March Means Bottle Collectors Digging More Daylight

"March comes in like a Lion, and goes out like a Lamb." -- An old saying. [learn more]

"An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April [now it's in March]; we pay it back with golden interest five [eight] months later." - Winston Churchill

"In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of... digging bottles." - (With apologies to Tennyson)

"A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig." - Old Irish Proverb

Happy St Patrick's Day and Happy Spring to all you Antique Bottle Lovers!

  • 2015 Dates:
  • March 08 - Daylight Savings Time starts.
  • March 17 - St. Patrick's Day
  • March 20 - Spring springs ~ yay!
  • March 31 - Out like a lamb...?

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Friday the 13th - Moonshine and #13 on Ball Jar Base Lore

It's Baaackkk! Today is Friday the 13th!

While fruit jars with the number 13 on the base are sought after, makes a good point: "many of these jars are now saved by non-collectors or casual glass collectors (and “culled” from large groups of common jars) merely because of the number on the base. This culling out of #13 jars from among the “general population” of jars (and stashing them away) can increase the perception of their scarcity."

Moonshiners and fruit jars ~ a confiscated bootleg still.

When taking down a still, revenue officers destroyed everything a moonshiner might use later, including glass jars.  Franklin County, Virginia, 1965.

When taking down a still, revenue officers destroyed everything a moonshiner might use later, including glass jars.  - Franklin County, Virginia, 1965. - [Source]

More from --

Q.     Are the Ball jars with the number 13 on bottom worth more money and, if so, why?
A.     The ‘Urban Legend’ is that moonshiners used mason jars for their product, and, being superstitious, would break the 'unlucky' ones with 13 on the base.  This made the jars rare. 
                   In truth, moonshiners did in fact use mason jars as the preferred container for their product.  They were a known capacity, were readily available and buying them did not raise suspicion. 
                   Also, jars with 13 on the base are rarer than single digit numbers.  But all the double-digit numbers are rare. The numbers designated the position that the mold occupied on the glassmaking machine, and there were usually 8 or 10 positions on the machine.  The higher numbers were used when a mold was replaced.  Dealers sell jars with 13 on the base at a higher price, but fruit jar collectors and the published price guides do not consider the number on the base to make any difference in value.
                    My opinion is that while moonshiners may have been superstitious, I can't imagine that the housewife would break jars just because they had 13 on the base, and housewives used more jars than moonshiners.  I think that the urban legend was created by antique dealers who wanted to make more money off an otherwise common jar.

In 2012 we had three Friday the 13ths. 2013 had just two of the superstition-laden days will cross our paths. 2014 saw just one, with 2015 back to three occurences. [Calendar link]

Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteenis an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.
  • In numerology, the number 12 is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, twelve signs of the Zodiac, etc., whereas the number 13 was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. 
  • There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having 13 people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
  • Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.
  • One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
  • In many Spanish speaking countries, the movie "Friday the 13th" was renamed to Tuesday the 13th ("Martes 13"), because it is believed to be the day of bad luck, not Friday the 13th.

Here are some more "Friday the 13th" info-tidbits from Wikipedia:
  • The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia [say that 10 times fast -- yikes!]
  • The 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week.
  • On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212 days. 
  • It's estimated that 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day -- & estimated that $800 million is lost in business on this day. 
I say FEAR NOT !!! Let's get out there and shop!

Naughty History of Valentine's Meat Juice in the Little Amber Bottle - Happy St. Valentine's Day, Antique Bottle Collectors

You don't need teeth to enjoy Valentine's Meat Juice!

Aah, love.

By Marianne Dow

Valentine's Meat Juice has true love as it's raison d'ĂȘtreMann S. Valentine Jr. was desperate to save his dying wife, Maria.

For weeks she had been unable to retain any nourishment, and Mann was distraught while watching his wife starve to death. Physicians could do no more. Valentine became persuaded that she needed juice extracted from meat, with its “strength-giving properties.”

He went down to his basement with a chemistry set, and with sheer determination and rudimentary knowledge from college courses, he worked to concoct a mixture to revive his wife. He worked night after night in the cellar, and on New Year’s Eve 1870, he administered to Maria the first batch of meat juice.

Mann’s elixir worked, and Maria recovered.

[Info from this article by Harry Kolatz Jr.]

The juice reached its greatest success and acknowledgment in 1881 when President Garfield said, after wounded from a bullet in an assassination attempt, that he breakfasted on Valentine’s Meat Juice along with toast and poached egg to get better.

