Saturday, January 23, 2016

Victory Jar

Here is a great western jar that comes in many colors. I have seen cornflower blue and green examples, but have also heard rumors of an amber example known to exist. Is that true ? Based on the below ad it looks like the Pacific Glass works could have began producing the Victory Jar some time in 1870. How long of a run did these jars have ? The below article does not mention any Victory Jars being made in 1876 after the merger, but it does note Gems, Masons, and wax sealers. Did the SF&PGW continue to produce these jars after the 1876 merger, or are these jars strictly 1870 to 1876 ? They often come out of 1880s or later holes, but if anything would have sat in the cupboard for 10 or 20 years, a fruit jar would be it. 
Which variant is the rarest ?
Does anyone have any photos of a blue example ?

Pacific Rural Press, May 25 1872

Sacramento Daily Union, April 20 1872

Sacramento Daily Union, May 18 1872

Pacific Rural Press, September 23 1876

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Celebrated Crown Bitters

Here's a nice light Celebrated Crown Bitters
Thanks to Richard Dotson for the submission.
Its a beauty - rs -

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

FOHBC 2016 National Antique Bottle Convention and Expo Shootout

2016 Sacramento Shootout Bottle Competition News

The Sacramento Shootout bottle competition will be held at the FOHBC 2016 National Antique Bottle Show & Expo in Sacramento, California after the Generals House Reception. There will be three (3) categories. Each category will have three (3) judges. Awards will be given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.The categories are Jesse Moore Sole Agent (cylinder fifths), U.S.A. Hosp. Dept. quarts and Hostetter’s Bitters (limit 4 entries per category per competitor). Security will be provided. For additional information contact Richard Siri, Sacramento Convention Chair, PO Box 3818, Santa Rosa, California, 707.542.6438, or visit

Sunday, January 17, 2016

From a Peachridge Glass Post

Celebrated Crown Bitters – F. Chevalier Sole Agent

Ferd, here are a few photographs of the “CELEBRATED CROWN BITTERS.” In the January-February issue of BOTTLES and EXTRAS there was a great article on Ken Schwartz Whiskey collection. Below the stained glass sign for “Old Castle Whiskey” was the name of the company, F. Chevalier & CO. I have a rare bitters I purchased from a Port Angeles Washington dealer a couple of years ago. It is the “CELEBRATED CROWN BITTERS, F. CHEVALIER & CO. SOLE AGENTS. Bill Ham has it in his Bitters Bottles Supplement as C93 and listed as rare? I believe it is extremely rare. I have only seen one other? It is in a red amber, like the western Lash’s Bitters (see below). Sorry I could not get better pictures. You will have to look close to see Celebrated Crown Bitters and F. Chevalier Sole Agent embossings.
Best Regards. Gary Beatty
I would venture to say that there are more than 30 of the Celebrated Crown Bitters in collections. What say you western collectors? - rs -

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Jefferson State Bottle Show Still Lives!

A Fresh Start

The look was mirrored on both of their faces; a combination of frustration and despair. Their good fortune had run out.

Nearly fifteen years prior,  the world had been their oyster, possibilities endless. They'd first settled just over the Oregon border on Daisy Creek, upstream from the burgeoning gold rush rag town of Table Rock City. Nuggets were thick like fleas on a dog; there for the picking. That was the winter of 1852. It was cold and wet, but the easy pickin's more than outweighed the creature discomforts. Jackson Creek was rich in placer gold, and a man with a pan and a rocker could make easy wages when things got too crowded over on Daisy. Things got "citified" quick and soon Table Rock City had its name changed to Jacksonville. It sounded more "civilized". The tent city soon saw framed houses replacing rag tents and a couple of brick buildings sprang. Yep, the rest of the world had caught up with Southern Oregon, and so the pair of miners moved on.

Rumor had it that gold had been discovered about 60 miles north, in a town that would later become Canyonville. "Pickin' it up in chunks" was the word. And so north they trekked; pans, picks, shovels and supplies strapped to their trusty mule. Sure enough, there was gold. Lots of it. Their claim paid. Not richly, but enough to keep them in beans, bacon and whiskey. But suddenly, almost fifteen years to the day, the pay streak pinched out. And once again the look mirrored on both of their faces was a combination of frustration and despair. Their good fortune had run out.

Just as well, they thought, Canyonville too had become "citified". Besides, word had it that another rich gold strike had been made. And so they strapped pans, picks, shovels and supplies to their trusty mule, and headed out, only this time back south. South to the Rogue Valley and what was now The State of Jefferson; back to their roots.


My wife & I moved to the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon back in 1975; two kids wet behind the ears, just out of San Jose State. We'd heard that the area showed promise, and knew that the Bay Area no longer held anything for us. Like the miners in days of old, we trekked north to Southern Oregon, only in a 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser instead of on a mule (now that I think of it, there were similarities). There was a bottle club here back then; "The Gold Diggers". They'd been around for years, and the shows back then were held in Jacksonville. A couple of years later, due to folks moving, dying off, losing interest, etc., the Gold Diggers disbanded.  Almost immediately, the Siskiyou Antique Bottle Collectors Association was formed with the annual show being held upstairs in the US Hotel Ballroom in J'ville. That club was active for several years, but ultimately suffered the same fate as the Gold Diggers. 

Enter the Jefferson State Antique Bottle Collectors; or "JSABC". Tradition was cast to the wind and the shows were held at a variety of less than stellar locations ranging from a rundown Grange Hall in Central Point to a Scottish Rite Temple out in the pucker brush of east Medford. 

