Vol. 8 No. 10                                                                                                                                       August 2010
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club F.O.H.B.C.

Special Program this Month by Local Historian, Tom Dietz!

This Month; "All hands on deck!"

        This month we will be welcoming our very special guest speaker, Mr. Tom Dietz. Mr. Dietz has spoken to the metal detector club and I can tell you that he is a very interesting guy to hear. I am not sure what topic he will be addressing for our bottle club, but what president Chuck Parker tells me is it may be about Kalamazoo Medicines! The last time he spoke to the detector club, his topic was about life in Kalamazoo during the American Civil War. It wasn't about the actual fighting in the war, even though thousands of soldiers mustered out of Kalamazoo for the fighting, Mr. Dietz's topic was most interesting indeed! What he spoke about was what life was like living in Kalamazoo during the war years and it was a real eye opener!

        We are hoping that you can make it out to this special meeting! I know that there are many things going on during the summer months, but I hope that we will have a good turn out. We will be skipping our regular bottle raffle and the $25.00 that we normally would spend on the raffle bottle(s) will be donated to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, as Mr. Dietz suggested.

       If you normally bring a few bottles to put into the raffle, you could still offer them for sale to the members at the meeting. Also, because of the special program, this month's meeting theme will be Kalamazoo Medicines. Other Kalamazoo bottles and go-withs are welcomed as well, so if you got'em, bring'em!

       A lady found our club website while she was searching for information about a Kalamazoo bottle that she has. Judging by the items that she had in the bottle photo that she sent to me, she must be a collectibles wheeler-dealer! Her bottle had no embossing, and it could be a very early 'A.B.M.' machine-made bottle, but it has a very nice, clean and bright label! It is a Kalamazoo Celery Compound bottle! I answered all of her questions and I told her that her $25.00 price tag (that was stuck on the bottle) was very fair, but I think I may have lost her trust when I tried to buy the bottle.

      Frankly, I don't really know what the value of her bottle is, but I am sure that 100% of the value is in that nice label.

The label reads:



Billousness, Constipating, Indigestion, Dyspepsia, Fever and Ague, Rheumatism, Kidney and Liver Complaints, Blood Disorders, Disorders of the Urinary Organs and all forms of Nervousness, Headache and Neuralgia. Also positive cure for Female Complaints and Diseases arising from an impure state of the Blood. It is a valuable Tonic, reviving the energies and faculties which makes it the best medicine for aged people.


For Adults, from one to two teaspoonfuls four times a day, before meals and at bedtime. Children in proportion. In severe cases of Neuralgia and Rheumatism increase the dose; and in obstinate cases or diseases complicated with Scrofula add ½ ounce of Iodide of Potassium to each bottle.


PRICE $1.00

        As you can see, the picture of the bottle showed very good detail on the label! For some reason, something about this bottle rings a bell. I believe someone has one of these in an original box, sealed with full contents. Is that you, Chuck? This gal's name is Sandy and unless she answers my e-mail I have no idea where in the world she is located. Unfortunately her picture cut off the company address and the full price which I would like to have seen.

       I told her that at one time the city of Kalamazoo was known as the Celery City. When I was a kid that description of Kalamazoo was grinding to a halt. I do recall some celery flats in the North Douglas and the Mosel areas. Does anyone in Kalamazoo raise celery today?

      Since I started this newsletter I have received a couple e-mail replies from Sandy, the gal with the bottle. As it turns out someone told her that the Celery Compound bottle is worth more than $25.00 and more like $45.00. The bottle will be for sale at an Estate Sale in Gobles the weekend before the meeting. Sandy claims that there are other bottles involved but she thinks the Celery Compound bottle is the best. I am trying to find out the actual date and time for the sale but her e-mail answers are brief and without a lot of detail.

      When I worked in a machine shop in Kalamazoo, during the 70's, I trained under a German Master Machinist. My grandfather, also from Germany got to meet my former boss and they had a great time visiting in their native language. Anyway, they told me that in Germany, as the celery would push through the ground, the farmer would cover it up. They would continue to mound the plant until it was full grown and ready to harvest. As a result, the celery in Germany is not green, but white!

