Vol. 13 No. 5                                                                                                                   January 2014
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club of the F.O.H.B.C.

Written by Allan Holden

Happy New Year "2014" My Friends!

New Beginnings

        Can you believe it? If you are as old as I am, you may recall wondering about what the future would be like at a very young age. Back in the 1950's, thinking about the year 2014 was to reach far into the future!

        I do remember some of the great minds of the 1960's were predicting that the world would be so over crowded that people would be standing shoulder to shoulder! Another dire prediction was that people would become so dependent on machines to do their work that they would no longer have enough muscle mass to walk!

        Some of this stuff was so bizarre that it all seems laughable today! As I write this, it has warmed up almost 15 degrees! This warm up is only because the sun came out. So, it is now 7 outside. In all likelihood, the Coconut Palm I ordered from Al Gore may not survive too much longer.

        Well, the need to get a newsletter out to you this month really snuck-up on me! I was very busy leading up to the Holidays. The Sunday after the New Years day, we arrived at Church a couple minutes late. The Pastor was leading the congregation in a special prayer, but he was ending the prayer before we could pick up on the subject of his prayer.

        We found a pew to quietly slip into, and my friend Doug Fritz was leading the group in some old fashioned hymns. I hate to say it, but for some reason, many churches have lost touch with the old hymns of the faith, modern music has taken its place. I think that is a tragedy, because many young children will grow up without learning the old sacred music.

        The last song we sang was "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus" in which the last verse always puts a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. It goes:

"Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, Writhing in anguish and pain;

Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how He liveth again.

Love in that story so tender, Clearer than ever I see;

Stay, let me weep while you whisper, "Love paid the ransom for me."

        As the song progressed I saw one of the Deacons slip into the Pew behind the pastor and whisper something into his ear. I could tell he was trying to comfort the pastor by rubbing his hand across his shoulders.

        The pastor went up to the podium, then wrapped his arm over my friend Doug's shoulders and announced that Doug's Father-in-law, and my lifelong friend, Henry (Rocky) Rockafellow had just passed away. Fitting that Rocky should pass on to Glory on the Lord's Day. Every Sunday, for as long as I can remember, Rocky was greeting folks as they arrived at church each Sunday. Think of the greeting staff in Heaven!

        America lost another member of the Greatest Generation. Rocky was born in 1923 and in 1941, right after high school graduation, Rocky enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Rocky spent 3 years fighting in the South Pacific in areas like Okinawa where the American forces suffered 75,000 casualties on the ground!

        Rocky leaves behind his dear wife of over 60 years, his dear, sweet Virginia who is one of my favorite people in this whole world.

        Forgive me, I know that is not bottle related, but it reflects how my new year has started. After retirement Rocky worked for my father at his RV sales. Starting from a very young age I have many precious memories to hold on to until we meet again.

Last Month

        We had another great meeting last month! As many of you know, it is hard to have anything but a great meeting when you go to Bimbos!

        We started the meeting off with a short presentation by Jennifer Williamson from a group known as Discover Kalamazoo. Jennifer was invited to speak to the club about ways of promoting our club and spring bottle show by club member, Bill Drake.

        Actually, I was very happy Bill invited her! This is because, as usual, I had jumped to a conclusion without knowing all the facts. Over one year ago, Jennifer contacted me by e-mail. The only part of her message that jumped out at me, was that her group would help us promote a National Antique Bottle Show if we held it in Kalamazoo!

        That sounded great! But, the only thing I could think to do with that news was to pass the information on to John Pastor. John was quick to get back to me and explain everything it takes to put together a national show. Well, frankly, that was all a bit overwhelming! After all, we are usually sweating bullets finding enough able bodies for our local spring Kalamazoo show.

        What Jennifer told us is their group, Discover Kalamazoo, can help us promote our regular spring show as well! Now, all I have to do is get her all the information.

        Also, a young lady named Tamara Skidmore from the Kalamazoo Public Library has been swapping e-mail with me as well. They also want to help us promoting the show and the club meetings!

        One of the jobs that I had been taking care of for several years, has been contacting the media about our Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show. At first, it was a real pain because I had to search out contact information and mail out printed information about the show. Many times it took several phone calls to get all the information out.

        Then, in the late 90's, things got a whole bunch easier with the Internet growing. All I had to do was go around online and put together a bunch of e-mail addresses and basically send out a standard e-mail announcement with all the show information.

        But, as the Internet web sites developed, the TV, Radio, and News outlets designed their own Community Events Calendar along with safeguards to protect them. After all, they need to keep the riff-raff from posting all sorts of junk!

        This meant, now I had to fill out a special "user form" at every web-site, wait for approval, and then create a user ID and password! And to really make it tough, they each had different requirements for passwords. For example you had to have ten characters with at least one uppercase and two numbers but they must be two different numbers! Also no birthdates, zip codes or parts of the 23rd. Psalm!

        So, here is the AMAZING thing about Jennifer Williamson, and the group Discover Kalamazoo, as well as Tamara Skidmore, this stuff is what they do! Pretty cool, don't you think? I'm thinking so!

        Not being one to toot my own horn, but a great deal has come from the club's website, as crude as it may be. I don't recall if it was one of the lovely young ladies who just joined the club, or Jennifer who said, "I found you through the club's great blog!" Kinda funny, I never thought of myself as a blogger! Perhaps "blogged-down" at times!

        At the last meeting we saw the following smiling pizza lovers! Kevin Seigfried, Eddie Nickerson, John Winkler, Dee Cole, Chuck Parker, Mary Hamilton, Kelsey Ennis, Katie Osborn, Bill Drake, Tim Hayes and Allan Holden.

