Vol. 4 No. 11                                                                                                                                                                                November 2007
Member club of the F.O.H.B.C.


This Month ...

            Scott Hendrickson tells me that we are going to enjoy hearing from two of our favorite bottle collectors from the north country. Elmer Ogg, from Muskegon, and Steve DeBoode from Jenison, will be making their way all the way down to Kalamazoo to put on an antique bottle presentation. Yes, it is a long trip on a cold November night. At today's gas prices, every trip is long! So it is our hope that we will have a good turnout.

            I only have one 'Steve DeBoode' story to share. About four years ago, in the late summer, a man came into my shop door carrying a wire milk crate full of old dairy bottles. I had never seen this man before and he confessed that he didn't know me, as part of his introduction.

            "I'm changing jobs and I have to move out of the state. I'm not going to have room to take these bottles with me and I can't bring myself to throw them away. I was told that you are a bottle collector. Would you like to have them?"

        Now isn't that so much easier than digging them? I don't know why, but I can't help but think that even just this much of the story is amazing. To this day, I wonder who told this man that I collect antique bottles and why didn't that person take them?

        Of course, I took the crate full of dairy bottles and I thanked him for them. Without saying another word he spun around and walked back to his truck. I carried the crate into my back room to store it with my tons of pack-rat junk.

        I love antique bottles, but for some reason I have never been a big fan of dairy bottles. I guess it's because they seem to be so much a part of my era. My grandfather's first job in Michigan was working for a dairy or creamery near Detroit making cottage cheese. He moved into the Otsego area and started his own business, the Michigan Cottage Cheese Company. He chose Otsego because there was an abundance of dairy farms.

        As his business grew, he had to look for more sources of milk. That is when he purchased a dairy in Albion, Michigan. I asked my grandmother, who is 94, if she could remember the name of the dairy. She told me that she thought it was Albion Dairy Co-Op, but she wasn't sure. I went online to an Albion History web site by Frank Passic where he lists the following Albion dairies: Coldpack, Gem Dairy, Gold Top Dairy, Haven Hills Farm, Hearts Desire Dairy, Hicks Dairy, Home Dairy, Humphrey's Dairy, Kreger Dairy, Riverside Dairy, Starr Commonwealth for Boys, Sun Dawn Farm, and Sweeney. And he even said that there were more!

        Since doing my search of Albion, Michigan dairies, I have learned from my mother that it was the Albion Dairy Co-Op of Albion, Indiana. I have no idea how many dairies they had down there.

      I have a few dairy bottles that I am very fond of.. My stepfather, Howard Norton, gave me a perfect Holland's Dairy bottle which I don't think it ever had milk in it --- it is that perfect! It is a half- pint painted-label bottle that claims to be "Milk that is Milk." It pictures a little fellow delivering milk with a horse- drawn dairy wagon.

     Howard used to work a Holland's dairy route in Otsego in the Mid-1940's. Because of the war, the old Divco milk truck could not be replaced when the engine gave out. So, they removed everything ahead of the firewall and rigged up a swivel axle and two wagon shafts to harness a horse to. Howard told me that as soon as the horse left the dairy he was on auto-pilot! He knew every stop and every turn without any help from the delivery driver.

      Carl Holland, the owner of Holland's dairy, is still living in Otsego and is a very good friend of mine.

On the left is August Deurloo, and on the right is my step father, Howard Norton. Notice the wagon is loaded with fresh bottles of milk with cream on the top. As a boy I remember laying in bed, early in the morning, and I could hear the tinkling sounds of the bottles when we were getting our milk delivery. We also would get our bread delivered. I loved the smell inside the bread truck. Whatever on earth happened to that America?   

    Generally, I'm not out there looking for milk bottles. One winter's day, when my business was slow, I grabbed my camera and took some photos of a few of those bottles with my plan of putting them on e-Bay. Most of the bottles were self explanatory because of the labels or embossing. In other words, they had the dairy name, the city and state clearly stated.

      That was true for all but one tiny little half-pint bottle where the only embossing was just three letters and three dots. "C.C.B." I knew that there would be only one guy who could help give me the information that I needed about this mystery bottle. That person was Steve DeBoode! Actually, as I think back, it was John Pastor who pointed me to Steve. Regardless, Steve really was a huge help.

     I e-mailed Steve and told him what I had, and he told me that he also has one of these bottles in his collection. He went on to say that his C.C.B. bottle is the only one that he has ever seen. From his research, Steve was able to tell me that the dairy was located in Ionia County, and he was sure that the bottle was rare. Armed with that information, I started the auction on e-Bay.

    In the title for my auction, I mentioned the key words: C.C.B., Dairy bottle, half-pint, Ionia County, Michigan. The auction was only a couple hours into it's seven-day span when a fellow e-Bayer sent me a message telling me that this wasn't only from Ionia County, but he was able to pin the location down even further by telling me that the small dairy was located at Lake Odessa, MI.

