Vol 21  No. 7        Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News           March 2024
                                           Member Club F.O.H.B.C.
                                        Written By:  Allan C. Holden


Big Show!

            Wow! Can you believe it? We have survived yet again another Michigan winter!
     Actually, it wasn’t so bad, I only started my snow blower 2 times!
           Just outside of our Church door, we have a little flower garden named for a dear friend of mine, Corky Fritz. Corky came down with throat cancer about the same time I did, but God chose to take her home to be with Him, and, I envy her . . .  and Him!
    As I left the Sunday morning service, the spring sunshine was warm on my shoulders. As I reached for the hand rail to go down two steps, there in Corky’s Garden, set aglow in the sunlight,  were the most beautiful royal-purple crocus flowers with glowing bright yellow stamen. Only God could create such a beautiful flower! And oh the timing!
     For it to rise-up from winter’s death, with such beauty and majesty just before we remember the Lord’s resurrection on Easter Sunday!

    Already I can hear birds starting to chirp and I noticed that our male cat is getting restless!
    But, most people start to believe we have made a clean break from winter when the Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show  rolls into town!
    Well boys and girls, this is the last meeting that we will have before the bottle show, and we really are counting on everyone to step to up to the plate.
     I covered many of the show details in the last newsletter.

    Part of being a club member has always meant serving as show help . . . if at all possible. Our club has been growing these last few years, but the numbers we have are spread over a very large area. That means we really count on our small local members in a big way.

     Please come to this meeting and ask, “How can I help?”
    I am going to highlight here, the items John Pastor highlighted in the show contract;

         This is the 43rd Annual Antique Bottle Show and Sale. It is at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds, 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, MI.
    The show runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on April 6th 2024.
Hotel Information: A group rate is offered with the promo code, “2024 Bottle Club” it is at the Clarion Inn, 3640 East Cork Street, at exit 80, I-94.  You must call prior to Monday, April 1st.  Call ASAP at these rooms sell out quickly!
    Dealer set-up is from 8:00 to 10:00 am Saturday morning April 6th.
    Sales tables must have a table cover the fairgrounds do not provide these.
    PLEASE NOTE! We ask all dealers to remain set up until 2:30 pm, please!
     Name Tags 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.
 You must have a table cover!
    Exhibits will be limited to: Antique Bottles, Jars, Flasks, and related glass. Also stoneware, advertising and small table-top antiques are permitted.
    PLEASE!  no flea-market items, Avon Bottles, new  merchandise, Jim Beam bottles, beer cans, etc.
    Any irradiated bottles or jars must be clearly marked.

         I want to encourage each of you to make every effort to be at this meeting please!

Last Meeting
    Yep, you guessed it, we had a great time at our last meeting!
And we certainly  had a good turnout for our Valentine’s Day Love- Fest!

    Here is a list of cupid’s love struck victims!
Vincent Grossi, Kelly Bobbitt, Dave Wilkins, Brian Wages, Katie Wages, Mary Gale, Ashley Carlson, Len Sheaffer, Kevin Siegfried,
Scott Hendrichsen, Elmer Ogg, Ron Smith, Roger Denslow,
Steve Deboode, Rob Knolle and Al Holden.
    We had several members bring their membership club dues up-to-date, both at the meeting,  and recently in the mail. Vincent tells me the current paid membership is at 40!

    There are yet a few of you out there who are still getting a hard copy of the newsletter, and we haven’t heard you from recently.
    Next month, I will have to cut back on the mailing list. Most folks are paid, but I think just to be fair, I am sending out a dues reminder card. If you are unsure where you stand,  please call me.
     (At 93 our senior member) 

           On the other hand, if the $10.00 is a hard bite, we certainly can come up with a payment plan. I figure 84¢ per month by check or money order, plus the postage cost to mail the 84 ¢  and those envelope costs, it will would get you well up-to-speed for about $30.00 with just 12 easy payments.
    Or you can mail $10.00 and Save Big Money, just  like at  Menards.

    At the meeting we talked about having elections for club officers during the May meeting. That means, we need to have nominations for officers at the April meeting . . .  which is shortly after the show.