In Mann's own words:

Read the full text of the advertising booklet pictured above, here. It is mostly testimonials. No photos.

A Valentine's Meat Juice bottle sits on a shelf at Boston's new Massachusetts General Hospital medical history museum (link). [Photo source]

The Valentine Meat Juice Company used 15 to 20 THOUSAND pounds of flesh from beef cattle a day to make the juice. 

Bottle collector Ed Faulkner shared this memory:
"One of the Richmond club members once talked to someone whose father had worked at the plant that produced the meat juice. It appears that there was always plenty of "squeezed" beef after the juice was removed & it was available to employees for free. Although they were dirt poor, the man said, they always had beef on the table!"

LOVE Potion -- It's The Oldest Profession

Valentine's Meat Juice came in this neat little amber bottle. It is pretty common,  and of little interest to bottle collectors, but it has another interesting and rather sordid history, as it turns out. It's connected with "The Oldest Profession", if you know what I mean. No, not butcher.

What bottle collectors will find interesting is that archaelogical digs around brothels found a great many VMJ bottles.
Prostitutes ate better and dressed better than their working class contemporaries. Some of their purchasing power, however, was spent on proprietary medicines such as Valentine's Meat Juice, promoted as a cure for sexually transmitted diseases, aka social diseases. "

But wait, there's more...

There's even more sordidness associated with this little bottle...
Valentine's Meat Juice figured prominently in a famous murder case. ''The Case of Mrs. Maybrick'' was written about in The Elements of Murder By John Emsley.

Apparently the Mrs. killed her husband by poisoning his Valentine's Meat Juice with arsenic!

And I used to think it was such a cute little bottle -- who knew? Well...Happy Valentine's Day, anyway!

It's about 3" tall, and embossed VALENTINE'S MEAT JUICE. Much harder to find with the paper labels:

Some other Valentine's Meat Juice collectibles:

Magazine ad

Dose glass

Chemist's invoice (source)

Mann S. Valentine

The Valentine Museum

According to the Valentine Museum, now known as the Valentine Richmond History Center (Virginia), Mann S. Valentine, Jr. (1824-1893), the museum's founder, made his fortune with the creation and production of Valentine's Meat Juice, a health tonic made from pure beef juice.

Mann shared his love of history with his brother, renowned sculptor Edward V. Valentine. Mann laid the foundation for the museum in 1892; when he died in 1893, he provided the original bequest for the Valentine Museum, leaving his personal collection of art and artifacts and the 1812 Wickham House.

The Valentine Museum, the first private museum in the City of Richmond, opened in 1898; Edward Valentine served as its first president from its opening until his death in 1930. In his own will, he left an incredible collection of his sculpture, papers, furniture and memorabilia to the museum that still bears his family name.

While alive, The Valentine's Meat Juice success provided Mann S. Valentine with more than enough money to do what he wanted. He collected art, and his home was a gathering place for artists.

Here are some photos from the museums collection that show Mann S. Valentine posing as different emotions. I end with these as I think it shows he was an interesting and emotional man, and it's easy to see how his love for his wife would have sent him down into his basement to create the magic potion that would keep her alive.

See more from this series of photos on the Richmond Museum's website here.

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Will Punxsutawney Phil Punk Us Again? Groundhog Day Vintage Bottles

Every February 2nd we wonder, will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? Will we have yet more winter? Something tells me we will have many more weeks of cold, no matter what the famous Groundhog does or does not see!

See more about Groundhog Day lore, and more vintage Punxsutawney Phil collectibles on my 'Tique Talk blog - link.

There aren't too many vintage bottle related Groundhog Day goodies. There are some great items from the city of Punxsutawney. Here's what I found:

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The Good's Dairy: History Timeline of the Pickerington Creamery ~ Ohio

A History Timeline of the Pickerington Creamery
by Joe Clevenger
  • In 1900 a small group of local farmers organized and started a local creamery called Pickerington Elgin Butter Co. and continued as a co-op for about 10 years.
  • Between 1910 and 1912, the co-op was brought by Creighton and Homer Pearce and renamed the Pearce Brothers Creamery
  • In 1913 Arthur J. Good came to Pickerington, Ohio as a butter maker for the creamery. 
  • Six months later Creighton Pearce retired from the business and sold his half of the business to Mr. Good. 
  • At that time the creamery became known as The Pearce and Good Creamery
  • In 1913 the plant churned 113,000 pounds of butter. 
  • A few years later Homer Pearce wanted to retire and so Mr. Good became the sole owner of the creamery. 
  • At that time the creamery became known as the Pickerington Creamery

  • In 1921 the creamery burned to the ground. 
  • Six months later in 1922 a new plant was built. 
  • By the mid 1920s the creamery bought the West Jefferson Creamery of Columbus, West Jefferson and Zanesville. 

