ANTIQUE BOTTLE CLUB NEWS
Written By Allan C. Holden
BRING A FRIEND!
This is the last regular meeting before our 2021
Back in 1987 some of my metal detector customers approached me about starting a metal detector club. At that time, the metal detector sales where more of a sideline to my regular job, as sales manager at my father’s RV business. The only time I stepped away from that RV sales job, was in 1973 when America was hit by the Arab oil embargo and the RV business took a hard dive!
That was the start of the American’s first liberal bad dream! We were lied to, and suffered horribly from weak leadership, which was culminated in 1977 by Jimmy Carter . . . Mr. Milk Toast #1.
During that time, Detroit was persuaded to look to Europe as a role model for the auto industry. Instead of Europe looking to us for leadership, we whimpered off with our tail between our legs.
We went in America from building the highest quality, most- powerful cars and trucks, to building the most laughable under~powered junk anywhere!
Detroit started building Vegas and Pintos and America started importing Yugos from Yugoslavia, the ultimate insult. So, I left my father’s RV business, and then only back in on Saturdays to sell the metal detectors.
I took a job in a machine shop in Kalamazoo building experiential laboratory testing equipment for the paper and magnetic tape industry for companies like 3M.
By 1979, I returned full time to working for my father. At that time, I really promoted the metal detector sales.
When I was asked to start a metal detecting club, I declined because I was already burning the candle at both ends. Did I mention I had three young children to raise?
The pressure to start a club did not go away. I could see where a club could be very beneficial to my metal detector sales, but it would simply be too much work for me. In the mean time, a group of treasure hunters started a metal detecting club in the Grand Rapids area, which added more pressure on me to start a club in Plainwell. Finally, one of my customers asked me, “If we start a club in Plainwell, will you support us?”
My answer was, “Yes” so, we had our first organizational meeting in Richland, MI in 1989.
The new club had its ups and downs, mostly based on leadership. I let others run the club, and I only did the first two newsletters. I finally stepped in years later at a time when the club was floundering.
It wasn’t my intention to rush in like a Super Hero and rescue the club, actually I didn’t, that was a team effort, but nobody was doing the newsletter and I knew of no better way to help.
Even in this digital age, I believe a mailed-out, hard-copy of the club news, is vital to a healthy club. It is the one noticeable missing element found in any club’s failure. We are humans and the key element to our social behavior is communication.
I say all that to explain that this is the last club bottle club newsletter for the next three months, unless some special event comes along.
Since the pandemic began, it has been a struggle for me to do a newsletter. It is a challenge to type wearing a mask, with my undershorts on inside-out. This has been a totally unexpectedly busy year for the metal detector business. The hobby has been growing because of the increased interest in the treasure hunting channels on YouTube, and from cable TV. With the reality show, “Curse of Oak Island,” things have gone crazy!
But, add to the mix, Covid-19, and you have the perfect storm. People want something to do outside!
I have been an outspoken critic of the metal detector manufactures! I have been Mad about the utter stupidity of not being ready for spring sales each year! They have all winter to gear up for spring, and they are never ready!
This year was different, the product was available, when we really needed it . . for the average spring sales, but nobody figured in the Covid 19 factor!
One of the major detector producers in the world, based in the U.S., White’s Electronics, saw the pandemic as sure doom, so they boarded-up the factory and quit! After 70 Years!!! Had they been better prepared for spring, with this Covid virus, they would have had a record sales year, I am certain!
By the way, Whites is the company who built our raffle detector!
We lost two detector manufactures in the U.S. in 2020, Tesoro and Whites. Tesoro was the smallest and White the biggest! White’s didn’t all-of-a-sudden just vanish off the face of the earth, at least not as Tesoro did. White’s exited from the industry in an honorable way.
This all reminds me of the closing of Studebaker in South Bend. When they closed, they took care of all their customer’s needs, paid all of their debt, and dealt with their employees in a honest fashion. The last person out of the factory door turned out the lights, ten years after they ended production!
White’s is helping their dealers with unsold stock, by honoring their warranty for a minimum of three years. The hard part for me is, all the sudden, there is a lack of small parts! Whites had to pass all parts on to the last Whites service center. This move was to supply them for all possible warranty issues! So, now I struggle to get parts for my own store needs.
The detector wars for the last 50 years was one waged between the two giants in the industry, White’s Electronics, of Sweet Home, Oregon, and Garrett Metal Detectors located in Garland, Texas. . . the battle was relentless. I could swear they had spies in the industry . . . actually I was one!
