Vol. 12 No. 2                                                                                         February 2013
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club of the F.O.H.B.C.

Important Bottle Show Planning This Month

Last Month

    Hi, friends! I hope you are having a good winter, if that is possible outside of South Florida. We had one heck of a meeting last month! As you may recall, we encouraged all of our members to bring in a few of their best bottles for pictures. Our president, Chuck Parker, has lined up a local magazine to run an article about the club in an upcoming issue.

    The name of the magazine is Spark and it has a target audience of retired folks. Spark is a very nice publication and it is done in color. The magazine is offered for free in restaurant lobbies throughout the southwest Michigan area.

    Chuck asked me to write a short article and, along with pictures from the last meeting, send the material to Steve Ellis who is the editor and publisher.

    In the February issue of Spark there is a neat article about the National Driving Park which was what I always called "The old fairgrounds." It was in the area just south of Washington Square, on the southeast side of Kalamazoo. Lumber baron, industrialist and Senator Francis B. Stockbridge purchased the old horse racing park and built a beautiful residential housing project on that site.

    Senator Stockbridge worked along with real estate developer Charles B. Hays to build these homes and Hays Park Avenue was named for him. One of my quick thinking metal detector customers must have read this article, then he wrote me an e-mail asking if I knew of anyone who had done some metal detecting in the old Driving Park race track.

    I told him that back in the early 70's I lived in a giant old Victorian home on Hays Park and it was really a lovely place to live. I worked in a little machine shop behind the old Beach Products Company and I could walk or ride my bike to work. But today the old neighborhood is a very risky place to be around. It is so sad that it truly is a bad neighborhood!

    What I think has happened is out-of-control drug and alcohol abuse within a modern society that doesn't have a clue about how to deal with it like our forefathers did. As soon as these problems bring men to a helpless state, they end up in jail or at a local mission where then, and only then, our society will allow the Gospel of Jesus to be applied to their lives. Up to that point Christian guidance is treated like it is some sort of poison.

    My friend was going to start searching for places to run his metal detector in that neighborhood. I told him that there are people in that area who would line up to kill you for $5.00! In fact, Hays Park Ave. has become murderer's row!

    I talked to Steve Ellis before I sent him all of the photos and the brief club information. I wanted to make sure he would be expecting all the files. I also want to thank each one of you guys for bringing in so many great bottles! I sent Steve a lot of pictures to use, but we all know that he cannot use them all. I just paid up our Internet hosting fees and paid up our club domain name, so I will post as many pictures as I can on the club website.

    I was surprised to learn that Steve was involved with his father in metal detecting back when I started in the late 60's. They were part a handful of guys who were drawn into water hunting back before waterproof detectors were made. It was also back before gold and silver prices went through the roof. Not only that, you didn't have the scrap buyers begging to buy your gold on every corner.

    I had a customer from Lansing who was converting his metal detectors into hunting the shallow water and he would find hundreds of gold and silver rings every year. I remember one year Wally stopped in to show off his recent finds on his return trip. What I remember was him showing me a beautiful 18-K Gent's ring with a dark blue setting, and he said, "I have a feeling this one is very special."

    Well, he was right! It was a 7-1/2 carat dark blue natural sapphire. When the stone was removed for weighing and appraisal, an expert in antique jewelry was brought in to examine the ring. She was somehow able to determine the ring was from the mid 1800's and the stone alone was appraised at $25,000. That was almost 30 years ago.

    I would like to welcome my very good friend, John Winkler to the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club! We met through the metal detecting hobby. John is on a list of people I send the bottle club newsletter link to by e-mail and he always thanks me, which is appreciated. We also share an interest in spiritual matters, or as my friend Ernie would say, "He's a brother of mine!"

    I have been in touch with Ernie lately and he is doing great. He wanted me to say "Hi!" He really enjoyed getting that Christmas card we all signed!

    At the last meeting we saw the smiling faces of: Ed Nickerson, Kevin Seigfried, Bob May, Ethan May, Kelly Bobbit, John Winkler, Mary Hamilton, Chuck Parker, Steve DeBoode, Elmer Ogg, Scott Hendrichson and Al Holden.

    As I said we saw some jaw dropping antique bottles! I took lots of pictures and in just one picture alone there was more value in old glass then I paid for my first house!

