KALAMAZOO ANTIQUE BOTTLE CLUB NEWS
|MEMBER CLUB of F.O.H.B.C.|
|Written by: Allan C. Holden|
|Volume 14 Number
SHOW PREP & PIZZA PARTY
Hi friends! I hope you are all moving in the direction of spring without any major roadblocks. Way back, sometime in late fall, I picked-up some sort of flu bug. I was out of it for a couple days with lingering problems lasting for weeks! I figured I had been hit with the seasonal flu bug, and got that problem out of the way. There was no need for a flu shot! The flu bug beat me to the draw and it got off the first shot!
By February, it looked like I was right. Everyone was getting sick, except me. In fact, my granddaughter's entire public school closed down because the kids and teachers were all sick . . . but not me. I just kept motoring on. Then, on Saturday the 25th of February, I was busy at my store all day . . . but I could sense trouble brewing! I had more sick people in my store than Bronson Express Care!
This bug hit me in the middle of the night on Monday! At times I feel like I catch more bugs than flypaper! It hit like a double-barrel shotgun blast to the belly! When I went into the bathroom it was hard to tell which end to point at the commode!
I tell you all this to explain why I got a late start on the newsletter.
As most of you know, our president, Chuck Parker, and his dear wife Connie, have been having troubles of their own. As of last month, Connie's illness required some extra supportive care so she has been recovering outside of their home. This has kept Chuck pretty busy with caring for home and traveling to spending precious time with Connie.
I know some of you are people of faith; please remember Chuck and Connie in your prayers.
It wasn't too many years back when I poked lighthearted fun at the "Help I've fallen and can't get up" commercial. Well, I no longer see any humor in that! I am going through a phase of personal discipline, where I have to gear my brain to slow down to the speed of my body. In my head, I want to fly from one task, or project, to the next, but my body resists! I have finally figured out why old people move the way they do . . . they have no option!
Let me go back to just a few days before the last meeting. I just received a call from Chuck. We always try to get together before I put the final touches on the newsletter. When he called, after updating me on how things were going, he suggested we have the club go to Bimbo's for the February meeting.
Sadly, that is when I told him the newsletter was already in the mail. I am not sure which one of us was more disappointed! "Oh well, it would have been short notice. Anyway, we can try for next month," Chuck said.
Guess what, next month is here already. We will meet at the Library as usual, hold a brief meeting with an update on all the show plans, then head out for pizza. But folks, this is an very important meeting.This will be the last club meeting before the April 8th bottle show. We really need everyone who is planning to be part of the show, to be at this meeting. If for some reason you cannot make it, but you plan to help out at the show or the hospitality suite, please call or e-mail and let us know.
I am moving right along for time's sake. I have finally started posting some long overdue e-Bay auctions. I need to raise some cash before they lock me into debtor's prison. A guy from Hawaii really left me stunned with a bad case of seller shock!
Up until he came along, I had about 1500 successful auctions without any trouble. I learned very early on what to avoid. I had a buyer back in 1999, who won an auction on a top-of-the-line $900.00 underwater, scuba-dive metal detector. He used it for a couple weeks, as he intended, then he returned it all beat up for a full refund.
In order to get the best seller- rate fee from the e-Bay program, you must have a return policy. My return policy does allow the buyer two weeks for a refund. But, you must return the detector that I sent you! If I sent a machine in near mint condition, you better return one back to me in near mint condition.
I inspected this returned detector and my heart sank! He had put the detector in a box, totally unsecured sliding around in the box, covered in sand. By the time it made it back to me, it looked like someone had taken a grinder to it. I felt the detector was worth about $200.00 less when I got it back because of all the damage.
Very soon I figured out I was dealing with a spoiled teenager, who in one correspondence referenced his "Mom" (whose credit card he used) and the whole deal was a free-rent scam.
The minute he discovered that I was planning on giving him only a partial refund, he contacted the Better Business Bureau. But I didn't know that before I had already refunded 100% of his money. I decided to write it off as 'the cost of doing business.' Then, in my postal mail comes this letter from the B.B.B. asking for my side of the story.
At that point, I figured, 'There was no longer a story to tell.' The guy ripped me off. I also wrongly figured this child had updated them, so I dropped the letter in the trash. Several months later, I found there was a negetive mark on my B.B.B. score! Of course I was steamed! I called the B.B.B. and over the phone explained my side. The guy at the B.B.B. called me back after confirming my story.
On the phone he said, "I see you are not a B.B.B. member. If you would like to become a member, I can have this blemish removed from your record."
I asked, "How much is the membership fee?"
He replied, "Oh I would say $300.00 should do it."
That was when I learned the B.B.B. is a complete scam!
