Vol. 2 No. 2009                                                                                                                                    October 2009
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
Member club of F.O.H.B.C.

2009 October Club Meeting

Last Meeting

    At our last meeting we had a very good turnout. What came as a surprise to us all, was when our club's president excused himself for a few moments at the start of the meeting. Well, he never came back! Word reached us about what was going down after we had already posted an Amber alert! In fact, production of waxed milk cartons with his picture had already started production and we had to stop them! Due to the limited production, Chuck Parker milk cartons may be rarer than a Best Bitters soon!

    That is how fast the bug can hit you around here! One minute you feel fine and the next minute you feel terrible!

    Chuck figured that rather expose everyone to whatever was making him feel like crap he would just head for his mama! With my immunity system as weak as it is, I am glad he was thinking of us! What a guy, the mark of a true southern gentleman!

    After Chuck made his way out of the library, Mark McNee was making his way into the building. Mark showed up with a box of super nice bottles for our $25.00 bottle raffle. When I say Chuck flew the coop, or should I say 'Flu' the coop, I mean he left everything behind! After the drawing, I used the check book that Chuck left to forged a check to Mark for the $25.00 pair of bottles that was selected by the raffle winner. Nothing like a written confession to do the heart good! By meeting time I may be behind bars!

    We had a wonderful meeting and I must confess it really amazes me. I knew that Scott was not going to be at the meeting and I really didn't know if Tim Hayes was going to feel up to coming after having his heart stints installed. In fact, just days earlier Tim and I had discussed the possibility of what if the club had to disband! Now there is some doom and gloom thinking for you!

    Well, I am proud to say we had a very good turnout! Jack Short brought to the meeting something that he had found, a nice photo set made up of pictures that he took at one of the club's first public antique bottle shows. The show was held at the old Southland Mall in Kalamazoo. One of the photos that Jack took, is a picture of the main Mall sign on Westnedge where it proudly announced, OCTOBERFEST




    The show was held in November 1979! We saw many of the old members in their younger days. The only one of the group that hasn't changed much is Ernie Lawson! Ernie's handsome looks are timeless! I wish that Jack would have stood on the other side of the lens so we could have seen him with hair! Mark Mcnee recognized his brother whom I have never met. Someone had to point out Chuck Parker to me and Duane Nickerson was also in the pictures.

    I no longer have a scanner, but, I will try to take a picture of these pictures and get them up on the club's web site.

    Ernie also brought along a couple photos of items that he dug out of the old Mosel Avenue dump. There he dug two bisque dolls in very nice condition! One is Little Orphan Annie and the other Andy Gump!

    In those Southland Mall Bottle Show pictures, Ernie is showing off another one of his dump finds. It is a very early antique light bulb that dates to the very, very early 1900s and it still works! This bulb can only be lit as it is hung downward because the filament will not support itself standing up! As I recall the story, the guys discovered a whole case of these ancient bulbs! I purchased the one that Ernie had at that old show, in fact he may have given it to me, and it still lights!

    That is when all they knew to do was give you your money's worth! Today, failure is an important part of the design. That was the weakness that the Japanese auto makers took advantage of when competing with Detroit! I still get a lot of flack about driving my Toyota in Michigan but that is just tuff! I work too hard for my money to do any different.

    I recall talking to a man who worked for a company that made brake shoes for the automotive industry. He told me that if one of his formulas for making the break pads lasted too long, the formula was scrapped! Their way of thinking was that you needed to build a future need for our product by building in failure! Another way of looking at it is, lets kill this goose and go inside to get her golden eggs! Oh-greed! My, what an ugly thing indeed!

    While I'm on my soap box let me go on a little more. Ever since my cancer treatments I am still finding ways to feed myself. I still have the rubber feeding tube in my belly but slowly I am finding stuff I can swallow if I chew long enough. One item is a small roast beef sandwich from Arby's. I just finished one as I work on this letter and I ordered it with a medium soft drink.

    The diet Mountain Dew came in one of the nicest, high quality plastic cups that I have seen! This thing must be dishwasher safe! But, just like everyone else, it went into the trash when I was finished! I cannot save plastic cups. And frankly I don't know where to recycle them anymore! How many millions of these things get tossed everyday? Please give me paper or even glass, what could be more natural?

