Wisconsin antique bottle and advertising club
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Jacob Muth Brewery

Jacob Muth Brewery

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.
Author: Peter Maas
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Divers discover unlisted Fred Bock stoneware bottle

Divers discover unlisted Fred Bock stoneware bottle

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.
Author: Peter Maas
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Wisconsin Stoneware Bottles

Wisconsin Stoneware Bottles

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.
Author: Peter Maas
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From The Bottom to Fame - One Beer Bottle's Story

From The Bottom to Fame - One Beer Bottle's Story

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.
Author: Sid Hatch
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