VOL. 16  NO. 3                                              Written By  Allan C. Holden                                                    November 2018



  A Time For Thanksgiving

Hello Friends!

        Here I am again, all you antique bottle lovers! I’m here to wish you and yours a bountiful harvest season, one overflowing with thankfulness.

        I was talking to Chuck Parker, our beloved Club President, hoping that I could give each of you an update on Chuck’s condition, and his doctor’s plan for treatment. As I mentioned last month, Chuck had a CT scan which revealed a torn tendon. That is an issue that will require surgery to repair.

        Chuck’s doctor referred him to a specialist who works in that field. After reviewing the condition as seen in the CT scan, and after considering Chuck’s overall history, with the replacement knees, the situation does not look good.

        Chuck told me that the doctor’s prognosis was that he may not walk again. The doctor mentioned, “With the surgery you may have a 20% chance of walking.”

         I am no expert, but when they discovered the tendon problem, suggested surgery and several weeks of physical therapy, I took the greatest encouragement from hearing about the physical therapy. Even still, it sounds like the physical therapy may indeed be the answer to improve Chuck’s chances before surgery. There was some mention about Chuck’s inactivity contributing to his problem. . . which was indeed the reason for having the knee replacement . . . it is a vicious cycle.

        All along, the goal of fixing the knees was to make Chuck more active. Well, think about how Chuck must feel-- can you do that?

        Up until my doctor looked me straight in the eye and said, “You have cancer,” the word cancer to me was a death sentence. Well, that was 10 years ago.

        Chuck said to me, “I look around and see people who are much worse off than I am, so I can find much to be thankful for.”

         Chuck mentioned that other than the walking part, “I am feeling pretty good.”

        One of the senior service organizations made him a ramp out to his garage, and they also modified the threshold leading out to his back deck, and installed some hand rails in his privy after moving it inside the house.

        For the last three decades of doing snow removal for his neighbors, now they are stepping up to help him with
yard work! Picture this, Chuck managed to get his scooter out in the yard where he started raking leaves. Chuck told me he wasn’t trying to stage a sympathy play; he just wanted to get out of the house! Clearly a scene like that would tug at your heartstrings!

        So, I am thinking- - let’s build on this sympathy aspect! With the right cardboard sign, and access to the right intersection, $400.00 per hour would be a conservative estimate. Tossing in a white cane with a red tip would push the total past $600.00!

         Have you ever wondered which Federal tax form panhandlers use? I was sure I saw one of those guys downtown Kalamazoo with a “Now accepting debit and credit cards,” on his sign.

         Did you know that certain street corners are assigned to the street beggars? It is true! And yes, I heard that these folks do bring in a lot of cash!

          Last month, Scott Hendrichsen, was determined that Chuck was going to be at the October meeting by-hook-or-by-crook. That really picked up my spirit, and Chuck was thrilled at the thought! But, at the last minute, Scott suffered an attack of diverticulitis! He was in such pain that he checked into the hospital express care and neither one made it to the meeting!

          As soon as Chuck called me, it was a little too late for me to run from Plainwell all the way out to Portage and get back to the meeting.

          Helping out may have been easier than I thought. The thought of Chuck getting in and out of my Truck was a little overwhelming because it rides high. I have been giving Mary a ride home after the club meetings and it is a real challenge for her to get into my truck. Chuck said “No way!”

           So the plan is, for Scott, or whomever, to drive Chuck’s new van from Chuck’s house to the meeting and back. If that sounds like something you can help out with, let me or Chuck know. I will check in with Scott before the meeting as well.

          Do you realize how long Chuck has served as both our club president and club treasurer? We certainly can be thankful for his friendship, and his dedicated service!

  Bottle News

           I have a couple of bottle-related items to share with you. I still get a few inquiries generated from the newsletters posted online.

          People think that every bottle they find in the woods is a rare treasured antique worth thousands! That is where I come in. I try to let them down easy. The hardest part of being the appraiser is when they find out the dump they just emptied is worthless; then they want me to have them!

          When deer hunting season rolls around, seeing truckloads of bottles found in the woods is fairly common. The really hard part is when you tell them the bottles are not antique. Usually they dispute that, insisting they were told the bottles are from the 80's. Puzzlement leads to shock when you tell them “Wrong 80's.”

