Don't It Make Your Ball Jars Blue? or: Just What Made the Famous Ball Blue Glass Color? -- The Hoosier Slide, Indiana


"It's all in the sand, baby!"

At one of our Findlay Bottle Club meetings, Jeff passed around a fruit jar that was a smooth-lip Mason's 1858, but in the familiar shade of aqua-ish-blue of Ball fruit jars. It is conventional wisdom that all "Ball Blue"-color jars were made by Ball (as no other fruit jar maker has jars in this famous shade), so it stands to reason that this Mason's 1858 was also made by Ball.  
What's up with "Ball Blue", you might ask? Why is only Ball glass that particular shade of blue? Jeff's answer --  "It's all in the sand, baby!"
Most of us know glass is made from sand. You might not have known that glass color comes from the mineral content in the sand that's used to make the glass. So, we wondered what was different about the sand that Ball used? How come no other company had sand that made their jars that particular shade? And why did Ball stop making jars in the signature color?

Turns out it was the sand from the once famous Indiana landmark, called the HOOSIER SLIDE in Michigan City, Indiana.

Vintage postcards of the Hoosier Slide.

Once the largest sand dune on Lake Michigan, the Hoosier Slide was a tree-covered tourist attraction, used for picnics and even weddings. 

Visitors enjoyed sliding down the loose sands.

Then stripped of its timber by the 1870's, it became a sand-blowing nuisance. 

Commercial sand mining began about 1890, when the Monon Railroad built a switching track along the south side of the dune. 

Also in 1890, natural gas was discovered in central Indiana, and glass factories started in the Muncie area. Large users of Hoosier Slide sand were the Ball Brothers in Muncie, Pittsburg Plate Glass in Kokomo, and the nearby Hemingway Glass Co.

The sand was found to be good for glass making, and thus the once loved Hoosier Slide was sold off, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow. The great sand dune was reduced to nothing.

W. Manny Dieckilman, the son of a man who worked the Hoosier slide shares this info about the 3 men pictured at lower left of this postcard:

"The 3 men pictured on the train tracks with Hoosier Slide in the background are: left, Dan Hutton, Train Master of the Monon Railroad” center, on tracks is Henry Dieckilman, Foreman (working there for 25 plus years), on right, William Manny, owner of Hoosier Slide."
"Although I hold no memory of my father, who died when I was three in 1921, I am forever conscious of the footprints remaining from his labors in the late 1890's and early 1900's. For twenty-five years, six days a week, he pushed an iron-wheeled wheelbarrow, moving sand from Hoosier Slide onto gondola carts headed for the manufacturing of canning jars.." --W. Manny Dieckilman 

Henry Dieckelman is listed in the Michigan City, City Directory, 1913, as the Foreman of the Hoosier Slide Sand Co. [Source]

According to "Naturalization records : abstractions from declaration of intentions, Superior Court, Michigan City, La Porte County, Indiana", Henry came from Germany in 1880. (Note the different spelling of his last name from his son, W. Manny Dieckilman.) [Source]

Read more of W. Manny Dieckilman's memories on

William B. Manny, proprietor of the Hoosier Slide Sand Company, is profiled in a1904 book [here].

Dan Hutton was listed in the Railroad Switchmens Union in 1901 [Source] as Michigan City's Monon Yardmaster [Source].

According to the Michigan City Public Library:
Once Indiana's most famous landmark, Hoosier Slide was a huge sand dune bordering the west side of Trail Creek where it entered Lake Michigan. At one time it was nearly 200 feet tall, mantled with trees. Cow paths marked its slopes and people picnicked upon its crest. Climbing Hoosier Slide was very popular in the late 1800's with the excursionist crowds who arrived in town by boat and train from Chicago and other cities. The summit, where weddings were sometimes held, afforded an excellent view of the vast lumberyards which then covered the Washington Park area.
With the development of Michigan City, the timber was cut for building construction and the sand began to blow, sometimes blanketing the main business district of the town on Front St., which nestled near its base.
When it was discovered that the clean sands of Hoosier Slide were useful for glassmaking, the huge dune began to be mined away. Dock workers loaded the sand into railroad cars with shovel and wheelbarrow to be shipped to glassmakers [and other places].
Over a period of 30 years, from about 1890 to 1920, 13 1/2 million tons of sand were shipped from Hoosier Slide until the great dune was leveled. By the 1920's, nothing remained of the giant dune. 