    As I started doing this newsletter, I was hit by a double-barreled cold virus and it has pretty much wiped me out. So, to make my job a little easier I am copying the article I wrote for the Spark paper. But first I want to mention that Steve Deboode has copies of the Michigan Dairy bottle books available. The large directories are $100.00 for the set. I plan on getting a set when my cash flow picks up in the spring.

Article I sent to Spark Magazine

    Over the last several years I have read many articles about the antique bottle collecting hobby. I was asked to write something about the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club, of which I am a member. Perhaps the clichés are the first thing I should put behind us like, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," or how about, "These guys are always happiest when they are down in the dumps?" All kidding aside, collecting antique bottles is a great form of treasure hunting, which appeals to kids from 9 to 92!

    The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club has been around since it was first organized in 1975. The club was started by two gentlemen from the Kalamazoo area, Ernie Lawson and the late Jack Short. Ernie was working as a purchaser for the Upjohn Company and Jack Short was a local commercial photographer who owned his own studio in Kalamazoo.

    One of Ernie's co-workers at Upjohn had found some early medicine bottles during a construction project, and the guys were fascinated to learn the history of the products the bottles represented and to learn that they also had a collector value! Soon, Jack and Ernie were searching out places to dig for their own antique bottles! In those days, old farm dumps and the pre-Civil War era landfills were good places to search.

    Eventually, some collectors discovered that the pits, which had been dug for the old outside toilets, were also spots where trash was often discarded!

    Kalamazoo has a rich history centered around patent medicine and other products which were packaged in embossed glass bottles, and they can turn up anywhere! Actually, one of the most valuable of all the Kalamazoo collectibles is indeed an old glass bottle! That bottle contained a product known as, "The Best Bitters In America." The 'Best Bitters' was a product from the 1870's -80's, distributed by the downtown Kalamazoo business owner Bernhard Desenberg, a successful local grocer. The image of the "Best Bitters" bottle is used as the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club's logo symbol. I know of two Best Bitters bottles that have been dug (acquired for free), one that was purchased at an antique mall for $12.00, and one that was purchased at an antique bottle auction for $17,000.00!

    At our most recent bottle show, a lady showed the appraisers an antique whiskey flask that she had purchased for a few dollars at a local yard sale. That same bottle was sold recently for several thousand dollars at auction!

    An antique bottle need not be rare to be a treasured collectable. Several collectors focus their collecting on certain types of bottles, such as drug store prescription bottles or dairy bottles. Other popular bottle categories are the early ink bottles, fruit jars and early flasks. Many of the most desirable bottles are the hand-finished bottles. These are bottles made before automation took over the glass bottle manufacturing industry in the early 1900's.

    The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club put on its first antique bottle show in 1979. It was held in the hallway of the old Southland Mall in Portage. Since then, the show has been held at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds.

    This year the club will be hosting its 34th annual show at the Fairgrounds and Expo Center on Saturday, April 13th, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Dealers and collectors come from across the country to be part of the oldest and largest antique bottle and glass show in Michigan. The Kalamazoo show is actually one of the largest of its type in America. Some of the many bottle types featured at the show are early American flasks, fruit jars, dairy bottles, bitters bottles, medicine bottles, inks, soda, spirits and early pottery. Each year the club has some of the country's top antique bottle experts on hand to give free appraisals of antique bottles and related glass and advertising.

         The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club meets on the second Tuesday of the month at the downtown Kalamazoo Library located at 315 South Rose Street on the third floor in the Conference Room. The annual dues are only $10.00, which includes the club newsletter. The club's web address is www.kalamazoobottleclub.org or you can send e-mail to prostock@net-link.net


    Many of my customers notice my bottle collection and right away they want to bring me some bottles to look at. Shortly after our last meeting, which by the way ended at Bimbo's Pizza, a guy came in with about 100 bottles to show me. Of course it was on a Saturday, when I don't have time to look through a pile of bottles. So, I told him that he could unload them in my shop, and when I could find the time, I would sort through them.

    I told Chuck about the bottles and he came to my rescue! He started by separating the trash from the treasure and another pile of bottles which are best described by, "I'm not so sure bottles." Here is the list we made of those bottles. Look it over and please let us know if you see something you think may be a keeper. Some of these bottles that I have listed, we know the names are common, like the Kalamazoo Creamery, and Ideal Dairy, but some of these bottles were enhanced with embossed design-art that we were unfamiliar with.

