Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ah, summer, what power you have

to make us suffer and like it. ~Russell Baker

It appears we are looking at another heat wave in the coming week...but, alas, summer...and nothing like a cool drink to soothe that heat, right? A couple of old bottles I got at the flea market have an interesting history to them. One bottle is from a Camden, NJ, bottling company that appears to still be in business according to my research. Looks as though they are distributors...found a link on Facebook although it does not appear to be very inviting.

I am always fascinated more by the history of the company as much as the bottle although the bottle design does have its own story as well.

This neat bottle is from a Staten Island, NY brewery-Rubsam Hormann. I found an archived article from The New York Times detailing a fire that destroyed the brewery in 1878. It gave the address as "on Cannl-street, Stapleton, Staten Island." It said the furniture was imported from Europe, but, because the firemen threw it out the doors and windows, that it was badly damaged! They obviously rebuilt because it was still being operated in the 1960s by the Piels Brothers company.

Another bottle was labeled "Italian Balm"--way before Jersey Shore too!The Campana Company, Illinois, was incorporated in 1927. Its first product was Italian Balm, a hand lotion. The formula was purchased from a Dr. Campana, hence the company name. The Campana Factory had to change the name of its popular lotion to Campana Balm after World War II due to growing anti-Italian sentiment (because of Mussolini, for those not familiar with history). The Campana Company was sold to the Purex Corporation of California, which itself was later bought by the Dow Chemical Company in the 1960s. Dow relocated the workers and shut down Campana operations (and you thought outsourcing was a new thing?).

Then there is a Zanol bottle.I found that they had a factory in Cincinnati in the early 1900s. They sold home remedies, cosmetics and home specialties through dealers direct to the home--sounds like the old door-to-door sales.

This one was for "consumption" - ha! welcome to the 21st century...we consume with the best of them!
But, bottles like this make me think of the future...what will someone in 2081 have to look at from our times? Since we do recycle, that is a good thing...but I guess times are changing...Bob Dylan was right..."You better start swimming or sink like a stone, cause the times they are a-changing."

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