Vol. 8 No. 5                                                                                                                                    January 2010
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club F.O.H.B.C.


Last Month

    Well, we are off to another year of antique bottle digging and collecting! Last month was the club's Christmas meeting and pizza party. Chuck told me that 9 people showed up to the party. I had been looking forward to that meeting for weeks! Then, just one day before the meeting, I got really sick!

    Because I have a limited amount of news to report I will tell you that what I had was a bacterial infection that affected my ear and throat. I was really sick and my throat was swollen to the point that it was hard to swallow 7-Up, let alone pizza! The whole thing came with a fever and nausea! My doctor gave me a prescription for a good antibiotic and that did a great job of knocking it down.

    Every year, as I grow older, I hate cold weather more and more! I only have one outdoor activity that I need to be concerned with. That is clearing snow out of my driveway. I have a good running snow blower, but we also both drive 4-wheel drive vehicles so this year, so far, we have been driving over the snow!

    Well, not everyone in the club is as big of a wimp as I am! Scott and Chuck continue their privy digging, even in this freezing weather! Recently, this couple of cold-weather diggers found a good pit, at an undisclosed location, somewhere in southwest Michigan.

    Chuck described the privy as a large one with wood- ash contents. Several of the bottles were pontiled with the best being a large Davis Vegetable Pain Killer. Two other pontiled medicines were found along with an A.Trask Magnetic Ointment bottle. Also they found a cone-shaped ink bottle and a milk glass bottle embossed C.C. Hudson. Another find was a John Chrisp Plainwell druggist bottle and several doll parts. Chuck said that the temperature was in the lower 30's and perfect for bottle digging--- thanks, but no thanks!

                    Fakes & Repairs

    Every year at this time of year my business is slow and I should be used to it. With all the bad news about the economy, I really start to be concerned. Usually at this time of year I try to sell odds and ends on e-Bay to keep the bills paid, but this year that isn't working out all that well.

    One of the items that I posted for sale is a small 10-K gold ring that looks very, very old. The setting is a very pretty deep ruby red stone. The gemstone is pretty, but I didn't know enough to call it a ruby in my auction. One lady sent me a request with instructions on how to test the stone. She said that synthetic rubies came out at the beginning of the 1900's. If you go into the dark and place the ring under a black light, it will glow a bright pink color if it is synthetic.

    Well, I do have a small battery powered black light and I did give it a try. Sure enough, it glowed almost like it was lighted! She told me that it would glow a hot pink color, but this was a bright red. I am still pretty sure it is man-made.

    Just for fun I tried my diamond tester on the ring and I got a slightly positive reaction. Diamond testers have a needle- sized probe on them that heats up when you turn the tester on. When the tip touches the stone you are testing, the unit measures how quickly the heat is absorbed.

    I have tried the tester on fake gems, stones that I know are made of glass. If the item is glass, the tester does nothing at all. If the tester touches a diamond, the flashing lights climb to the top of the scale. If it is a good quality synthetic diamond like moissanite, many cheap testers can be fooled!

    When I exposed the ruby to the diamond tester, the lights went three quarters of the way to the top. That only means that the red stone isn't just glass and it is very hard. Many of the old rings that are recovered from lake bottoms have stones that are badly worn on the edges and scratched overall. This ring and its stone is in beautiful shape! I priced the ring at only $69.00 which is the current scrap value of the gold, yet I received no bids!

    (It did sell at the last second of the auction for $69.00)

    A portable blacklight can be used by bottle collectors, too! This is because epoxy repairs to an antique bottle will glow bright white under the violet light! I know that one of the former members of our club was a very advanced collector, especially of Michigan bottles. One of his skills was antique bottle repair. I never saw any of his work, but I understand he was very good at it. I'm sure he wouldn't have sold any of his repaired bottles without warning his customers, but when he died his secrets died with him.

    Hopefully business will pick up as we move towards spring but as things are right now. . . well, things are troublesome!

Bottle Show!

    Chuck Parker tells me that the Grand Rapids club is about to have a winter time antique bottle show! The show is on Feb. 27th at the Neal Fonger American Legion Post 2327 Wilson S.W. Grand Rapids MI 49534. For Information: Elmer Ogg, ph: (231) 798-7335, email: elogg@comcast.net or Steve DeBoode, ph: (616) 667-0214, email: thebottleguy@comcast.net

See you at the meeting on January 12th. Meeting is at the main Kalamazoo Library on the third floor in the Van Deusen Room. Meeting starts at 7:00

Questions? Call