        Where would you learn such stuff, if not in a antique bottle newsletter? Of course Kalamazoo was once known as the Paper City (or was that Parchment) and the Mall City--- I don't know what it is known for today. My side of town is turning into a ghost                                                                                                              town!


        We had a good turnout at the last meeting but nothing like the group they had in the room next door! My wife pointed out that there would be a cheese making class at the library and that did get my attention. However I didn't realize that it was going to be the same night of the meeting. I couldn't believe my eyes! People were lined up to get into the cheese making classes!

        Our special meeting theme last month was "non-glass items" or the stuff we find in search of antique bottles. It turned out to be an interesting subject! We really saw some neat stuff! I guess the thing that really got my attention was a beautiful red-clay spittoon that Scott Hendrickson had just dug! It is beautiful! It has an oak leaf pattern around the belt- line and the overall condition is really sweet!

         I brought in several items carved out of bone. Mainly what I have are bone handles. I have a shaving brush that came out of a pit which was believed to be about 1860-70. All of the brush hair was long-gone. I have a friend at the church we attend who raises show horses and she got me a nice bag of horse hair. I was able to glue new hair into the brush. I didn't have it at the meeting but I also have a Civil War era toothbrush that was made out of a pork rib bone. I was told that rib meat in the old days was considered trash--- can you imagine! I also brought along a couple of bone-carved chess pieces.

          Last month in the newsletter I talked about a friend who lost his life in a car crash one year after-the-fact. His name was Jack and he was a very nice young man. He loved metal detecting and one aspect of the hobby really intrigued him. The truth be known, he became obsessed with early man in the United States. I am not talking about the American Indian, I'm talking about the American cave man!

         What got Jack excited is what is know in the detecting hobby as the "Copper Culture." Finding pre-historic hammered copper is a touchy subject today because some say that it is illegal to buy and sell the stuff. I had a friend who lost his life in the search of hammered copper by drowning in a lake in northern Wisconsin. I have a small scraper blade that Jack gave me and I showed it at the meeting. I had one expert on the subject tell me that the piece that I have is from Europe and not America.

          What Jack would do is travel down remote rivers and learn to spot areas that would have made a good spot for an early settlement. Of course over the time span of 1000 years, rivers can change course but from time to time Jack would get lucky! Many times a great place to search for copper artifacts is in the rivers themselves! That is where you have to be careful!

           I have a couple of pictures on my web site where one of my customers hit the mother lode! This guy was working for the Michigan State Police in Marquette and detecting for a hobby. His passion was finding antique fishing gear. On one of his outings he started finding hammered copper spear points, leather awls, scrapers --- amazing treasure! All of his finds are now displayed in a local museum --- and on my web site.

         Ernie Lawson is scaling down his collection so he brought along a few things to sell. I think that I was the only one to buy. I got a nice mustache cup which I had never seen before. Also, an unopened bottle of surgeon's silk thread with the original label! I also got a top-hat toothpick holder and a small flow-blue cream pitcher.

          We had a guest at the meeting, Mr. Jeff Chase. Jeff is retired and he volunteers at the Kalamazoo Library Used Book Store! There he is exposed to collectible treasure everyday!

             Speaking of the Library, Chuck tells me that they have a plaque up in honor of the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club for all of our donations toward antique bottle related books! Our donations to the library have topped $1,000.00! I hope that you are checking some of these great books out!

          At the last meeting we saw the smiling faces of: Chuck Parker, Jeff Chase, Ernie Lawson, Wayne Marvin, Dee Cole, Scott Hendrickson, Mary Hamilton, Al Holden, Mark & Marty McNee and Ed Nickerson.

         Chuck had some news that he wanted me to share--- I'm just the messenger! I'm the George Bailey in this group and if it wasn't for my life, Kalamazoo would be called Parkerville!

        Anyway, it turns out that our club year-end (or year beginning) is September. Which means that your $10.00 dues are due next month! Chuck tells me that he will start collecting all your hard earned cash as early as this meeting!

