! On the list was even how many eggs she gave to the needy!
Well, the company gas station was not adding up! She was recording a shortfall week after week! She had a hunch something funny, was happening so she waited up night after night to watch the gas pump from the attic window. There he was finally! She had caught the thief filling up his truck! She grabbed her broom and took after the thief, taking the law into her own hands! She got in a few whacks on the thief before he could get off in his truck and she got a good look at the rascal! Yep, it was Sam Beck!
I hope his descendants don't find this story as alarming as I do funny! You had to know my little Swedish grandmother to appreciate this little story! And to think I have a 1920's Sam Beck Horseradish Jar! How cool is that? No, Sam didn't lose his job. My grandfather was one of the most forgiving men who ever set foot in Otsego.
Another amazing bottle Dee had was also from the early 1900's, and it was a desert find! It was the darkest sun-colored purple whiskey flask I have ever seen! It is embossed with an old ribbon style banner that reads "Honest Measure." Below that it says, "Full ½ Pint"
Also Dee had just dug a nice Omega Oil bottle. In a little cloud-shaped framing, it said, "Omega Oil it's Green."
Scott had a drop dead beautiful fruit jar on display that he took in exchange for some garage door work. It was a sparkling attic perfect "Lightning" canning jar with a bail and glass top.There was much, much more. If you missed the meeting, you missed a great one.
|Party & Show
I came home after the show, just as weak as a kitten. I normally leave the show and drive to my store and put it all back together, so that I don't have to face it Monday morning. I pulled the vehicle into my driveway and locked it up. I walked into the house, flopped myself down in the Lazy-Boy chair and laid my head back. My wife asked, "How was the show?"
I actually choked back tears and said, "I have so many great friends."
She said, "I know you do!"
Despite being sick, I had such a great time at the bottle show! It is always great to spend the day with my friend, Mike Walker who helped me at the show. Mike is the President of our metal detecting club and he has come to know many of you because of the bottle show.
I don't have total ticket numbers yet, but everything looked normal to me as far as foot traffic goes. The show usually shares the Fairgrounds with the coin or postcard show, but we had the show later in the month this year. So, we shared the venue with the Reptile and Pinball shows! What an unlikely grouping!
I actually talked to several people who were enjoying the show, but they came to see the Pinball stuff. I have to admit the most beautiful piece of glass I have ever owned was the back panel to a 1940 pinball game named, Button's and Bows! I Wish I still had that beautiful nickel machine!
The day before the show, Scott and Chuck had been out digging and they found the pit of dreams! Well almost! They found a Niagra Star Bitters, Double Eagle Historic Flask and a rare light olive colored Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters. Naturally they were all broken! The reason I mention this is all these bottles were on display at the dealer party! That's right, Scott glued them together! The funny part was watching all the bottle experts holding them up to the light at arm's length, as they would with any rare bottle, looking for flaws! I still have a lot to learn, don't I?
For the party, Kevin brought some of his fresh ground horseradish, which has become one of my favorite parts of the food table! I made a sliced roast beef sandwich with provolone cheese and a nice helping of fresh horseradish and, man, it was good. We tried going with the Hawaiian style sandwich buns and that worked out very well, I thought.
Dee bought all the goodies for making salads, Scott bought several great pies and I have to mention Connie's cheesy potatoes and beans. If I forgot you, forgive me. Everyone did a great job and the Hospitality suite was a smashing success!
At the show, so many of you stopped by to tell me how much you enjoy the newsletter and I cannot tell you how much that means to me. It was so good to see so many of you who's name I see each month when I put the labels on the newsletter!
Jim Esther stopped by and we had a great time visiting. Last fall I sold a little high tech electronic ground probe for Jim on e-Bay and that was a lot of fun! The device was purchased by a company in Russia and I am sure they will copy the technology. It surprised both of us at the selling price! Thanks for the encouragement, Jim!