West Jefferson Creamery milk bottle. [On ebay here]

  • During the late 1920s several more smaller companies were bought out by the Pickerington Creamery. 
  • With the coming of better roads and trucks, the old horse drawn equipment was replaced with a modern fleet of trucks. 
  • Three modern 1,200 pound churns were added and the Mayflower brand name was copyrighted.
  • At that time the product line was expanded to include eggs, poultry, dried buttermilk, cheese, and non-fat dry milk. 
  • During 1935 an American cheese plant was put into operation in Bremen, Ohio. The cheese plant cost $15,000 to build. 
  • With the use of closed body trucks to pick up the milk and cream from the farmers, it was no longer feasible to pick up and handle poultry and this operation was eliminated in 1938. 
  • Then in April of 1942 a new milk drying plant was put into operation, near the creamery, in Pickerington. The milk drying plant handled 150,000 pounds of milk each day. This plant cost $50,000 to build. 
  • During 1949 the butter churns were replaced with new modern stainless steel churns.
  • With the use of this new equipment the brand name was changed to Mayflower Gold-n-Flow.
  • Pickerington Creamery was the first in Ohio and the third in the United States to install this continuous flow type of butter making equipment.
  • In 1957 the creamery purchased the Warsaw Cheese Company, of Warsaw, Ohio. The creamery used this location as a milk receiving plant.
  • Then in 1958 the Chief Dairy, of Upper Sandusky was purchased from the Isaly Milk Company. Isaly's had used the plant to produce butter and cheese. The Pickerington Creamery used this location for milk receiving and cheese production. 
  • In 1959 the Pet Milk plant at Fremont, Ohio was purchased to be used for a milk receiving plant. After a while this plant was closed and the milk was sent to the Chief plant in Upper Sandusky. 
  • By the early 1960s the Pickerington Creamery's producing and marketing area covered half of Ohio and parts of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Pennslyania. 

  • Arthur J. Good died in 1960. His namesake son took over until his death in 2008 (see AJ Good Jr.'s obituary here). 
  • The Pickerington plant was closed in November of 1972. 
  • At that time all Pickerington Creamery butter production was moved to the Upper Sandusky plant. 
  • By September of 1973 the Pickerington plant was sold to DMI (Dry Milk Institute) of Louisville, Kentucky. [AJ Good Jr. became a director of the American Dry Milk Institute.]
  • The Upper Sandusky plant was closed, in 1978, bringing an end to the Pickerington Creamery Company. 
  • DMI continued to use the Pickerington plant to produce powder milk and whey until the plant was closed in 1989.

Arthur J. Good [Photo source]

Hunter's Run Farm, later owned by A.J. Good, and renamed Mayflower Farms. [Photo source]

Artist Pam Montgomery's rendering of Mayflower Farms Barn. [Available here]

[Updated] A long-time Ohio milk bottle collector has a comment about the old Hunter's Run/Mayflower property:

"Loved the story on the Pickerington sad note about the Hunters Run Dairy (which did have bottles in 3 sizes) the night before the Pickerington City Council was to vote on buying the property and turning it into a visitors caught fire and burned down..what a coincidence-now the land has condos on it. " -- Parker Higby

Excerpt of AJ Good Jr.'s obituary. [Source]

Some Pickerington Creamery collectibles:

More from the 


To operate this business, the Pickerington Creamery needed lots of water, so around 1925 the company constructed its own elevated water storage tank. 

The steel water tower held 85,000 gallons and stood approximately 100 feet above the surrounding area on four built-up structural steel columns. This 1973 photo shows the water tower adjacent to the creamery's cheese and egg barn on West Borland Street. 

This same water tower helped provide water to Pickerington residents prior to the city's construction of a 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tank in 1981. With the new city-owned tank in place, the creamery water tower discontinued operations shortly thereafter. 

During the past several years, efforts were made to partner with the city and refurbish the water tower for use as an Olde Pickerington Village landmark. But because of the cost and safety issues, the tower was dismantled Sept. 9, 2013. 

Bonus: Here's an article about Portland, Oregon's Mayflower Dairy brand.

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