           Next, I direct the bottle’s new owner back to the place they found the bottles for a proper burial. I don’t usually suggest my dumpster, because they might think I am working a hustle!

             In the last newsletter I went into great detail about the evolution of different bottle closures. I happened onto that topic because I felt there was a need to explain the English Codd soda that Scott had displayed at the September meeting.

           I took some playful kidding from a couple of members about running on like I did explaining about bottle collecting class 101.

          I will admit that I was ‘preaching to the choir.’ That thought had crossed my mind as I was writing on the subject. The reason I continued on with the topic is very easy to explain. We have a few newer members who are fresh into this wonderful hobby and we are foolish to assume they have learned all this stuff.

          Another aspect to the club, one that many of you are not aware of, is that through our online Internet presence, people follow our newsletters from all over the world. I am not exaggerating. I know this because these people contact me from everywhere asking questions.

          How does that work? Suppose somehow you acquired an old bottle, one that is embossed, “Mrs S. Allen’s World’s Hair Restorer,” and you want to find out more information. If you are like 90% of Americans, two words pop into your head, “Google it!

          How can Google find the answers? Search engines like Google and YaHoo have what is known as web-crawler technology. The web crawler enables them to harvest data from all parts of the Internet. They harvest key words and process them using algorithms to group-up the topics and connect the subject with a web address.

         When the name of “Mrs. S. Allen’s World’s Hair Restorer,” comes into a Google search engine, faster than you can blink your eye, Google searches its data base, then, they direct the Google user to where that information was harvested. In many cases that hit will be www.kalamazoobottleclub.org.

        At sometime in the past, Google harvested information from our newsletters, which is an ongoing process as you read this. If Mrs Allen’s was mentioned in one of the newsletters, the person searching is directed to that location.

        Two resources I use to look up information for these club newsletters is Google and the auction site e-Bay.

        Many times I will Google a bottle’s name or a manufacturing company from back in the 1800's and Google will refer me - - to me! Of course I know for a fact that guy is an idiot!

        In many aspects of life we are guilty of NOT passing information along to the next generation. Maybe we think the next guy will do it, or it is the “teacher’s job.” Then we look on in bewilderment as we wonder why so many young people do not find interest in this amazing hobby.

        Educating our youth is everyone’s responsibility. This is not just true in antique bottle collecting hobby, this spills over into every aspect of life.

         Even God’s example to His people was to instruct the younger generations. I can honestly say that the most important things in life . . . I learned from my parents and grandparents. I had the greatest parents anyone could ever hope to have.

          With good parenting, different teaching moments do present themselves. My parents were very alert to watch for those moments, and patient to pass along their wisdom.

          Unfortunately when I was six years old they had not yet visited the topic, “Do not pour gasoline from a can into flames.”

         Only by the grace of God am I hear to write about this! My friend was visiting our house after school and we were drawing pictures. He had sketched a stick man with a male appendage. He thought it was funny, but I only saw it as trouble if my folks ever saw it.

         I put the picture into the burner barrel and lit it, but the paper only smoldered. I was so afraid of getting into trouble that I grabbed my father’s can of lawn mower gas. And as you would expect, the flame and the gas fumes collided and the can exploded!

          There must have been an angel between me and the gas can because I wasn’t hurt. The fire burned the paint off the neighbor’s garage! Yes, all that the trouble I was trying so hard to avoid . . . I ran headlong into it!

         Another example; jumping ahead to July 4th, 2018. On the 5th of July, this past summer, my little nephew went to a local golf course to play a round of golf with his friends. I still think of him as little, but now he is about 21 years old.

           The day before, on the 4th, the golf course had a professional fireworks display. Or, at least we know a piece of professional fireworks had been used at that location, and one element had failed as a ‘dud.’

           I think it may have been one of those big mortar launched rockets. We have all seen them go up high up and burst into a sparkling star with a cluster of thundering-loud explosions. One of these charges fell to earth unexploded.

           In building a firework to perform as designed, those charges are bundled around the main charge. The biggest difference in the professional fireworks and the ones we buy from the tent in a store parking lot is that they are not propelled as rockets, they are launched from a mortar tube. This sends the display higher making them safer and allows them to be more spectacular.

         When the main charge explodes, it lights and sends the cluster charges out.