1-quart Gotham Dairy Farm, Kalamazoo, MI.

1- ½ pint Horlick's Malted Milk, Racine WI.

1-quart Ray's Extra Rich (applied color label bad cond)

½ pint Earl Anderson Farm Dairy, R.F.D. #9 Kalamazoo

1-quart cream top Milk Products Company (lip chip)

½ pt. Ideal Dairy, Kalamazoo

½ pt. M. P. Co., Kalamazoo Dial 28021

1 quart Sanitary Milk, Kalamazoo

1 quart Ideal Dairy, Kalamazoo

1 quart Bonnema's Dairy, Kalamazoo MI

1 pint Dairyman's Milk Co., Kalamazoo MI

½ pint Kalamazoo Creamery

1 pint Greendykes Dairy Dial 116, 708 F-21 Kalamazoo MI

1 quart Grove Dairy Kalamazoo MI

1 quart Jenning's Dairy Farm Kalamazoo MI

½ pint Bonboey's Three Rivers MI.

      These were just the dairy bottles. He also has some very interesting ABM bottles that I thought were really cool, including a neat Barber Bottle with the tiny shaker top-hole. Reminded me of old Floyd's Barbershop! Also, there are several beer and soda bottles.

   We already had an offer come in from Bruce Wayne who was calling us from the stately Wayne Manor for the Gotham Dairy bottle! There is just something about that guy? I think he leads a double life. . . .

 Speaking of. . .

    I had a customer come in from Canada to buy a metal detector, which is not unusual. I do more business with people out of Detroit and Chicago, then I do out of Kalamazoo. But, frequently what comes up, before money changes hands with the Canadians is the issue of sales tax. If I ship the detector to Canada, I don't have to charge him sales tax. But I do have to charge him shipping and he will pay duty fees when his detector arrives in Canada.

    So, to avoid much of that discussion, I came right out and told him there was 6% sales tax which I cannot avoid. I told him that today the State of Michigan keeps a close watch on that stuff . . . and they do.

    He said, the American government cannot be watching it any closer than Canada does! He went on to tell me how they nailed his barber. I remember someone once told me the barber could get away from claiming income tax very easily because who is to know how many heads of hair he cut? Well, these sharp Canadian tax people figured out how to buckle down on the barbers who were taking a little off at the top!

    They sent an agent in for a haircut, and the barber wrapped a tissue under the customer's collar as is traditional. The agent noticed what brand of tissue he was using. They then located the barber supply house and found out how many boxes he was buying and how many tissues were in a box!

    The barber got clipped for shaving off lots of tax money and I don't think he came ot smelling to great! Thought you would enjoy that story,

John Pastor is planning to be at this month's meeting to go over Bottle Show details,
and hopefully have some raffel tickets.

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, February 12th. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm.

For questions:

e-mail prostock@net-link.net

Or call 269-685-1776

Ethan May found this neat little victorian era coin purse in a old bottle dump!

Spohn's Distemper Cure!

Some of Elmer's amazing bottles!

A great collection of recent finds by Scott Hendricksen

Some of Kevin's great collection including some pontiled bottles.

Early pre-Civil War Tricopherous For The Skin And Hair! Beautiful bottle from Kevin's collection!

A beautiful Warner's Safe Cure in a very rare color!

Some neat Michigan Applied Color Label Dairy bottles dug by young digger Ethan May!

Another beautiful Dairy Bottle dug by Ethan!

  One of Steve's beautiful cobalt blue bottles.

Some more of Steve Deboode's beautiful bottles! Great treasure!

Young collector, Ethan May! Expect to see an article in Antique Bottle & Glass Collector's Young Digger Series! You can get some idea of the size of the little coin purse and how about the 1913 Michigan Auto Tag?

Some of our President, Chuck Parker's amazing collection of "labeled with contents" collection!

Chuck Parker collection.

Here is a photo of the group at the last meeting. Not seen is Mary Hamilton and that is me in the empty chair. Starting at 9:00 (far left) and going clockwise: John Winkler, Chuck Parker, Steve Deboode, Elmer Ogg, empty chair, Scott Hendricksen, Ed Nickerson, (Kevin Seigfried standing) Bob May, Ethan May, Kelly Bobbitt.

Here is where the meeting concluded around Kalamazoo's best pizza! Bimbos!

The meeting is Tuesday, February 12, hope to see you there!