After some recent genealogical research, I discovered my 4th great grandfather was the owner of a bottling company in Philadelphia. The bottles are antiques, but still turn up at shops and auctions from time to time. I am determined to score one, so we’ve been searching antique markets and shops in the area.
His business seems to have been at its peak before the Civil War. My 3rd great grandfather served in the 71st Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, and was wounded at Antietam. He died in a veterans hospital some years later of septicemia in Hampton, Virginia, and was buried there. Fortunately for my father, and myself, he lived long enough after the war to have my 2nd great grandfather. I’m not certain my 4th great grandfather’s bottling company survived the war.
That’s not to say I haven’t found some cool stuff looking around these shops and markets. Today we went to a market in Columbus, New Jersey, and while we didn’t find one of his bottles, we found several other bottles from Philadelphia that were from the same era. Close, but no cigar. But the search has been interesting. There might still be some gun culture left in the Garden State:
Actually, this part of New Jersey is pretty red, so it’s not too surprising. But walking around the shops, I saw things I remembered from both my house growing up, and my grandparents houses. This is just one thing I found which I remember from my house, which I think may have come from one of my grandparents originally:
One of these adorned the mantle over my fireplace as a kid. I have no idea where it came from, or what’s happened to it since, but apparently it’s hand painted and worth more than I would have ever imagined. It’s a match holder for those really long stick matches. There’s a striker on the bottom to light them. I may have to talk to my sister and father to make sure they know it’s not some worthless piece of junk.
Of course, I’m also finding cheap, but interesting beer steins. This one spoke to me so I bought it.
As best I can find, this is a Gerz stein from the 20th century, possibly from the 1960s, but I’m not certain. Either way, it was less than 25 bucks, and it is made in Germany. The words say “Ein guter Trank macht Alte jung” translates as “A good drink makes the old young.” I cleaned it up a bit and decided to fill it with some Paulaner “Original Munich” Lager tonight. The original owner pretty clearly had used it for its intended purpose, and I plan to continue in that tradition.