Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sitting it out~


 
 
Some time ago, American Bottle Auctions listed a chair that they attributed to Shea Bocqueuraz & Co. (Auction 59 Lot #33). About the same time, a seller attempted to ride the wave of popularity this auction lot was enjoying, and listed a virtually identical chair for auction on eBay. Opinions about this pair of chairs were many and varied.

The general consensus was that these chairs may have been made for a California Brewer, perhaps Sierra Brewing Co., and not Shea Bocqueuraz of San Francisco whiskey fame. Regardless, at least two bidders felt that it was worth fighting over and when the bidding war ended, the chair had hammered for the princely sum of $5060~, including commission. The ebay listing is still moldering away, with ongoing price reductions and buy it now listings and re-listings.

But the mystery as to who these chairs were made for, and where they originated remained a nagging question mark. Both chairs had obviously been refinished, and no nomenclature tags remained to clear up the mystery.

I received an interesting email a few days ago. It read;

"I bought this same chair in Wichita, Kansas back in 2013, guy on craigslist was asking 50.00 and talked him down to 25.00, no damage its a absolute beautiful chair and cant imagine ever selling it but to help you guys out on the bottom of my seat it appears to have a stain mark where a tag was removed at one time, it has a second tag on ti that appears to hae been stained over or refinished possibly at some point the tag reads, Sold Exclusively for The Helmers Manufacturing co. there is no date but from what I could learn seems to have been made around end of1800's early 1900's"




Today, the owner followed up with this comment;

"posted a comment on august 17th,2014 i bought same chair a year ago off craigslist in wichita kansas they were asking 50 i talked down to 25.00 said chair had been in family for decades anyways included pics and link in comment to help give you some more info on chair here are my pics of my chair."

and a series of photos.
 

 








 
 
 
Henry J. Helmers, opened his furniture business in Leavenworth, Kan. in 1875. He came to Kansas City early in the century to establish a distribution warehouse. Looking for a location, he chose the site pictured because it was on the Interurban Line to Leavenworth. The viaduct had not been built at that time. The site was that of the Fisher Brothers sawmill of the 1860's. Logs were floated down the Missouri to the mill and cut into lumber.
 
 

The Helmers Manufacturing Company was a Leavenworth Kansas "For-Profit Corporation". Incorporation documents were initially filed on March 16, 1888.
 
The postcard of the Helmers Manufacturing Company at 908 W. 8th, the Intercity Viaduct with horse-drawn vehicles, and the Missouri River in the background was mailed from Kansas City in 1913.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Helmers factory in Leavenworth was a long three-story building. The same architectural plans were used for the Kansas City structure, by cutting the plan in two and placing one half the building over the other. Plans had to be revised slightly when in 1907 Eastern investors began building the viaduct, and Helmers property was in its path. A corner of the building would have to be nipped off.

The furniture factory and the Kansas City warehouse were operated by the same Leavenworth employees, who made the trip back and forth to their homes in Leavenworth by the Interurban Line. After the viaduct was built a stop was made at Helmers and steps were built down to ground level.
 

One mystery solved; the "Evil Chuckee" chair originated in Kansas, not on the west coast as originally hope for. But who was he created for? If only that second label was still there!

(photos and documentation courtesy of ABA, the owner, and the KC public library website)
 
 
 
 
 




 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Antique Bottle Lighting

LED vs. Fluorescent
 
Thinking of upgrading your light source? You should!
 
 
 
Here's why you should invest in a professional LED lighting upgrade kit,

1) 6,000 Kelvin scale lighting duplicates noon day sun. 100% accurate color rendition.

2) Minimal heat generation from the light source.

3) Up to 30,000 hour life expectancy.

4) No more "dead spots". LED strip lighting has three hundred - 120* emitters per five meter strip. It's like having a solid sheet of light!

5) Easy attachment to most surfaces. Strips have 3M commercial adhesive backing.

6) Strips are flexible and can be bent in a radius.

7) 12 volt DC = safe, economical low voltage power.

8) Includes 60 watt - 120 / 12 volt transformer driver with hardwired 120 volt plug.

