Vol. 6 No. 1                                                                                                                                       SEPT. 2008
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News


Time to jump start this club!

              I hope you all had a great summer! I cannot begin to tell you how hard it is to write this newsletter when I really have no bottle news to report. I can tell you that our last meeting, back in May, was really a great one!

        John Pastor filled us in on our 2008 Antique Bottle Show which was once again one for the record books! It was indeed a great show and, as I think back, it was the first one in years where I didn't hear a bottle break.

       Each year I try to bring home a bottle or two to add to my collection. This year I didn't find any bottles that I felt I could not live without . . so I bought a cow! I didn't have any idea what I was buying; I just liked the looks of it. When the seller showed me that if you pushed the cow's head down it would slowly rise as she says, "Moo."

       I believe the seller was asking around $30.00 and when I showed some interest he quickly offered a $10.00 discount. He told me that he felt the toy cow was made in the 1940's or 50's. There is no name on it anywhere, not even a "Made in" mark.

      A few days after the show I went onto the Internet and started searching for answers. It didn't take long to find what I had, she is called Milky the Marvelous Milking Cow. Milky was made by the American toy company Kenner Toys. As it turns out it wasn't that long ago! The decision to go into production was made in 1977 and actual production started in 1978. The way the toy works is like this. The original package included a water trough and a small milking pail. Also the package included some white tablets.

      First, you unscrew the rubber udders and drop in a tablet then replace the udder.

     Next, you push her head down into the water and pump her tail. After she drinks her fill, she raises her head and says "Moo."

     Then you squeeze her soft rubber udders as she squirts a milky liquid into the pail. It is a cute toy, but it didn't sell well and there was a very limited production. It's not hard to find these on e-Bay and I have seen that they sell for around $50.00 and as high as over $100.00.

     One of the reasons I have little to report on the bottle digging front is because I haven't been digging. I did acquire a few antique bottles because a few detector customers had been watching a construction site Upjohn park. They are trying to find old coins with their detectors and they did. One of the guys found several Indian Head pennies and a 1867 Seated Liberty Half Dollar!

     The construction digging turned up several old bottles including one rare Duffy's Sampler. One of the bottles that was given to me was a tooled-top wine bottle in 'almost black' deep olive- green, and it says "FERRO-CHINA." Kovel's calls this a bitters bottle.

      This is a bottle club newsletter after all, so I figured I would at least talk about this bottle. Well, I almost fell out of my chair. I looked up Ferro-China in Kovels, and, without my reading glasses, I found Ferro-Quina where one in this size and color was listed for $700.00.!!

      The Ferro - China Berner Co. New York bottles were actually made around 1900, but these bottles came out of Europe, where the glass making was 20 to 30 years behind the glass making in the U.S.

     Another interesting bottle was a Detroit medicine that says Dr. J.W. Kermott. I was not able to find this one listed anywhere. I did find this ad from an 1883 newspaper:

      "DR. J. W. KERMOTT'S MANDRAKE PILLS have been the means of Restoring more People to health and happiness, by giving them a healthy Liver, than any other known remedy, and are the best Family Pills, having given perfect satisfaction for 25 years.



Last Meeting

     We had a special speaker at our last meeting. He is the president of our treasure hunting club and a very good friend of mine. His name is Mike Walker and he loves the metal detecting hobby. The Southwest Michigan Seek & Search Club is one of the largest clubs of this type in the U.S. Within the club, there are several folks like Mike who have been bitten by the Civil War relic hunting bug.

    The way this works is that you get your name added to a list on the Internet and, if your name is drawn, you get to go. There is a cost involved and a portion of that money is paid to a land owner. The sites are studied very carefully and they usually are very protected from earlier hunting. In other words, it is on private property. The key to getting in on this private property is lots of cash!

    Mike brought some big display cases with his Civil War relics and his detectors to show us. It was very impressive and Mike did a great job! Another thing that Mike does that is great for our hobby is to work with children's groups through schools and libraries to teach kids about treasure hunting.

     I look around at the people we draw into the antique bottle hobby and it seems like there are fewer and fewer young people getting involved. I do know that more and more people in the treasure club are talking about joining our bottle club. A lot of this is due to Chuck and Scott and their fine presentation at the treasure club. Thanks so much for sharing your hobby at the bottle club, Mike!

e-Bay Story

      I was trying to plan ahead for our vacation in July. I like to sell used metal detectors on eBay and I planned on having my auctions all ended at least two weeks before I left with my wife to travel to the U.P. That was so I could have everything shipped out to the auction winners before I left for our ten day vacation.

     One of the detectors was not paid for and I had heard nothing from the winning bidder. Finally, at the last minute, I e-mailed the auction winner and asked if she had changed her mind. I told her about my vacation and that if I didn't receive payment soon she would have to wait until I returned. She e-mailed me back and said that she wanted the detector and assured me that she mailed a $470.00 money order. Trusting that she did, I shipped out the detector on the day we left for the north country.

     I went to the U.S.P.S. web site and had them hold my mail until I returned. You guessed it-- when I went through my mail, there was no check! I e-mailed and called the lady with no response. Finally, it sunk in . . . I had been burned. I have heard several horror stories about e-Bay, but after hundreds of transactions I never had a problem. . until now.

     I told myself that this was the cost of doing business and I would have to forget it and move on. However, it still burned at me and I couldn't imagine how someone would set out to steal something in this way.

     Finally, I contacted e-Bay and filed an unpaid complaint and asked for their advice. They told me to report the incident to my local police and contact the police in the area where the item was shipped. I called the Calumet, Michigan, police and told them my story. Then, when I gave them the address they said this location was out of their jurisdiction and they gave me the phone number for the local Michigan State Police Post.

     Once again I told my story to a police trooper and, this time when I gave the address, things took a turn in the right direction.

     The trooper told me, "I had to serve some papers to someone at that address, and the child who was at home told me that my person wasn't home, but out metal detecting!"

     My wife who was raised near this area assured me that these police have plenty of work to do, but I swear he sounded excited about getting a case to work on! I e-mailed the trooper all the correspondences and a link to the auction page so he would have a complete list and pictures of everything.

     He went to the home and made the case to the lady. Of course she told him that she had mailed a postal money order. Then he asked her to show him the receipt, which she could not find. He took the detector and gave her one week to find the receipt.

     In the meantime, he checked with the local postmaster and found that they had not sold a money order for that amount during that time frame. I purchased a postal label for the amount needed for return shipping but, as of this writing, I still don't have the detector back. However, I remain hopeful. I told the trooper that I didn't want to press charges. I just wanted my stuff returned.


          The meetings are held in the Van Deusen Room on the third floor of the Kalamazoo Library. The meeting is on September 9th and starts at 7:00

       It is time to pay your club dues. The dues are only $10.00 and Chuck wanted me to remind you that we will be planning a pizza party soon, but you must be paid up to enjoy the party. Dues can be mailed to:




       On another note, the bottle club has donated some money to the Kalamazoo Library and the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

      Also, Chuck tells me that he and Scott will be doing an antique bottle talk at the Delton Middle School on Monday September 8th at 7:00 and you are all invited.