| A Time For Thanksgiving
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!
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
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!”
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
I have a couple of bottle-related items to share with you. I still get
a few inquiries generated from the newsletters posted online.
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!
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
grandparents. I had the greatest parents anyone could ever hope to have.
parenting, different teaching moments do present themselves. My parents
were very alert to watch for those moments, and patient to pass along
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!
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Another was a small Lenox lead crystal vase with a letter of
authenticity signed by the company president,
Martha A. Curren.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
a wonderful Thanksgiving!
The Kalamazoo Antique
meets at the main downtown
South Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI
We meet on the third floor in
the conference room.
This meeting is Tuesday,
To The Many
Faces Of Treasure Hunting