I’ve been slowly increasing the number of bottle shows I attend, and soon fear that my reach will encompass all of New England. My latest venture was a 3 hour drive to Dover, NH for the New England Antique Bottle Club show. It was bigger than I expected, and after selling a Boston jug, I was able to splurge a little. Looking through a box of common medicines paid off, and I got a nice Corrigan the Apothecary Providence, RI /Fall River, Mass. Hang on, is that bottle from two states? I didn’t know until I got home that it was an unlisted bottle and one of only two RI medicines from two different states. The other is a Dr. Hoff’s Syrup of Tar and Wild Cherry from Providence and Waltham, Mass.
Another find from the same show had a little more history with me. A few years ago I bought a squat soda marked E.P.F. in block letters on the front and J.S. Hazard & Co. on the bottom. I knew it was a RI soda since J.S. Hazard has bottles from Newport and Westerly (he moved around). I was young at the time and had a specific quota of how many bottles I was supposed to be obtaining. Of course this was the one time it was enforced, and I never saw that bottle again. I was thrilled to see one at the New England show for an agreeable $10. I notice that the J and Z on the base are backwards, which adds to its character. Now the great mystery is what does EPF stand for?
Recently I committed to buy a whopping 60 RI soda bottles from my friend Jan Boyer. I just felt that it was time. There were a bunch of unlisted variants, including two new Cranston Bottling Co. Inc Cranston, RI, three Augustin Vitale Providence, and an early handmade crown top Warwick Bottling Works Arctic, RI. I now have five Vitale variants while only one is listed online. Interesting…
I recently ventured into uncharted territory and made my debut appearance in a Portsmouth, RI antique center. The long drive was worth it, as I found a box of semi-decent bottles for a mere $10. Among them was another one of those elusive acid etched sodas. This one was an unknown E.E. Ferrin Summer St. Prov. I tried to research the name, but came up empty. That now brings my etched sodas/beers count to 5! Update: I recently found an Eaton E. Ferrin listed as a bottler on Summer St. I originally said the name was Ferria, as the etching was weak.
Ebay produced another unlisted soda variant from the distant lands of Pennsylvania. A lady found a D. Proto & Sons Bottling Co. Bristol, RI art deco soda. Listed in quart size, this one was a cute 8oz. bottle. No sooner had I documented this when I got another unlisted Bristol soda in the mail. This one was an Empire Bottling Works Bristol crown top quart. One can easily find their unique bottles with an embossed person in a flowery scene (Roman empire?), but this was an early slug plated bottle, probably from the companies beginning in the 1920s.