Vol. 14 No. 1                                                                                                                                                     SEPTEMBER 2016
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
Member F.O.H.B.C.
Written By Allan C. Holden



Welcome, welcome to You Bet Your Life. Say the secret word and you will split one hundred dollars between you. It is a common word, something you always have with you!

 Hi, friends! Did you miss me half as much as I missed you? Well, it won't be long now! Soon we will be gazing at each other face-to-face trying hard to remember names!

I'm a big Groucho Marx fan and I have been watching his old shows on Youtube. You Bet Your Life aired from 1950 to 1961. I can remember, as a boy, going to my grandparents to watch it because they had a TV! Boy, we sure have lost our ability to create interesting television shows anymore!

 I am always looking for an unusual craft project, yet another one to clutter up my store! The idea came to me to build one of the little ducks like that one they would lower when someone said the secret word. Snooping around for a good photo, I learned where one of the You Bet Your Life (back-up) ducks was appraised on Antiques Road Show in 2013 for $12,000.00!!!

Another interesting tidbit; because Groucho's material was ad-lib, the show was one of the first ever "pre-recorded" shows, because there was a fear that Groucho's one-liners would run afoul of the censors. Whatever happened to TV censors?

Here is another interesting tidbit; when you watch the more modern sitcoms, and when you know there is no studio audience and they use that "canned laughter," most of that laughter tape was from a recording of the audience on Groucho's show! Now you know. OK guys, I have a question for some of you old timers. How long did the club meet before having its first Antique Bottle Show? Perhaps we have already discussed this? If the club started out right away with a antique bottle show during its first year, we are entering our 38th year! I may need to go back through the old newsletters to see if I have covered this ground before.

As much as I hate to be on this side of summer, it will be so good to see all of you again and to catch up on how you are all doing! I have been in contact with a few of you over the last few months which was fun! Jim Esther was in my store to update his treasure hunting gear, and we had some great fellowship! What a great guy!

Jim shared a story about his discovery of a green 'Drake's 1860 Plantation Bitters' in the wall of an old house. The old house had been moved to a new location and Jim was called in to do some work. A few antique bottles were discovered when renovating the old building, the green Drake's 1860 Plantation X Bitters was just one!

John Pastor held up the auction catalog press as Jim rushed his treasure over to American Glass Gallery. Apparently, Jim had fairly good idea the bottle was extra special because, wrapped in bubble- wrap, it took up much of his back seat! Can you picture that?

I wish I had taken notes because there is much more to the story. It really is a very cool treasure story. Jim hopes to get down to a meeting this coming meeting season. When he is down, I'm sure we can get more of the story's details.

I also sold a new detector to Lee Meeker. Well, I haven't seen Lee in a while! Lee is still interested in the old bottles and metal detecting. He just located a long lost historic site, one that was very active as early as the 1830's. I can't tell you any more at this point, but hopefully Lee will update us soon.

We are finally going back to our old meeting schedule! We will once again be meeting on the Second Tuesday of the month. This September meeting falls on Tuesday, September 13th. We will be meeting at our usual location on the 3rd floor of the downtown Kalamazoo Library in the Conference Room. I know how difficult it is for most everyone when schedules change unexpectedly, so I hope that works for everyone.

Somehow having the meetings on the second Tuesday each month makes it easier for me doing the newsletter.

Last Meeting

Well friends, a lot of water has spilled over the dam since the last meeting! It is hard enough for me to remember things from one month to the next! I do have a sign-in sheet dated 5/2/16 so I am going to go with that.

 Please allow Professor Marvel just one moment to look into our past meeting. My crystal ball is somewhat foggy. . . and maybe the batteries are getting a little low.

But wait . . . I can see you are running away from home because they don't understand you?
No, that's not right, wait! It is all clearing up now; I am starting to see some familiar faces . . .

Why yes! I can see: Vincent Grossi, Ronald Smith, General Chuck Parker, Mary Hamilton, Bill Drake, Kevin "Ziggy" Seigfried, Eddie Nickerson, Scott Hendrichsen and Al Holden.

I also see the face of our special speaker, Jeremy Winkworth from Kalamazoo. Jeremy is a Quality and Operational Excellence "QO" Manager and Site Historian for Pfizer.

We enjoyed a great presentation of some very interesting Upjohn history! When I mentioned the presentation in the April Newsletter, I couldn't help but think about Upjohn and the many links we have with that great company in the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club.

In the May newsletter I mentioned Ernie Lawson, one of our bottle club founders, who retired from Upjohn. As I write this newsletter 4 months later, I recall a presentation by George Macleod back when we were meeting in the old Stockbridge United Methodist Church. Now folks that is going back a ways! Last I knew, George had the largest Upjohn collection anywhere around the area, at least that I knew about. I can still remember what an informative presentation that was!

Before the last meeting, I received this e-mail along with some nice bottle pictures from our fellow club member, and bottle collector extraordinaire' Joe Widman . . .

