Archive for September, 2009

Digging with Doug-In the Beginning

September 30, 2009

I know I only mentioned how I started collecting bottles briefly in my ‘About Me’ page.  It is one of the questions I get asked most often.  Since starting the blog more folks have asked, so I thought I would write some snippets every so often.    My Grandfather was an avid collector of many items he would find at work. He worked for the City he lived in for the Power and Water Department. He would find fossils, coins, jewelry, tools, arrowheads, bottles, antique metal toys not to mention the puppies, baby rabbits and birds that needed help. When I was 8 years old my family went to my Grandparents for the summer. That same year my Grandfather came across several interesting bottles. The house my Grandparents lived in was built in 1900 by a local bottle manufacturer. The man started the business around 1905 in the barn and soon had to move to a bigger facility, but a lot of bottles were still in the barn as well as in the basement and root cellar. We also went digging for bottles around the barn and found some impressive bottles in unusual colors. It looked like the ‘bottle man’ had experimented with colors and didn’t like the way they came out and used them as filler around the barn foundation.

I was hooked! Most kids dream of digging for buried treasure, and here I was spending my summer doing just that!  I have some of those bottles in my collection still. Growing up in a military family and having to move often, many bottles didn’t survive the traveling.

 Well that is enough for today, you are probably nodding off. Next time will be: The first Coca-Cola bottle in my collection.


Your Friendly Neighbor

September 28, 2009

This week we will take a look at a book titled: ‘Your Friendly Neighbor; The Story of Georgia’s Coca-Cola Bottling Families’, written by Mike Cheatham.  This book looks at how the Georgia Coca-Cola Bottlers made an impact on their communities, then and now. He begins with the first bottlers, who opened a plant in Chattanooga, but soon spread across Georgia. He discusses the early years of bottling, the hardships and the good times. He discusses what the bottlers did for their community.  He also covers Delony Sledge, a Coca-cola advertising director, who came up with Things go Better with Coke, and other classic marketing campaigns.  The book does cover bottles somewhat, but the history involved helps the collector connect the bottles with a story. A great read, and fairly easy to find.

Back to the Bookshelf

September 21, 2009

With the bad weather here and power outage I was not able to post my book review yesterday. But-that gave me a chance to dig around my books and find one a little more obscure. This weeks review is on ‘A History of the American Soft Drink Industry’ by John J. Riley. First published in 1958 and reprinted in 1972, this book covers the history of the Soft Drink Industry from 1807 to 1957. It is an amazing book discussing the history of Soft Drinks here in the U.S.  Many illustrations show early bottling equipment, early pioneers and different bottles used. This book will answer any question you may have on the early years up to the 1950’s in that it has a large chapter on scientific background of the Soft Drinks. Also talks about many of the National brands we still have today as well as other brands long gone.  A little hard to find, but with the internet, you may be able to locate a copy. I actually found mine at a used book store a few years ago.

Having a Ball

September 16, 2009

I am always interested in seeing other bottle collectors display. Someone sent me this link to an article about a Ball Canning Jar collection.  Some of my first bottles were Canning jars, from my Great-Grandmothers basement. She canned for many years and had some very old bottles. She made THE best catsup. WOW-wish I had some now. Unfortunately we can’t find the recipe for it, but I still have some of the jars in my collection, empty of course.

This is a great display. Wish I had room like this to display in. Check out the story:

Another Sunday Another Book

September 13, 2009

This week I decided to talk about a book I read last year. ‘A History of the World in 6 Glasses’ by Tom Standage, written in 2005. Although, not a book about bottle collecting, this book covers the origins of Beer, Wine, Spirits, Coffee, Tea and Coca-Cola. Tom discusses how these beverages have had an influence on history. He points out that archaeologists have divided history into different periods based on the use of various materials, stone age, bronze age, iron age, etc. and that you can also divide world history into periods by the different drinks. He discusses the influence these drinks had on society of the time period when these drinks were discovered. The chapters are: Beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt, Wine in Greece and Rome, Spirits in the Colonial Period, Coffee in the Age of Reason, Tea and the British Empire and Coca-Cola and the Rise of America. A great read, I couldn’t put it down. I am fascinated with history and this is one of my favorite books. It takes a different view of history, instead of focusing on war, leaders or a nation it shows how something we take for granted has helped form history also. So-sit down with your favorite drink from the list above and enjoy this book.

