Wisconsin antique bottle and advertising club
Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale - Sunday, February 12, 2018

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale - Sunday, February 12, 2018

46th Annual Show and Sale - the Midwest's premier antique bottle and advertising event.

The 2017 Milwaukee Antique Bottle show will be even better this year. Show chairman Dave Kapsos expects we will sell out all of the 150 tables again next year. There will be major improvements to the show this year:
- A dozen member exhibits
- Presentations on antique bottles/advertising
- Door prizes
It is also very well attended by the public. Fantastic glass and advertising items turn up every year, brought in by dealers or sometimes brought in by attendees. This is one of the largest bottle shows in the US.
The show will at the Waukesha County Expo Center which is about 20 miles west of Milwaukee. Take I-94 to exit 294 (Hwy J), then go south to Northview Road and go west to 1000 Northview. It is just south of the Waukesha County Airport. Please note that this is a different location from past years.
Author: David Kapsos
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Selling a Collection of Antique Bottles or Advertising?

Selling a Collection of Antique Bottles or Advertising?

You've come to the right place

Thinking of selling a collection of antique bottles or advertising? You’ve come to the right place. The Milwaukee Bottle and Advertising Club is an association of many of the top collectors and dealers of these types of items in the Midwest. We have experts about many types of old bottles including beer, soda, medicine, whiskey, bitters, historical flasks, seltzer, pharmacy, pontil marked bottles and food containers. Also antique advertising – from tin signs, lithographs, trays, tins, paper to label under glass advertising signs we have expert who can help. To see our member profiles go to the Members tab on this page or click here.

If you would like to get an idea of the value of your item(s) check with one of our members. Member profiles include their contact information. They can make you a cash offer or give you estimated values of one items or a collection. Member profiles will give you an idea of the type of items they collect or are looking for. And if they’re not interested or don’t know about your item(s) they can refer you to someone who can help. Selling directly to collectors is faster and easier than selling by auction or consignment. You avoid the fees and time and for the right items can get the best price for your items.
Author: Peter Maas
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Have you seen these photo galleries?  If not, you need to.

Have you seen these photo galleries? If not, you need to.

Put on a seat belt because some of these photos will blow you away.

The photo galleries on this site contain pics of some of the best examples of super-rare and beautiful old bottles, early Wisconsin Pottery and Advertising items from top private collections. Many are so rare that you will probably never see any of them in person in your lifetime. Each gallery has a small number of great pieces. Topics include:

Soda Bottles
Bitters Bottles
Blob Soda Bottles
Advertising Signs
Colored Hutch Soda Bottles
Colored Quart Soda Bottles
Stoneware Bottles
Advertising Shot Glasses (Pre-Pro)
Beer & Ale Bottles
Whitewater Earthenware
W.D. Mosier Pottery
Charles Hermann & Co Stoneware
O.F. Baker Stoneware
Whiskey Backbar bottles
and more

Click the photo to see them all.
Author: Peter Maas
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In Pursuit of Tom

In Pursuit of Tom

By Linda Hoffman

Thomas Wallace Holmes used the Strauss Girls and their families as models for his Girl in the Moon original creations for Miller High Life brand beer His forerunner, ‘Strolling Girl’ 1904 was modeled after his wife, Carrie Strauss, with the fluid, waving lines of the Art Nouveau period. (Figure 1) Tom reversed the image in 1905 turning Carrie into a human rocket bursting from a bottle of Miller High Life Beer. He incorporated Symbolism in the artworks placing a single stylized rose in the Gibson hairstyle, placing a beer and a whip in her hands, and setting her on the crescent moon in a star-filled sky. (Figure 2) Furthermore, his graphic designs served as the inspiration for current GITM advertising for the Miller Brewing Company.
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Eagles Favorite - A. Breslauer Advertising Whiskey Decanter

Eagles Favorite - A. Breslauer Advertising Whiskey Decanter

New Discovery - previously unknown bottle and brand

This bottle was part of and old collection and recently came to light. Neither the brand nor this particular bottle was previously known to collectors. A. Breslauser was a large and successful Milwaukee whiskey dealer. Many bottles and advertising shot glasses are known, as well as quite a few brands that he promoted, including

