KALAMAZOO ANTIQUE BOTTLE CLUB NEWS
No. 7 Written by Allan C. Holden
Spring Bottle Show Planning Starts
The time just keeps racing by! That is a good thing during a frigid Michigan winter! That is of course, just as long as we don't get any older! Yet again the end of the month crept up behind me. I was checking for an appointment on my cell phone calendar when I noticed the club meeting falls on the 2nd in February!
A couple weeks back . . . .
Suddenly my heart was in
my throat, as total panic set
in! I grabbed my I-phone and I
went to the calendar app,
scrolled through the month . .
. sure enough!! I had a
checkup scheduled with my
ear-nose-throat doctor for
1-6-16!!! Holy-Cow today is
the 12th! GREAT!!! So I called the office. . . . .
"I am afraid I missed my appointment."
"What is your name and date of birth?" she asked. . . . . . .
"Well, you are so right, you had an appointment on Jan 6th and you were a no-show."
Yes, I am so sorry, I had hoped your office would have called to remind me, like you always have in the past, but I am completely at fault" I said.
"Well, I see on your chart where we did call you, that was back in November.
I see the Doctor had to
cancel your appointment, and,
at that same time, we
rescheduled that appointment
for January 27th so you have
another chance to miss it."
Two weeks later . . .
So my new appointment was for 4:00 on Wednesday the 27th, but on Tuesday the 26th the office called me and said they had to reschedule again, but this time it was just to bump me up to 11:15. OK, that works better for me, because I have a newsletter to write!
I showed up early and got myself updated on the paperwork at which time they warned me the doctor was running behind. At 11:30, a nurse came out and told me that the doctor would not be able to see me until 12:30!
I told the receptionist, "I'll have to reschedule. I have sardines at home in the oven and a number of newsletter subscribers who are counting on me!"
So, now you know everything you couldn't possibly care about! But, here is a topic we all need to care about . . . the 2016 Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show is on the horizon!
Our 37th annual antique show is April 9th at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. My friends, that will be here before you know it! As most of you know, this takes a full-on team effort and the planning details start at this meeting! We really need all-hands-on-deck!
Yes, I know what you are thinking; "It is the same thing for Al every year. He always gets worked up into a sweat!"
At the last meeting we had
a fairly weak turnout and we
can't blame it on the weather.
But I understand, with the
meeting night changing . . . and well,
we all have lives to live.
Sometimes it is hard to do
everything. If for some reason
you cannot make it to the
meeting, but you will be
willing to work the show,
please let us know! Here are
some phone numbers to make
Chuck Parker . . . . . 269-329-0853
Al Holden . . . . . . . . 269-806-2355
John Pastor . . . . . . 248-486-0530
Mark McNee . . . . . 269-343-8393.
I just have a good feeling about the show this year! But, to make it happen in a big way, we all need to get the word out! Soon we will have fliers to pass out, and if you can post the event on social media, or to any community event calendar that you can think of, please share those plans and ideas at the meeting with all of us! We need to share ideas about how to make this the best show ever! The key to the show's success is teamwork!
I gave Chuck a phone call because I forgot what we had discussed as a February meeting theme . . . so had he!
I remember thinking at the last meeting, we really do have lots of possibilities! But, this month we are suggesting you bring two or three of your favorite antique medicines and any bottles you recently acquired!
But also think about future antique bottle themes. My favorites are Ink, Pepper Sauce and Figural, but this month the theme is:
As I mentioned the nose count was down somewhat at the January meeting. Attached to the noses we saw were faces belonging to: Kevin Seigfried, Chuck Parker, Mary Hamilton, Ed Nickerson, Ron Smith, Vincent Grossi, and Al Holden.
That may not be a great number of people, but it certainly is a number of great people!
Our theme for last month was poison bottles. And we saw a few. I've always thought I would like to own one of the early human skull poison bottles until I saw the prices! I believe that bottle was also reproduced?
Ron Smith brought in an aqua, blob-top, "HAUSBERG BRO'S" soda bottle from CHICAGO. The bottle is also embossed (A&D H.C.)
I found a listing for this company in the 1876, "Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago"
That listing shows the company as being in the soda water business. Looking briefly for other listings for this bottle, I found it listed as a ginger ale bottle and I do not think it is a common bottle. I did find that when found in amber color, it can be very rare! Ron's bottle is frosted like it would be as a privy find, but as strong as these blob sodas are, I would have it tumbled! I love it!
Vincent had on display a nice amber poison bottle. It is the four-sided bottle in a diamond shape with the hob-nail corners. Also Vince collects the early antique bottle magazines and he had an early "Old Bottle Magazine" with beautiful cover art featuring "Watkin's Products since 1868." Also Vince had some other early Watkin's catalogs, which I believe he received for Christmas! What a lucky guy!
One of these beautiful
booklets is a 1915 Watkins
Alamanac and Cookbook! My
wife collects cookbooks, but
most are more modern. It is
really fun to read old recipes!
As you may have suspected, Chuck Parker showed up with a poison bottle with full label and contents! Kevin studied the contents through the cornflower-blue glass and the pills are coffin-shaped!
This poison bottle reads:
Chuck had not one, but two! The second bottle was an Eli Lilly Diamond Brand Mercury Bi-chloride AntisepticTablets. Both bottles have the warning textures with crosshatch lines and hob-nail bumps to serve as a poison alert!