Inside Looking Out

September 11, 2009

Another accidental find on the internet-an artist took a photograph from INSIDE a Coca-Cola bottle looking out. It gives the illusion you are in the bottle. A truly amazing photo. The website shows how it was done, using a 180 degree peep hole from a door and a broken Coca-Cola bottle.  Then the photos were stitched together to give you a 360 degree look.

Here is the link:  Once at the site-Click on  ‘click here to meet the soul of a Coca-Cola’ to see the complete photo (Be sure and check out the other 12 photos, unreal)

I heard a show on the radio the other day and they were discussing how photography was not an artform.  I don’t see how anyone can think that, especially after seeing some of these photos.

Antique Bottle Shows

September 8, 2009

Many people ask about the Antique Bottle Show schedule.  So, I placed a link for everyone to check them out. I am sure there is one close to you! Some great shows still coming up this year. Jacksonville, FL is a great show. I might try to make it this year. Finding bottles on the internet is good, but there is nothing like going to a bottle show and seeing all the different types of bottles for sale. Plus-talking to fellow collectors is always helpful. I think I have at least learned one thing, if not more, at a show.  Find one close to you and check it out.

A Quiet Sunday Afternoon and a Good Book

September 6, 2009

Nothing like a quiet afternoon and a good book to end the weekend. I decided to talk about a book once a week that deals with bottle collecting in one way or another. Some will be new and easy to find, others out of print and hard to come by.

I will start this week with one I am currently reading: ‘The Bottles, Marks and History of the Southwestern Coca-Cola Bottling Co., New Mexico and Arizona, 1917-1947’ by Bill Lockhart and Michael R. Miller, published in 2007.  I found this book recently on Amazon. It can also be found on As the title suggests, it covers everything you would ever want to know about the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Arizona and New Mexico.  It has many detailed drawings of the type of bottles used by the bottling company, from the Straight Sided to the Contour and the flavor bottles used. It also lists which bottles from this area are considered scarce.  Many old ads appear in the book as well as photographs and maps of the bottling plants themselves. 

One thing that makes this book so interesting is that it was written jointly by an archeologist and a bottle collector. You usually don’t find these two groups working together, but this partnership has worked well and resulted in a very in depth and informative look at early bottling plants. Even if you don’t live in the Southwest, this book contains information that most bottle collectors will find interesting and helpful.

  Bill Lockhart is a Professor at New Mexico State University. He has written several interesting articles in the past concerning specific bottling companies of the Southwest. Like his articles on 7 Up and my favorite ‘You Can Whip Our Cream, But You Can’t Beat Our Milk: The Dairies of Otero County, New Mexico, 1899 to 1977.’ You can do a search on Bill and find many of his articles on the internet. They are worth looking for and reading. Unfortunately I don’t know anything about the other author Michael R. Miller to share.

A Rainy Saturday

September 5, 2009

It is overcast and a little rainy, what to do? I’ve been cleaning bottles and watching some football! I love finding bottles, but cleaning them isn’t my favorite thing to do.    I am also doing a little research on some areas to go digging for bottles. A fellow digger and I are going to check out a turn of the century dump. WOW-bottles from the 1890’s and 1900’s. Should be some good stuff. Problem is, the area looks like a poison ivy farm! We will have to wait until winter sets in to try this spot. College Football has started, I guess winter isn’t far behind.

Oh yeah- GO TECH!!

What I found today

September 4, 2009

Well-I am at work, so no bottle hunting for me today. But, I did come across an interesting article about a Coke bottle. Check it out: