Vol. 13 No. 7                                                                                                                                                                  March 2014
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Of The F.O.H.B.C.
Federation Of Historic Bottle Collectors

Newsletter Written By Allan C. Holden



Click on this link for info about the big April Show!

APRIL 12th, 2014!

   Take up thy bed and walk!

    I'm ready for spring! By this same time last year, I was taking photos of my little snow drop flowers in full bloom! This year they are still under 3 feet of snow! If the snow and cold hasn't dragged you through the depths of utter hopelessness, maybe watching America deal with world events has taken its toll.

    Well, cheer up! Drag your broken spirit out to the bottle club meeting where some of the country's greatest minds put together hope and happiness! You will receive such a new sense of hope and a spiritual cleansing that the birds will again sing in your heart. As I mention the names of the folks who were at the last meeting, try to picture each face, the face of folks who will be so happy to see that you climbed out from under that snowbank to come to visit with them.

    My February sign-up sheet shows the following list of happy campers: Kevin Seigfried, Kelsey Ennis, Katie Osborn, Mary C. Hamilton, General Chuckie-Pooh Parker, Vincent Grossi, John "Rip-Van" Winkler, Eddie Nickerson, and Big Al' Holden!

Frankly, there are folks out there who were very missed! But when you consider we live in the snow belt, and very often it is warmer in International Falls, Minnesota, we really had a pretty good turnout.

We have had a connection with one of the Western and Eastern Treasures magazine writers William W. Purkey. I have been telling you to expect some club coverage in that magazine.

William has been busy covering the metal detecting clubs, but each month he acknowledges that he receives and enjoys reading about our club. The format that he uses for the "Club News and Views" magazine article features the members best finds.

What he has asked me is to cover in our newsletter is the member's best finds. Perhaps you can help me with that? What were your best digs or acquisitions over the last year?

In the treasure hunting club we have a Find of the Month contest each month. We have four categories for metal detected finds: Coins, Token-Fob & Badge, Jewelry and Most Unusual. I know, our bottle group is very different. There is one thing we have in common . . we do very little digging with 4 feet of snow on the ground.

If you can highlight for me, jot it down or remind me of your best item, I will put together something in the next newsletter.

At the last meeting we saw some great bottles! The meeting theme was colored bottles or colored glass. Kevin Seigfried  brought in several beauties. The first one was a mid-century cobalt-blue Ben Franklin scroll flask! Before you get too excited, it was from the 20th century. I think it was a Wheaton or Clevenger bottle. Still there are collectors out there looking for these modern reproductions!

Another cobalt blue bottle was one of those popular Violin Bottles. I did some hasty research on the violin bottles, but it proved to be somewhat confusing, so I will try to deal with that for another time. I do know the ones that I have in my collection were made as decorative items and were sold with a wire wall mount. I told Kevin that his blue one is the only color that I don't have, but with what little snooping I did, I found that the clear one is super rare, with only 4 known! But, don't run out and start buying them until we learn more.

I understand they have been flooding in from France, India and China and the music note embossing is not always the original proof you need!

Kevin also brought in an Avon bottle! Yep, I don't mean to embarrass anyone! It was fun, which is what we all love. This bottle was a forest green Viking Ship with a tin sail! It was all fun until Kelsey had to open it and savor the fragrance! I think that is a woman thing. So, to give you some idea how bad it was, I (with no sense of smell) could smell this stuff! It was funny to watch the reaction as the odor went from one end of the table to the other!

Kevin also had an emerald green Clarke & Whitney New York mineral water bottle. . . I love those antique mineral water bottles; they are really beautiful!

Both Kevin and Vincent Grossi brought in Wishart's Pine Tree Tar Cordial bottles! I love these too! I was with a group watching a privy dig demonstration when one came out of the ground! Kevin found his in 2 large pieces and he glued it together. It actually displays nice! Vince found his in a sale and it is a sparkling beauty!

Vince also had a sharp 1- quart amber dairy bottle from Garner Dairy, Uniontown, PA. Right on the bottle they explain, "This amber bottle protects from damage, the light sensitive vitamins contained in milk."

I think I heard Kevin say that the darker milk bottles also absorbed more heat which was not good!   Interesting what you can learn at these meetings.

Vince brought in another rare item! It was an Applied Colored Label, Orange Crush soda bottle in dark amber! There was nothing so good as an ice- cold soda out of a glass bottle!

Vince also had a nice amber snuff bottle and a Seven-Up green Case Gin bottle.

Chuck Parker had some sweet labeled stuff (as always)! One was a triangular cobalt-blue Wilson's Antiseptic Mercury Bichloride tablets bottle. I have a couple of these and never knew what was in them. The product, (tablet) was dissolved in water and used as a pesticide, usually sprayed on wood.

I'll never forget when Ernie and Jack were teaching me the finer points of bottle collecting. They explained the bumpy texture on the poison bottles like this. "Back before people could simply flip a light switch, sometimes they would feel around in the medicine chest for their pills. If they felt the pointed bumps, that was a warning. They knew it was poison!"

Today we have lights and better places for termite spray!

Chuck also had a full label and contents John Wyeth & Brother Bottle. These are always cobalt and have the neat dose caps. I have found these bottles without the dose caps, and the dose caps without the bottles! They are very cool if you ask me!

The front label says:


A mild and pleasant aperient employed in the treatment of obesity, jaundice etc.

I have never noticed before, because I had not seen the label, That it says "The cap serves as a dose measure and a time lock."

I need to play with that time lock concept.

