Wisconsin antique bottle and advertising club
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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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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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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