  • - Old Hickory
  • - Graham Club
  • - Cheddington
  • - Connet
  • - Henry Van Erden Gin
  • - Kilbourn
  • - La Belle
  • - Old Chessy
  • - Palm
  • - Standard Club
  • - Top Cliff Gin
Author: Peter Maas
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Simon Jung Co. - Milwaukee Liquor Dealer

Simon Jung Co. - Milwaukee Liquor Dealer

Simon Jung Gave Milwaukee His Best Shots by Jack Sullivan

S. Jung Co.

Simon Jung was a wholesale liquor dealer in Milwaukee that operated from 1889 until prohibition in 1918. He partnered with his father-in-law Abraham Breslauser for his first year of business. A Breslauer was a large and well-known Milwaukee liquor dealership. Simon later also partnered with M. Wiener for a year. His business was initially located at 425 Chestnut St but later moved several times. From 1908 to 1918 his business was located at 244-246 E Water Street. That building still stands.
S. Jung brands include Mountain King Rye, Homer Club Whiskey, Ole Bull Bourbon and Underhill Whiskey. Some of the advertising items known today include several varieties of shot glasses and backbar bottles. There are probably many other S. Jung advertising items not yet known to collectors.
Jack Sullivan posted an article on his “Those Pre-Pro Whiskey Men!” blog entitled “Simon Jung Gave Milwaukee His Best Shots”. Click here to read the full article.

Author: Peter Maas
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Heaven City Mukwonago, WI

Heaven City Mukwonago, WI

By Linda Hoffman

Country Springs Hotel on February 12th, 2017. Ralph was selling a Girl in the Moon charger in fair condition at the show. (Fig. 1) The pre-Pro stone lithograph charger was displayed on an easel. Ralph’s charger
was in fair condition. The night sky was badly faded from midnight blue to a daytime hue. The stars were transformed to smudges. These large chargers remind me of the snow coasters for sledding from childhood . . . Ralph’s asking price “as is” was $2200 Firm.
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Squaw Smoke Mosquito Repellant, Antigo, WI

Squaw Smoke Mosquito Repellant, Antigo, WI

By Henry Hecker

I found this bottle at an estate sale in Antigo, Wisconsin about 10 years ago. It is a machine made corker about 5 inches tall with a label reading from the top of the label downward, “Genuine Jean Batiste’s SQUAW SMOKE in liquid form As Effective Safeguard Against the Bite of Mosquitoes and Other Insects, DIRECTIONS Apply to Exposed Parts, SERVALL LABORATORY, Antigo, Wisconsin.
This little bottle with the now politically incorrect brand name on the label seems to date to the 1920-40 decades and is still half-filled with what is presumably the concoction produced by Servall Laboratory. The cork is quite tight and I have not tried to open it for fear of destroying the original seal and unleashing what today might be a potential chemical spill Even if it is not that lethal, I have no interest in applying some and testing it on the mosquitoes the size of sparrows that we get here out in Mukwonago. But here’s the rub of a different sort, I have completely struck out on finding anything on Jean Batiste, Squaw Smoke, or even Servall Laboratory. Presumably Servall was some small, fly by night, or from-home operated business in Antigo.
Does anyone know anything about this company and other products it might have produced?
Author: Henry Hecker
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It’s Time to Pay Tribute to Thomas Wallace Holmes

It’s Time to Pay Tribute to Thomas Wallace Holmes

By Linda Hoffman

I first saw the illustrations at the Serb Hall beer show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2014. The seller (Bill Hefnider from Minnesota) acquired the pair of pre-1928 Miller High Life’s Dry-Cereal Beverage advertisements from the Jon Brandt collection auctioned in Kewaskum, Wisconsin. Each lithograph contains an outdoor scene, a brown glass bottle with a label showing Thomas Holmes ‘Standing Girl’ in the Moon and Fred Miller Brewery identified below her. These illustrations were created by my great uncle Thomas Holmes. The models used in Tom’s illustrations were my maternal grandmother’s family. The asking price for the rare Prohibition lithograph pair was hefty, but Bill allowed me to take a picture and we exchanged phone numbers. I showed the pictures I took to my mother, Joanne Voss; she immediately stated “Uncle Tom did those.”
Click on the photo to read the full article.
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Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale - Sunday, February 12, 2017

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale - Sunday, February 12, 2017

45th Annual Show and Sale - the Midwest's premier antique bottle and advertising event.