    Our club,  President, Rob Knolle, is stepping down after this term. Thank you Rob for your service!
    This means the Office of President will be open.

    I have been doing the newsletter for over 22 years and I will continue to. But, if someone is interested in taking the job I would be happy to step aside. It is no big deal really.

    But, I am also doing the job of treasurer and that is one job I am not very good at.
    Another consideration is . . . and maybe I have been doing the club a disservice?  I have been donating at least
3-or-4 days each month to the creating a hard copy newsletter, as well as a digital newsletter.
    I have been  paying for printing, postage and mailing supplies, as well as all costs for the club’s Internet domain . . . at my expense.
Please understand I did this because I wanted to.
Now, at $10.00 per  year for a membership dues, that is something the club cannot afford to do on its own.

    I am turning 73 this year and I would like to retire . . . Lord willing. These are some things to discuss.

    Also, we heard that, John Pastor, our Show Chairman is stepping down as Show Chairman  after this show.
    The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show is a legendary event, because of John and his years-and-years of dedication!
    Ashley Carlson has graciously offered to be a co-chair for the show, so we need to find one, or more, who are willing to learn what we can from John. . .  I know John will help.
    But, overall, we need to pray for leadership and guidance at this time.

Meeting Treasures
    We had some unusual items at our last meeting, and one was a real puzzler! It was a  heavy glass ladle with a heavy  wire handle, owned by, Brian Wages.
     I did a Google - photo search! This Google Photo Search is neat technology,  which for the most part makes a search based on the shape of the item in question.  Google’s A.I. ‘artificial intelligence’ sees a tea strainer! Oh well . . .
    One person I showed a photo to, told me it may be a heat proof Pyrex ladle that is used for melting wax in candle making?
    That triggered a childhood memory for me. When I was in elementary school, in Otsego, after school, I would walk two blocks to the Michigan Cottage Cheese plant. My Grandfather on my mother’s side, Max Loebel, started the company.
     Also, my grandmother on my father’s side, worked in the salad production department.
    I was treated like royalty being the owner’s first and favorite grandchild!
    I could always count on My grandma Holden treating me to some fresh salted celery sticks which I loved!
    When I was at the Cheese Plant, I loved to watch the workers in their full-white coveralls, wearing hair nets, or caps,  standing in giant stainless steel vats of cottage cheese.  With big shovels they would scoop up the fresh cheese curd and pile it up on both  sides of the vat. That allowed the whey to run off down the bottom of the vat to a drain.
    During the cooking process, done on a large industrial scale, be it cottage cheese, potato salad, baked beans or any one of a dozen products, an industrial size Pyrex ladle would be put to good use! I can see a ladle like this one being  used to add liquid rennet to a large vat of milk.
    Being made from glass it would be easy to sanitize, which is very
important in the dairy business.     
   I have to chuckle, my dear Step-Father, the late Howard Norton, was a driver for Holland’s Dairy. He went around to the local farms and picked up those big  cans of milk from the farmers.

