Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Otis Collection pt. 4

This is my fourth post on the Otis collection, and there is still more left!  Even the 68 bottles I bought (a small fraction of the 600 piece collection) made a huge impact on my collection.  Enjoy the rest!

Of all the bottles I purchased from the Otis collection, this one was probably the most unusual.  It is embossed The H.—L. Brand Prov. RI USA.  It has a bulbous food (sauce bottle) shape, but a soda-style blob top!  Unfortunately I was unable to find any information on it, but it is certainly one of the stranger ones I’ve come across!

Another nice blob was from the What Cheer Bottling Co.  I originally through only machine made crown tops existed, but this clear blob makes things interesting.  What Cheer is the motto of Providence and dates back to the mid-1800s.  A large number of varied businesses took on the name, and many still exist today.

One of the most successful bottling companies from Pawtucket was the Standard Bottling Co.  I had 8 different bottles from this collection, and added 3 more with this recent purchase.  One example as a narrow-bodied handmade crown top.  It has the signature American flag and the number 5 next to it.  I’m not positive, but I believe this is a date code for 1905. 
The other unlisted example is probably the rarest Standard bottle around.  It is embossed Standard Bottling Co. Pavonia Providence, RI.  Beer bottles embossed with the type of beer are exceedingly rare in RI.  In fact I’m now the lucky owner of the only two types known (the other is a Henry Wilkens Tivoli from Providence). 

Despite its status of a small city and a considerable amount of documented bottles, Woonsocket bottles are still hard to come by.  I suppose living in southern RI doesn’t help, as I (almost embarrassingly) have never been to Woonsocket.  I was able to acquire two completely unlisted sodas which made me decide a visit to this city was in order within the year.  The first example was a BIM crown top Joseph G. Lefevbre Clinton St. Woonsocket, RI.  Woonsocket was known for it’s French-Canadian population, and this bottler’s name is a fine example of that. 

The other equally exciting soda was an early machine made crown top Millerville Soda Works Woonsocket, RI.  Millerville is a town in Massachusetts located right over the border from Woonsocket.  This must have been a short lived company because there is not a single mention of it online.

The Otis Collection pt. 3

I was happy to improve my run of Jacob Wirth bottles.  As one of the most successful bottlers in the state, his newer blobs and crown tops are easily acquired.  I had eight different bottles from Mr. Wirth until this purchase, when I acquired two of his earliest Providence bottles.  Jacob Wirth started in Boston around 1868, and opened a new branch in Providence in 1880.  The first bottle, a crude applied lip aqua blob dates from 1880-1885, and the second example, the earliest example of his signature diamond design likely dates from 1885-1890.  Roger Heatley is the expert on Jacob Wirth bottles, and more info can be found at his excellent website here: 

Among Al’s unlisted bottles were a few examples I would refer to as “specimen” bottles.  They are badly damaged which means they have little or no value, but they have a lot of historic value since they are rare and unlisted.  One of these was a H. Gorman & Co. Providence, RI midsize blob.  This intermediate size (8”) between a squat soda and tall blob was a transitional bottle, and dates to ca. 1870-1885.  There is a tall blob Gorman listed, but not this small size!

Probably the biggest heartbreaker was a beautiful amber Chas. F. Young 38 S-Main St. Providence, RI amber blob.  He made the only amber colored squat blob from RI, which is quite rare.  An example like this is exciting because it shows he was in business until the era of the "tall blobs", and the embossing is nearly identical to what is found on the squat blob.

Another uncommon bottle was a quart-sized blob top from the German Seltzer Co. 7 Ticknor Ave. Providence, RI.  Quart blobs are considerably less common than you average 10-12oz. blobs.  This example has 27 Oz. embossed in the slugplate, making it unlisted. 

Another nice smaller-town blob was a Sanitary Bottling Co. Webster Ave. Arlington, RI.  Arlington (now Silver Lake) was a town in Cranston, and amusingly enough the porcelain stopper on this bottle is marked Cranston.  This bottle is only listed as a crown top, so this blob is new!

The Otis Collection pt. 2

Well it should be no surprise that this week will cover more of the Otis collection.  I’ll start out with a completely unlisted Lawson’s Drug Store Wesminster St. Providence, RI.  Always an exciting find, these drug store bottles seem to be of a later vintage (1905-1915) than other embossed pharmacy bottles.  A thorough search was unable to turn up any solid information on the company.

Even more exciting was an unlisted medicine from a “small town”.  A small oval cork top D.O. King MD Auburn, RI easily grabbed my attention.  There is only one other medicine bottle known from Auburn, a section of Cranston. 

One apparently scarce pharmacy bottle was an E.C. Thornton & Co. Pharmacists Providence, RI.  It is listed as RI-631, but the height (a little over 6”) was unknown. 

I was happy to get an E.T. Luther Druggist Olneyville, RI pharmacy bottle.  This section of Providence has a handful of pharmacy bottles, including one of my very first RI bottles.  This example is an unlisted 3-1/2” size. 

I kind of have a thing for older blob top sodas.  The early examples with crude embossing and applied lips just have a great character to them.  Easily one of the best examples of this was a Finck & Hainbach Pine Cor. Page St. Providence, RI blob.  Out of the hundreds of RI blobs I’ve seen and handled, this was easily the crudest looking tall (9”+) blob I’ve ever seen.  It is unquestionably one of the first tall blobs ever made (early 1870s), as they debuted about the same time Karl Hutter invented the popular lightning stopper for them.  Sadly it is damaged, but it is still a pleasing sight to the eyes!

Another nice find was a T. Blanchette 606 Broad St. Central Falls, RI handmade crown top soda.  There are only two versions of the T. Blanchette soda listed, and both are blob tops.  Sodas made in the 1905-1915 period can be found in identical styles with blob and crown tops, as blobs weren’t completely phased out until about 1920.