Well, I’m finally getting close to caught up! I’m in the not so distant past of the significant Seekonk Bottle Dig. For years the club has wanted to go on a group dig, and we finally got the chance to. While we didn’t find anything spectacular, it was great seeing a bunch of diggers together. Well, ok, perhaps I did find something…
I decided to make a second trip to the site, and of course my day off was rainy. I weathered through it (literally), and dug. A lot. I found the expected milks and some RI sodas, then a pleasant surprise. Old bottles! I had gone from the 1930s to 1880s in a few scrapes of my clam rake. An aqua medicine fell at my feet, and wiping it off I was at a temporary loss of words. In my hands was a completely unknown 1870s RI patent medicine. Leonard’s Electric Pain Lotion Providence, RI. It had age, rarity, and a super name. I gave it a few well-deserved jumps of excitement and showed it to the landowner, who got a kick out of the name. Needless to say, it was quite a “shocking” discovery!
Even more recently was the Little Rhody Bottle Club’s spring show down in Richmond, RI. I was happy to see four newcomers set up. They made some cash, we had some good buys, and everyone was happy. For the price of $1, I picked up a bottle embossed Price & Co. While it may not seem like much, I had done my homework, and knew the style matched that of similar bottles from Walter Price of Westerly, RI. It was an exciting discovery that I knew Westerly collector David Smith didn’t have.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting the newest member of the Little Rhody Bottle Club, Leona. She brought two boxes of soda bottles to the club meeting, which is impressive for a beginning collector. While a little beat up, I couldn’t pass up and unlisted Crystal Beverages Providence, RI art deco soda. Quite amusingly I would end up digging one of these in Seekonk a few weeks later. Déjà vu again…
I usually don’t mention broken bottles, but one piqued my curiosity. Any collector who’s dug in RI a few times will undoubtedly come up with a Warwick Bottling Works. Probably the most common RI soda bottle, they infest every dump from the 1920-30s era. In 1930, the company became the Warwick Club Ginger Ale Co., which is even more common. There are quite a few variants out there though, so I keep an eye open. When I dug a broken slug plate to a quart sized example, I paused. The only quarts I knew of are simply marked “W.B.W. Arctic, RI”. This one had the whole name spelled out, and was definitely unlisted. It might not be that killer bottle everyone wants, but now that I found a piece the hunt for a whole one is on!
Update: Since I wrote this up for the blog I almost couldn’t believe it when I found one of these in a friend’s collection! He had it out in his shed so it was a cheap buy.
One of the neatest RI bottles from my recent huge bottle haul (story on Antique-bottles.net) was a Wm. E. Clarke Pharmacist Providence, RI. These fairly scarce bottles are usually marked Hunt’s Remedy on the sides, but this one was simply marked Clarke on both sides. Research on the Little Rhody website shows that Clarke took over Hunt’s Remedy in 1872. Judging by the crudity of the bottle, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a pre-Hunt’s Remedy era bottle. If so, that would make it the oldest version known.