VOL.20 NO.7 Written By Allan C. Holden April 2023
Member Club of F.O.H.B.C.
It’s Show time!
By the time you get this newsletter, well, who knows what will have happened?
If it shows up in your mailbox on Friday, set your alarm for 6:00, or earlier, so you can get down to the fairgrounds in time for the big show.
On the other hand, if it is Saturday. . . it is already Show Time! Get down there we need you!
The show opens for club setup at 7:15 (for the club set-up crew.) For the dealers, the doors open at 8:00.
For the general public, the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show is from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm on Saturday, April 8th. Yes it is at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds & Expo Center, 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo MI 49048.
Dealers: Name Tags must be worn! Must be worn in a visible location in order to gain entry at 8:00 am.
Please note: you must furnish your own table covers.
Table covers are no longer provided by the fairgrounds. You must have a table cover!
So, if this newsletter reached you right after all of the Hullabaloo, then don’t feel too bad, we still have an April club meeting planned for Tuesday April 11th!
This has been a busy month for me. The spring thaw usually brings out eager new treasure hunters, which makes me get out of my easy chair and start slinging hash. Also, with the Federal and State taxes due that really adds to the burden!
I suspect you know what I am about to say . . . . . . . .
We had a super meeting in March, we really truly did!
At the meeting we saw the following dignitaries present, and all were smiling like the cat that ate the canary!
Scott Hendrichsen, Ron Smith, Gordy Hubenet, Len Sheaffer, Juli Shaeffer, Brian Wages, Katie Wages, Kevin Siegfried, Dave Wilkins, Rob Knolle, Vince Grossi, Al Holden.
When I got to the meeting, and without thinking, (My usual M.O.) , I started filling out the sign-up sheet for those whom I already saw around the room. Then, I passed it around. Yep, everyone signed in again . . . nearly doubling our attendance! I have other tricks up my sleeve. . . just ask.
It was sure good to see our old friend, Gordy Hubenet, at the meeting! Gordy traveled down from the frozen north! Gordy brought along a couple copies of the “Chronicle” a membership magazine of the Historical Society of Michigan.
I recall muttering something about being a member and not having ever received that magazine!
My mistake, I am a member of the “Marine Historical Society of Detroit,” and I have been for almost 50 years. They put out a wonderful monthly newsletter called “The Detroit Marine Historian.”
If you recall, back at our January meeting, Dave Wilkins had brought in a bright-clear, Kalamazoo, P.L. Abbey Celery Pepsin Bitters bottle. At that same meeting, Kelly Bobbitt had his copy of the Fall 2022 Chronicle Magazine, with a article written by Gordy! What were the odds of that timing?
At the last meeting, Gordy left me with a copy of this article, which I hope to post on the bottle club web-site as soon as possible.
We also had the pleasure of seeing some great bottles at the March meeting!
It was a night filled with glass goose bumps!
One of the most interesting things that I have learned, very- early-on about antique bottles, was the nature of the shapes, and the reasons for the textures of poison bottles! And it all makes perfect sense!
When you take time to think through the importance of Thomas Edison’s work on the light bulb, you soon start to realize how we often take it for granted! Even in just that one invention, Edison and others went to work building so many ways electricity could be put to work for the good of mankind. It ranges from the little light bulb, to the toaster . . . to the electric chair.
Edison’s involvement with Capitol Punishment has embarrassed many of his biographers. An entry for 'electric chair' in their indexes is a rarity!
Edison wanted to see capital punishment abolished altogether in the US, but in the meantime, he thought electrocution would be quicker and less painful and more humane than hanging or the firing squad!
For the common man and his family, the lack of incandescent light bulbs, and that often taken-for-granted light switch on the wall, people woke-up in the dark of night groping blindly for that medicine bottle and that expected relief.
To help alleviate a potential, and possible deadly problem, products considered to be poison, were soon coming packaged in bottles embossed with highly textured “bumpy surfaces.”
Yet still; some deadly products, like Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, a poison you could use to comfort your small child, was packaged in a small, common cork top bottle! One teaspoonful contained enough morphine to kill the average child. Many babies went to sleep after taking the medicine and never woke up again, leading to the syrup's nickname: THE BABY KILLER.
