Vol. 9 No. 10                                                                                                                            October 2011

Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club of the F.O.H.B.C.

Great Club Meeting & Pizza Party!

It already happened!

    Who would ever think that free pizza from one of the best pizza joints in the state would bring friends together? Well, that may have had something to do with it! We saw some smiling faces that we could only recall seeing in our 6th grade history books! Of course I'm teasing you; it was a blast! I wish we could do it every month!

    How can I put the smell, taste and texture of that melt-in -your-mouth pizza in a newsletter? It really is a thing of beauty! Thank God for Bimbo's and their commitment to consistent quality. I think I'll take my wife and granddaughter for pizza tonight! See, I told you I'm a salesman!

    My wife was grateful for the pizza that you all bravely donated for her. That was surely an act of self discipline and amazing generosity! Fortunately, she will not eat any slice of pizza that has come anywhere near a black olive, so I had to force most of it down myself.

    We really did have a great meeting! Here is the list of folks who signed my autograph book. Steve DeBoode, Sam Coppola, Elmer Ogg, Tim Hayes, Scott Hendrichsen, LeRoy Otis Parker, Dee Cole, Mary Hamilton, Bill Drake, Edward Nickerson, Kevin Seigfried, Mark McNee, Marty McNee and Al Holden. Actually, I forgot to sign the list but I remember all the fun, so I must have been there.

    Isn't that a wonderful group of people? I had not seen Sam Coppola in a long while and it was good to visit with him. You know, it wasn't all about pizza. We did see some great glass and other treasures at the meeting. As usual, I'll post a few pictures in the online newsletter.

Steve DeBoode had some great stuff that he displayed at the meeting. Thinking back, I should have made an offer on a couple pieces. One bottle Steve displayed was a German Beer bottle from Nurnberg. He pointed out that it had the silhouette of a "caricature" of a black man embossed on the bottle. Steve also had a figural souvenir bottle in the shape of the White House. As he held up the beer bottle he said, "If you look at this one you will see what looks like a Black Man."

I held up the White House bottle and said, "Same here." (Guess you had to be there.)

We also saw a nice Kalamazoo Quality Dairy bottle in the quart size with the baby face cream top. I think those are pretty cool! I have the one-pint Quality Dairy baby face. I should have made an offer on this one. I just don't think of things on-the-spot anymore. My brain is on a 12 hour delay. And to think I'm still driving a car!

Kevin always has something special to show off. At the last meeting he showed us a really cool Fisher Price toy wind up elephant. That is when we learned that Steve DeBoode knows his Fisher Price toys! This antique toy 'wound up,' but it just didn't seem to have enough steam to go anywhere. That is when Steve stepped in to teach us all about "Ramp Walkers!" Steve propped up a table on one side and the little elephant, using gravity for an extra boost, walked down the table.

Kevin said he was going to post the toy on e-Bay for a 5 day auction. That is something I wanted to see!

  Kevin gave me his e-Bay seller ID, and I have to say, as a long time e-Bay'er, I was impressed! He has 3,780 positive feedbacks and counting! As I just checked, he has a head gasket for a Henry J! Hey! I have always wanted a Henry J! Kevin also has a box of red marbles that

are 'shooting' right up there! He does up some very nice auctions with excellent photos and good descriptions---not to mention he has some very cool stuff!    (ziggy**1) on e-Bay.

Another neat item I should have purchased was a little Kalamazoo drug store bottle that contained Rose Lavender that read, "For the handkerchief." It was from J.L. Wallace, 115 South Burdick, Kalamazoo, MI. I put a picture of it on my Facebook page with the caption, "What's in your hanky?"

The whole bunch of us headed to Bimbo's. Chuck, Scott and I were about the last ones to head out and one of the guys suggested that I call over and warn them that 15 of us were on our way. The lady who always takes such great care of us said, "Oh no! Not tonight!"

Well, it was too late! And, as always, we received the best pizza and best service!

For some reason I think she was the one who won the metal detector from the 2009 bottle show raffle. The funny thing about that was Scott made her a cash offer for the detector and he ended up with it. Then several months later Scott wanted me to sell it for him. Well, I wasn't kidding when I told everyone what a
great little detector the F-2 is!

I keep one for my own personal use. They are light as a feather and they punch through the ground to find the deep stuff! Chuck and Scott just made their annual pilgrimage to the south to do some Civil War relic hunting. Scott wanted Chuck to update his detector. I told Scott that I would loan Chuck my detector. I don't know if he realizes that it is the same model that passed through his hands or not. It could actually be the same one!

I understand they took Scott's live Civil War Parrot Shell back down south to have it disarmed. So, if they don't blow to kingdom-come we should see some more relics and endure a few more tall stories! You won't want to miss it!

Scott found this early Oldsmobile "R.E.O." watch fob with his metal detector while bottle hunting!

Nautical China

    I have been in love with Great Lakes shipping history for a long-long time. I know a whole lot more about the history of our Inland Seas than I do bottles, that's for sure! (That's not saying much)

    Often, when I have some extra time, I will look through the e-Bay postings for "Great Lakes Steamship" related auctions. Usually, what I get to see are hundreds of post cards. They are not just postcards featuring the bulk freighters, but also the passenger ships from the 1800's. They were a big part of lake history. To speed searching up, because there may be thousands of listings, I will narrow down my search by requesting to view only the "listings ending soonest."

