Vol. 13 No. 3                                                                                                               November 2013
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club of the F.O.H.B.C.

Written by Allan C. Holden . . . Online www.kalamazoobottleclub.org


Last Meeting

        We had a lot of fun at the last meeting but we missed a few of you! Kevin called me a couple hours before the meeting and asked if he could be excused. I gave it some considerable thought, weighing carefully everything he told me. Kevin had rented some equipment to remove some trees and, when he was well into the job, he realized that he wouldn't be able to finish in time to make it to the meeting.

        The truth is he couldn't reach Chuck because Chuck's answering machine was last emptied when Lydia Pinkham was still in preschool. Well, we sure missed you Kevin!

        About two days after the last meeting I received the following e-mail:

        "Hello, my name is Kelsey and I'm a freshman at W.M.U. I found your blog this past summer and am very interested in joining this group. I realized today that I missed the meeting by two days, which is a big bummer. I was wondering when the next meeting will be, would I be correct in guessing Tuesday the 8th? If there is a mailing list, I'd love to be added, thank you so much!" Kelsey Ennis.

        I told Kelsey when our next meeting would take place, and told her that we would love to have her come to check out the club. In the meantime, life rumbled by and I didn't think another thing about our conversation until the day of the club meeting. I may have sent her a notice that the newsletter was on line.

        When I walked into the meeting room and saw the two young ladies, I knew that one of them had to be Kelsey. I was right! Kelsey came to the meeting with her friend Katie Osborn and they were a delightful addition to our meeting! They shared with the group how they first became interested in old bottles and they were very anxious to learn whatever they could. It was very refreshing.

        The following folks were present at the last meeting: Scott Hendrichsen, Kelly Bobbitt, Katie Osborn, Kelsey Ennis, Mary Hamilton, Bill Drake, Chuck Parker, Vincent Grossi, John Winkler and yours truly, Al Holden.

        I have to tell you that it was a great night for viewing antique bottles! There are many pitfalls in doing this newsletter, especially when you can barely remember your own address. Last month I gave Scott credit for some of Vince's bottles! I am trying to get it right this time. But I have learned that using photos for notes is not working out that well.

        One of the bottles Vince displayed at this last meeting was a neat amber cream jar with an embossed amber glass lid. It contained Dr. David Kennedy's Salt Rheum Cream.

From a little research online I was able to learn that Dr. D. Kennedy, from Rondout, New York, was a big time snake oil patent medicine company.

One product was:

Dr. D. Kennedy's Favorite Remedy.

Contains 18.4% Alcohol.

"A medicine for purifying the blood by restoring the disordered liver back to a 

 healthy condition. Also famed for correcting the worst cases of Habitual Constipation of the Bowels.

It is a valuable remedy for the diseases and weaknesses peculiar to females, and affords great protection from attacks that originate in change of life, of seasons, and of climate. For Scrofula and all Scrofulous Affection's, eruptive and cutaneous diseases, pain in the bones, suppurative or Mercurial.

Use for diseases Rheumatism, Dyspepsia, Ulceration of the Kidneys and Bladder; Gravel, Diabetes, and all Urinary Deposits, indeed all disorders arising from

an impure state of the blood; It is certainly one of the best Alterative Medicines ever offered to the public for restoring tone and strength to the system which has been debilitated by disease. Price  1.00"

As for Dr. David Kennedy's Salt Rheum cream, I found the following:

 "Dr. David Kennedy's Salt Rheum Cream. Be sure you get Salt Rheum Cream, not Salt Rheum Ointment. Salt Rheum Cream is the best in the world for Scald Head, Erysipelas, Scrofulous Ulcers, Tetter, Dandruff, Ringworm, Cuts, Bruises, Burns, etc.

Price 50 ¢ a jar."

I am not really sure that too much would have been recorded about Dr. Kennedy had it not been for the companies blatant disregard for the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act. In 1916 they were taken to court by the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry, charged with misbranding. The problem was simply the use of the word "Remedy" in the product name, "Dr. D. Kennedy's Favorite Remedy."

In court it was the U. S. vs. Dr. David Kennedy Co., a corporation, trading as Dr. David Kennedy's Sons.

Plea of guilty. Fine, $50.

Vince also showed us a Seven-Up green snuff bottle with a matching wide-mouth ground stopper, a couple of antique postcards from Uniontown, PA., and a small pill box from the Fayette Drug Company from Uniontown.

