We wish to thank our many readers for their positive feedback on the identification category of Altered bottles (A1 thru A4). Most readers felt that it long overdue and extremely helpful. They commented on the fact that they finally have a tool to help them identify bottles that have been altered when they collect, buy and/or sell bottles. They acknowledged the necessity to have a seminar on the subject of Altered bottles at the Chattanooga bottle show stating that it would be a great first step. Hopefully the FOHBC and its leadership will add this seminar to their seminar schedule in Chattanooga.

The following article appeared in earlier blog postings dealing with altered bottles. The article is an interview that was posted on the Internet between a bottle auctioneer and “the Dean” of bottle altering services.

“Antique Bottle Cleaning



An interview with an expert bottle cleaner

By Jeff Wichmann

Founder of American Bottle Auctions

The cleaning of antique bottles has long been a question mark in the minds of many bottle collectors. Some people want their bottles spotless and that often requires a professional cleaning. Some people, like myself, aren’t that picky and almost prefer a little stain just to show its original condition. The 21st century bottle cleaner has advanced quite a bit over the last 10 or so years. They now use very special compounds and more efficient machines. The professional can clean more bottles more quickly now, and do a better job than ever before. I talked with a professional bottle cleaner named Lou Lambert last week and asked him some questions about having bottles cleaned and what to expect.


 Can stain be removed with liquid cleaners?
Some kinds of deposits or stain can be removed with liquid cleaners but most can not. Often, the surface of a bottle will be altered with the kind of stain that can not be remove with a cleaning product. Acidic minerals in the ground over a period of many years will actually start eating away at a glass surface. The more acidic the soil the more the glass will be alterd. If you were to look at this kind of stain under very powerful magnification you’d actually see that the surface appears etched and eaten away thus giving the glass a dull whiteish look. There’s no amount of scrubbing you could ever do to remove this dull look because it’s not something that is stuck to the surface. You’ll also occasionally see a non dug bottle or decanter with  similar dullness or stain on the inside. This too is because the item  likely contained an acidic content at one time that had etched the glass surface.

 What is the most important part of having a bottle cleaned?

Lots of factors should be considered when having a bottle cleaned but I think the most important thing is NOT to over clean. It’s always better to under clean than over clean for many reasons. The longer the cleaning time, the more glass is going to be removed. If you look real closely at the surface of a blown bottle, you will see that there is a texture to an original surface. Often, over cleaning will remove this texture leaving the surface smooth, thus reducing the appearance of an original surface. There is also the risk of causing bubbles in the glass to open by cleaning. I’ve seen cases where a bubble will open and the tumbling media will pack in the open bubble causing the bottle to crack. You should also consider that who ever cleans your bottle might not have the experience of someone who does this professionally. I’ve seen way too many botched attempts at cleaning a good bottle and then they are brought to someone like myself to fix. I can’t tell you how many bottles I’ve cleaned after someone else has tried but it’s been numerous. This will often result in the over cleaning of a bottle and had it been done right the first time it could have been avoided.

You also need to consider the fact that breakage can occur in the cleaning process. I think some of the best advice I can give someone is this; “If you don’t want to risk the chance of having your bottle damaged in the cleaning process then don’t have it cleaned”.

What are the most difficult bottles to clean?

Anything other than round can be hard to clean because of the uneven tumble action, unlike a round bottle that will roll more evenly. Bottles with heavy embossing can  be a challenge getting the glass completely clean around the lettering without over cleaning the surface. Bottles with deep pockets or crevices like a Cathedral pickle can  be a problem too. Inside the neck area is another challenge to effectively clean for the novice cleaner.

Bottles that have been hydrofluoric acid cleaned are almost impossible to restore once dipped in the acid. This type of cleaning is extremely dangerous and will not produce the lustrous effect of a professional cleaning. The glass in most old bottle glass is not consistent in composition and will have hard and soft spots. Acid will eat away at the softer areas at a faster rate than the hard. When this happens, the surface will look and feel uneven. Acid will always leave a slightly dull appearance to the glass and  will work its way into the glass, leaving a dullness that can not simply be polished away.

What are your feelings about people that think it a sacrilege to clean a bottle?

In general, most antiques and collectibles are more desirable with their original surface, providing that it’s not too far-gone. Bottles are one of the few antique collectibles that are often found buried in the ground. Because of this, it’s impractical not to clean certain bottles. Often the appearance and value of a bottle can be increased by as much as ten times just by having the surfaces restored (cleaned). It took me years of personal experience, by trial and error and having cleaned many, many  bottles, but it is possible to restore a bottle surface without giving it a polished look. I think the folks who don’t like to have their bottles cleaned may not fully understand, or may not have seen a restored glass surface done by a true professional.