    I picked up a china souvenir plate from the steamship S.S. South American which sailed for the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Company. The plate pictures the steamship "South American" steaming along and filled with happy passengers. Also, along the border of the plate it shows: Niagara Falls, Port of Duluth, Soo Locks, Mackinac Island and a map showing all of the Great Lakes framing the state of Michigan. Also, in the border are anchors and little ducks with sailor hats with the words, "There's Fun Afloat!"

    The underside of the plate reads:

    "S.S. SOUTH AMERICAN" Deluxe Great Lakes Passenger cruise ship. Oil-fueled- Length 330 feet- Beam 50 feet- Capacity 500 Passengers- All outside rooms. Observation Sun Deck- Carpeted Promenade completely encircling the ship. Pleasure cruises during the summer season on the Great Lakes. Ports of call- Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Mackinac Island, Soo Locks, Duluth, Georgian Bay and Chicago."

    I don't think this would have been a daily-use dinner plate, the shipping companies sold them as souvenirs and they are very collectable!

    I had noticed a book available on e-Bay 'for-sale' as a new hardcover edition called Dining on the Inland Seas, subtitled, Nautical China from the Great Lakes. The author is, Daniel C. Krummes. They wanted $35.00 for a new copy. I always go to a web site called the, "Advanced Book Exchange," when I see a book that I am interested in. Their web address is www.abebooks.com

    The A.B.E. web site is amazing! They have the inventory of nearly every used book dealer in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia!

    If you want to find a used book, no matter if it is a rare first edition, autographed, or a cheap ex-library copy, you will find it on A.B.E.! So, I did a quick check for Dining on the Inland Seas. As I had expected, several dealers had used copies for sale. But, they were not asking $35.00 . . . they started at $75.00 and $100.00! So I quickly went back to e-Bay and hit the "Buy-It-Now" button!

   Galley with cook staff onboard the S.S. South American. This picture was taken on July 14th, 1917

Looks good, does it not? Notice the cherry pie is 'pitted' . . . first class all the way! Another interesting note; on another South American, and sister ship North American menu, it was clear about absolutely NO SMOKING in the dining area! Rare for the time! Of course, the most dreaded thing onboard a ship wasn't sinking, it was fire!

     This is a cool book! The amount of custom company-logo dinner plates, bowls and butter dishes, etc. are just amazing! Many of the examples would not even be known about had it not been for some treasure divers recovering the china off from deep, sunken shipwrecks! Which by the way is highly illegal today!

    Just like dealing with Native American relics. If you buy, sell or trade in this stuff you might want to keep some evidence that it came from an older collection, just to be on the safe side! I'm serious! I had a friend who recovered an antique ship's copper office chair when he was doing training dives at Allegan County's Ghost Town "Pier Cove."

    He brought the chair back to the Sheriff's office in Allegan and the State Archeologist got wind of it! They pressed charges against the Sheriff's Department!

This picture was taken aboard the Standard Oil of Indiana tanker "RED CROWN" The china they are using
would have been marked
with the Standard Oil Company logo.
Check out the gas-pump globe "chandeliers!" 
cira 1950

"Pass me the gravy, please."  Captain Timothy Kelly at the head of the table (in the Captain's Chair of course)
in the dining room of the Steamer MANCHESTER. Photo was taken October 27, 1894.

    One of the great local shipwreck mysteries related to our Allegan County shoreline is the Ghost Ship, Chicora. The Chicora went down during a late December run to Chicago in 1894. She was on her return trip to Michigan when she went missing. Some of the wreckage washed up on Allegan County beaches. Divers have searched for the Chicora for decades and she has eluded every last one of them! Actually, other shipwrecks have been located, and claims were even made that they had found the Chicora . . . but they always turn out to be false.


* Ok, I now realized this could not be our Chicora. The ship that was lost in Southern Lake Michigan in 1894 was not part of the Lake Superior Royal Mail Line. However, like many steamships of her day she was a U.S. Mail carrier. She sailed for the Graham & Morton Transportation Company and was built by the Detroit Dry Dock Company in 1892. Also she had only one smoke funnel and she was a propeller ship. Amazingly, there must have been more than one Chicora!

Unless the china manufacture used this as a generic, changeable logo?

    Well, the book, Dining on the Inland Seas has a dinner plate someone had stolen or purchased from the Chicora before she was lost! Now, how cool is that! * my mistake

To read more about the Chicora from a past newsletter click here.

    I also have a ceramic souvenir bell from one of the old steamships. If you find something that you think maybe Great Lakes shipping related like a plate, cup & saucer I would love to know about it!

    I'll bring my plate and new book to the meeting.

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club meets at the main downtown Kalamazoo Library, located at 315 South Rose Street. We meet on the third floor in the conference room. This meeting is October 11th. Meeting starts at 7:00 pm.
For questions e-mail prostock@net-link.net

Or call 269-685-1776