Among other treasures, Vince had a Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound bottle with about 97% of the original label. What I always found interesting about this product is, in accordance with law, they showed "Alcohol Content 15%" but then they add, "This is added solely as a solvent and preservative."

I remember my grandmother telling me that many women took Lydia Pinkham's believing that it increased fertility. Perhaps some of us owe a debt of gratitude to Lydia Pinkham!

Kelly Bobbitt had some interesting bottles at the meeting. One was a clear quart-sized semi wide-mouth bottle with a rolled lip. The question was asked, "What was this bottle used for?"

My guess was that the bottle was used for applesauce and was sealed with a crimped tin top, probably vacuum sealed.

Kelly had some other automatic bottle machine bottles that were neat to see because of the old original labels. One was a Poison Antiseptics pill bottle sealed with contents. The product was Mercury Richloride tablets!!! It was used in the treatment of syphilis, until the early 20th century. . . . kill or cure!

Kelly also had a colorful screw cap jar of Dixie Peach Hair Dressing Pomade!

Pomade, pronounced the same way as the French word, pommade, is a greasy and waxy substance that is used to style hair. Pomade makes hair look slick, neat and shiny. Unlike hair spray and hair gel, pomade does not dry and often takes several washes to remove. It can easily be removed using Gunk Engine Degreaser and a very absorbent pillow case. (Don't try this at home!)

Another neat bottle was labeled "DOT LILAC VEGETALE" made especially for after shave, Bishop Products Co., Mendon, Michigan. And a 1950's Wildroot Hair Cream bottle! I was once a daily user of that greasy kid's stuff!

 Kelly also displayed a neat labeled bottle from Elysian Manufacturing Company, Detroit, MI. "Elsie's Fragrant Cream" The bottle shows the face of a lovely young lady framed in a border of flowers. The label reads: "A delightful preparation for the face and hands. Softens and beautifies the skin. Gloves can be worn immediately after using."

Kelsey, our guest and new member, had some neat bottles, especially for a new collector! If I heard correctly, Chuck may have helped her collection along some. Chuck and Connie invited her over to see their collection. Chuck told me that many of the bottles that he gives a free ride to and from the bottle show each year are no longer going to strain his back! I'm thinking that if you are in a dorm or student housing, a few antique bottles on display trumps a Jimi Hendrix poster. Of course what student today would know about "Excuse me while I kiss the sky." (Guess he did that one too many times.)

Kelsey has a beautiful almost "electric" colbalt blue Squibb bottle with an early bakelite top. And she has a Seven Up green Caper's jar. Also Kelsey displayed a clear screw top Hoyt's Toilet Water bottle.

Ferdinand Meyer is one of my Facebook friends who he posts by the name "Peachridge Glass" and he really has some great stuff! Someone had sent him a photo of a room full of bottles that had been discovered during a construction dig at a turn-of-the-century landfill. It was an impressive number of fresh dug dirt-covered bottles!

Several of the bottle collector followers were critical of what was clearly a large number of Automatic Bottle Machine produced bottles. When I started collecting, A.B.M. were shunned as throw-away bottles. The whole idea behind the automatic bottle production was making millions of glass containers quickly and cheaply!

In defense of the young collectors, I posted this comment; "Those of us older collectors need to stop thinking ABM bottles (apart from dairy and sodas) are junk. There is a new generation of collectors who are showing an interest in them. Especially the ones from the 20's with the art deco designs. Also, those from a small town, where the product manufacture's name is embossed, but the company is long gone."

Hang in there, Kelsey! Looking at what bottles interest you, I think you have a good eye and you are off to a good start!

Our friend Scott Hendrichsen had just returned from a relic hunting trip south with his metal detector. Bill Riley and Scott did pretty darn good at finding Civil War treasure! If you missed Scott's display, it alone was worth the price of admission! One item I really liked was a large percussion hammer from a Civil War rifle. Also Scott found a large quantity of Civil War bullets including a couple they call double fired bullets. It happens when, in the total chaos of the battle, the soldier loads his already loaded rifle, then fires. What happens is that one bullet runs into the rear of the other bullet. I'm not sure if this bullet fusion takes place outside the rifle or inside the barrel?

Scott also found a William's Cleaner bullet which was fired on occasion to remove residue from the gun barrel. I understand that they had a harder zinc base which provided the cleaner action and they were not as accurate. Since the William's bullets did not have a hollow base like a standard Mini ball, they were not as accurate and their cleaning effectiveness was dubious at best. Most cleaner bullets are found as drops, discarded by veteran soldiers in the field. In the Union Army the soldier was told to fire a cleaner load every 10th round.

