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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Article rating: 2.0
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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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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Article rating: 5.0
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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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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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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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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L.M. Pierron Stoneware – The Mystery Canteen

L.M. Pierron Stoneware – The Mystery Canteen

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.
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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