The 2017 Milwaukee Antique Bottle show will be even better this year. Show chairman Dave Kapsos expects we will sell out all of the 150 tables again next year. There will be major improvements to the show this year:
- A dozen member exhibits
- Three presentations on antiques bottles/advertising
- Bottle door prizes
It is also very well attended by the public. Fantastic glass and advertising items turn up every year, brought in by dealers or sometimes brought in by attendees. This is one of the largest bottle shows in the US.
The show location is the County Springs Hotel which is 30 miles west of Milwaukee in Pewaukee (I-94 exit 293 Hwy T).
Click here to download the flyer in PDF format.
Author: Peter Maas
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Proof of Earl

Proof of Earl

By Linda Hoffman

Thomas Wallace Holmes used his nephew, Earl Shopen, the son of Olga Strauss as the model for several 1940’s-1950’s Miller High Life Beer advertisements. Tom’s colorful artworks captured the American spirit for Miller beer designs of two men fishing in a boat, the same two men relaxing on a porch and again at a gentlemen’s barbeque party. (There is no doubt more works) Thomas Holmes, a Chicago artist and illustrator from the turn of the 20th century worked in lithography and photography in the boom of advertising spanning a successful sixty year career. Tom’s wife was Carrie Strauss. He chose Carrie’s family members to model for his illustrations as illustrators were known to do. There were 10 Strauss sisters and their children to choose from. In Thomas Holmes’ spare time and on trips, he painted landscapes including streams and barns in Wisconsin.
Click on the photo to read the full article.
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MABAC Members Go to MOWA Exhibit of Early Wisconsin Advertising

MABAC Members Go to MOWA Exhibit of Early Wisconsin Advertising

On Saturday, September 17th several members of the club made an excursion to West Bend to view the display of early Wisconsin beer and liquor advertising at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA.) Sid Hatch, Peter Maas, Erik Hecker and Henry Hecker made the trip and enjoyed seeing some of the finest examples of beer, whiskey, and bitters advertising still in existence in the form of trays, signs, posters, labels, calendars and broadsides. 

 

The exhibit includes some of the best examples known of early advertising from Wisconsin breweries.  The centerpiece of the exhibit is an astounding Pabst Blue Ribbon print  with a turn of the century gaff rigged racing sailboat.  It is made up of 12 panels and stands over 20' tall.  MOWA was the perfect venue to display such a massive sign fully assembled and is perhaps the first time this particular sign has been on display.
The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) explores the art and culture of Wisconsin. Founded in 1961, MOWA is one of the top museums of regional art in the United States, with almost 5,000 works of contemporary and historic art by more than 350 artists.


Click on the photo to read the full article.
Author: Henry Hecker
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When You Least Expect It…… A Union Grove Flea Market Find

When You Least Expect It…… A Union Grove Flea Market Find

(A Recipe for a Home Brewed Beer) by Henry Hecker

About 20 years ago, I was lamenting the time I had spent driving to a small, start up flea market on the Union Grove fair grounds on a nice early Sunday morning. After skimming past rows and rows of tables covered with dumpster fodder, I was startled to find a dealer putting out beer flats filled with hundreds of small old bottles of every description. Inks, perfumes, medicines, doll nursers, you name it. My arrival to this table was perfect as the boxes were just coming out of the trunk. A guy was selling a long time accumulation of small bottles, none more than 4 inches high, that had caught someone’s fancy for eye appeal, interesting labelling, with a few modern bottles mixed in. “$3 a piece!,” said the dealer. At that exorbitant price, I would have to choose carefully, but since I seemed to have a monopoly as a customer, I could take my time in making my selections. Click on the photo to read the full article.
Author: Henry Hecker
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Henry W. Chamberlain Stoneware

