Vol. 10 No.2                                                                                                                                 February 2012
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club F.O.H.B.C.

Meeting Theme: Valentine's Day!

Last Month

        What would I know? I'm sorry; I wasn't there. The president of our metal detector club, Mike Walker, is a good friend of mine and has supported my business in a number of ways. Mike asked me to speak to a men's group at the church where he attends and I couldn't turn him down. I was a little disappointed when he told me their meetings were on the same night as the bottle club meeting. I have to admit I tried to think of a way to do both. I thought maybe I could speak to that group after the bottle club recesses for the summer, but that didn't look like it would work.

        The men's meeting went well! Talk about great eats! They had some of their best church cooks put on a great supper! I have never been a big venison lover. I can eat it, but if it was on the menu, it would not be something I would choose. I think it was Mike Walker or his dear wife who made a venison meat loaf to die for! Man, it was good! And when I spoke, not one tomato was tossed my way.

        The following week I was the guest speaker at the Kalamazoo Coin Club and that was also a very enjoyable time. One thing that I have come to learn is that if I am going to a meeting where I am speaker, it won't be boring! I told those guys that most of my speaking background has been at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. The crowd there can be a diverse bunch. Many are wonderful, loving people, but you never know, some could be drug dealers, thieves and cut- throats! So I told them right up front, "You guys don't scare me."

        One of the fellows spoke up, "You should feel right at home!"

        The last time I spoke to the coin club members, they were meeting in the Crossroads Mall in Portage. I carried a large collection of display cases and coin albums in to show off my finds. As I approached the mall entrance, I saw a bunch of hoodlums hanging around the door, looking very threatening! I just marched past them, toting my treasure, doing my best to not make eye contact.

        When I reached the safety of the meeting room, I thought to myself, "How crazy was that?"

        It turned out to be a mistake anyway. I had a beautiful collection of old silver coins that I had found over the years. The collection included an album of Barber, Seated Liberty, and early Draped-Bust coins and to me each one was a trophy! It didn't occur to me that this was a bunch of coin collectors who love rare coins and most of mine had more common dates. One of the club members carefully looked through the entire album, closed it and looked up at me and asked, "Why are you saving these?"

        After sweating out my entrance to the meeting, walking past those ruffians, I noticed that most of the club members had large black cases, which reminded me of the old- fashion doctor bags. Inside each bag, many of them had holder- sheets of rare coins and currency! Many of their coins were gold! I was talking to the club's president a few weeks later and he told me they can have a quarter million dollars worth of coins at any meeting!

        Even on my way home from my talk at the men's meeting, I was curious to hear how the bottle club meeting went. I figured I would get a report from Chuck the next day. Well, the call didn't come, so I figured maybe no news is good news. Eventually I heard that the meeting went well.

        I really do enjoy seeing figural bottles! They have to be the coolest antique bottle collectible category ever! (I am also a big pepper sauce bottle fan) Scott and Chuck told me that Tim Hayes brought in his whole collection of figurals and I missed it! I did hear about several of the bottles from Scott. A couple of my favorite figural bottles in my own collection happen to be machine made. That doesn't bother me as much as it once did. I was taught bottle collecting from Jack and Ernie and they were proudly from the old school. I see more and more of the young collectors who are interested in some machine made bottles. Two of my personal best figural bottles are a cluster of grapes with a one- twist screw top and a clam shell shaped flask which also has a screw top.

        I have also been known to keep other bottles, and other collectibles, simply because they appeal to me and not because of their rarity. I have managed to save several bottles that were headed to certain destruction. They may be valuable one day long after I am dead-and-gone. I got into a 1920-30's dump where I found some really cool Art Deco bottles that you never see anymore. Some are food bottles, like salad dressing and sauce bottles and some are cruet bottles. One is shaped like the Empire State Building and it is a shoe polish bottle!

        Maybe it is a good thing these bottles are considered worthless today come to think of it, because it is much easier to gain access to the old farm dumps then it is the newer landfills!

        Scott gave me a list of all the members who came to the last meeting and spent their time missing me. I told Chuck about my speaking engagement before I did the last newsletter. He was beside himself! He was so worried that none of you would show up that he offered me $50.00 and 2 nice antique bottles, to not say anything in the newsletter about my absence. Of course I'm kidding and I am trying to get Chuck all stirred up. A fellow's got to have some fun!

        In attendance at the last meeting were: Scott Hendrichsen, Mary Hamilton, Chuck Parker, Vincent Grossi, Dee Cole, Ed Nickerson, Tim Hayes and Kevin Seigfried.

This Month's Meeting

        Thank you Scott for taking notes for me at the last meeting. When Scott dropped the meeting notes off at my store, he really stressed one point to me for this newsletter. That point is; I need to encourage each of you to do your best to be at the next meeting. We are going to get the ball rolling on our plans for the 2012 Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show.

        I don't know how many of you remember, but leading up to the last bottle show, things looked a little bleak . . . to put it mildly. At least that is how it looked to me. I was worried because of our losing a few members over the preceding years. I was very concerned about pulling off things like the hospitality suite, and the show itself, but in the end it all worked out, thanks to the very hard work of a few.

        We had a couple new members and that got my hopes up. Then we discovered that one would be unable to help for religious reasons. Then we learned that another one of our members, who has carried a heavy load of responsibility for several years, was not going to be available. That's when, I have to admit, panic set in for me. That old Southern Gentleman, Chuck Parker, never raised a sweat and never lost his cool; he simply assigned the duties to his trusted first mate, Connie!