Think about that the next time some advertiser boasts their B.B.B. score! The main purpose of the B.B.B. is to sell good feedback to crooked people! I decided I would not play that game!
Last July a buyer in Hawaii returned a detector, also a free rent scam. But this time, the payment processor, "Pay Pal," awarded the crooked buyer a full refund . . . even before I even got the detector back! I'm telling you, an honest man has a target on his back! In both cases, these buyers were teenage children.
So, I have dusted myself off again and I am back in the game. My biggest problem in doing business has become the Internet in every way. So many people have become acustomed of buying online, anyone with a storefront shop is in for very hard times. The online sellers are highly competitive with each other and there are sellers working out of their homes, without much overhead at all.
So on one end, you have that online seller, and on the other end you have the uninformed buyer. The seller never gets to know his buyer . . . but often times I get to meet him. I watch him drive up, I watch him unload his new detector, I watch him walk through my door with a brand new detector and I am so thankful he can't know my thoughts.
What am I thinking? Most generally it is something like, "Why would anyone buy that?"
My biggest competitor happens to be a Michigan mail order seller who will take your order without question. He can't question your choice, because he knows far less than you do . . . far less. He conducts his business on e-Bay and on Amazon. The manufacturers send him multiple master containers (truck loads) of detectors just for Amazon sales, and most of the products sold on e-Bay are drop-shipped, so he never even sees the product.
When the manufacture gets a call from the puzzled customer in need of guidance, they are asked, "How far are you from Plainwell?"
The online dealer, who is too stupid to value the concept of "making a fair profit," makes next to nothing, and then I train the customer in the use of something he should have never purchased and . . . I make nothing.
Who has this affected? Are just the little brick & mortar storefront shops like mine taking the hit? Look around! Look at the big box stores that are closing . . . MC Sports, Gander Mountain and many others. Walmart is trying to compete online because they see the writing on the wall.
So enough of my belly aching. We have a bottle club to run. I posted a photo of my very rare Kalamazoo L.A. Carr, "North Shore Dairy" bottle on Vanished Kalamazoo and that really stirred up some interest! So I decided to follow up with my little ½ pint baby-face cream top Kalamazoo Quality Dairy bottle. And that really started the antique bottle interest!
Next, I really wowed them with one of my Madam Hobbs Beautifying Parlor bottles. I refered to it as "Skip-A-Bath." The group moderator asked, "Could you elaborate a little, Allan?"
I responded "The Madam Hobb's bottle isn't a real hard-to-find local bottle from about 1880-90's, I suspect a good one would fetch $80.00 to $100.00. I believe her services were available downtown. I also suspect this was something the younger crowd will be unfamiliar with, "Toilet Water," which was basically a very watered down perfume. If you reached the point where you smelled like someone dead was behind you, and the next bath was still a couple weeks off, this was a nice cover up. Sort of like a "pocket full of posies." I have long wondered if Madam Hobbs kept the good-stuff upstairs?
I have been able to talk about the antique bottle club and our upcoming show on Vanished Kalamazoo. These Facebook pages, with a good moderator, will be very popular, but they must have strict rules. Otherwise, they would be overwhelmed, with people pushing everything from Flex-Seal to Dr. Vince's Wart Removal Salve. I'm telling you, it has been fun, and I think there is growing excitment for the early bottles!
At the last meeting, we had a pretty good turnout. My sign-in sheet shows Ron Smith, Kevin Siegfried, Mary Hamilton, Reverend Leroy Otis Shapiro Parker, Tim Hayes, John Winkler, Vincent Grossi, Ed Nickerson and our latest addition to the member list, Jeremy Winkworth, who is the local Upjohn historian . . . pretty cool!
What treasures did we see? Some pretty cool stuff! Ron Smith showed us his "That's not a light bulb, this is a light bulb!"
If you didn't see Crocodile Dundee, you may not get the jest of that line. Ron's lightbulb isn't the largest I've seen but pretty close! Ron also brought a Duffy's Malt Whiskey bottle.
We decided on a theme of "Love" and "Valentine's Day." In fact, if you get the newsletter by snail mail, I sent each one a kid's penny Valentine's day card. I didn't think Eddy was going to want a date! Actually I sent him one with Wonder Woman on it and he was very happy!
Vincent found a little round bottle, still sealed with contents, called Valentines Meat Juice. One of the members questioned if it was a meat extract bottle out of Chicago. We have all seen them. I jumped to a conclusion: It was a product much like today's beef broth, only more concentrated. That little 3-inch bottle was supposed to contain the juice from 4 pounds of beef! Well, lo-and-behold it was a quack medicine!