           In the same breath he told me that he hopes that we have a big turnout for our special speaker! Please make it a point to make it to this meeting! One of the great preachers in the Unites States was a man named D.L. Moody (1837-1899) Especially during the Civil War years Mr. Moody brought many a soul to Christ--- perhaps many thousands! I was so impressed with that man and what he accomplished. One day my father told me that he was more impressed by the shoe salesman that lead D.L. Moody to the Lord! That is what encourages preachers when only one person turns out to hear them. Mr. Dietz is not a gospel preacher to my knowledge. Something to think about; but nonetheless let's have a good turnout to hear Mr. Dietz.

U.P. Vacation

         I just returned from spending 10 days on vacation. As usual we went to the U.P. to visit my wife's parents. It was a wonderful time and we had great weather. I was told when we returned that you guys had some bad storms. When we were on our way north I thought we were going to be in trouble! As we went through Norway, Michigan, the sky was black as coal and the clouds were moving in a very strange pattern.

        What we found out later was that nearby Kingsford, Michigan, was getting hit with some big league weather! Thank God we didn't get the wind or hail while pulling our traver trailer, but the rain drops were big and hitting hard! It sounded like marbles hitting the windshield! But that was it! The rest of the trip was beautiful!

        Last year when I went up I had just finished cancer treatments and surgery. I should have stayed home because the trip almost killed me. I mean that exactly like it sounds! This year I was about 50% stronger and if I paced myself I could do a few enjoyable things.

        My business this last year has been frustrating to say the least! I read the news or listened to the radio and it sounded like the economy had collapsed. I on the other hand I had a steady stream of customers who had money in hand and were prepared to spend, but alas! I couldn't get the products! The shortage has been in form of a couple land-based detectors but the big shortage has been in underwater detectors.

         The two biggest makers of popular underwater detectors are also the two larger suppliers of metal detectors popular with the gold prospectors. Well, if you didn't know it, there has been a full blown gold rush in Africa! The gold discovery was made with a couple detectors that would not have been my choice for that work, but the people in the African gold fields have a tribal mentality and you could not sell them anything other than what they were told to buy.

        I guess greed took over! One of the gold detectors that were in demand was priced high to begin with at $4,500.00! But, after the supply in Europe and in the U.S. dried up, this same detector was selling for $10,000 and up on the black market! So these two manufactures stopped all production on all their other models to build nothing but gold machines.

           So now we have very few choices of waterproof detectors. One of the most respected companies did not get caught up in this mess and they did offer a waterproof detector but it had some flaws as far as most knowledgeable water hunters were concerned. What frustrated me was that this company's flawed water detector that would accept the circuits from one of their totally hot land detectors. Also, they had a coil that they could use that would really make the whole package awesome!

         I taked to my distributor about this combination of parts and even wrote to the company about my idea, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. It was so frustrating to me because I knew this would be so easy to do and it would fill my need for a much needed product! But it seemed like nobody was listening.

        Then, just days before I left on vacation, my distributor called me to say that he just got in a Top Secret Proto type detector that the factory wanted me to test! That's right! I said "ME TO TEST."

         You could tell that the engineers used whatever they could scrounge together in used parts to put everything together, but it was all there in one neat package!

         My distributor and I were about to do this on our own but to do so we would need to tear apart 3 different detectors. But it would be worth it! Water hunting in swimming areas is like prospecting for gold, silver, precious stones and rare collectibles all in one fun hobby! I have seen water hunters recover $30,000 to $50,000 in just one find!

         I packed my long handled scoop (one of the best in the world and made in Kalamazoo). Also, I have a wind surfer suit that is like a diver's wet suit but with short sleeves and pants, some heavy-soled water boots and my waterproof detector. I was ready to go.

         Up in the western U.P. some of the lake levels are way down. They had a mild winter with far less snow than usual (it came our way) and their spring was unusually dry. My father-in-law pointed out the absence of mosquitos this year which is most unusual for that area. I understand that many water wells are drying up!