Had I stayed at my store, I am sure I would have sold more. But the sale I made at the show was to my friend Sam Coppola! It is always a joy to visit with Sam! Jim and Sam live too far away to make it to many meetings, but they are valued club members and they are fun to hang out with!
I also saw some of my old digging buddies! Glen Sweet stopped by to show me a bottle he dug and it was as pretty as they come! It was a small Michigan druggist bottle from Eaton Rapids in a bright peacock blue! It was one of the small square body bottles, only about 3 inches tall. Like a dummy, I didn't grab my camera and snap a picture . . . duh!
When Glen stopped back to visit with our mutual friend, Bill Riley, I saw a couple of Bill's bottles and they blew me away! I took some pictures of Bill's bottles and then I told Glen I wanted to get a shot of his little blue bottle. He said, "Sorry, I sold it for $500.00!"
Bill had a mind boggling deep olive green Beekman's Pulmonary Syrup bottle. It looked to me like an 1860 bottle with a very droopy applied lip. The bottle has paneled sides and it is a very cool New York bottle. The bottle is made from very heavy thick glass! We know of one that sold for over $7,000!
Bill had also dug a barrel style C.W. Roback's Stomach Bitters. When cleaned up could be a $600.00 bottle!
Bill has called me a few times inviting me to go digging, and I always have too much going on, like a newsletter to do!
Bill also dug a very rare Collins & Chapman, Wheeling WV Fruit Jar! It has a sheared top and once had an iron ring and wax sealer. Without the steel ring, it is a $1,200 to $1,500 dollar jar! With a reproduction ring, it could bring $5,000!!!That crazy friend of mine, Kevin, always keeps me smiling! He came over to my table and presented me with a gift of a beautiful horseradish root! Kevin lives about a mile due east of me, as the crow flies. He told me this horseradish likes to spread like wildfire by sending out side-shoot roots and, sooner or later, it would be at my house anyway!
Kevin and I both share a passion for selling stuff on e-Bay. When Kevin received his share of raffle tickets to sell, he sent a free one to anyone who made a purchase on e-Bay! One of his e-Bay buyers from Pennsylvania won the new metal detector! Pretty cool, if you ask me!
The second place raffle prize of $75.00, went to Mason Bright. And what about this for a Good Samaritan reward . . . Kevin Seigfried won the third place $25.00 prize!
Tim Budda won first place in the Dealer's Choice Display Room Prize with the best and most colorful ink well collection I have ever seen!
Scott Hendrickson won second place with his Privy Digging display. It was awesome! Just the bone toothbrush display was worth the price of admission! Nice job, Scott! Always an amazing job!
Tim Budda had an amazing collection of Michigan Drug Store bottles that was really amazing and just plain fun to look at! I'm sure he has been having fun putting it together! I'm so glad I got the chance to see it!I could go on and on! It was simply a great show and thanks to all of you who work so hard to make it all work... especially the club ladies who handle the ticket sales. Marty McNee always does a great job! I don't want to forget Judy Jesier, who came around with fresh baked cookies!
As I finish this newsletter, I received word that Chuck Parker's grandson, Josh was seriously wounded in a firefight in Afghanistan. Josh is a U.S. Marine who was on a routine patrol when the enemy confronted them. Josh suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and a bullet shattered his right femur. He spent time in a hospital in Afghanistan and then was flown to Germany. As I write this, he is on a flight to a hospital in San Diego, CA. They have inserted a stainless steel rod in his leg and he is expected to fully recover, but it may take 6 months before he can walk again.
I'm certain the other guys are much worse off and hopefully by now they have discovered that God is Jewish! We are praying for you, Josh buddy! Thank you, from all of us!
will be trying to set a
date for a club picnic. I know that I
will be on vacation the last week of
July and the first week of August . . .
how about you? Also this meeting
will be our last one for a three
months. For a meeting theme
let's hear your show stories and see
your favorite bottle buys!
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club meets at the main downtown Kalamazoo Library, located at 315 South Rose Street. We meet on the third floor in the conference room. This meeting is Tuesday, May 8th. Meeting starts at 7:00 pm.