I didn't have an accessible poison bottle. Most of my collection is held down on narrow wooden shelves with double-sided mounting tape. I was thinking about that very thing as I wrote about Vince's Watkins literature.
When my daughter was young, we had to leave her for a couple hours each day at daycare. The daycare lady sold Watkin's products. I promised to give her an antique Watkins bottle because I knew I had a few.
Well, do you think I could find any? Not on your life! In desperation I climbed up a ladder to take one from my display. I grabbed it by the neck and was going to pull it away from the shelf . . . it wouldn't budge!
Next, I started rocking it in every direction . . . it was still stuck! Finally I gave it a real heave-ho and it came free from the shelf. All this took place above eye-level, so, when I took the bottle down, I turned it over and looked at the bottom. To my surprize I didn't see glass, I didn't see tape, I saw wood! I tore a chunk of wood out of the shelf!
People ask me all the time, "Don't you worry about your bottles falling down?"
A couple times birds flew into my shop and in the course of shooing them back out the door, they would take a break by landing on bottles! They have a tendency to whitewash things when you get them panicked!
On another occasion I watched the bottles rattle around in-place during an earthquake! Also, when there is a car wreck out front, if one of the cars hits the curb, that will shake the wall. Another one is; having fast food joints on three sides, I get these pimpled faced little children with thundering stereos, which will shake the walls, but as the hymn goes, "My anchor still holds."
Too bad the bottles in the window cells weren't glued down when I tried to corner that stray cat! I am still remembering bottles that went in the dumpster from that event! From time-to-time we will have a club theme, and I will think of the perfect bottle to bring, but I can't locate it . . . then, it all comes back to haunt me!
I picked up a machine- made, dark blue, screw cap ink bottle that is hand painted with flowers on all four sides and on top. For some reason I think it is English. I love early and colorful floral paintings on glass! I was looking for a bottle I was researching for the newsletter when I spotted it! The auction was about to end without bids and the entry bid was $9.95 with $3.00 shipping. There was nearly 2 hours left, and many folks are like me and they will snipe in a bid in the closing seconds, but it didn't happen! I didn't see any envious looks at the meeting but at least nobody laughed!
It turns out it is an English made moustache cup! The moustache cup is a drinking cup with a semicircular ledge inside. The ledge has small openings to allow the passage of liquids and serves as a guard to keep moustaches dry. It is generally acknowledged to have been invented in the 1860s by British potter Harvey Adams (born 1835).
Moustaches flourished throughout the Victorian era. Often, moustache wax was applied to the moustache to keep it nice and stiff, with every hair in place. And therein lay a problem that cropped up when steaming hot cups of tea or coffee were carried up to the mouth for sipping: the steam melted the wax and sent it right into the cup.
Another problem soon became apparent. Sipping hot tea or coffee, moustaches also often became stained. Finally, Harvey Adams, an innovative Englishman, in 1860 came up with an unusual invention, "the moustache cup". This had a ledge, called a moustache guard, across the cup. The ledge had one semicircular opening against the side of the cup. The pampered moustache then rested safe and dry on the guard while sipping a hot beverage through the opening. The new invention spread all over the European continent and soon, every famous potter was making the new cups. A multiplicity of moustache cups were made by famous manufactories such as Meissen, Royal Crown Derby, Imari, Royal Bayreuth, Limoges and others. Each potter created his own version of this masculine tableware and the news of that invention soon spread to America.
As many of you who receive the newsletter in hard copy know, I love to decorate the envelope with the image of a Victorian Trade Card. I just love antique advertising, especially the old artwork! They serve as a look into the past to me. If I don't use one of the very few I have in my own tiny collection, I will search for them online. On one occasion I found a card that took my breath away!
Let me give you a little background. My father was a farm boy who grew up west of Otsego on a piece of ground that was just slightly better than blow sand. He was the eldest of 5 kids and hunting was a very important way of life. My mother did not care for guns, and I knew that, so I never even thought about owning one. My brother, on the other hand, loves firearms. One day we were up at my brother's house in Whitehall for a family gathering when Wayne decided to show off his new toy, a .357 magnum. The fellows were taking turns shooting at a target as I walked up. My brother asked, "Do you want to shoot it, Al?"
As he asked that he handed the gun towards me with the barrel pointed at the ground. I took the gun and when I started to raise it, it went off! I didn't have it aimed, I barely touched the trigger and it went off! By the time I realized what happened, I looked to my side and there stood my two little boys!
To this day I have bad dreams about that! That was a purely wicked gun and the thought of how that could have played out . . makes me shudder!
So, here I was looking at this trade card showing a little girl in bed, leaning back towards her pillow, her little doll on the other pillow, and she had a real revolver pistol in her hand! The little girl told her dolly, "Papa says it won't hurt us!"
I won't mention any names, but I am the new owner of a Iver Johnson 1896, 5-shot, .32 caliber pistol! It takes a Smith & Wesson .32 cartridge which uses a black powder load. I want to shoot it but I learned that the modern smokeless powder will hammer them to pieces, so the ammunition is more scarce than the gun!
The Iver Johnson Safety Automatic has no hammer to catch on clothing or cause a missfire when dropped. I guess this trade card tells the whole story! For $6.00 it is a very well built little pistol! I was so excited about it that I mentioned it at the meeting. I said, "I almost brought it to show you." In unision I heard 6 people shout "NO"!"
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
meets at the main downtown
315 South Rose Street.
We meet on the
floor in the conference