Hi Allan,

I like Ernie, have a long history with the Kalamazoo Bottle Club and with the Upjohn Company. My mother was the first to work there for Dr. L. N. Upjohn in the late 1930's. She got my father a job so she had to quit. Only unmarried females or married males could be employed by the company in those days.

In addition to my parents and me, my father-in-law, my brother and my oldest son have all had long careers at the company. My son worked for Upjohn, Pharmacia-Upjohn, Pharmacia, Pfizer, and now Zoetis. I still have Pfizer supplemental health insurance even though I never worked for Pfizer or Pharmacia.

The Upjohn Company wasn't kind to us bottle collectors. With the exception of the little Phenolax bottles all of the other embossed bottles that I am aware of are base embossed only. If you have one that isn't I would like to see it.

I have included pictures of two blown-in-mold examples of base embossed Upjohn bottles. UP&G CO is the Upjohn Pill and Granule Company.

I can't make it, but I hope you have an interesting meeting.

Joe Widman

We certainly did have an interesting meeting, Joe! We learned a great deal about early Upjohn history. Folks, if you have some time, check out the web site. (www.upjohn.net) It is an amazing site! Honestly you could park for a week right there!

As amazing as that site is, chronicling thousands of interesting facts, I think Jeremy may have picked up some new information from our collectors!

All in all, we had a very good time! Thanks, Jeremy!

I would like to make a special note of "Thanks" to Kevin Seigfried for arranging our special program. I was very impressed with Kevin's knowledge of the little details concerning the unusual Upjohn collectibles! Never underestimate the wisdom of a well-seasoned picker!

We also saw some nice items displayed by our members at the last meeting!

Chuck Parker has an amazing collection of antique bottles, still cork-sealed with full labels and with original contents! The larger amber bottles included: 1000 tablets of SODIUM CHLORIDE, 500 capsules of IRON & AMMONIUM CITRATE, 1000 tablets IODIZED LIME, 1000 TABLETS CALOMEL.

Labeled bottles without contents included CALCIUM SULPHIDE, FERRONE CATHARTIC COMPOUND, SALICIN . . . and others!

Scott Hendrichsen always brings in boxloads of amazing fresh-dug bottles for the club to enjoy seeing! Two of Scott's bottles that appear in my pictures include one I have and really love! Because I have it, I assumed it wasn't rare, but after an Internet search, I could find out very little about it.

This little bottle is a clear pumpkin-seed flask with an embossed wreath circling an old wooden whiskey barrel. I wish I could tell you more. When an antique bottle doesn't turn up in auction listings, value guides, or in Google Internet searches, I have learned it can mean one of two things. It can mean it is extremely rare or it is extremely common! I should have contacted Tim Hayes; he would know!

Scooter also dug a Haan's Balsam Tar Compound & Honey from Grand Rapids, MI. I was researching some of those bottles online and with that bottle listing, the owner had a complete box of antique Pyramid Suppositories from the F.A. Stuart Co. from Marshall, Michigan. I love antiques, but honestly how can you not want to test these babies out?

Vincent Grossi displayed something I thought was pretty darn cool, and very likely rare! It was a screen-printed, plastic bread wrapper from the TWIN PINES DAIRY from Detroit, MI. One has to wonder if the bakery sold milk?

Vince also displayed a ½ pint Highland Dairy bottle, no doubt from Highland Park, MI and a ½ pint Greenwood Farms bottle from Fremont, MI.

Additionally Vince had a wonderful heavy amber 8-sided, blob- top John Graf from Milwaukee, WI bottle. One panel reads "The Best What Gives."

John Graf Sr. was born in Milwaukee, WI in1853. John got his start by working for Hickey & Sons Soda Water Manufactures. At first glance, any collector would conclude by the size, shape and Milwaukee location that is an old beer bottle. And I am not saying it couldn't have been. But this company, up until 1968, when Canada Dry purchased them and quickly resold them to Canfields, was famous for "Grandpa Graf's Root Beer!"

Nothing hits the spot on a hot summer day more than a frosty cold "glass bottle" of root beer! I really don't think it was an accident that this bottle was paneled like a old fashioned root beer mug! Before their fire, Dean's Ice Cream in Plainwell, MI had a soda dispenser that was shaped like a full-sized barrel. I don't know where they got the root beer they sold, but it was the best ever! It was so creamy and it had that rich root beer flavor! When it was made into a root beer float, you couldn't help but wonder if it was from Heaven!

This Month

This month we will be meeting on the second Tuesday, September 13th . I have been pressed for time because I am moving the location of my store. I will have basically the same address, because I am moving from the back building to the front building. That sounds simple, right? After 27 years it will be like moving Mt. Everest to Florida.

Our theme is "Summer Finds!" Bring in your latest treasures!

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club meets at the main downtown

Kalamazoo Library,

315 South Rose Street.

We meet on the third floor in the conference room.
This meeting is Tuesday, Sept 13th

Meeting starts 7:00 pm.

For questions

<> e-mail: prostock@net-link.net

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