The 2015 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 165 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 2016 show will be at the same location.
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.
The J.F. Dallinger hutch from Milwaukee is relatively rare. Recently a nearly identical one showed up on eBay except embossed with the city of Tacoma Washington instead of Milwaukee. Then another eBay listing appeared for a Milwaukee variety with a paper label. It was being sold by a different Tacoma area seller who was a descendant of Joseph Dallinger who owned a pair of Dalliger Milwaukee bottles with paper labels that had passed down in his family. The label appears to be a stock label without Dallinger’s name on it.
This article gives some background on Joseph Dallinger’s soda business which last just a couple of years in the two cities.
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.
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.
Otto Zwietusch was a prolific inventor and manufacturer of soda bottling apparatus and soda in Milwaukee from the 1860’s through the 1880’s in Milwaukee. His business sold bottling apparatus and equipment to soda bottlers throughout the US. Some of the interesting items used by his business include some great bottles, stoneware and bottling apparatus including these hand-hammered copper vessels which were probably used for bottling soda. The article tells the story of the man, his business and the artifacts he left behind.
When club member Roger Peters published his authoritative work on soda bottles in 1996 titled Wisconsin Soda Water Bottles 1845 to 1918 he set a new standard for books of this type. It includes historical sketches of bottling companies, hand-retouched B&W photos of every variety, copies of advertising & photos and even prices. It is a comprehensive work that included virtually every soda water bottle known at the time of publication. The book is long out of print but Roger is in the final stages of publishing an updated version of this book. Roger is also working on another book on Painted Label sodas from Wisconsin and a third on Wisconsin crown top sodas. We don't have an estimated publication date but the collecting community eagerly awaits all three.
Waukesha soda bottler John Bollow failed to return from a delivery in July of 1889. Later his horses arrived at his home with the delivery wagon and there was blood on the seat. Fearing the worst, his family set out on a search for John. They found him propped up against a tree, shot in the head apparently with his own gun in what looked like a suicide. However, the blood on the wagon and missing cash told a different story.
44th Annual Show
The 2015 show is now history but show chainman Dave Kapsos is already planning next year's show. This is the Midwest's premier bottle and advertising event. We expect over 150 tables again next year and virtually all of the region's top dealers will have sales tables. 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. The show location is the County Springs Hotel located 30 miles west of Milwaukee in Pewaukee. There is a large, well lit floor space and wide aisles. The club will again have a display of items from members' collections. Some great door prizes will be given out too.
On May 13, 2014, the Pewaukee Historical Society hosted the MABAC monthly meeting in its visitor center building on the Asa Clark Museum property. Over 40 Society and club members attended and were treated to a presentation on the life of Col. Nicolas P. Iglehart, an early hotel and mineral springs owner in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. The presentation by Henry Hecker, a long-time member of MABAC, was a culmination of his research on the Oakton Spring Water Company and Oakton Springs Hotel which entrepreneur Iglehart ran in the 1870’s.
The presentation covered Iglehart’s illustrious public and private life with special focus on his last four years of his life in Pewaukee. Henry showed a number of artifacts related to Oakton Springs including a stereopticon photo of the hotel and a 3 gallon jug stenciled with “Oakton Springs Water.” A special treat was the fact that the Kirley family, the current owners of the Octagon house in Pewaukee were in the audience. Colonel Iglehart lived in the Octagon house during his stay in Pewaukee. The Kirley’s were thrilled to learn about Iglehart and shared some of the ghost stories of this incredible home.
A number of Historical Society members were able to augment Henry’s research during open discussion. Finally, the most amazing part of the meeting was the appearance of a previously unknown 3 gallon Oakton Springs stoneware jug brought to the meeting by the Sampsons, Pewaukee residents. The jug is a family heirloom that has remained in Pewaukee for almost 150 years and will someday likely find a home in the Museum collection.
Even by national standards the Blossoms Badger Ale bottle is simply a fantastic example of an early American ale. It was made by Lancaster Glass Company in New York around 1849 to 1851. This article tells the story of the discovery a new Blossom’s Badger Ale variety, how it was hunted for many years and finally acquired and restored by a club member. One intact variety, one restored and some shards prove that there were at least four varieties of embossed bottles used by this large and successful brewery. It seems likely that there are still others waiting to be discovered.
Overlooked Milwaukee Bitters
This bottle is embossed YOUNG AMERICA / STOMACH BITTERS / P RINDSKOPF & BRO on three panels. Phillip Rindskopf and his brother Louis were wholesale wine and liquor dealers at 277 E Water St Milwaukee from 1862 to 1878, but Phillip died in 1867 so this bottle is probably from the Civil war period. It is listed in Carlyn Ring’s book For Bitters Only but was not attributed to a city. It has flown under the radar of Wisconsin collectors as it was not widely known to be a Wisconsin bitters.
Wisconsin’s earliest bottle?
When this bottle was dug in Kenosha there was some speculation that it could be a Wisconsin or Illinois bottle. It seemed improbable given the color and the fact that it has the look of an 1840’s bottle. When another example turned up in Ashippun Wisconsin northwest of Milwaukee research efforts intensified but still no hard evidence was found. An article in the May-June 2014 edition of Bottles & Extras by Tod von Mechow speculated that it could be Wisconsin. Definitive proof finally surfaced in an advertisement in an obscure all-German Milwaukee newspaper. The March 1850 ad identified it as Michael Kom’s Lemon Mineral Water which he bottled on Huron Street in Milwaukee. This just might be Wisconsin’s earliest embossed bottle. Others from about the same time period include the Taylor & Bothers’ cobalt sided soda and Blossom’s Badger black glass ale.