    You want to include as many key words in your auction title and auction body as possible. Certain collectors type in key words to do a quick search of e-Bay instead of spending hours looking everywhere. For example, I am interested in stuff from Otsego Michigan. If I type in "Otsego" I will get a big string of auctions and 98% will be from Otsego, New York. If I type in "Otsego MI" that weeds out a lot of stuff that I am not interested in. The eventual auction winner's favorite key search-word was, "Lake Odessa MI"

    I was lucky to not have any bids yet, so, I was able to edit my auction page and title to include the important key words "Lake Odessa." This auction didn't get off to a fiery start, but by the time that the last day of the auction had started, the little bottle topped the $100 mark! That evening when the final bid was in, the last bid was around $375!

    I have forgotten the name of the dairy's owner, but the dairy's name was his initials and his first name was Charles.

    The winning bidder had some very serious competition out there! He told me that it was far more than he would liked to have paid and, like me, he was shocked that the little bottle could be so valuable!

    This e-Bay winner was not a bottle collector, but clearly he was bidding against some. Even though he lived here in Michigan, he wanted me to send the bottle to his mother in South Carolina. He made me swear an oath, not to put any type of receipt in the box because he didn't want his mother to know how much he paid for the bottle! C.C.B. was her father and the buyer's grandfather!

    I know that many respected people in the antique bottle hobby have thumbed their noses to bottle hunting on e-Bay. While it is true that you can get cheated if you are not careful, you can have a lot of fun as well!


Last Month

       Our attendance was down last month, which was a little disturbing, especially to our president, Chuck Parker. Chuck called me to give me a newly-paid member's name and address. While he was on the phone, he asked me to run through the names on my current address label program-- which is 31 names. I was surprised to learn that far less than half that number has paid this year's dues. I am including an address slip in this newsletter to make it easy for you to send in your dues. As far as I know, there are only two honorary members who were voted into the club as lifetime members and they are Ernie Lawson and Jack Short. Please send in you dues or come to this meeting. It is only $10.00 a year.

     Up until now I haven't charged the club anything for writing, printing, labeling, or the postage for the newsletter. Each of these steps take time and money. That has been my contribution and it covers my dues. But friends, we need all of our members to do their part.

     At the last meeting we saw Tim Hayes, Kevin Seigfried, Ed Nickerson, Scott Hendrickson, Mike Hade, Jack Short, Ernie Lawson, Brent Heighton, Mark McNee, Chuck Parker, and Al Holden. I hope that I didn't forget anyone.

     We were reminded that Mike Hade is leaving Michigan to live in the sunny south. We are really going to miss you, my friend! I got to know Mike pretty well because the guy has a dream job! Mike works on equipment used in dental labs. All he needs to do is get whatever job done that his dispatcher sends him on and, when he is finished, they only require him to be on standby! What a great job! On some days I swear he puts on his company uniform, gets in the company truck and goes bottle digging and everything is cool, as long as he is wearing his cell phone.

     With any 'gravy job,' there is a risk that you run with that idle time. At least that was Mike's case. He spent too much time at my store shooting the breeze and the antique bottle bug bit him and bit him hard! We first met because Mike was looking for a good metal detector to hunt with between dispatch calls. However, as he came in with detector questions, he started to marvel at my bottle collection and asking questions!

     Mike's a tall guy and he is built perfectly for metal detecting in the shallow water because, with his height, he can get out further or deeper than the other guys. With gold prices where they are today, the water hunters are really making out well!

     One of my customers was in an old swimming site two weeks ago and in about two hours he hit 9 gold rings. No, it wasn't an unsearched site; he and others have hunted it before! He had 103 grams of 14-K gold, which he offered to sell me for $900.00, but my funds were low. He mailed it into a Michigan smelter and they mailed him a check for $1,200! Since then, gold is up again and it is now worth $1,700!!! Well, I guess Mike has enough hobbies going. We'll sure miss you Mike!

    This month the guys haven't been reporting in with their lists of bottle finds for me to report on. Scott did tell me that Mike dug a real nice cobalt blue poison bottle that he will display at this month's meeting.

Domain Name

      I went to GoDaddy.com and purchased two domain names for the club, but I am not sure yet when I will have time to build a web site. The domain names that I have registered are; www.kalamazoobottleclub.org and www.kalamazoobottleshow.org  These web addresses will not take you anywhere yet . . I'll keep you posted.


NOVEMBER 13th at 7:00

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club meets October 9th at the main
downtown Kalamazoo Library, located at 315 South Rose street.
We meet on the third floor in the Van Deusen Room
 Meeting starts at 7:00 pm.
To e-mail with questions regarding the club, or for bottle info, click here

Mail your $10.00 Dues to:
     607 CROCKET AVE