      Chuck also raised things up-a-notch with a cornflower blue City Bottling Works Kalamazoo Seltzer Water bottle with original dispenser spout! The label on these is acid etched! John Winkler brought in a Seven-Up green Hemingray Insulator that he found. But what I thought was cool, was that he found an old threaded wooden post that it screwed-on to! Neat idea! It is hard to duplicate real weathered wood, otherwise I would display all mine like that!

Indian Joe
Written by Allan Holden

    Someone started a Facebook page called Vanished Otsego, and that subject is right up my alley! I think it is actually a Facebook promotional idea, seeing how many American cities now have similar pages. Now that Facebook has shareholders to answer to, frankly, I think it was a brilliant idea.

    I have been very interested in local history and local characters. There was someone remembering a man about town known as Indian Joe. Here was my post on the subject.

 "It sounds like two different people mentioned in the post about "Indian Joe," and I really don't know either of them, but I do have an Indian Joe story.

    Our lives crossed paths one time about 1967 or 68. I grew up on (now vanished) 115 Cedar Street, "phone number MU-55184," right behind Jim Higgs grandmother's house in Plainwell.

    Our old Cedar Street house is now out on 12th Street, just a couple houses south of Christian Neighbors. That was a big event when they towed that house over the U.S. 131 overpass!

    After we moved out to M-89, the family who did live across from us on Cedar Street, Jim and Shirley VanLent, put in a swimming pool.

    I was over enjoying the pool with my friends Jim and Dan VanLent. At the time, their parents were gone somewhere, so it was a lawless, unsupervised situation. Someone got the idea of diving into the pool from the garage roof. After all, that was actually the deep-end, and not one of us was over 90 pounds soaking wet!

    So, it was my turn to dive when Dan decided it would be fun to toss an inner tube into the pool for me to land on. Which, looking back, was not really a brilliant move. I saw his plan unfold just in time to correct my dive! But, I did a belly-flop right onto the tire tube! It knocked the wind out of me, but within minutes we were back to having fun.

    The next day I had sharp abdominal pain which I could not find relief from. My mother was gone, and Dad was out working, and me? I am doubled over in pain! Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, so I drove myself to Pipp Hospital. I went into the ER and told the desk clerk, "I need to have my appendix taken out!"

    She responded, "We will see about that, just take a seat."

    After several minutes a nurse walked by, and in greater pain I said, "I need to have my appendix out!"

    She said, "The doctor will be in to see you, please have a seat."

    Several more minutes passed by and I flagged down the unit clerk and told her, "I really need some help here, I think my appendix is about to burst!"

    She said, "Probably not, but I will see if the doctor is coming."

    Finally Doctor Topp showed up to check me out. His conclusion, "Nurse we need to take this appendix out right away!"

    "Doctor, We will need his parent to sign for the procedure, he is under 18."

    So, my mother wasn't home, and my father was busy with a RV customer, so he sent over our company driver, Henry Rupert! OK, that worked!

    Doc Topp gave me some sort of a local anesthetic and they had a curtain up so that I couldn't see what was happening. As Doc started the operation, he held up an oily looking scalpel and said to me, "I found an ovary!"

    I fainted, passed-out cold! (I am certain they found that to be pretty funny!) Doc told me later that the appendix was about to burst in minutes!

    When I came around, they had me in a 4-bed ward near a window. There was another young boy in that room who had suffered a head injury when he had fell out of the back of a moving pick-up. I don't recall their names, but they were Hispanic, and the boy's mother was a very nice lady.

    They kept me on pain killers and I slept a good deal of the time. That night there was quite a commotion that woke me. They had brought another patient into the room and put him in the bed next to me, and I was to soon learn people referred to him as, "Indian Joe."

    My nurse explained that he had passed out drunk in a farm field and a farm worker accidentally ran over him with a tractor! I don't remember the extent of his injuries, but he had problems controlling his bowels.

    The nurses would keep his bed rails up and when he had to go, he didn't know how to work the rail. So, by the time he slid himself to the end of the bed, he was all-done going, leaving a trail even a white man could follow!

    All they would give me to eat was broth and Jell-O, and with all that streaking going on, they also had my vomit to deal with! The poor man's situation with alcohol was so serious that they would bring him a beer almost every hour.

    What really got to me most was, as a young drag racer, I was going to miss a Saturday at the Martin Dragway. To make matters even worse, the feature event at the track that Saturday was to be the wild Nitro-Burning Fuel Altered cars! The main attraction was, Wild Willie Borsch and his out-of-control race car, the "Winged Express." I guess that I let-it-be-known that I was totally bummed about missing the show, and I must have told anyone who would listen about Wild Willie!

 So, that Saturday night, when Wild Willie was trying to control his 1000-horsepower fuel-altered it got a little sideways coming off the starting line! The car flipped over the guardrail and it busted up pretty bad! My buddies drove the ambulance back then, and often during a show, they let me sit right at the starting line in the ambulance! That night they rushed Wild Willie to Pipp Hospital where they also knew I was!

    The next day, before releasing him, one of the nurses said, "There is a young man here, who is one of your big fans, and I know he would love to meet you!" I DID! Talk about being at the right place at the right time!

    As for Indian Joe, he was able to make it to the bathroom on his own before I was released, but when he got into the bathroom he had trouble figuring out which 'switch-to-flip' for the light, so he would flip both switches. By the time he was on the toilet, half of the nursing staff would rush into the bathroom in response to the emergency-light! He never seemed to take well to the nurses, and I think that occasional trip to the bathroom was like an escape for him . . . until they all came rushing in."

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, March 11th. Meeting starts at 7:00