First bottle discovered from this prominent Wisconsin Brewery
An eBay listing for a one-of-a-kind early aqua pony Weiss beer bottle from the Jacob Muth brewery in Burlington, Wisconsin. Jacob Muth was in business in Burlington from 1852 to 1872. This bottle appears to date from the 1860’s which is notable because it is the first glass beer bottle from that time period from Wisconsin known to collectors. It is also one of the few Wisconsin bottles that includes the “WEISS BEER” product name embossed on the bottle. Surprisingly, it is the first bottle to turn up from this long-lived and well known brewery. It was found by diggers in Pittsburgh and showed signs of heavy wear. It would not be surprising if other varieties show up from this brewery eventually. The embossing reads JACOB MUTH BREWING CO. BERLINER WEISS BEER and ALL PERSONS PROHIBITED FROM USING THIS BOTTLE on the back.
Member Tom Fredrick found this bottle while scuba diving with Bob Libbey for bottles. While several varieties of Fred Bock glass soda bottles are known to exist this is the first Fred Bock clay bottle and the only stoneware bottle from the city of Boscobel, Wisconsin. The bottle is stamped FRE-BOCK with the letter “I” turned sideways in place of a dash. It is probably one of the first bottles used by Fred Bock’s business which was thought to have started in 1882. There are many other similar Wisconsin stoneware bottles from other bottlers that were made by the same pottery maker, possibly Charles Hermann & Co. from Milwaukee. In spite of the fact that the top is missing it is still a great find.
A recent Julie’s Antique Auction catalog featured a rare miniature salt glazed stoneware canteen flask as the cover lot. The canteen measures about 3” tall and is marked “Compliments of G.M. PIERRON” on one side and “A HAPPY NEW YEAR 1894”. It has a heavy orange peel glaze one side. It was is mint condition with the original cork, chain attaching it to the handle and red white and blue ribbon. The unique features of this piece created the perfect storm of collector interest. It was made by Redwing, it is associated with the Pierron Stoneware Company, has a great glaze, is dated, rare and mint.
The flagship product for the Zien brothers Co. was their Berliner Magen Bitters brand which was marketed mainly in the Midwest. They bottled the product in amber square bottles embossed BERLINER MAGAN BITTERS on one panel. They also promoted the brand with advertising shot glasses with at least 9 varieties known. There is an advertising meerschaum pipe with a detailed image of the bottle which is a very unusual advertising item. They are quite rare and another Milwaukee whiskey bottler, Joseph Dudenhoefer also used this type of advertising pipe.
Wisconsin's first bottle manufacturer
The opening Chase Valley Glass Company marked the beginning of a 30-year era of glass manufacturing in Milwaukee. Although the Chase Valley works operated only one brief season, four successive glassworks operated at the same location. The Chase Valley glassworks also left behind a rich legacy of bottles and flasks for collectors. Typical embossing include:
C Co. 2 MILW
C.V.G. Co MILW
C.V. No 2 MILW (sometimes with mold number in the center)
C.V. No 1 MILW (sometimes with mold number in the center)
This article describes the history of Wisconsin's first glassworks and the bottles and other products they produced.
Wisconsin's Second Glass Company
The Wisconsin Glass Company began when the Chase Valley Glass Companies 1 and 2 reorganized into a single combined entity in September of 1881. The company made various types of bottles, jars and window glass until May of 1886. Typical base embossing found are:
WIS GLASS CO MILW (often with a mold number ranging from 1 to 40 or A to T)
WIS G CO MILW
WIS G CO
WIS GLASS CO MILW WIS
The Wisconsin Glass Company would later open as the Cream City Glass Company. This article takes an in-depth look at the company's history, its leaders and the products it produced.
There are over 150 different varieties of stoneware bottles from Wisconsin - far more that any of the surrounding states. Why were they so popular here? They don't have a maker's mark, so what potteries made them? None have survived with paper labels so it's unclear what products they were even used for. Any why did many bottlers use both glass and stoneware bottles at the same time? The earliest marked stoneware bottles from Wisconsin are from the 1850's and by the 1880's they began to quickly fall out of favor. By the turn of the century they had become obsolete. Why did that happen?
This article explores these and other questions about this fascinating category of early Wisconsin bottles.
by Karen McEvoy
The history of infant feeding is quite interesting. Babies were usually breast fed. Infrequently an attempt might be made to feed an infant artificially (by hand) from a bottle or from an animal's horn with the tip cut off and a bit of skin or rag tied to the neck. Pickled cow's teats were used as nipples. Hard nipples of glass, pewter, ivory and occasionally silver were common before the rubber nipple. In 1845 the first rubber nipple was made of black rubber that tasted bad, smelled bad and went to pieces in hot water. Babies were fed pap from discarded bottles. Pap consisted of whatever they could lay then hands on which they thought was nourishing. Sometimes ground up nuts mixed with water, other times bourbon or beer. Fish when available was mashed into a liquid pap. Animal milk was not used very often, due to the fear that the infant would take on the characteristics of the animal along with the milk. Occasionally an infant was suckled directly from a goat, donkey or cow. A bottle was used as a last resort and even then only one bottle sufficed. It was simply rinsed out, reused and eventually discarded. . . .
This is the story of how an antique bottle from the Fred Miller Brewing Company became the centerpiece of a national advertising campaign in 2007. When club member Sid Hatch showed all of his Miller blob beer bottles to the marketing group they selected one bottle because of the similarity of the embossing to the modern branding. It just happened to be a very rare mold variety.