        What better place to have a Christmas Party on a cold winter's night? Bimbo's Pizza is inside a beautiful 19th century brick building that was once a Kalamazoo Hotel. On a cold winter's night a warm and cozy pizza parlor is the perfect place to be! We cleaned off 4 large pizzas!

Bottle News

     I don't have a lot of bottle news to report. But, Kevin did go to the trouble to bring some bottles up three flights of stairs to our brief meeting. One bottle was a very nice one quart, "MILK PRODUCTS COMPANY, KALAMAZOO, MICH." Phone Number 87." Can you imagine having a phone at your dairy, back when they had 2 digit numbers? They must have been very proud!


Another nice dairy bottle was a one pint "C.F. HOWE BUCHANAN, MICHIGAN,"


This one has to be a rare dairy bottle! "EMMANUEL MISSIONARY COLLEGE, BERRIEN SPRINGS, MICHIGAN."

Another quart sized dairy bottle, with a green pryro-glaze art-deco design was from "TARNOW DAIRY, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN."

Another interesting bottle is a highly embossed "BLATZ BEER." bottle in aqua color.

A bottle that I felt was very cool was a Coca-Cola bottling company spin-off named "PAUL'S VERY SWALLOW-PURE DRINK, MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN."

Wouldn't you just love to try that stuff?

OK, here is where I get into trouble. I have a photo of a neat perscription bottle, but I don't have a name assigned to it. The good news is, I have an idea! I am going to make out little place-cards with our members first names on them to place in my pictures! Now, I just have to remember to do that!

 This bottle is a clear, machine-made bottle with a paper label. It reads, JAMES W. BARNEBEE MD, 503 & 505, SOUTH BURDICT STREET, KALAMAZOO MICH. PHONE 7721

The perscription was for TONIC TABLETS The penned-on directions said, (take 1 tablet 2 or 3 times a day)

Doctor Barnebee's office hours were 1:00 to 4:00.

I did find a photo of Dr. Barnebee with his nurse Lucie Olney. It looks like they were enjoying a picnic. Doctor Barnebee was born in 1878 and he lived till 1958.

Scott Hendrichsen could not get off his busy U.P.S. route in time to make the meeting. I sure would not want that job! Not between Thanksgiving and Christmas! Come to think about it, it  would not be a fun job at -10!!!!

I guess for me, I would want to deliver packages in South Florida!

Scott did show up in time for Pizza at Bimbo's and we were all glad to see him. Scott brought in a big box of recently dug, yet dirty privy finds. We all examined and handled everything while we waited for pizza, then when the food arrived, we all dug in without washing our hands! (Perhaps the ladies did)

Scott found a Civil War Regulation 1859 Calvery Spur! It would have been issued to a enlisted cavalryman. It is an amazing find!

 Also, Scott had a beautiful 1890's Sanford's emerald green ink bottle.

Another neat find was an amber Barber's bottle called Thurber's Bay Rum Toilet Water from New York. It will clean up beautiful! I found an older post online where the person suggested the bottle value at $150.00 to $200.00!!

Another bottle Scott found was MORAN FITZSIMONS bottle that said "NO AGENT GROCERS" They were located on Woodward Ave. in Detroit, and they were a big wholesale Grocer.

The "No Agent Grocers" seemed to mean they were wholesales to small grocers and not a retailer. In other words, they were suppliers, and NOT competitors! Also, the no-agent meant they took orders by mail and they employed NO traveling sales people to keep prices low!

In many ways the company must have been like the B. Desenberg Co. in Kalamazoo but on a larger scale. They were famous for lumberman supplies, as well as hundreds of products which included coffee, tea, and bottled liquids like cough syrup and flavor extracts. They served a large area, which included Ohio, Indiana, Canada. They also served the mining industry in Northern Michigan!

The company actually started in 1851 as "Stephen's and Field." Mr. Fitzsimons became a part owner in 1854. The name Fitzsimons stayed with the firm from the 1850's, but the Moran partnership didn't come about until 1886.

An interesting note about Patrick Fitzsimons was that his father died when he was 14, his mother died when he was 15. In 1851, at age of 17 he sailed from Ireland to America. By the age of 18, in 1852, he was working in a Detroit grocery store!

Another interesting item was that young Mr. Fitzsimons was a crack salesman! Get this, what he did, before he started as a partner in the "No Agent Grocers" business, was he was an Grocery Supply Agent! And he did pretty good for himself! At his last year as a sales agent, he made $2,000.00! That was a ton of money in the 1850's!

I think his own growing wealth as an agent, lead him to see the savings in cutting out the middle-man!

Except for about 10 years, when I was working as a machinist, I have been involved in sales. I feel sales is a good way to make a living, but being an honest salesman is the key to a long career.

I was watching one of the TV ads where they were selling some sort of hair brush. You have all seen this type of ad. The pitch is for a certain product, and they do very good job convincing you that, "I NEED ONE OF THOSE!"

Next, they tell you that you would expect to pay a thousand dollars for such a great item, but during this special offer you can buy one for only $9.95! But wait! If you call now, we will double the offer! Plus we will include this autographed 18-speed pet leash!

OK, I got carried away. What I saw was an ad for a magic hair brush and the company was the Fuller Brush Company! Boy did that bring back memories! Do you guys remember the Fuller Brush Man? Some folks think I look like him! (Just kidding Mom!) I remember my mother going through the catalog and checking out all the saleman's samples. He very likely left our house with a nice big order, one that was well over two dollars!

We also had home delivery of baked goods and milk. I can remember how good it smelled when the driver opened the back doors on his bread truck. The truck had pull-out racks with fresh-baked bread, cookies and cakes.

Hope to see you all at the meeting!

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club

Meets at the Kalamazoo Library located at 315 South Rose Street.
We meet on the third floor in the conference room.
 This meeting is Tuesday, January 14th.
 Meeting starts at 7:00 pm.