So, at least many of these “textured bottles” were a step forward into product safety.
The first patent issued for "poison bottles" in the United States, was applied for in 1871, although many glass firms were already making bottles specifically for poisons.
As early as 1829 New York State made it mandatory that the word "poison" be placed on bottles containing harmful substances. These bottles have been found in various forms, with the coffin shape, and even a figural human skull being the most notable.
In most cases, a bottle which contained poison was signified by: bumps, ribs, course texture, pointed surfaces, the embossed shape of a skull and crossbones, and some with odd shapes like that of a coffin.
My thoughts go to that scene in “It’s a wonderful life” where in his drunken state, after losing his son, druggist, Mr. Gower, accidentally puts poison pills in a delivery that his young employee George Bailey is waiting for. George catches the mistake saving the life of a sick child.
My dentist called in an antibiotic prescription to my pharmacy last week, so I used the drive-up window to pick it up. The gal asked for my name and date of birth. She could see my file on her computer;
"OK, looks like I have one for you."
She returns with a large pill bottle with at least 100 Cephalexin capsules! She pauses, looks at me, looks back at the bottle . . . . "Did they want you on a short run of these . . . . this doesn't seem right???"
"Why don't you circle around and get back in line, I want to call their office."
When I get back to the window she says, "Yes it was a mistake . . . a computer glitch I guess."
So, 50 years forward, someone makes a movie about her life. In this movie an angel named, Claireen replies. "There is no Mr Holden . . . . .you weren't there is save him! He died from taking too many pills!"
Dave Wilkins showed us a beauty! I have found that his bottle is not at all plentiful, which is a good thing, and it is perhaps of German origin. It is a tall, four-sided bottle in seven-up green. It has long diagonal ribs, with a half dollar size skull and crossbones. The embossing reads POISON-GIFT-VELENO.
One listing I found said it was a German Pharmacy bottle with the word Poison in English (Poison) German (Gift) and Italian (Veleno). I saw where they were listed in the past from anywhere between $150.00 to $300.00! They don’t show up in recent listings, so I suspect they are not real common. It really is a neat, attic- mint bottle, with great color!
Another interesting bottle that Dave displayed was a whiskey bottle in the same basic shape as the short, square bodied, P.L. Abby Celery Pepsin Bitters bottle! My first thought when I saw it was that he found an amber P.L. Abbey bottle! It sure looks like it came from the same mold!
It is embossed: HAMMIS DIST‘L’G CO., FULL-FIVE, RE-USE OF BOTTLE
So, if you have ever suffered from a serious drinking problem, and you had to plan your life around the next snort, panic sets in when you only have money enough for one bottle.
You go into a liquor store with enough to buy a cheap, 5th of whiskey . . . you are simply NOT going to purchase that little short bottle!
I suspect this was where packaging was hurting business! They made an attempt at finding an easy solution.
That was to emboss, “FULL FIVE” and put a heavy line below it!
This company was established in 1863 by Henry Hannis, who had worked since he was a boy in John Gibson's liquor store/ distillery in Martinsburg, West Va.
They also built a second distillery in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and operated at that location as Hannis Distilling Co. From 1872-1917.
The bottles were not embossed FULL FIVE and the word DIST ‘L’G CO until the 1900's.
Kevin Siegfried displayed an iconic old amber Wright & Taylor Whiskey bottle from distillers in Louisville, KY. Wright and Taylor, Inc., was a distiller and distributor of Old Charter bourbon whiskey.
The old distillery building was empty for decades, but, in 2014 it was renovated the beautiful Mercury Ballroom, a live music venue.
Kevin also showed us a nice school sized ½ pint Erwine’s Dairy bottle from the 1930's era. The Erwine Dairy was a small farm-dairy in Vicksburg, MI. I found were one sold for $21.00 in 2021.
Len Sheaffer has a applied color label, 1-quart, Holton Haas Dairy bottle in sparkling mint condition! I found a past e-bay listing for one (that wasn’t as nice) for $30.00 (SOLD PRICE).
Ron Smith brought in the three classic poison bottles, ones I always think of without fail!
Vapo-cresolene! It was used in the early twentieth century. It was used in a attractive kerosene-fueled vaporizer lamp and cresol solution known together as Vapo-Cresolene. That product caught the public’s eye and became famously popular sparked by the “germ” scare of that day.