In 1929, NIPSCO (Northern Indiana Public Service Company) built a power plant on the Hoosier Slide site.

I don't know exactly what geologic event caused the Hoosier Slide's sand to have just the right mineral mix to create the famous Ball Blue glass color, but it was apparently something special that didn't turn up in any other fruit jar makers glass. There are many shades of aqua and blue in the fruit jar world, but only the one BALL BLUE.

Ball has come close with these new blue jars, but even they could not reproduce Hoosier Slide/Ball Blue glass.

Once the Hoosier Slide sand was all used up, Ball had to get another source, and the glass formula was forever changed. No more pretty Ball Blue glass.
Hoosier Slide sand analysis from Crown Jewels (Insulators).

Here's an excerpt from the Bottle Colors page on Bill Lindsey's phenominal Historic Glass Bottle Identification site —

Aqua glass is a "natural" result of the iron impurities found in most sands. It is very rare (maybe unknown) that sand does not contain some traces of iron. Sand deposits with very low iron content were (and probably still are) highly valued commodities. Although good quality sand was plentiful in the Eastern United States, some was still being imported from Belgium for Western American glass factories as late as the 1940s. Aqua glass is the result of sand which is relatively low in the amount of iron which was not off-set by de-colorizing agents. High levels of iron produce darker greens, black glass, and even amber. Natural aqua glass was often called "green glass," "bottle glass," or "bottle glass green" by glass makers.

Remembering Don Burkett ~ Beloved Fruit Jar Collector Has Passed ~ Funeral Details Added

[Photo from the Midwest Fruit Jar Club's newsletter.]

Such sad news... Don Burkett passed away Friday May 1, 2015, due to complications from a fall. 

Don lost his sweet wife, Glenny, in 2010. The loss took its toll on Don, but he was always smiling when around his fruit jar hobby friends.

Our deepest condolences go out to Glenny and Don's family. Words cannot express how he was loved and how much Don will be missed.

Don was beloved by so many collecting friends, and the fruit jar hobby will miss him terribly. This is a sad day indeed.

Obituary and funeral details posted below these photos. 

Glendine Burkett / 1924-2010 / Obituary

The Legendary Don Burkett
Author and fruit jar collector Bruce Schank profiled our beloved "Mr. Mason" in the Legends of the Jars series. Read it here: Don Burkett

Don Burkett, Comedian 
Video clip, from the 2010 Muncie Get Together, of Don Burkett sharing a story about a jar (of course) having been shot by a bullet during the Civil War, and making the crowd laugh at his jokes!

Don during Show'n'Tell at Summer Muncie 2011.

Don Burkett with his Mason's Patent solid pour. [Source]

Don Burkett holding court in his room at Muncie. 
Don Burkett at his home, with Jeff Klingler.

Read the post about Jeff Klingler's visit to Don "Mr. Mason" Burkett's home. Jeff shares some more pix, too. Here:

Don "Mr. Mason" Burkett with some of his collection of only fruit jars that are embossed with the words MASON or MASONS. 