Lately there’s been a blog mis-leading folks by giving false inaccurate information about cleaning.  The site goes under a disquise of Owl bottles which it has little to do with.  but rather a rant to degrade & discredit anyone of importance in bottle collecting.

What are the do and don’ts of bottle cleaning?

If someone has an expensive bottle, some of my best advice is (DO) let a pro clean it. Over the years I’ve had dozens of good, expensive bottles brought to me for re-cleaning that had been attempted to be cleaned by others. This being the case, when it’s properly cleaned the second time, there has to be even more surface glass removed which often results in an over cleaned appearance. You’re also risking damage to the item by someone who’s not a pro.

The proper approach to cleaning an expensive antique bottle should be conservative, like having a piece of fine art restored. Improper or over cleaning can ruin the appearance and value of a bottle. It’s always better to under clean a bottle than to over clean. You can always clean it more, but once over cleaned, there’s no going back.

All bottle glass has a surface texture and once that texture is broken through, a bottle will have that smooth over cleaned appearance. It is possible to spot clean  and only polish or remove scratching where it’s needed, without cleaning the entire surface. Another very important factor, is being able to master 100% uniform cleaning, where the entire surface is being cleaned evenly. It’s important to uniformly clean the base, top and body at the same rate, which is very difficult to do without the proper know-how. Often you will see bottles that are over cleaned on the top and inside, but under cleaned on the base, inside the neck and in between lettering.

Awhile back I viewed two very rare Western Whiskey bottles I was interested in buying. I saw both of these bottles before they were cleaned and liked them. The owner felt his bottles would be worth more money clean, rather than stained. He had a friend do them who had over and unevenly cleaned them, leaving their surfaces mirror smooth. They looked clean all right, but unfortunately, their original surfaces had been ruined by the excessive cleaning. It had only decreased their value and my interest.

Tips for people who want to clean their own bottles? Also, why is it better to use a pro?

Cleaning your own bottles can be fun and rewarding. However, I can tell you from twenty years personal experience  that it takes several years, and hundreds of bottle cleanings, to master a technique. There are many, many, variables that need to be taken into consideration when cleaning a bottle. Composition of glass, which compound to use for certain glass, tumbling duration, motion rotation, machine speed, tumbling media, amount of compound, combinations of compounds, fluids, rate at which compounds break down, temperature, how item is secured, canister size, etc.

A good way to start is with items of very little value. Expensive or rare items are better off left in the hands of someone with a great deal of experience. Also, consider the fact that just because someone who has cleaned bottles for a long time, it does not make them a professional. I’ve seen many attempts made by some folks, who have cleaned for years, that were satisfactory at best. The best way to find someone who knows their stuff is to ask around and actually look at some of their work. Don’t have a good bottle cleaned by someone who’s work you’re not familiar with or who doesn’t come highly recommended.

Anything else you think is important? Cost of cleaning, what not to clean, whatever you think is important?

That old saying: “You get what you pay for”, usually holds true for bottle cleaning too. There are a few folks out there who will clean any bottle for around $15 and that’s exactly what your going to get… a $15 job. I’d strongly advise anyone to NOT have a good bottle cleaned in this manor. Most true professionals will charge on a individual basis, dependent on the extent of restoration needed.

     What about potstones, cracks, bubbles and tight corners?

All of these can present problems and possible damage in cleaning a bottle. Potstones will often crack in the cleaning process. I’d advise folks who have a nice bottle with a potstone to, NOT have it cleaned. Cracks can travel in the cleaning process and can cause a bottle to come apart while cleaning. Bubbles close to the inner or outer surface can open, thus causing compound and tumbling media to lodge inside the open area. I’ve also seen bottles break when this happens from the pressure of the material being packed into a tight space. Corners can become tightly packed with tumbling media, causing a bottle to crack from the pressure. However, there are ways to prevent this from happening.


