Wisconsin antique bottle and advertising club
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.”
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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.
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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.


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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.
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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.

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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.
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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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2015 Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale

2015 Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club Show and Sale

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.
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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 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.
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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Otto Zwietusch

Otto Zwietusch

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.
Author: Peter Maas
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New Book on Wisconsin Sodas

New Book on Wisconsin Sodas

Coming soon!

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.
Author: Roger Peters
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A Bottle, a Murder and a Mystery – John Bollow

A Bottle, a Murder and a Mystery – John Bollow

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.
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Colonel N.P Iglehart and the Oakton Springs, Pewaukee, WI

Colonel N.P Iglehart and the Oakton Springs, Pewaukee, WI

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.
Author: Henry Hecker
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Blossom's Badger Ale

Blossom's Badger Ale

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.
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Author: Peter Maas
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Young America Bitters

Young America Bitters

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.
Author: Peter Maas
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