        My wife also rolled up her sleeves and went to work on the food preparation and it all came together beautifully. I'm not forgetting all you others in the group who worked so hard. I remember each of your contributions. The most memorable had to be Kevin's homemade horseradish!

        This year I am not going to lose more hair, and watch the few hairs which remain turn even more grey. But please, pretty please, if you are going to have a part in putting together the 2012 show, please let us know by helping us start planning the event. We really need everyone to pitch in. The Kalamazoo show should continue to be something that we as a club look forward to -- not dread. If you are one of the members who cannot make it to the meetings but plan on being at the show, we really need to know we can count you in.

        John Pastor has already started running the 2012 Antique Bottle Club ad campaign. This will be the club's 33rd annual show! The show will be on Saturday April 21st from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm. The location will be the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds, 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo MI. 49001. The contact numbers are John Pastor at 616-581-7005 or Mark McNee at 269-343-8393

More Bottle News

        In addition to bottle collecting, I love coin collecting and Great Lakes shipping history. As one who loves ship watching, I also look for antique Great Lakes ships on post cards. Several of my customers are into scuba diving and they sometimes come up with some neat antique bottles. Chuck and Scott told us about a friend they have who does some river diving in Alabama and he comes up with some great antique bottles.

        So, when I look out over a body of water I cannot help but wonder what treasures are hidden below. A group from Canada is moving the historic S.S. Keewatin steamship out of the Kalamazoo River in Douglas. The ship will be freed from 50,000 cubic yards of the muck and mud in preparation for a 600-mile trip to its former home in Port McNicoll, Ontario. The Keewatin is sitting in about 12 feet of silt, and dredging the muck to get the Keewatin afloat is the first step to getting her ready to be towed out.

        After the Keewatin is freed, a channel will be dredged in Lake Kalamazoo next spring to move it into the Saugatuck channel and then onto Lake Michigan. I would love to watch the Keewatin towed under the Mackinac Bridge! What a cool picture that would make.

        When the Kewatin was moved into her location in Douglas, MI, they had to dredge a spot to park her and they dug into a giant 1870's bottle dump! I have never seen it, but they tell me the Peterson office at the yacht club has a large collection of antique bottles they recovered. I know when you walk down the dock to board the ship, in the water you can see lots of colorful shards of glass sparkling!

        When they dredge the river this time, even more of the old dump will be exposed!

        Last week a customer of mine brought in a bunch of bottles for me to look at. He has been in the excavating business for years and has saved a few of the bottles he has found. He had one giant box with 6 of the old one gallon crocks. None of them had any letters or designs in the glazing but there were some interesting variations. One even had a pour-type spout like you find on a master ink. The sad part was all of them were missing their handles, except for the most common one.

        He also had three giant feed sacks filled with old bottles, but sadly they were almost all the same amber Grand Rapid's Brewing bottles. There were also a couple Muskegon bottles. I am doing the newsletter from home and the bottles are at my shop. I'll bring a couple bottles I am not so sure of for your expert analysis.

        Also, in the Antique Bottle and Glass Collector magazine, there was a bottle digging story but they didn't make it clear where it took place. It was written by Peter Joblonski and he refers to himself as a 'Buffalo digger,' so I think he is from New York.

        They found a few squat sodas from New York and some Saratoga Springs bottles. But they also found a rare Michigan bottle!

        It was a Mosher's Magnetic Mineral Spring Water Bottle from Eaton Rapids, Michigan! Mr.Joblonski gave a little history on the bottle in his article. Eaton Rapids was known for its curative waters. According to his research, two professors from a local college found the water to be rich in magnesia (sic), iron, soda, potassium sodium, silica acid and lime. In other words, the water tested had been filtered though a burn pit or, as was the case in Otsego, a cemetery. The first water was discovered when a dry goods store dug a well 160 feet deep. It was a great boost in the arm for the local economy. Fourteen wells were dug and six passenger trains bought rich people to Eaton Rapids for cures.

        Today people with those elements in their water invest in purifiers and water softeners. I have to ask John Pastor if the Mosher's Magnetic Spring Water Bottle is as rare as the Otsego Mineral Spring Water bottle. Wouldn't you love to dig either one! The guys who dug the Eaton Rapids bottle did contact John Pastor and he told them he only knew of two that existed, and only one with Eaton Rapids embossed on it.

        Also in the antique bottle news is the story of the Coca-Cola prototype hobble skirt bottle that sold for $240,000 for a new world record. When the prototype bottles were made, all but two were destroyed. Now I have to stop telling people that the straight sided Cokes are the most valuable. I guess for the mass production Coke bottles, maybe they still are.

Valentine Theme

        This month our meeting falls on Valentine's day. That means that we missed out on a great pizza party occasion. Can you imagine the possibilities? My wife, granddaughter and I were sitting in Bimbo's a week or so after the meeting and who do you suppose walked in? It was Kevin Seigfried and his wife! What a great Valentine idea, take your sweetie to Bimbo's. Please note: We are not going to Bimbos!

        Well, here is Scott's idea. This month, bring any bottles that may have a love theme. Was there a Love Potion Number 9? Is there a Valentine's Day whiskey sampler? If so, I'll bet John Pastor has one! How about a bottle with hearts or cupid embossing? Also, bring any antique candy containers, red glass or perfume bottles. I would even like to see any antique Valentine's cards you may have.

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club meets at the main downtown Kalamazoo Library, located at 315 South Rose Street. We meet on the third floor in the conference room. This meeting is February 14th. Meeting starts at 7:00 pm.

For questions

e-mail prostock@net-link.net
    Or call 269-685-1776