What’s clear from our discussion with Lou, is that not every bottle needs cleaning and that over- cleaning is the worst thing you can do to a bottle. For those of you who just want to spruce up a favorite bottle, without going to a pro, you might try what Bryan Grapentine does. He gets a little polish from a rock-polishing store. He next makes a water/polish compound and coats the bottle with it. Then, he very gently rubs the bottle, continuing to use cool water on the surface. This way of cleaning is easy, inexpensive, and it enables you to stop at any time when the results are satisfactory. Of course, that doesn’t do you any good if you have a bottle stained from the inside. For a good start, with real hard to get rust and other gunk, a solution of 50% water and 50% muriatic acid can really help. Also, don’t forget that if you dig a bottle, sometimes it’s amazing what a little soap and water will do. Make sure you don’t use warm or hot water and then allow it to sit in a cool breeze. The same is true of the reverse. I had more than one bottle talk to me after I cleaned it, then let it dry by a warm light. It said, “tink”.

Some cleaning suggestions:

  1. Room temp water only. Anything other than that can cause bottle glass to crack.
  2. Always turn bottle up-side-down and leave in box over night to drain all excess water.
  3. Vinegar and water 50/50 is a good cleaning combo.
  4. Coca-Cola works well too believe it or not.
  5. If you use muriatic be sure to wear eye protection and gloves and use only in a well ventilated area. ALWAYS keep your muriatic solution in a plastic container and covered with a lid. The fumes will cause metal to rust up to 40 feet away. Always dilute with water and pour the acid into the water and NOT water into acid. 

The author of the article, like others who are in the business of cleaning, polishing, or tumbling bottles unfortunately does not discuss the money aspects of what they are doing.  Obviously this is a business and therefore makes money for them.  They charge a fee depending upon the difficulty or value of the bottle they are working on.  Bottle cleaning or polishing is an area of collecting that is seldom if ever talked about or discussed in an open forum, but is quite well known in bottle circles, if asked.

Why is it when you go to a bottle show or try to buy a bottle on-line that the buyer is never informed in person or in the auction description that the item has been cleaned, polished, or tumbled?  Even when the owner knows that the bottle has been altered or has had it altered, he or she never reveals to the buyer what has been done to the bottle prior to putting it up for sale.

Why is it not made clear to a potential buyer that a bottle is cleaned, polished, or tumbled?  I suspect that if a potential buyer knew the real condition (an altered condition due to cleaning, polishing, or tumbling) of his potential purchase he would not buy the bottle or perhaps negotiate for a lower price.

Another major point that this article does not address or possibly will never address by professional bottle cleaners is what their responsibility is as it relates to the bottle collecting hobby.  They would probably tell you that they just clean the bottles as their job and collect a fee for doing the job.  What happens to the bottle is not their responsibility but that of the bottle owner.  The owner in turn will tell you that is ok to clean bottles, it makes them better.  The potential buyer is never informed and is often misled.  The result of these events is the continuation of polluting the bottle pool with altered verses natural state bottles.  As a consequence the overall hobby suffers, no one cares or shows any concern and the hobby continues to slide into a negative place.

We are now faced with a bottle pool littered with so many altered bottles as a result of cleaning, polishing, or tumbling that the quality of bottles being sold at any given time is subject to question.  Since the bottle pool keeps shrinking and the demand for quality bottles keeps increasing, this situation of altered versus natural bottles becomes more serious.

What is the answer or answers to this issue?  There are several areas where possible solutions can be found.  Just like medicine bottles, any bottle being sold must have a label on it stating its condition and whether it has been altered and by what process.  In this way the potential buyer will truly know what he or she is buying.  Without this label, the bottle should not be sold in the open market.  A second possible solution involves bottle shows.    They must do a better job in monitoring the set ups in their shows.  The people who sell in the shows should be well aware of the consequences for misleading potential buyers.  Apparently the organizers of bottle shows do not feel it is their responsibility to monitor their shows.  I have heard the same arguments at gun shows as well.  The questions of why do I have to fill out a gun form or why do I have to be subject to a police check are constantly asked.  I am not suggesting that forms or background checks become a part of a bottle show.  I am suggesting that bottle show organizers take more responsibility in better monitoring the items sold at bottle shows.  Providing checks and balances is part of our free society and is essential for everyone to be able to enjoy freedom and success.   Lastly the bottle federation needs better enforcement of their rules and policies especially at their sponsored bottle shows.   In this way bottle shows and on-line selling and buying will be better and more successful.  If those of us who collect, buy, and/or sell do a better job for the bottle collecting hobby, future generations will be able to enjoy this hobby as much and maybe more than we do now.