9) Expandable! Driver will support up to ten - 5 meter strips. Light up an entire room!

10) "Easy snap" quick connect for multiple runs.

 
Best of all, it's affordable!
 
Questions? Shoot us an email~

(keep in mind that the fluorescent light source approaching 6,000 K comes at a compromise in terms of most of the offsetting benefits of LED lighting)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dazed and Confused


We've purchase a couple of very nice western whiskey collections this summer.

Inevitably, I end up comparing new acquisitions to examples that I already have on the shelf. It never ceases to amaze me how many similar (but not identical) variations of Jesse Moore / Sole Agent glop tops exist. Lined up, the subtle differences immediately become obvious. It's not surprising though, considering the vast quantity of whiskey that Jesse Moore Hunt & Co. sold out west in the 1870's and 80's. A single mold just wouldn't have accommodated the vast quantity of bottles required to keep up with demand.

I did receive a bit of a surprise though, when I sat a "new" Adolph Harris picture whiskey alongside one that I'd had for many years; (the new example is the one on the left).
 
Although the embossing looks the same, the actual bottles are very different. One is notably "fatter" than the other, and the slug plate is positioned differently. The mystery deepened when I turned the "new" example over and looked at the base. According to my notes, I've had a total of five (including this one) Adolph Harris pictures in the past 48 years. All, up until now, have had the identical base mark; "265 1/2". The "new" one has a blank base. The new one is 3" across the base, while the "265 1/2"  measures 2 13/16". The slug plate positioning on the new one is different as well being positioned 1/8" lower, than the "265 1/2". 

Also odd is the fact that, although the embossing is identical down to the millimeter, the slug plate on the "new" one with the plain base is 1/8" wider, than the example with the "265 1/2"  on the base. How can they be identical when both the radius and the diameter of the bottles differ?

It is also remarkably cruder than any I'd encountered previously, possessing crudity in keeping with what we expect to see on a ca. 1890 bottle, not a post turn of the century example.

I'd be interested in making a tally of all examples of Adolph Harris. Anyone else out there have this bottle with a plain base? How crude? Color?
 
----------------------------------------------
Replies so far;



Bruce
Looked at the one I got from Deer Lodge it has the smooth base , no numbers .
RTS
-------
Bruce

I handled and counted 23 Near Mint to Mint examples of the Adolph Harris back in 1996 when I was counting all the glop-tops and picture whiskies. I wasnt aware of the mold difference at that time. Not sure if I counted the one you just acquired either. If not, then that would make at least 24 total.

AP
 
 ------------------------------------


Hello Bruce,

The one I have has the smooth base,not crude, light amber.

SC

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's like being a kid again and waiting for Christmas.


Where: Downieville California




When: September 13th, 2014




Show and Sale opens at 7am Saturday September 13 for dealers

Early lookers 8am to 10am $10 entry fee

10am to 3pm Free Admission


Breakfast and lunch will be available at the show




Time to plan your trip to Downieville


This years display will include Gold Rush and Western Soda bottles



Don't Forget to Bring Your western soda's to display


Friday Night Sept. 12th Dealers Wine Tasting and BBQ Event starts at 5pm

We still have a few sales tables available

Info: Rick or Cherry Simi 530 289-3659


Hope to See You in Downieville!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

eBay sleepers still exist~


Last week, a pretty decent glop top popped up out of nowhere. The seller appeared to have been liquidating a theme collection of Gilt Edge items. The listings ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime. Paper, ephemera and bottles made up the lions share.
 
One of the bottles was a glop top Old Gilt Edge / Wichman & Lutgen cylinder fifth. Described as,

" EARLY OLD GILT EDGE BOURBON WHISKEY BOTTLE WICHMAN & LUTGEN SAN FRANCISCO CAL CA CALIFORNIA, GOOD CONDITION, NO CHIPS OR CRACKS, CRUDE BOTTLE WITH AIRBUBBLES MEASURES 11''. ---PLEASE USE MY PICS AS THOUGH THEY ARE PART OF THE ITEMS DESCRIPTION!."