Seven Feathers ("7F") entered the picture shortly after 2000. It was a great facility, and the show gained momentum for years. Starting with roughly 40 tables, the show peaked out at over 70. But, 7F became increasingly difficult to deal with. A 33% increase in lease fees for the facility in 2015 put the writing on the wall. The straw that broke the camel's back occurred just before Christmas, when I received word that they'd 1) increased costs yet again and 2) broken their promise that we'd remain scheduled annually for our traditional  first weekend in October. Merry Christmas... Nearly fifteen years of hard work building the show, gone. The look on my face when I got the call was no doubt the same as that on the miners faces 150 year ago; a combination of frustration and despair.  Stick a fork in Canyonville, it was a done deal; a good run while it lasted~.


Sometimes the solution to a problem is right under our noses and it just takes a kick in the pants to see it. Boy, did 7F ever give me one. A couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Greg King, owner of "Glory Days Antiques" in Medford. Glory Days is the premier antique mall in Southern Oregon. Greg has helped push the Canyonville Show for years through word of mouth advertising and by handing out flyers to anyone coming through his doors. Greg was negotiating with the Jackson County Expo to produce a large regional venue by the name of the Rogue Valley Antique Show. Would I be interested in co-producing  the JSABC Antique Bottle and Insulator Show in the same building on the same weekend? My answer was an immediate and resounding YES! Back to our roots!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the first annual "Jefferson State Antique Bottle and Insulator Expo" to be held May 6,7,8 2016 at the Jackson County Expo complex just off of I5 in Central Point, Oregon (just 2 minutes north of Medford). This venue will replace the now defunct Canyonville Show. We are signing the contracts this week and have the tentative table and booth locations drawn up and submitted to the Fire Marshall for approval. We will initially start out this year with 50 tables for bottle and insulator dealers, which will occupy roughly half of the 10,000 square foot building.

Stay tuned for updates as planning progresses.

Thanks for your patience, understanding and continued support.


Bruce Silva
Show Chairman

2016 Jefferson State Antique Bottle and Insulator Expo

For more information and updates on the show visit: 
See you this coming May in Oregon - rs -

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What They Found Inside The Sunken Remains Of 
A 150-Year-Old Steamboat Is Still Edible 

In 1856, the Steamboat Arabia left the banks of Kansas City on a routine supply trip up the Missouri River. Onboard were two hundred tons of precious cargo en route to 16 different towns along the frontier.


Steamboats were common in those days, as they were the best method of traveling up and down America's river systems. These boats were a big business at the time and were absolutely essential for trade and commerce.

Unfortunately for the Steamboat Arabia, a fallen walnut tree was waiting just below the surface of the water, hidden from sight thanks to the glare on the water from the setting sun. The impact instantly tore the hull and the boat sank in minutes. Thankfully, everyone on board was able to swim to safety, except for one poor mule who was tied to the deck and forgotten in the chaos.

The soft river bottom quickly engulfed the boat in mud and silt and in just a few days, it was swept away entirely due to the force of the river. Over time, the river shifted course and for the next 132 years, the Arabia was lost to the world until it was discovered in the 1980s, 45 feet deep underneath a Kansas farm.

Legend of the sunken ship had been passed on through the generations in the area and inspired local Bob Hawley to find it in 1987. He and his sons used old maps and sophisticated equipment to eventually find the boat half a mile away from the present-day river. The farmers who owned the land agreed to let them dig it up - as long as they were done in time for the spring planting season.

All manner of heavy equipment was brought in, including a 100-ton crane. 20,000 gallons of water had to be removed into 65-foot-deep wells.

After two weeks of excavation, the first parts of the boat appeared - the remains of the left paddlewheel and this small black rubber shoe that was lying on the deck.

They also recovered fine china, fully preserved along with its yellow packing straw. It had all been preserved perfectly thanks to the airtight mud.

On November 26, 1988, the full boat was uncovered along with its 200 tons of buried treasure. 

With no air to cause spoilage, thousands of items were recovered completely intact. Jars of preserved foods were still totally edible. One brave excavator even tested it out by eating a pickle from one of the jars and found it to still be fresh.

Today, the artifacts are all housed in a museum in Kansas City called the Steamboat Arabia Museum. One of their displays is the fully preserved skeleton of that poor mule. 

These jars of preserved fruits are just some of the relics recovered from the Arabia.

Thinking of all those unmade pies kinda makes me sad ...

Though most of the hats recovered from the Steamboat Arabia were wool felt, this hat is one of a rare few that were made of beaver fur, which is naturally water resistant.

All manner of clothing was found. Much of it could still be worn today.

The ship also had over 4,000 shoes, all packed up and ready for delivery. Some shoes were even lined with buffalo hair for extra warmth.

A keg of ale from 1856.

These bottles of French perfume were still fragrant when they were recovered. Ever wondered what the 1800s smelled like?

Just a few of the 29 different patterns of calico buttons found on the Arabia.

Calico fabric was a type of cotton printed with small, repeating patterns named after its point of origin, Calicutta (now Kolkata), India. The fabric was quite popular in England and the Western world and the Steamboat Arabia had several calico dresses that sadly did not survive that much time underwater. The dresses did have porcelain buttons printed in the same patterns as the dresses, however, which shows us what kinds of designs people were wearing back in those times.

A variety of (mostly unidentified) vintage medicines.

A sampling of some of the other relics recovered from the steamboat. 

Would you try this 150-year-old pickle?



Monday, January 11, 2016

New Year's Free Style Dig

For your pleasure here are a few pictures from a recent New Year's dig


Hey Rick. 
Anonymous here,
Went to a permission that changed their mind. Knocked on a door... Got a permish. Probed a hole right off the back patio. Hit 70s trash. Found three broken earliest JF fifths, three broken Clubhouse Gins, an early intact spice, some broken foods, a few early slicks and a couple nice bottles. 
Nice way to start off the new year. I just love these anonymous submissions I get from you western diggers. Keep up the digging! - rs -