We know nothing about germ scares today!
British surgeon, Joseph Lister had sprayed carbolic acid on his patients and on himself to reduce the risk of infection. Since cresol, like carbolic acid, was also a by-product of coal tar distillation, it was assumed to have similar antiseptic properties.
As such, cresolene was disingenuously marketed as an air purifier and a respiratory cure. (As were cigarettes at one time)
Recognizing the perils of this phenol-derived puff of smoke, the American Medical Association published a 1908 report exposing Vapo-Cresolene’s propensity to cause respiratory distress, muscle weakness, and even coma!
The Food and Drug Administration continued to caution the public in its traveling “Chamber of Horrors” exhibit as late as 1933!
I can’t tell you who it was in our club who had one of these original Vapo-Cresolene Lamps, but we did see one in the past. And, it was pretty neat!
America was so great, even the items of ill-repute were of the highest art-form and product quality.
Len Sheaffer has what Gary Drayton, the English metal detecting expert on the show, Curse of Oak Island, calls a “bobby-dazzler!”
It is a neat little uranium- Vaseline-glass farm-basket tooth pick holder. Len had his Yooper Light (black light) with him, and did that thing ever glow!
I read were the government paid young girls something like $3,000 a month to work in the Manhattan Project, working with radioactive materials in the early 1940's.
They took on the work accepting they would likely not survive more than ten years. Half way into that life span they would forever risk suffering from easily broken bones.
The same was true in the 1920's where girls were hired to paint glowing numbers on clock dials. . . a slow death.
When they finished the radiation treatments on my cancer, they told me the reason they stopped was that by-law they could not expose me to any more!
I understand the amount of radiation in Vaseline glass won’t hurt you. But, with a inexpensive kit and a good pair of jumper cables you could start your car with this little toothpick holder! (Kidding)
I wish that I had started collecting tooth pick holders instead of bottles! They are more affordable and take up far less space! And, there are a lot of neat ones! One seller, on one of the online auctions, stated the basket he had was from the 1890's and it sold for about $40.00. So very cool, Len and Juli!
How about Vincent Grossi? You ask. Vince brought in a couple really nice poison bottles. One was a unusual four sided amber bottle in kind of a diamond shape. There are only 2 American, diamond-shaped poison bottles listed as KD-1 and KD-2. (In my photo it looks 4 sided)The 3 sided bottles often called “Triloid” bottles are often confused with the diamond 4 sided bottles. Vincent’s is a deep amber from around 1880, with the corner bumps and embossed with POISON on four panels and an applied-tooled top.
Another bottle Vincent displayed was a light green “ANTROL / ANT KILLER / ANTROL LABORATORIES / LOS ANGELES / LAY ON THIS SIDE.
This little bottle has a small, tin, screw-cap, where the original owner punched a three sided hole in the cap. You simply lay the bottle on its embossed side and the Antrol formula really did work well! It was a syrup of Arsenic and sugar made to both lure and kill. It worked so well, our Government, to protect us from ourselves, put an end to the product. Of course!
I also saw a little trade card at the meeting without a name tag (my fault) I suspect it was one belonging to Vincent. It shows a Chinaman serving a baked rat for the main course. A southern gentleman in a top hat says, “Excuse me, I always carry Magnolia Hams!”
Not that there is anything wrong with a warm crunchy rat!
On the back of the trade card they show how the Magnolia Hams were growing in popularity. In 1863 they cured 7,500 hams. By 1878 they cured their 375,000th Ham!
With the wild bore problem in the south today, we need Magnolia Hams to come back!
On a “Made In Mississippi” website hosted by the University of Mississippi there is a nice looking “Magnolia Brand Fully Cooked Ham!” pictured! They are still in business! Slice me off some!
When we had the RV business, one of my fellow salesmen, who was an original farm boy, Larry Duff asked me if I wanted to buy half a pig? He was going to buy some piglets.
Such a thing never crossed my mind. How does someone own half a pig? Food for thought heh?
Well, I hopped into the slop with both feet! It turned out Larry knew exactly what he was doing. When I tasted those chops, that bacon and sausage . . . it was like I was trying pork for the first time! I will never forget how good that was!