Scott also found a large bullet that they could identify as a field molded Confederate bullet! And he found a knapsack hook and some uniform buttons.

I don't know how accurate it is, but I just watched the first half of Gone with the Wind before our cable went crazy. In the movie, the townspeople are gathered around the newspaper office awaiting the weekly pass out of the list of the "Killed In Action" and it was just stunning to see the almost endless lists and to witness the inconsolable sorrow.

You know, we don't do enough to thank Chuck for all that he does for this club. The last couple months, Chuck called me with items for the newsletter but he was just a little late. This month he called me perhaps a little too early and he caught me at a busy time. I didn't have the time to visit with him as I would like to.

He knows that I struggle to find interesting antique bottle news for this newsletter. It is always helpful to write up a product description about an old product. What better place to get this information than from an old label!

I told Chuck that working with labels made the newsletter writing a lot easier so he brought in a huge display of bottles! I now have enough material to make the Encyclopedia Britannica blush!

I know of nobody with a greater collection of antique bottles with labels than Chuck Parker. Let me just start out mentioning some of the products represented in Chuck's display: New Style Brown's Teething Cordial (in original box!) Dr. Fenner's St. Vitus Dance Medicine, Free Sample Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root Kidney, Liver and Bladder Cure (sample bottle in original paper wrapper.) Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root Swamp Root (labeled full- sized bottle), Dr. A Boschees German Syrup (bottle in original box), Kickapoo Indian Sagwa (bottle with full label), Otto's Cure The German Remedy (bottle in original box), Dr. Hobson's Rheumatic Compound (Labeled bottle in original box) How about that show! Lots to talk about here! This month let me just say a few words about Dr. Fenner's Saint Vitus Dance Medicine.

"Saint Vitus Dance" is a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements, primarily affecting the face, hands and feet. "Sydenham's chorea" results from childhood infection with beta-hemolytic Streptococcus and is reported to occur in 20-30% of patients with acute rheumatic fever. The disease is usually latent, occurring up to 6 months after the acute infection, but may occasionally be the presenting symptom of rheumatic fever. Saint Vitus Dance is more common in females than males and most patients are children, below 18 years of age.

Dr. Fenner did run into some problems with the Pure Food and Drug Act with what they called "Misbranding," which simply meant the good Doctor made claims for his product that was false. Back in the day, 35% alcohol content resulted in a short lived feeling of well being.

We had a great meeting and I expect it to happen again this month.

Ernie Lawson

As many of you know, Ernie and Irene Lawson have moved into the senior living center, Friendship Village. I had been talking with Ernie by phone from time-to-time, but I couldn't actually find the time to go over to visit him.

A couple weeks ago Ernie called me all excited about a project that he and his daughter Pat had just finished.

In the front lobby, Friendship Village has a large glass-door hardwood display cabinet where they allow the residents to display their collections. You can well imagine the residents, mostly retired professional people, have some very advanced collections!

For example, Ernie told me that the display that occupied the case before his was one of antique dolls. I would like to have seen that. I once sold a German Bisque doll head for $350.00 on e-Bay. The high bidder told me the head would complete a $3,500.00 doll in her collection!

The display that Ernie and Pat put together was simply quite amazing! Ernie featured some of his treasures related to Upjohn history which was his employer for many years. The center piece to his display is a large picture of the Upjohn display at the drug store that was at Disney Land. Ernie also featured several of his antique Upjohn products.

Of course the main feature was many of Ernie's treasures from his digging days. Antique bottles and metal detecting finds were items neatly displayed. I think that most of us collectors have dreamed of finding a pirate chest of buried treasure. Ernie's display was proof that this dream is possible if you can be content with filling that chest with one dug treasure at a time!

For me, it was no surprise to see Ernie had a picture of himself standing next to his best buddy, Jack Short. What was a wonderful surprise for me was to see that Jack's wife Betty is also living at Friendship Village.

What a lovely place to live! Ernie treated me to a cup of coffee in the little cafe, then we strolled past the little store and the large formal dining area. Then I saw the apartment where Ernie and Irene live and it is really a very comfortable home with everything you could want. I really enjoyed our visit! Thanks Ernie, Irene and Pat!

This Month's theme:

"Product Advertising and Bottle Go-Withs!"

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club meets at the Kalamazoo Library

315 South Rose Street.

We meet on the third floor in the conference room. This meeting is Tuesday, November 12th. Meeting starts at 7:00 pm.


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Or call 269-685-1776