    He told me that when they got back to the dairy, the first step was to use a wood mallet and knock the lid off the milk can. Next, they would  skim any dead flies off the top! Dead flies do float . .  thank goodness!
    Next, they tested the milk for butterfat content . . .  because some farmers would water it down! I am certain this was all done with an industrial size ladle!  Being in the dairy trade I am sure it was heavy  glass. Maybe?
    Dave Wilkins displayed  a really cool, Hinged Cork Press!
I do not remember seeing one before!
    This hinged iron tool  was used to squeeze a fresh new cork stopper, of whatever size that was needed, and compress it tight so it would  easily fit into the bottle neck. The compression made the cork more dense as well as tighter fitting for a better air tight seal. This  little hinged press has different sized openings for different size corks.
    Corks are really not hard to come by. Cork is a product that has been around for centuries. When I was in my original store location, I had lots of wall space so, I put up shelves to display my antique bottles. But, to increase the wow factor, I purchased some food coloring  and filled them with different colored water.
    First step was, I washed them with an anti-bacterial soap to prevent mold growth. Next, I picked up bags of bottle corks at Walmart, each bag had an assortment of sizes.
    Knowing that in-time they will dry out, I put a fine coating of clear silicone on the cork. This made it easy to insert  and gave it a lifelong seal.
    Corks are made from the tree bark of Cork Oak trees. Each bark can be graded by the corks purity in its flesh from flaws and imperfections that would prevent a good seal.
XXX Standard Grade Cork is for - Dry Goods, Salts, Crafts and Standing Liquids.
XXXX Premium Grade - are for Laboratory, Fragrances, Oils and Moving Liquids.
Extra Select Grade - are premium for High Value Liquids, Perfume and Spirits.  
    Corks prematurely drying out, has always been the issue-of-contention in the business of  sealing any glass bottle containing liquid.
    This was a huge issue for British exporters when they were wanting to ship beverages across the ocean to the States on slow undependable sailing vessels.
     Hence, the invention of  the round bottom bottle! They had to lay down . . . which keep the cork from drying out!  
    Dave Wilkins showed up with a beautiful corn flower blue, CLARKE’S WORLD FAMED BLOOD MIXTURE.
    This beauty is a turn-of-the-century English bottle and a product that goes back to the 1860's The product  was a patent medicine which proved to be extremely popular.
    By 1868 the demand for this product encouraged him to move to a larger lab.  He named his new premises ‘Apothecaries Hall’. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world bought his ‘Blood Purifier’.

    It was claimed to be a  cure for numerous and varied complaints, including sores, glandular swelling, skin complaints, scrofula, scurvy, cancerous ulcers, bad legs, rheumatism, gout, sore eyes, dropsy, pimples, blackheads and piles.
     It was advertised as ‘The Finest Blood Purifier that Science and Medical Skill have brought to Light’.
    However, like the multitude of other ‘cure-alls’ on the market at the time, it was of questionable medical benefit to the countless thousands of people who bought it.
    The British Medical Association analyzed Clarke’s product in 1909,  and revealed that the contents were mainly water, a little sugar, a tiny amount of alcohol with traces of chloroform and ammonia.

    It was also calculated that the cost of the ingredients of a standard bottle was around one  penny but the product was being sold for almost thirty times that amount.

    A nice Pharmacy bottle, which Dave has is from South Haven, MI. It is embossed “Abell’s Popular Drug Store, South Haven.”  I do know there is a street in South Haven named Abell.
This bottle is a small clear medicine bottle with the dose marks on each side.

    Another beauty is from the town of my birth, Allegan, MI. It is also a small clear medicine bottle embossed J.H. VanNess MD. Allegan Mich.
    It is kind of neat that the Doctor was also dispensing his own medicines.
    My doctor in Allegan was Dr. James Edward Mahan who delivered me in Allegan, July 7th 1951.
    Doctor J.H. Van Ness passed away in Allegan in 1951.
He was J. Howard VanNess MD born in 1872 - 1951 died at age 79.  His wife was Mertie A. VanNess born 1875 and died 1911 at 36 years old. Most of their family seemed to settle in the Trowbridge area . . . my father’s boyhood stomping grounds.
    Ashley Carlson displayed some colorful small poison bottles each with to-the-touch warning embossed right into the very feel of the bottle “BEWARE!” They were in cobalt blue and seven-up green. She also had two small purse size smelling salts or pill bottles.

    Elmer Ogg brought along a bottle some of us remember, it is one of my favorites. If ever there was a bottle suitable for a Valentine theme this is it!
It is a “John Hart’s Hair Restorer and Scalp Renovator, Landcaster, PA.”
    This bottle is so beautiful! It is a sparkling attic-mint warm deep-amber, and it is in the shape of a heart! Elmer even found a copy the original art drawing submitted to the patent office!
    To test the “Scalp Renovator” aspect, Apache Indian’s tested the product on their decades old scalp collections with excellent results! 

The Meeting theme is  Easter, Spring, Spiritual and Recent Finds!
   There will be a $5.00 Table!   

    The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
Meets At the
 Otsego Historic Society

Meeting date is
  MARCH 12th
 at 7:00 pm
The Museum is located at 218 N. Farmer St. Otsego, MI
Meeting starts at 7:00

Phone 269-685-1776
    Web Address