Henry W. Chamberlain Stoneware

Made at the Milwaukee Stoneware Factory, possibly by O.F. Baker

In our collecting hobby, we sometimes encounter artifacts that seemingly are the only remaining evidence of a past person’s life. Usually with subsequent research from the name, location, or approximate date of the bottle, jug, or other item, we are able to assemble a story about the original owner. We do this by studying old city directories, business organization listings of the time, genealogies, census records, and land ownership documents.
Such is the case of one Henry W. Chamberlain of Sheboygan County Wisconsin in the 1850’s. I acquired a salt glazed jar marked “H. W. Chamberlain Sheboygan Wis” in the 1980’s from an avid auction goer in Menomonee Falls. Then in 2002, I acquired a decorated, salt glazed pitcher with the same mark from Bob Markiewicz that he had just purchased and I was able to seize the opportunity before Bob got too attached to the pitcher. Accompanying the pitcher was a 1997 letter from Janice Hildebrand, a well known author of Sheboygan area history.
Click on the photo to read the full article.
Author: Henry Hecker
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New Discovery - Early Math. Kramer soda from Colby Wisconsin

New Discovery - Early Math. Kramer soda from Colby Wisconsin

Previously only known to collectors from a fragment

Colby is located halfway between Green Bay and Minneapolis.  It's near the bend in Hwy 29 and it's so small the "Thank you for visiting Colby" sign is painted on the backside of the "Welcome to Colby" sign. Population about 1,500. That a bottler was in business there in the early 1880's is astonishing. The bottle is a hutch styled similar to a Matthew Gravitating Stopper bottle.  It is embossed MATH KRAMER COLBY WIS and WIS GLASS CO. MILW on the bottom. According to Roger Peters Kramer bottled soda and beer between 1881 and 1883.  The lip is applied.  There were several other bottlers that operated there later but this is the earliest bottle known do far.

Author: Henry Hecker
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Charles Hermann &Co, Milwaukee Stoneware: Short History 1856-86

Charles Hermann &Co, Milwaukee Stoneware: Short History 1856-86

(With mention of his successor, Louis Pierron) By Henry Hecker

Charles Hermann was a Swiss immigrant with a factory on Johnson Street in Milwaukee. He commenced operations in 1856. His factory was strategically located near the Milwaukee River which allowed for the transport and unloading of high quality clay from Ohio and Illinois. His firm also procured some clay from Iowa as well as the clay found in Wisconsin is for the most part not fit for stoneware, only earthenware. (The known exception being Moser stoneware made of local clay in Wautoma, Wisconsin.) Following in the footsteps of earlier Milwaukee stoneware manufacturers such as Oscar Baker and the Maxfield brothers, Hermann was by far the most successful and prolific manufacturer of stoneware with a thirty year production period before making his stepson, Louis Pierron, a partner in 1882 and turning the business over to Louis completely in 1886.

Click on the photo to read the full article.
Author: Henry Hecker
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Bottles from Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Bottles from Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

New discovery!

Barna recently unearthed a fantastic rare bottle from his hometown on a dig there. It is a citron colored quart beer bottle from Kenosha embosssed J. G. GOTTFREDSEN & SON BREWER KENOSHA, WIS in a slug plate with an applied lip. It appears to date from the 1870's. It has to rank as the most desirable of all known bottles from Kenosha. To a collector who specializes in Kenosha items it is a fantasy come true for Barna to dig it himself. The bottle was known to exist from a shard. This is the first intact example known to collectors. Read the story about the dig.
Author: Barna Bencs
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Miller Girl in the Moon - Proof of Ruth

Miller Girl in the Moon - Proof of Ruth

by Linda Hoffman

A rumor exists among the Milwaukee brewery workers to this day:
the outlandishly clad lady sitting on a crescent moon was the inspired work of an unknown artist and the model, and not a relative of the brewer's family as commonly told. Many stories of her origin and mistaken identity prevail in local brewing history books but one relationship did hold true. The ancestors of the beer baron and of the artist’s models hailed from the same region of Germany.
Click on the photo to read the article.
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Proof of Tom

Proof of Tom

by Linda Hoffman

In my first article, “Proof of Ruth” ABA Journal #182 March/ April from one year ago, I wrote about my family’s history with the iconic Miller High Life ‘standing girl’ and 1933 Miller Christmas Special Beer label which depict my mother Joanne sitting on her father’s lap in a cozy holiday scene with the Girl in the Moon placed in the night sky. My great uncle, Thomas Wallace Holmes designed these images and used his wife Carrie’s family as models. In this article I am going to share the wonderful events that have happened since. Click on the photo to read the full article.
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Coshocton, Ohio August 2014

Coshocton, Ohio August 2014

by Linda Hoffman - Published in November/December 2015 Issue #198 American Breweriana Journal