          I know enough about explosives to know they make fuse materials which burn at different speeds. Some fuses burn slowly, others can burn extremely fast! In this case, the cluster charge used a “flash” fuse but it failed to ignite and the explosive fell to earth.

          My nephew took it home and lit it. With his girlfriend and little sister present, the fuse lit and immediately exploded taking his right hand with it! The explosion caused brain trauma and he lost most of his hearing! When I was told about it, my first question was, “Could they save the hand?”

        The answer was, “It was gone, it was “pasta sauce” gone!”

          I can clearly remember getting that fireworks lecture as a boy! In fact, we were taught to have a high deal of respect for sparklers!

          So, maybe you know some youngsters who could benefit from you sharing this story?

            I am planning to offer, on our club web site, information on the following subjects: Basic Bottle Dating, Embossing, Pyro-Glaze, Color, How to spot a fake. We have so much to share and I feel that it is our responsibility to pass this information along.

           For example the beginner should learn: when dating a bottle, never kiss on the first date. If she seems flawed, it adds to her character. Don’t judge by her mouth, lips and neck alone, sometimes her best can be spotted by examining her bottom.

          One of you guys, I think it was either Kevin Siegfried or Mark McNee, gave me a listing of Michigan Bitters from 1830 to 1905. This amazing list is complete with the name of the products, company’s name, city and manufacturing date!! It is an extensive work that was compiled by six Michigan collectors back in the 1970's! What a treasure! I am hoping to make that available on the web-site.



We had a gay old time at the last meeting!

I told you that I have started reinstating some wonderful old adjectives that have been wrongfully hijacked and corrupted. It is hereby acceptable to be “Gay” without feeling embarrassed. . . so much for that.

 The list of dignitaries present at the last meeting contains the following names: John Winkler, Mary G. Hamilton, Robert Knolle, Ron Smith, Ed Nickerson, Kevin Seigfried, Kelly Bobbitt, Jeremy Winkworth, and little Allan C. Holden.

              Vincent Grossi had sent me a text message that his shop was gearing up for flowering Christmas plants, so he had to work.

              We did see some interesting treasures at the last meeting! John Winkler brought in an unembossed 7-UP green utility bottle. I have heard my mentors call this style, shape and size a “Capers” bottle.

            Whenever I refer to a Caper, the question pops up, “What is a Caper, apart from a Batman and Robin assignment?”

            There’s a plant grown mostly in the Mediterranean area named Capparis Spinosa. When the plant creates a bud in the spring, of course it is going to be a flower. However, if you pick the bud before it becomes a flower, that’s a caper. Properly it should call it a caper bud; the whole plant is a caper plant and it has various parts, but what we all call a caper is a caper bud.

            Capers are processed like olives. When the caper is not processed with vinegar or salt, it is bitter, much like the olive. If the caper bud is not picked, it will turn into a very lovely white flower with long delicate lavender stamen. After the flower drops away, the plant produces a fruit called a “Caper Berry,” but it is the pre-flower bud that is mainly used. In some Greek dishes, even the Caper leaves are used. Some parts of the plants are also used in the cosmetic industry.

            Another bottle John Winkler showed was an 1890's dark amber chemist bottle.

            Another was a small Lenox lead crystal vase with a letter of authenticity signed by the company president,

Martha A. Curren.

            Lead is used in many “Lead Crystal” items because of its effect on the molecular structure of the glass, making the glass appear more radiant or have more sparkle. The glass is also slower to harden making it more desirable for artists to work with.

       The danger in the small amounts of lead leaching into a beverage would be noticeable if the lead container would be used over a long period of time. If you keep brandy in a lead crystal decanter, there is some question whether or not you should worry. If you are troubled about the lead, the booze is likely far worse.

            My oncologist told me that everyone goes through a stage where cancer may exist in their body, then our system rids us of the danger. Think of it like a tiny spark that starts to glow, then your immune system snuffs it out. Add alcohol to your system and it is like pouring gas on that spark. She didn’t say alcohol causes cancer, but it can help it start and increase its speed.

            Kevin displayed a nice 1 pint Kerr Self Sealing Wide Mouth Mason Jar. Kerr had many glasswork locations and this was produced at the Sand Springs, Oklahoma, plant. This Sand Springs operation opened in 1912 and Kevin’s jar is dated August 1st 1915.