Keeping this interview in perspective that was done in 2005, let us fast forward to now 2015, 10 years later. What has occurred?   1) An explosion in the number of bottles that have been altered and are now part of the bottle world; 2) An explosion in the number of people promoting themselves as “professional bottle cleaners as well as providing cleaning services; 3) Failure to identify bottles that have been altered, be it at shows, in auctions, on line or at any venue where bottles are bought and sold; 4) Failure to properly educate individuals about bottles that are or have been altered and the altering process thru the normal channels in the bottle world such as the FOHBC and/or bottle clubs and other bottle-related organizations or materials; 5) The proliferation of bottle altering machines, equipment, and supplies found at bottle shows, on line, and elsewhere; 6) Failure to recognize and acknowledge the documentation from glass experts that “altered bottles” destroy the historic authenticity and money value of any bottle and refuse to pass that information onto their organization members and the bottle world.

The blog brings to your attention the following information that is currently appearing on Ebay. The item under discussion is #151680060340. We draw you attention to the condition section where the seller states: “…Condition: Because everything is just so with this bottle, I will mention the only possible drawback, a detail almost not worth our time. On the raised embossing of the left eye, there is the slightest bit of abrasion. If you care, I would recommend a slight buffing with a dremel tool, as that’s all it would take to clean that up. Besides the superlatives I’ve related and photographed about the embossing, I will certify that there are no cracks, chips, fleabites or scratches of any significance. I have carefully examined a tiny brown line on one side, because of its resemblance to a crack (see last photo). I finally held it in a bright light, and by tipping it back and forth I could see that the interior of the glass plane shows no flaw as I watched the inside of the glass and outside of the glass move in relation to one another.  I believe this line to be either an impurity during manufacture, or to be just another part of the groundwater etching. Any and all other lines seen on the outside are ground water etching details. The bottle has overall light opalescence and equally slight groundwater etching, but the embossing is so fine that the minimal amount of tumbling to remove what I believe is a beautiful finish will also cause some of the detail to be lost. But hey, place the opening bid, and it will be your choice to risk putting it in a tumbler.”

How would you advise this man? Does he make any sense? Would you use a DREMEL tool?   Is the opening price on this bottle, given the condition that the seller describes, a fair market value? What source is the seller using to justify this opening price? Does he recognize what he is doing? Clearly from his Ebay selling background, he has little or no knowledge of Owl Drug bottles, as well as the bottle altering process.

Citing this example of many that cross our desk each and every day and every week, we suggested to the FOHBC that they add a seminar on altered bottles. This seminar would take the first important step to “inform and educate” their membership and others in the bottle world on this subject. As a main part of the FOHBC’s mission and by laws, this subject obviously needs to be explored, discussed, and dealt with. Unfortunately at this time the blog has not heard from the FOHBC or their spokesman as to whether such a seminar could or would be scheduled or added to their program.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.



The blog wishes to acknowledge our newest readers who have joined our ranks in the past several weeks. A particular thank you goes out to those of you from other countries from around the world. – France, Hungary, Australia, Canada, India, to name a few.

These readers have expressed an interest in the national events that have occurred in Baltimore most recently, in conjunction with our postings on the Baltimore bottle club show. They shared their thoughts, outrage and dismay about the “NO COMMENT” statement by the president of the Baltimore club and the fact that the FOHBC organization supported the statement, as well as allowing a report full of holes and little detail about the show, and then calling the show a success. They cannot understand why the membership of the FOHBC here in the United States can sit idlely by and not make their voices of dismay heard. How can the author of the report of the Baltimore bottle show call the show a success? The photos of the show that were presented as representative of the show lack proper identification of the items and their categories present on the tables. Nowhere does the author talk about the kinds of items, the quantity and/or quality of the items on the tables. He only gives the name of the person behind the table. Was that person behind the table the vendor and/or owner of the bottles? Did the author of the report ever speak with the vendors or owners or did he simply take the photos given to him and put them into a report without verifying the authenticity, truth or background of the individual in the photos? If a person writes a review of a show such as a Broadway show or an art show, etc, the author or reviewer provides the readers great detail about what he observed and what information he gained from the participants and the audience. He outlines the pros and cons of the show illustrating why and how the show was or was not a success. All of that is totally missing in the report.

It is quite clean that the author of this report on the Baltimore bottle show is a novice and a volunteer and lacks the experience. Why would the FOHBC give such an important responsibility to a novice? If this is his first report then where was the FOHBC leadership in guiding him properly and supporting him through this experience? Where was their review of this report? Did they leave the guidance and support at the restaurant the night before the show? How could they allow such an important document and photos to be put out for the world to see? Did they care what was put out? Apparently not. Is this the type of report the FOHBC members want or deserve to receive or what they are paying for?