For one example; Garrett came out with a new detector which they somehow kept under wraps, and when it finally came out, some of the technology took Whites by total surprise. Whites was anxious to dissect one! At a distributor meeting, my distributor said, “One of my dealers sells Garrett, I will have him get us one!”
“Well- hey, a sale is a sale right?”
So after White’s announced they were leaving the industry, a million things go through my mind. The loss of a product line hurts! White’s was more than just detectors! There were carry bags, diggers, pin-pointers beach scoops, headphones, coils and countless small parts.
Next, a rumor sprang up about a solid and aggressing manufacture in Turkey, Makro, one of my product lines, presenting an offer for the White’s name and all product rights. That was when Garrett stepped in and purchased White’s!
I was so excited to hear that! I grabbed my phone and called my dear old friend Mike, who has been my White’s distributor for decades! I asked him, “Mike, is Garrett going to treat you right? Will they keep you on as their White’s distributor?”
“Al, they didn’t buy White’s to build the White’s products, they purchased their number one competitor to bury them.”
My father had an old illustration he would use when an employee started threatening to quit, hoping to get a raise. When they started thinking they were worth far more than they were being paid, Dad would say; “Son your job is like holding your hand in a pail of water, pull out your hand, and tell me what size hole you left.”
When I had came back to work for dad, after leaving the machine shop, I was paid a small salary plus commission. I was very careful with my spending and we lived a very modest lifestyle. My parents taught me to be self reliant. However, my wife became very sick and insurance was basically unheard of at that time for people our age.
I was having a hard time making ends meet for sure. A trip to Meijers in Kalamazoo for groceries was typical for us because they were cheaper.
We would wander about the store taking in all the beautiful sights, steak, roasts, chicken, as we wandered down each aisle, but we were only dreaming. At the end of the day, we always checked out with a cart full of boxed macaroni and cheese and the cheapest hot dogs they sold. On the way home we stopped off for some day-old-bread!
I never blamed anyone for my shortfall, and was resigned to believe it was my own doing. I took a notepad and started a budget. But try as I did, I couldn’t make ends meet.
Eventually, I lost that wife, and later remarried. Now, today in a situation like this, my current wife always asks, “Did you pray about it?”
I really was urgently praying!
I was afraid to answer the phone for all the collection agency calls! One day at work our company truck was on the fritz, so our company driver, used my father’s personal truck on a parts run into Elkhart. During the day, Dad asked to borrow my car to go to a meeting. I handed him the keys and off he went.
I had been actively working on my family budget and that notepad was on the passenger seat wide open for the whole world to see, I never gave it a thought. When dad returned, he had noticed my number scratching, so he picked it up and looked it over. Trust me, what he was seeing was mission impossible . . . but it was my problem.
My father came over to hand me my car keys when he wrapped his long arms around me, which surprised me! As I stepped back I saw a tear stream down his cheek and he said, “I haven’t been paying you enough. . . I didn’t realize that. I am going to fix that.”
He did! . . Well, as my father would tell you, “God fixed it.”
Never be too big to seek out God in prayer. I have always seen God answer my prayers best when I am broken.
Are you ready?
Here I go! “We had another great meeting!” (Had to say it)
Here is a list of the many smiling, happy, faces I saw shining through all those stupid masks!
Jim Esther, Kelly Bobbitt, Len Sheaffer, Vincent Grossi, Robert Shoemaker, Gordon Hubenet, Tim Jassen, Robb Knolle, Kevin Siegfried, Ron Smith and Allan Holden.
We witnessed some great bottles at our April meeting!
I hadn’t seen my old friend Kelly recently, due to illness, first his, then mine! I knew if I baited the hook with a “Barber Theme,” for April, he would hit my bait! He did!
Just like Kelly, I do love the old barber collectibles! Any guy from our generation remembers trips to the barber’s shop. My earliest trip to the barber shop was when my mother or my grandmother would take me to a barber in Allegan, MI who was known as Mr. Pierce.
Looking back I suspect his early days of barbering may have well been in the military. I know for sure that I always left with a military style haircut! In my early days they had a board they laid across the barber chair’s armrest, to act as a booster seat for us little guys.
My most vivid memory about Mr Pierce was the way he controlled the positioning of my head. He had a grip like a vice! I came away with a haircut and a crushed skull!
In those days I had to get an allergy shot every week, and they hurt, burned, and left a blister, but that was more tolerable than those haircuts!