A request for a more detailed description was responded to with "quart amber has no cracks or chips, some mold flaws like bubbles in glass and stretch mark on back neck, and one tiny flaw in lower front of bottle, not sure if this is a bubble burst or something else."
 
The listing photos were anything but helpful.
 
 

 
 

A request for better photos of the flaw were replied to with "my camera will not take a good picture of the flaw, the most I can tell you is it is not very noticable.".
 
I passed.
 
And so, a bottle that most probably would have sold at a normal online auction, for a grand and change plus "the juice", brought a whopping $331~.
 
Someone got a screaming deal.
 

Congrats to the new owner!

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

That's a bunch of Bull!


Yep, a big ol' ornery bull. A Durham bull to be exact.
 


The Durham is an old breed, dating back to late 18th century England. They were initially prized for both dairy and beef production. Later, they were bred specifically for meat production. The Durham ultimately became what we now know as shorthorn cattle.
But we're not talking about steaks here, although a good bourbon and a good steak do go hand in hand around my place~

According to the US Patent records, the "Durham" brand was registered in 1878 by the firm of ELLISON & HARVEY, who were liquor wholesalers located in Richmond Va. The firm existed from 1870 - 1905, a long span of time in the liquor industry compared to most west coast firms.
The firm commissioned an amber glop top cylinder that is unique among whiskies, be they an east or a west coast bottle. The back side sports a raised protrusion that can best be described as the base of another bottle; commonly called a "foot". The "foot" served double duty in that it allowed the colorful label to stand proud of the rest of the bottle, and also allowed the bottle to perch on it's side when employed in less than stable environs, such as the stern and side paddle wheel steam ships of the day.

At some point in time, after the creation of the original design, the foot was removed by patching the mold. Subsequent bottles blown were of the more conventional round cylinder form, (sans the "foot"), but the mold repair area can be plainly made out; much the same as the A. Fenkhausen / Old Pioneer Bear amber glop top with the rivet repair plate on the rear, which was blown in San Francisco during roughly the same time frame.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 



 

The embossing pattern is attractive and straight to the point; simply "Durham (picture of a Durham bull) Whiskey". The leg on the "R" (in Durham) is straight, the glass is most often shades of medium to darker amber, and the bottle is generally well made without much in the way of crudity.

The glass works that produced the bottle is unknown, but a side by side comparison with the word "WHISKEY" on an original E. G. Booz, produced by Whitney Glass Works, reveals an uncanny similarity in embossing patterns. In fact, with the exception of the "S", they bear a striking resemblance to one another.


 
 Thomas stated that the bottle dates ca. 1876 - 1882. However, the bottle most probably does not
pre-date the brand registration, which occurred in 1878.

The brand mascot was indeed a Durham bull (not a steer or heifer).  To my knowledge, the Durham Whiskey, and the Buffalo Bourbon from Sacramento, are the only pre-prohibition embossed whiskeys with a bovine embossed on it. And there's no doubt about the sex of the critter when you look at the embossing pattern...


 






Later, they had an acid etched picture shot glass produced to advertise the brand. It also sported the now famous bull.





The Durham whiskey bottle was merchandised on both the east and the west coast but the number of examples found west of the Rockies has been slim at best. As far as early glop top whiskies go, the Durham is tough to beat, either with, or without the foot. It may not be in the heavy hitters club that the western "curved leg R" Chielovich Durham is, but for my money, it's one heckuva bottle.

And that's no Bull~
 

 

PS: We recently acquired a significant and large collection of western glop and tooled whiskies. The Durham was part of this collection. Please feel free to touch base with me if you have a "wish list", as we will be making the collection available for purchase on our soon to be published summer mailing list. Best bet is via email at jsglass@q.com.
 
Thanks and as always, best of luck with your collecting endeavors.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rrrreno!

 
 
27 & 28 June 2014
(Friday & Saturday)

Reno, Nevada
 
Reno Antique Bottle & Collectibles Club

51st Annual Show & Sale


Grand Sierra Resort and Casino
2500 East Second Street, Reno, NV 89595


 
 
 
See Ya there!
 
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