Donald C. Burkett, 84 years, a lifelong resident of Monroe, Michigan went home to be with the Lord on Friday, May 1, 2015 at Wellspring Lutheran Services in Monroe.
Born September 8, 1930 in Monroe, Don was the son of the late Clauideus and Myrna (Knapp) Burkett. Don attended school in Monroe and was a 1948 graduate of Monroe High School. He went on to receive his B.A. from Adrian College in 1952 and his Masters Degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1959. Don was a Boy Scout where through hard work he was awarded Eagle Rank.
Don served his country honorably and proudly in the United States Army from 1952-1954. He was stationed in Augsburg, Germany.
In November of 1965, Don married his beloved wife, the former Gledinne “Glennie” Smith Garrett at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Sadly she preceded him in death on February 11, 2010 after 44 years of marriage.
Don was employed as a teacher for Monroe Public Schools teaching Government at Monroe High School from 1967 until his retirement in 1986. Prior to Monroe High School he taught at Summerfield Schools, Custer Schools and for Mason Consolidated Schools.
Don was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, where he served as an usher, Alpha Tau Omega, Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel, Michigan Education Association and The Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors, where he was known as “Mr. Mason”. Don will be remembered as a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
Don is survived by his son and daughter-in-law: Dennis J. and Barbara (Rassel) Garrett of Charleston, SC, three treasured grandchildren: Erica (Scott) Ensminger, and Matthew and Sean Garrett, all of South Carolina and two cherished great-grandchildren: Samuel and Tyler Ensminger and a sister: Myrna (Reed) Romine of Medway, OH.
In addition to his wife and parents, Don was preceded in death by two brothers: Robert and Lawrence.
* Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 2-8 PM in the Bacarella Funeral Home, 1201 S. Telegraph Rd., Monroe, MI 48161. [Get Map/Directions]
* On Wednesday, May 6, 2015 he will lie in state at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church from 10:00 AM until funeral services celebrating his life at 11:00 AM. [Get map/directions]
The Rev. Evans C. Bentley, pastor of the church, will officiate. interment will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park.
Online condolences, and special memories, may be shared with the family by visiting the obituary page at
Memorial contributions are suggested to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

Amole Mexican Soap Co. Became Ohio's House of Lowell Cosmetics

The Mexican Amole Soap Company of Peoria Illinois eventually became the House of Lowell Cosmetics Company in Ohio.

But first, what's AMOLE? 

[Bud and flower of the Wavy-leafed Soap PlantChlorogalum pomeridianum. Clipped and reduced from a photograph taken by Stephen Lea]
Wikipedia tells us: Mexican Amole is a plant with scientific name Chlorogalum. They are native to western North America, from Oregon to Baja California, and are mostly found in California. Commonly referred to as SOAP ROOT. It is its own species now, but was originally classified in the Lily family.
Soaproot had a diverse range of uses. The tough fibers surrounding the underground bulb were used for creating the predominant brushes used by so many Native California Groups used in the processing of the important food of acorn flour. The second most important use of soaproot was the use of the raw soaproot bulb as a shampoo or soap for body cleansing. The saponins present in the raw bulbs would produce a substantial lather when agitated with water. These same saponins also worked as an effective fish stunning chemical. The Native California groups would pulverize the bulb, mix it in water to create a foam, and then add the suds to a stream. This would incapacitate the fish by blocking the oxygen absorption in the gills, which would cause the fish to be stupefied and to float to the surface for easy gathering.

Other companies had products that used Amole in the name, but we're just going to look at the Mexican Amole Company, started by Abraham Brayshaw.

"The Mexican Amole Soap Company of Peoria, of which Abraham Brayshaw is President and General Manager, is entitled to more than passing consideration, for the manner of its conduct, and the excellence of its productions.