One of Kelly’s bottles was “Herpicide For Scalp and Hair.” bottled by the Herpicide Co. New York, NY.
Orginally called Newbro’s Herpicide, was developed at the end of the 19th century by Dupont M. Newbro, owner of Newbro Drug Company, a wholesale drug business in Butte, Mont. Mr. Newbro promoted the theory that a bacterium or “germ parasite” was the cause of dandruff, which then led to baldness. He claimed to have worked with a bacteriologist to create a formula that would kill the "dandruff germ." Hence the name Herpicide: Herpes (from the Latin "to creep") and cide ("to kill"). Newbro trademarked the word Herpicide in 1899.
The rights to the product changed hands, until the product Kelly displayed was bottled in New York. It was simply another patent medicine scheme to extract money from the trusting public.
In a 1890's newspaper ad, they claimed to inoculate a rabbit with “human dandruff germs.”
(No animals were hurt producing this newsletter)
(Which makes me wonder if there was a rabbit) Within six weeks, the rabbit went completely bald!
Can you imagine what that did for any young Buck’s prolific breeding habit, when the young Doe simply looked away without interest?
Hey! Wait just a minute! I was told that too much testosterone was the cause of my baldness? which also causes too many little bunnies! Did you know a baby rabbit is a kitten on my planet?
Another cute ad for Herbicide reminded me of the ZZ Top song that says, “Every girl’s crazy about a sharp dressed man!
“Always put your best foot forward is good advice. After washing the face and brushing the teeth, there is nothing in our scheme of cleanliness more important than reasonable attention to the hair. A man’s appearance is frequently an indication of his earning power. There is nothing we can do which will more greatly improve our appearance or add to one’s look of prosperity equal to the intelligent and regular use of a good scalp prophylactic.”
There you have it folks! What have I been telling you?
Another bottle from Kelly was: “Jeris Cream Hair Tonic” made by A.R. Winarick Inc, New Brunswick, NJ.
Even though the cream version is gone today, the grease-less version is still on the market! The Jeris Cream Hair Tonic from the 50's, a bottle like Kelly’s, (But not as nice is $50.00!! on e-Bay) I do remember using this product!
Kelly displayed a clear, tooled-top one-pint whiskey style flask, with a paper label
“Toris Compound Mixture” by the Globe Pharmaceutical Co., Chicago IL.
All the information I could find on this was in 1890's regional farming journals, where they basically called it snake oil!
This compound was to mixed, by the patient at home, for the fast relief from Rheumatism. You simply added one-ounce Toris Compound, one ounce Sarsaparilla, to one-half pint of good whiskey. Take a shot before and after each meal and another at bedtime. The results were said to be cumulative . . . the more you take, the more relief you will experience.
Talk about time in a bottle, I am feeling better by the minute!
I have a feeling Kelly’s best bottle was his; “Countryman’s Hair Dresser Deluxe.” It really is a perfectly cool barber bottle in every way possible! It has a long, fluted 'pinched-mold' neck on a bell-shaped bottle. It has the original zinc shaker top. It has a super neat black background, tin or heavy foil label, with raised, gold-embossed lettering.
The label states that it is 75% Alcohol! That should make your hair lay down!
I got a good picture of the label, but my full bottle photo came out terrible! So, if you come to the meeting, Kelly, I would like to get a better picture (Or buy it) I could not find any trace of this product on the Internet not even e-Bay!
Kelly has several other great Barber bottles that he displayed including a “Fetch Skin Prep,” an after shave tonic manufactured by Fetch Co. Saint Louis, MO.
Another great bottle was a Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower. I covered this product in the past. The seven girl’s were poor as dirt and mother would not cut their hair. In their teens their father was a country preacher and turkey farmer. The girls were talented singers and father showcased their talent in church. Their fame spread, not so much from their music.
By1884, the sisters had joined Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth as a sideshow attraction. P.T. Barnum himself dubbed them,
“the seven most pleasing wonders of the world.”
Between the money for the sideshow, and father selling his hair grow tonic, the family were worth millions in the 1890's! In 1884 alone, sales for the hair grower tonic was $90,000! It was sent to a chemist for testing, he publicly stated:
"I hereby certify that I found it free from all injurious substances.
It is beyond question the best preparation for the hair ever made and I cheerfully endorse it. — J.R. Duff, M.D., Chemist.”