Many of our readers have indicated their desire to see the collecting hobby grow and change direction from that of massing items for collections and buying and selling into including educating people about the joy of collecting itself and learning about the histories of nations, peoples, and companies that have made this world grow and prosper. In this way new generations will continue to want to participate in the bottle-collecting hobby.

When the blog questions the FOHBC organization and its leadership’s support of the actions of some of their members and show participants, the FOHBC ignores the facts and simply calls the blog the “Bad Guys”. Amazingly the FOHBC never admits their failings or failures. It is always somebody else’s fault, never their fault. They never explain what they do or why they do it. A perfect example is what happened in Reno, then in New England, then in Lexington, and now in Baltimore.

If a person participates in a bottle show and then produces a report on that show, it is the responsibility of that person and organization to provide the proper and complete details about the show as well as answering any questions about what occurred at the show. Where is the justification of tying the dining and social adventures into this report on the Baltimore bottle show? Who is it for and why?

If a person wanted to learn about bottle shows and wanted to attend one, and used this report as the example of what a good show would be, then the person would never attend a bottle show especially recommended by the FOHBC or the Baltimore bottle club. Our readers could not believe that this report on the bottle show was used for saying the Baltimore bottle show was a success, while all other evidence shown is proof to the contrary.

Two years ago, the president of the FOHBC asked the blog to provide some suggestions as to how to improve the organization of the FOHBC and increase its membership. The blog provided the following: develop programs for the youth, women, and minorities; development of a research center; creation of a permanent structure where seminars and members could meet and share information; and develop a program to counteract the proliferation of “Altered Bottles”, to name but a few.

Two years later, none of those suggestions have become reality. No programs have ever been designed, developed, or implemented by the FOHBC.

Our readers have asked if one of the seminars to be given at the Chattanooga show, can be a seminar on
“Altered Bottles” to include individuals who provide bottle cleaning, tumbling, and/or polishing services to speak and demonstrate how this process works. Over the last several weeks, in talking to people both in the FOHBC and others in the bottle community, there is a total misunderstanding and lack of awareness of the bottle altering process. Having such a seminar would be beneficial to the FOHBC members and the rest of the bottle community, and a great service to one and all. There is sufficient time between now and the July-August 2015 timeframe when the Chattanooga show is scheduled to add this seminar to the show and the schedule.

A review of the current literature on poisons and particularly on one and two winged Owl Drug poisons, we find it to be outdated, incorrect, or incomplete. One of the major flaws in the information is that the Rexall Drug Company bought out the Owl Drug Company in 1920. That information is totally incorrect. The Owl Drug Company of San Francisco was in full operation under its own ownership in the 1920’s. The Rexall Drug Company NEVER OWNED the Owl Drug Company, period. A complete categorization and classification of Owl Drug poison, one and two wing, will become available in the next few weeks. The way this information will be distributed has not been finalized as yet.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

Several thoughts about the Baltimore Bottle Club show in March 2015 come to mind after having read the account of the show by the FOHBC and its historian representative. A review of the written report and accompanying pictures presented leaves the reader to wonder what the motivation was for the report and what the writer was trying to achieve. Instead of providing a detailed description of what occurred at the show, be it the number of participants, the types of items presented as well as the displays, the writer chose to write about what social activities occurred prior to the show. If one is to read about the account of the show with the idea of coming to future shows, the reader would know nothing other than what restaurant to visit in Baltimore. It is obvious that the writer never reviewed the You Tube video on the show; Nic Queen’s statement of NO COMMENT presented to the Owl Drug Collectors blog, or the accounts of other show participants. There never was any mention about the safety issues swirling around the weather conditions that prevailed the week and days prior to and during the show. It was amazing that all other activities involving the Federal Government, Baltimore city and county, and the college at which the show was held, were closed and all activities were cancelled.   Why then did the bottle show go on? Who made the decision to hold the bottle show? Wouldn’t it have been prudent and safer to reschedule the show? Despite all these issues and his failure to identify what criteria he used, the writer states the show was a smashing success. Was this report as presented, a rush to judgment? Is this not similar to the failure in Reno where no one in the leadership took responsibility for what happened? And the cloud still remains over their heads several years later, still unresolved.

Any evaluation takes time and must contain specific elements.