The Bottle Club will be hosting guest speaker; Professor John Wilterding, from Olivet College. His presentation will be on MARBLE COLLECTING. John has been collecting marbles for 10 years now. John will be bringing marble examples to look at, and talk about the major styles and markers, and discuss the challenges in identifying marbles along with some information about the fakes and misleading examples that circulate now quite commonly.
WHEN: MAY 9th, 2023 ( Tuesday Evening )
WHERE: Otsego Area Historical Society Museum, 218 N. Farmer Street, Otsego, Michigan.
TIME: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM.
SCOTT HENDRICHSEN, a long time member of the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club, will be a guest speaker for the OSHTEMO HISTORICAL SOCIETY. The presentation will be on PRIVY DIGGING. Scott will be describing the process of locating and investigating the contents of old outhouses. The purpose is the salvaging of antique bottles and everyday household artifacts from the past. Wait until you see some of the great stuff Scott has found over the years.
WHEN: AUGUST 17th, 2023 ( Thursday Evening )
WHERE: Oshtemo Township Hall, Community Room, 7275 West Main Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009.
TIME: 7:00 PM- 9:00 PM. Oshtemo Historical Society, phone: 269-383-5969.
The Bottle Club will be hosting guest speaker; Mike Bruner, from the HURON VALLEY BOTTLE and INSULATOR CLUB ( Highland, Michigan ). Mike has written over 10 books on assorted collecting, including THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO COLORFUL INSULATORS. The presentation will be on INSULATOR COLLECTING: The Good, The Bad, and The Very Ugly. Mike, a long time insulator collector, will bring along some insulator goodies to show-and-tell with everyone in attendance.
WHEN: SEPTEMBER 12th, 2023 ( Tuesday Evening )
WHERE: Otsego Area Historical Society Museum, 218 N. Farmer Street, Otsego, Michigan.
TIME: 7:00 PM- 9:00 PM.
Thank you Vince! I will be adding links to information on the Bottle Club’s web-site very soon.
Easter 2023, In a show of Man’s greatest strength;
the earth shook throughout an entire continent. Two of Japan’s most populated cities were leveled and initially 214,000 people died.
A countless number of these people were vaporized. The deaths continued on, related to radiation poisoning for years to come.
The shadow images of human- beings, who were vaporized, remained burned into concrete walls, where they stood . . . like images on photographic film.
Clearly, the two atomic bombs brought an end to that war. Some say these deaths, even though unimaginable, would have been much higher had the war continued.
Man, in his greatest display of strength, his greatest power is measured in DEATH.
On the other hand, Easter is the perfect example of God’s greatest show of strength.
Yes, it is hard to follow God’s work of creation, in fact it is hard to imagine, or fathom such as the work of creation!
Because of mankind’s choice to disobey God, His beautiful creation was lost to Him, by sin . . . . and to sin.
Throughout the early day’s of Israel, they were instructed to offer sacrificial offerings for the atonement of sin. These offerings did not actually atone for sin, but they were to picture (or point to) a truly, fully-worthy sacrifice that would pay-in-full, the price for creation’s redemption. This would come, as the Bible says; "In the fullness of time."
On a cross, God in the form of a sinless virgin-born man, was to suffer judgement on behalf of all sinful men. However, mankind still has a simple roll to play. Acknowledge your need, confess that need, and accept Salvation as a gift by faith. . . . sadly, by far, most will reject this age-old message.
God’s creation event was accomplished without opposition. Opposition did not raise its head until a time within in the paradise the Garden of Eden.
From day-one of Jesus’ birth, demons dogged His every move . . even as an infant! Scores of male children were slaughtered in an attempt to destroy Him. The enemies of darkness longed to see Him hanging lifeless on a blood soaked cross . . . then buried and finished with!!!
Then, on that first Easter, God’s Greatest Display of Strength was displayed when death was defeated by His Resurrection! God’s power is measured in LIFE.
Life is the gift that you must choose for yourself and it is only found in Him.
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
Meets At the
Otsego Historic Society
Meeting date is
at 7:00 pm
The Museum is located at
218 N. Farmer St. Otsego, MI 49078
Meeting starts at 7:00