From a long line of ambitious ancestors, devoted to the manufacture of cloth, Mr. Brayshaw inherits the requisite force of character, tact, and knowledge of human nature, for the management of a concern fast attaining a world-wide reputation. He was born in England, December 21, 1838, and is a son of Benjamin and Anna (Berry) Brayshaw, who were also born and reared in England. It was but natural that Abraham Brayshaw should emulate the example of his forefathers, and, for some time at least, engage in the manufacture of cloth. Of the twelve children in the family he was the one exception who found a larger field of enterprise in America, and he came hither when thirty years of age as superintendent of the woolen mill of James Standring, in New York. At the expiration of two years he came to Illinois and located in Peoria, and until 1884 engaged with varying success in the carpet business. In the meantime, about nineteen years ago, he became interested in the prospects of a company organized for the manufacture of a high-grade soap, and which was incorporated under the firm name of Albaugh’s Mexican Soap Company, the president being M. H. Haverhill. The realization of the original promoters falling far short of expectations, and more or less money being lost in a venture at bottom containing real merit, an emergency was created into which the shrewd business sagacity and common sense principles of Mr. Brayshaw came in recognition of an undeveloped opportunity. When the new order of things was brought about the name also was changed to that under which the firm now conducts its business.

The Mexican Amole Soap Company’s products have long since passed the experimental stage, and have stood the test and approbation of several years. At the present time the company does a business amounting to $100,000 per annum, and, judging from the unprecedented increase within the last two or three years, much larger returns may be expected in the near future. Much of the soap manufactured is composed entirely of vegetable ingredients derived from the Mexican Amole Soap tree, the peculiar qualities of which are utilized by a patent process. Aside from bath and toilet soaps, the latter of which is best represented by the fragrant and refreshing Amole-ine, a shaving soap has been perfected by the company which not only gives a fine and lasting lather, but is as well a great skin tonique. The Amole Shampoo is most efficacious for all scalp disorders; the Amole Rose Cream is an excellent balm for the skin, and the Amole-ine Washing Powder is unexcelled for the laundry. As evidencing the more than local prominence of the articles manufactured by this enterprising firm, it is necessary only to state that the United States Army specifications for 1901, for supplies to be furnished to the post commissaries of our American and foreign possessions, call for an amount of Amole soap larger than all other kinds combined, the soap specified being the Amole Diamond King. The soaps turned out from this factory, which has the most modern equipments possible, are in demand in all parts of the world, large shipments being made daily to different parts of the United States, Canada and Cuba, as well as frequent consignments to England, France, Germany, Australia and the Philippines. It will thus be seen that, in the war of competition, Peoria may boast an enterprise in this line based upon genuine superiority, and therefore of lasting benefit at home and abroad."*
*This info is from the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Volume 2, Part 2 By Newton Bateman, Paul Selby, published in 1902 / read it here on googlebooks / page 485 was transcribed by Danni Hopkins here:


Joe Clevenger shares with us his research, below, on how Brayshaw's company became Ohio's House of Lowell Company, known to bottle collectors by its common but interesting cosmetics and perfume bottles, figural or in cobalt blue glass.

This is an image - read the article as a pdf with a few more photos, here.

Read about the Amole Company's bankruptcy here.

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Doctor, Doctor! Findlay Bottle Club Founder to Receive Honorary Doctorate

Is there a doctor in the house club?
Doctor, Doctor! Findlay Bottle Club Founder to Receive Honorary Doctorate

Our "Congratulations, Doctor-Doctor!" go out to Jim Houdeshell, one of the earliest members of the Findlay Antique Bottle Club.

Dr. Houdeshell already has a doctorate of education, and now he is receiving a second doctorate. It is a well-deserved honor from Findlay College, where he has worked and taught for over 60 years. Doesn't that make him a Doctor-Doctor?

According to the UFNewsroom press release, the Board of Trustees of The University of Findlay approved the awarding of an honorary doctorate to James D. Houdeshell.

"The University will award the honorary degree to Houdeshell at its commencement on Saturday, May 2, 2015. The Office of Alumni, Parents and Friends will host a Retirement/Roast Celebration for Houdeshell on May 16. The Dr. James D. ’53 and Mira M. Frost ’78 Houdeshell Scholarship Endowment Fund have been established in their honor. (To make a gift to this fund in honor of their legacy, visit this link.)"