            Kevin brought in a wonderful embossed baby bottle with an interesting story behind it. The bottle is a Walker Gordon Modified Milk. The bottle has a slight pink tint and a short neck. It has a small mouth and a tightly rolled lip for holding a rubber nursing nipple.

            Kevin gave me some material he used in researching the product.

            In early 1891, Dr. Thomas M. Rotch of Boston, MA determined that infant deaths could be greatly reduced by careful prescription feeding. He met with Mr. Gustavus A. Gordon, a scientist, and they came up with modified cow's milk in an effort to more closely resemble human mother's milk. Mr. George H. Walker, a Boston businessman, was interested in the project and was the one who supplied the financing. The first laboratory opened in Boston on December 1, 1891.

            The team decided that in order to produce a clean milk, they needed their own farm. So in 1897 Walker-Gordon purchased 180 acres of prime farmland in Plainsboro, New Jersey, halfway between New York City and Philadelphia, on a main highway and a few hundred yards from the mainline Pennsylvania Railroad.

            Walker-Gordon’s products exceeded all of the standards of health for that time. They marketed "Guaranteed Milk" which later became known as "Certified Milk". Many of the concepts and procedures developed by Walker-Gordon are considered standard practices on today's dairy farms.

            In 1929 the Borden Co. purchased Walker-Gordon. In 1930 they invented the soon to be world famous Rotolactor. Borden wanted to have a topnotch dairy exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair, so they built a " Rotolactor." It was a giant, glass-enclosed turntable on which cows were milked by automated machines. The Rotolactor was a modern marvel. Cows entered the building and were washed, then loaded onto the carousel. Hoses were attached to their udders for milking. When the milking was completed, they exited, the stall was hosed off and another cow climbed on board. The Rotolactor was very futuristic and a hit with fairgoers, but it was only used twice a day during milking and crowds were thin in-between. Borden had to come up with an idea quickly to keep people interested in their exhibit. They decided that they needed a celebrity to promote Borden's products and draw a crowd.

            Searching for a solution, Borden's ad agency scanned a list of questions asked by visitors. They were amazed to find that six out of every ten asked, "Which cow is Elsie?" Elsie was an animal that existed only in a series of cartoon magazine ads for Borden milk. Could Elsie be the solution? The agency combed the Borden herd of 150 Fair cows and quickly settled on a good-natured, big-eyed Jersey named "You'll Do Lobelia." She was re-christened Elsie, put on the Rotolactor between milkings, and a celebrity was born. People lined up to see the famous cow with the daisy necklace. By the time the Fair closed in 1940, "Elsie" had become its #1 attraction.

            After the Fair, Elsie went on tour. She was the guest of honor at press dinners in swank New York clubs. She starred in an RKO feature, "Little Men," in 1940. She made a series of cross-country appearances in her custom 18-wheeler (later dubbed the "Cowdillac"). But on April 16, 1941, while on her way to Shubert Alley in the Theater District of New York City, her truck was hit from behind by another truck while stopped at a traffic light on Route 25 in Rahway, NJ. She suffered neck and spine injuries and was returned to her home at the Walker-Gordon Farm in Plainsboro, NJ.

            The veterinarians determined that she could not be saved so she was "put to sleep" and buried on the farm. A headstone was erected at the farm's entrance, praising her as "one of the great Elsie's of our time." Borden quietly christened a new Elsie and the promotional juggernaut moved forward, unaffected.

            In 1944 the Borden Company sold the dairy and the Jeffers family became the principal owners. From its small beginning, Walker-Gordon, by 1945, had grown to be the world's largest Certified Milk Farm.

 This Month

                 We are moving right into the season of Thanksgiving and I am so very thankful for each of you.
      For a theme this month, let’s bring in seasonal bottles and recent finds.

              We have been having fun getting mountains of leaves raked up and all of our winterizing done.
       It has been difficult getting a news letter written. I am hoping to see you at the next meeting.
        For those of you who read the newsletters in far away lands, thank you for supporting the club.

 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


 The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club

 meets at the main downtown

 Kalamazoo Library,

 315 South Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI 

We meet on the third floor in the conference room.

This meeting is Tuesday, NOVEMBER 13th.
 Meeting starts

7:00 pm.

 For questions



                             To The Many Faces Of Treasure Hunting