       I had hunted the local swimming hole a few years back and right away I started finding some great stuff! However I was limited to very shallow water because what I had was a land detector with a waterproof coil. Sadly that sprang a leak after just a few good finds.

         The next year we went to Cedar Point and Niagra Falls for our vacation. The next year however we were going back to the western U.P. and I was loaded for bear! Actually that is nothing to kid about, I have actually seen bear on the way to this little lake!

        Well, I got in the lake expecting big things and there was next to nothing! I was swinging my coil in chest deep water when a teenage boy popped out of the water and brushed his hair out of his face with both hands. "Are you finding anything?" he asked.

         "Not much, just a few new coins," I replied.

        "My uncle detected in here last summer, and you would be amazed at how much neat stuff he found!"

         Just my luck! That was a few years ago and at the time the lake was at its normal level. This year when I was in water below knee-deep it would have been over my head before! This was lake bottom that was not hunted by that guy's uncle, unless he had been back recently.

        There was nothing good about my battle with cancer. Even losing 80 pounds wasn't as good as you would think, because it included a bunch of muscle mass. I was expecting as soon as I got my bony legs in the cold water I would be retreating fast. I was little more then ankle deep when I got a clean strong signal. With my wife nearby, I scooped in the sandy mud, then lifted the scoop from the water.

        To my delight I could see mixed in with the bits of seaweed and snail shells a white gold ring! Gold on my first scoop! When I pulled it out of the remaining mud in my scoop I recognized the unmistakable look of a girl's class ring! I put the ring in my goodie apron and continued on. My proto-type detector has beautiful tone ID and the gold ring sounded just as it was supposed to. It is what I would describe as a sweet mid-tone. Copper and silver coins make an unmistakable high-tone.

        I scooped up coin after coin when it occured to me that my hunting at this location would be limited to just that day. So I started to ignore the copper & silver coin hits and intensify my gold search. Unfortunately there is one coin that has the same signature to a metal detector as many gold rings and that is a U.S. and Canadian nickel. Another spoiler is those old aluminum can pull-tabs. I really didn't dig many pull-tabs but the nickels were coming up one after another.

         This is so much fun you can really lose track of time. In fact if you are not on your guard about hypothermia which in cold water can creep up on you, you can be in danger before you realize it! I lost two friends to just that on the east side of the state. One of these men was a young military man and he drowned in waist deep water!

      Even though this swimming area is unoffically closed as they redo the bath house and beach, there was still a young lady doing life guard duty.

         My wife and grandaughter had already gone to shore and I was the only one left in the water. I had a feeling that the lifeguard would have headed for home if it wasn't for me. I was right, the young lady, my inlaw's neighbor, asked my wife, "Is he going to swim?"

        About that same time I felt like I was inconveniencing someone, so I started working my way towards shore. All I could think about was coming back the next day, but the weather forecast was calling for bad weather and we had a 6 hour drive to our next stop, Sault Saint Marie.

         That evening I showed my inlaws all of the recovered treasure. On closer inspection the 10K class ring was well worn and hard to read. My father-in-law got out his magnifying glass and took the ring out in the evening sunlight. When he came back in to the house he declared that the ring was from the local high school and it was from the class of 1950.

          When this information sank in, my mother-in-law exclaimed, "That was my class!"

        The only thing that was clear to see was the owner's initials, G..J. That seemed to be the only puzzle left. At first my inlaws struggled with coming up with a name and it was my father-in-law who made the breakthrough! Sure enough there was only one possiblity--- it had to be her!

         My wife popped the question, does she still live in the area? The question even came up, 'is she still counted among the living? Well, the answer was yes and yes! My mother-in-law put a phone call into her old friend and her first question was, "Gladys, do you still have your class ring?"

        She said, "Funny you should ask. I was visiting with a couple of classmates yesterday when that same question came up! I know where my classring is. It is at the bottom of the lake!"

           "Not anymore!" my mother-in-law told her.

         The next day ring and owner were reunited!





Newsletter by:  Al Holden
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