Brought into production in Richmond, VA, in 1871, Valentine's Meat-Juice became popular with orthodox physicians and was advertised in professional publications, including the British Medical Journal. Its inventor, Mann S. Valentine, told of its origins in his "A Brief History of the Production of Valentine's Meat Juice," together with "Testimonials of the Medical Profession" (1874). A family member thought to be his wife, Anna Maria Grey Valentine, was in great danger from "severe and protracted derangement of the organs of digestion." She could not take normal food, yet none of the available invalid preparations could sustain her. She needed a safe, digestible and nutritious substance to keep her from starvation. Through experimentation, Valentine worked out a process of rendering all the goodness of raw meat into a highly condensed form from mechanical compression and low heat, retaining all the protein of the raw flesh. The standard dose was from half a teaspoon to two teaspoons diluted in water and taken by mouth. Some physicians preferred it introduced by enema. Two ounces of this mixture was to be administered every two hours 'as high up in the large bowel as possible.'
"Hey kids, don't try this at home!"
Vince also brought in a colorful tin of shoe grease! "Shoes don't leak when waterproofed with Neatslene Shoe Grease."
I still use Mink Oil shoe grease. I picked up my bottle at a little stand just south of where the ark came to rest after the flood.
Vince also displayed a little box of Dr. Wernet's Powder for false teeth. I still have my own teeth but I also remember tooth powder! I can even recall using baking soda for a while! My all time favorite toothpaste was Macleans. Do you remember that one? Vince also showed us a beautiful cobalt blue seltzer water, 'back-bar' bottle.
John Winkler was very excited to find a beautiful crown cap Vernor's bottle. I love Vernors and so does John. I have written-out the Vernor's story in past newsletters so I won't go into it now. The embossing on this beauty says, "Genuine Only When The Crown Cork Has The Design Above in Red." It is a beauty, John!
John Winkler also displayed a nice amber "Scott's Emulsion, Cod Liver Oil" bottle. I love the design used in their trademark of a fisherman dressed in the old norwegian oilskin suit carrying a large cod fish.
Tuesday my wife sent me a text saying our cat "Charlie" was sick. We inherited Charlie from my grandmother when he was about 3 years old. He was always a 'canned food' cat who preferred Nine Lives Whitefish. However, all of the cat food companies have cheapened their products by converting all varities to "Meaty Pate" which simply means they loaded it with undigestable filler!
On my way home and worried about my puppy, (I affectionately call him my puppy) I wondered as I drive, "Can I give a cat a suppository?"
Somehow I couldn't picture a good outcome. Next morning, before I was fully awake, this bulb goes off as big as Ron's . . . "Cod liver oil!" That's the key to unplugging my cat! Fish oil! Of course my wife is better at thinking things through. "You better not give him too much? What if it works too well?"
After we picked Madison up from school, we stopped by the health food store and picked up a bottle of Nordic Arctic Cod Liver Oil. It says it is for "heart, brain- health and optimal wellness."
We are hoping for optimal wellness, I guess. I added 4 drops to his food and from here we are going to hope everything comes out well. I decided on 4 drops for several reasons. The biggest being that a little 8 ounce bottle was $26.00!
John Winkler also displayed an assortment of Civil War relics from one of the final battles in late 1864, known as the Battle of Cedar Creek.
Jeremy Winkworth had some orginal labeled Upjohn bottles! Two from his growing collection included 'Syrup Chloral Hydrate' and a 'Three Valerianates with Musk Root.' I did a quick check on the word 'valerianates' and three sources said "obsolete, organic chemistry."
Mr. Chas Parker brought in a sparkling example of the wonderful old "Wm. Radam's
Germ, Bacteria and Fungus Destroyer !"
CURES ALL DISEASES
The embossing shows a healthy user of the product beating back the skeleton of death! I am pretty sure Chuck said he got this beauty from John Pastor. It is a sweet antique bottle!
Tim Hayes brought in a beautiful deep olive-green coffin flask!
Kevin Seigfried had an interesting bottle that had us all guessing. I was always told it was a pinch mold decanter. The other experts suggested a flower vase.
The whole idea around Valentine's Day was to bring in the bottles you love. I picked up a beautiful etched German flask with a zinc closure from the late 1700's, a pontiled Dr. Hoofland's German Bitters and a hand painted Bay Rum barber bottle.
This month will be a brief meeting to take care of bottle show business. I hope you are selling raffle tickets for the new Whites Treasure Master! Be sure to pick up more raffle tickets and show fliers at this meeting! Because of the Pizza Night, there will be no special theme, but we are always anxious to see your latest finds.
I sure hope you
make it to
ANTIQUE BOTTLE CLUB
315 South Rose Street
We meet on the third
floor in the conference room.
Meeting starts 7:00 pm.