    Have you ever thought about what a wonderful invention glass is? It has been around a thousand years, or more, is cheap to make and can be brought back to its natural state so easy! Yet at the same time it can preserve our food for years and with modest protection it will last forever!

    It can be blasted to clean away rust, used to contain food drugs and booze and spun into insulation, and shaped to create art! Or with one tiny chip or a small crack it can break the collectors heart! What a marvelous material!

Recent Digs!

    Chuck and Scott have been down to their annual North South Civil War hunt and bottle dig to Bridgeport Alabama. Before the two left they finished digging a privy in Plainwell. They dug the last two on this property and they were actually privies 5 and 6 of 6 they dug there! They found some nice bottles but the most note worthy was a nice ceramic tea pot with a broken spout. The tea pot was claimed by Scott. The spout was such a clean break that it was neatly replaced without a scar.

    Chuck found an exceptional ground top Mason's 1858 fruit jar in a clear colorless glass loaded with swirls and bubbles! Chuck says it is a real beauty!

    Before he left for their treasure hunt to the south, Kevin and Eddie called Scott to tell him about a property that they had permission to dig. The land was somewhere on B avenue. Kevin and Eddie asked permission as they stopped at a yard sale. I guess Scott met them the same day, but the probing got them nothing because the ground was just too hard!

    That can be the story in the Kalamazoo River valley. The clay soil can be hard as concrete in places and pure sand in others. The guys made arrangements to come back at another time. Meanwhile, as Scott drove home he stopped at an old home site to try out his new MXT metal detector.

    His first find was strong signal that turned out to be an old fruit jar lid. The average treasure hunter would be bummed out by such a find but not a seasoned bottle digger!

    About two feet from the jar lid Scott got another strong signal but it didn't come up so easy. After digging with his small digger and getting nowhere, he went to the truck to get his privy digging shovel.

    What Scott had found was an old 1800's to 1900's trash pit and it was a coffee pot that triggered his detector. Along with the coffee pot was lots of broken glass. Soon the detector was set aside and the hole became bigger and bigger!

    By the time he was done the hole was about 3 foot across and 3 feet deep! Scott unearthed about 50 bottles! One was a P.L. Abbey, Kalamazoo, an aqua Kalamazoo Brewery, a nice pressed glass vinegarette in Vaseline-glass citron color! Also, a newer Kalamazoo Milk Products Co bottle with a phone number '8021' an SB Kitchels Liniment, various condiments bottles and get this! An open pontiled scroll flask! Yes, the flask was broken!

    Also, found in the hole were some wire rimmed glasses, marbles, buttons clay pipes, porcelain drawer pulls, a 1924 plate, scissors, pipe wrench, pliers, and an ice skate blade!

Other Notes

    Thank you Chuck and Scott for giving me some material to work with this month. I'm sure you have noticed by now, my wife hasn't been editing this newsletter. I still am doing the detector club newsletter and I don't like to ask her to help me with both. I would love to turn this task over to someone who is more active to collecting and digging than I am.

    Last month I told you about a friend who phoned me with his cell phone from inside an antique store in Tennessee. He was asking me about a bottle he found for sale that said Sambo's Chocolate Milk. My advice to him was to buy it for the price of only $12.00. I also told him that I thought it was a fake but at $12.00 the risk was small and it would make a good conversation piece. That was my last contact with him until he returned from vacation. Frankly, I was looking forward to seeing the small dairy bottle myself. As it turned out, as he went to pay for the item, the store clerk told him that it was a fake! No he didn't buy it.

    I have been trying to find room to store my car for the winter inside my large shop. Right now I have a big old 1948 2 ton Dodge truck inside, that thing I took in trade for another truck several years back. I had big plans for this old beast but I lost interest. I have this old truck for sale but I haven't been able to interest anyone so far. The big copper radiator must be worth nearly the $800.00 price tag!

    The reason I bring this up is because I have a box full of very old antique bottle magazines that I would trade for a $20.00 bill!

SEE YOU AT THE MEETING OCTOBER 13th meeting is at the main Kalamazoo Library on the third floor in the Van Deusen Room. Meeting starts at 7:00