My sister Sue and I went on a journey from Milwaukee Wisconsin to view Advertising Art of Coshocton County exhibit at the Johnson -Humrickhouse Museum. We took Highway 16 for the last 15 miles of our trip to Coshocton, Ohio and exited the freeway at 541. We stopped for lunch at Bob Evans, an Ohio chain. Sue had pot roast with biscuits and I ate chicken salad. We then proceeded to the show located at 300 N. Whitewoman St. in the Roscoe Village of Coshocton, Ohio. (Note-my childhood home address in Oconomowoc Wisconsin was 540 West Wisconsin Avenue, AKA Highway 16). Click on the photo to read the full article.
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2017 Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale

2017 Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale

The 2017 show was a huge success. The market for antique bottles and advertising in the Midwest is very strong. All of the 150 tables were sold far in advance of the show. At the opening Dave and Debbie Kapsos pre-sold over 150 admission tickets to the anxious collectors queued up to get in so when the doors opened at 9 am the aisles were quickly flooded with people. Admissions were up significantly over previous years - almost 600 general admissions.  Dealers reported strong sales. There were some outstanding pieces brought in by dealers and some of the attendees brought in some great pieces as well. The room is spacious with wide aisles and good lighting. The 2018 show will be at a new location at the Waukesha Expo Center.
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Member Makes the Front Page of the Times!

Member Makes the Front Page of the Times!

Whitewater Historical Society Presentation on Whitewater Pottery on January 20, 2015

Okay, so it’s not quite the New York Times but being featured in the Mukwonago Times article was a coup considering the fact that Henry Hecker was not even the speaker. Speaker and expert on Whitewater pottery Kori Oberle gave a great presentation on Whitewater pottery at the Whitewater Historical Society museum located in the railroad depot building. The event was centered around a 45 piece collection of Whitewater earthenware that the Historical Society recently acquired. The collection includes some great examples of Whitewater pottery such as a foot warmer, a sponge decorated pitcher and some exceptional decorated pieces.  

Watch the full presentation video.

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J.F. Dallinger Milwaukee and Tacoma

J.F. Dallinger Milwaukee and Tacoma

The J.F. Dallinger hutch from Milwaukee is relatively rare. Recently, a nearly identical variety of this bottle appeared on eBay except that it was embossed with the city of Tacoma, Washington instead of Milwaukee. Then another eBay listing appeared for the Milwaukee variety with a paper label. It was being sold by a different Tacoma area seller who was a descendant of Joseph Dallinger. The seller had a pair of Dallinger Milwaukee bottles with paper labels that had passed down in his family. They were generic stock labels without Dallinger’s name printed on them.
This article gives some background on Joseph Dallinger’s soda business which lasted just a couple of years in the Milwaukee and Tacoma.
Author: Bob Libbey
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The Great Waukesha Springs Era

The Great Waukesha Springs Era

A great new book on Waukesha mineral springs!

"The Great Waukesha Springs Era tells the story of a time gone by. From 1868-1918, Waukesha, Wisconsin was a center of the mineral spring water industry. Following the discovery of the healing powers of Bethesda Spring by Colonel Richard Dunbar in 1868, the mineral springs industry grew by leaps and bounds.
At first, people crowded the city to taste the healing waters. Then, as the rich and famous visited the city, it became a social center and a family vacation destination. It was called the Saratoga of the West. Finally, large regional and national bottlers established plants in the city.
This book, written by club member John M. Schoenknecht, tells the story of each of Waukesha's springs. Schoenknecht paints a picture of this fabulous time and the sad decline.
This Second Revised Edition of over 380 pages has over 60 new pages and hundreds of new photos from Mr. Schoenknecht’s private collection." Click on the book for a link to the ordering page.
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Waukesha's Hickory Grove Brewery

Waukesha's Hickory Grove Brewery

Recently, the Waukesha Freeman featured a story about a mysterious cave or tunnel that is located on East Main Street next to Fuzzy's Bar. The tunnel is now used to store liquor, but the newspaper story claimed that the area was once a haven for bootlegging during Prohibition. People interviewed in the article speculated that the tunnel was built for that purpose. Friends of mine speculated that the tunnel was part of the Underground Railroad when Waukesha was know as 'That Abolition Hole" before the Civil War. I think the answer lies somewhere else. A search of land records and old maps provides the answer.
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