(It was as safe as water)
Jim Esther brought in some fun bottles including a few modern era collectable sodas and a beautiful hinge-mold utility bottle in light teal aqua.
Robb Knoll had a cool item he displayed! Right up my old address! A shipwreck coin! As some know Rob is a professional scuba diver. Rob was an employee for the Kalamazoo Gazette for several years until they closed. Since then he has been working some fun jobs as well as leading dive trips! What a life!
On one trip into Florida, Robb happened to meet Mel Fisher a renown treasure Salvor, who had located Spanish shipwrecks off the coast of Florida after many years of searching.
The $450 million dollar treasure cache, or "Atocha Mother Lode" would be found on that momentous day, July 20, 1985. Over 40 tons of silver and gold were located including over 100,000 Spanish silver coins known as "Pieces of Eight", gold coins, Columbian emeralds, silver and gold artifacts and over 1000 silver bars were recover from the Atocha.
Rob has a hand struck reproduction silver coin made from treasure recovered from this wreck fleet!
I created a mystery by bringing in a Victorian Era Sliver Plated Pickle Caster a friend asked me to sell. She had the item on display in her own antique shop with a price tag marked $29.95. One of her friends saw it and was curious so she searched for similar caster values. She found one for over $1000.00 so she printed it out and went back to the shop.
She said, “Marva, you are my friend and look what I found online.”
Marva also knew a friend of mine, and he said, “Take it to Al, he will sell it for you on e-Bay.
I sold a gold championship Lion’s football ring for him. He was working as a golf caddy in the Detroit area when he was younger. He was waiting for his golfer to take his putt when he noticed a light glimmer in the turf. Before they moved on, he investigated the reflection and it was a large gold ring. The ring belonged to the player, Robert M. Miller, member of the 1953 Detroit Lions Champion Team. It was in like new condition when he pulled it from the golf green.
He made several attempts to return the ring and finally he did contact a family member, a couple times, but nobody returned his call so until the ring could be returned, his father wore it up until his passing. It was worn fairly smooth by that time. I sold it for a little over $2,000.00.
Marva brought me the pickle castor to sell, which I brought into the meeting for my favorite antique pickers to look over. Most said the $1,000 price was some dreamer . . . that happens! I am a dreamer!
Most of our club pros agreed on a figure between $200 to $300. The pattern on the glass is called “Daisy & Button” and it is Vaseline glass.
The guys told me it most likely is not the “True” Vaseline glass, also known as Uranium Glass. They said, “If it is Uranium Glass that could change everything. . . but don’t get your hopes up.”
I stopped at my store after the club meeting where I have a portable black light. When I passed it over the glass it glowed like a campfire! On further inspection we found a maker’s mark of “W” in a circle, which identifies the glasshouse as the original Wheaton Glassworks . . . this is the good stuff!!!
I have been too busy to build my auction page it will happen soon.
We had to push our plan to hold our one-year-delayed raffle drawing again! We still had some stubs that had not been returned. So this meeting it is a GO!
We can dump them into a simple box and stir them up unless someone has a rotating bingo rolling basket, that would be cool!
As we work with our new club management, the meetings have been great fun and we continue to grow! President, Rob Knoll, and Vice President, Vincent Grossi, have suggested this final meeting be bring a friend month.
Also, President Robb suggested a theme for this month should be
My granddaughter said when they located my downed spacecraft, there may have been a baby bottle from my home planet of “Nnoying” She is positive I am A-Nnoying. aka (Alien Holden)
Another theme suggestion was Indian Bottles. I guess he is talking about Firewater?
A little Native American humor there.
Be sure to thank Robb and especially Vincent for their hard work. Vince has made some great suggestions for the club web site, but I have been too busy to tackle them. I do plan to get this great ideas done very soon.
I like to answer my wife the same way Pa-Kettle answered his wife’s requests,
“I’m going to get at that . . . one of these days, Ma.”
The Meeting theme is:Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
FOREIGN "ALIEN" BOTTLES
Or, INDIAN BOTTLES
I suspect he means embossed with a Indian?
If you scroll down under this newsletter,
the background image is of the smoking lounge
in the 1911 Great Lakes Steamer "City of Detroit III"
I am a member of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit
and they salvaged this beautiful room and rebuilt it in their museum.
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
We meet at the
Otsego Historic Society Museum
Meeting date is MAY 11th at 7:00
Meeting starts at 7:00
TO THE MANY FACES OF TREASURE HUNTING
2132 Chaparral Kalamazoo, MI 49006