They write about Jim:
A 60-year employee of The University of Findlay, Houdeshell was hired in 1955 as assistant professor, athletic director and head coach of football, basketball and baseball. 
He went on to hold many other positions at the University, including dean of students and chair of the Division of Teacher Education. 
Houdeshell had primary responsibility for adding one of UF’s first graduate programs, a master of arts in education and also helped develop the health and physical education major, along with the equestrian studies program. 
Currently, he serves as special assistant to the president.
A graduate of The University of Findlay (then Findlay College), Houdeshell received a master of education with a minor in school administration from Bowling Green State University and a doctor of physical education from Indiana University, Bloomington.
A standout athlete as an undergraduate, Houdeshell was inducted into the Findlay College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975. As a member of the UF faculty/staff, he was president of the NAIA in 1990-91; president of the NAIA Athletic Directors Association, 1981-82, and received the Athletics Administrator of the Year (Charles Morris Award), 2001-2002.
A pottery collector, Houdeshell has published a book on Houghton and Dalton pottery and has presented several lectures and reviews. "

His Pottery Collection Display 

Here are some photos of DOCTOR-DOCTOR Houdeshell's Houghton and Dalton Pottery collection display at the 2010 FOHBC National Bottle Show.

The book is out of print. (A copy is for sale here.) (Read an excerpt here.) (See images of H-D pottery marks here.)

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May 2015: Mansfield Ohio Bottle Show // Columbia City Indiana Insulators Show // Washington PA Bottle Show

What time is it?

 It's Bottle Show Time!

Here are a few MAY 2015 shows:


Saturday May 9, 2015
Make your hotel reservations now!
Early Bird on Friday May 8 is well worth your $$ & time!

*** Remember, the contracts for the Findlay Bottle Show will be "released" at the Mansfield Bottle Show -- and last year we almost sold out that day! Watch for Show Chairman Fred Curtis hollering: "Contracts! Get your red hot Findlay Bottle Show contracts here!"

The Ohio Bottle Club’s 36th Mansfield Antique Bottle & Advertising Show & Sale
  • May 8 & 9, 2015 
  • Friday Early Bird Adm. $25 // 3pm - 6pm
  • Saturday Public Adm. $3 // 9am - 2pm
  • Richland County Fairgrounds, Trimble Road Exit, U.S. Route 30, Mansfield, Ohio
  • Dealer set-up, Friday, May 8, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm // Dinner @6pm 
  • Matt Lacy, Chair, 440.228.1873, or Louis Fifer, Co-Chair, 330.635.1964,

Columbia City IN Bottle Show Info:

(More photos from the 2012 show here.)

Columbia City Indiana 
Insulators & Collectibles Show

May 15 & 16   2015
 (Friday & Saturday) 
Columbia City, Indiana 

  • 581 Squawbuck Road, Columbia City, Indiana 46725
  • Whitley County 4H Center (Fairgrounds) / 1 mile south of US30
  • Show Times: Friday, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Free Admission
  • Set-up: Friday, noon – 3:00 pm, Saturday 6:00 am – 8:00 am
  • Contact: Gene Hawkins @ 574-377-0171 
Note: the flyer says 581 Squawbuck, but googlemaps doesn't agree. They show the Whitley County 4H Center (Fairgrounds) as being at 680 Squawbuck Rd, Columbia City, Indiana 46725 [map link]


Washington PA Bottle Show Info:

You'll find all kinds of antique bottles and vintage advertising & go-withs at the Washington PA bottle show.

Washington County Bottle Show

May 17  2015
 Sunday 9am-2pm
Washington, Pennsylvania

  • Washington County Antique Bottle & Glass Club Bottle Show & Sale
  • At the Alpine Star Lodge, 735 Jefferson Avenue, Washington, PA 15301
  • Admission: $3
  • Directions: Exit 17 off I-70; approx. 1/2 hour from Pittsburgh (Map link)
  • Contact: Ed Kuskie @ 412-405-9061
  • bottle


Find more bottle shows listed here:

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