A professional football team, for example, in order to evaluate another football team uses at least film and scouting to evaluate the opposing teams’ strengths and weaknesses in preparation for their game. This process helps the team properly prepare to ensure a successful outcome. There is nothing in this report of the Baltimore bottle show that reflects or explains the success or lack of success of the show. Every show, like a football team, has strengths and weaknesses and should be evaluated properly to ensure a successful outcome. Evaluations of any type must be factual, honest, provide balanced materials, and done by an independent source who is not connected to the show itself, or the sponsoring organization or parent organization, as the FOHBC. Is this club’s show under the direction of the FOHBC? The blog was led to believe that the Baltimore Bottle Club LLC and the Baltimore Bottle show were independent of the FOHBC, or is it? This is not a national show or is it? What is their relationship? Why does the FOHBC have a business meeting prior to the Baltimore show? Does the FOHBC hold a business meeting at every bottle club show? Does the FOHBC have a table at each club show to recruit new members, with the FOHBC business manager sitting at their table?

What is the role of the historian in the FOHBC? What did the previous historian who held the job for over 20 years, do and accomplish? What can we expect in the future? Is the position of historian required in the FOHBC by laws? If no, then why have it?

Turning to Ebay, another glaring example appears in the Owl Drug category. This time, the Clancy Kid has a glycerin jar (item #391062444007, for sale. The reason this item is brought to your attention is because of the seller’s description of the item and his long history with Ebay and the items he sells.

“A small 1 3/4″ tall cylinder-shaped beautiful white milk-glass colored antique jar w/ a reproduced OWL DRUG Co. paper label on it.   The original jar is in a prominent Owl Drug collection.  This jar (and cap) is an original antique salve type of jar, dating all the way back to the very early 1900’s.


  Why this jar’s label was reproduced and what is significant about it is that it seems that most all of the milk glass Owl Drug jars, with embossed owls on the base, have come out of the Los Angeles area.   To date and with few exceptions, there are no documented findings of them anywhere but in the vicinity of old Los Angeles.   So here is a milk glass Owl Drug jar with a label that seems to support this idea as it lists only the Los Angeles stores on the label, its distribution was limited to that area, check it out!”

To the seller’s credit this time he tells you it is a reproduced label. Since it is a reproduced label it falls into the category of an “Altered Bottle”. It has been documented by glass experts that altered bottles have no historic or monetary value, therefore, this item is worthless.

There are 4 classifications of ALTERED BOTTLES:





Any bottles or jars that are being traded, sold, auctioned, or displayed that have been altered in any of these 4 categories must be identified as such. Failure to do so constitutes fraudulent activity.

The Owl Drug Collectors blog is in the process of categorizing one and two wing blue poisons. This classification will contain price, range, and condition. This categorization, for the first time, will provide a standard by which buyers and sellers can accurately assess these bottles.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

Spring is finally here. The weather is changing and trees and flowers are starting to bloom. People are welcoming the opportunity to do activities outside and enjoy traveling. With that note it is also a time for April, May, and June collectible and bottles shows to make their appearance.

From April 18th to the end of the month there are shows in North Carolina, Rochester, New York, and Harrisonburg, VA. In May shows occur from the East to the West coast thereby providing an opportunity for all bottle and collectible enthusiasts to experience the joys of finding treasures as well as introducing young people to the thrill of the bottle hobby. One can visit shows in Tennessee, New York, Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington state, South Carolina, Florida, Rhode Island, and California. A list of all these shows with dates, times, type of show and locations can be found on the internet by searching on Google under bottle show calendar.

Yours truly will be attending the show in Adamstown, Pa at the Shupps Grove Diggers of America Show. It will be a weekend of collecting and visiting a great area to find bottles, collectibles and other items as well as enjoying good food and fun. I have, over the years, enjoyed spending fun times in this area of the country, searching for new treasures and have great memories from doing so. We always seem to find something to bring home.

As to Baltimore and the bottle show, apparently what has been said by the FOHBC and what you see on the You Tube video and other sources are vastly different! Believe what you see not what is told to you by those who have a stake in the outcome. Remember test and verify! Let us not forget the NO COMMENT statement that the current president of the Baltimore bottle club made to the blog regarding his club’s show, the FOHBC and all bottle clubs. If that is the case why should Ferdinand then address the Baltimore show since Nic Queen stated that he spoke for the FOHBC? Even though the show was a week later than usual as stated by Ferdinand Meyer, current President of the FOHBC, the weather conditions the week of this show were extremely bad and were not safe by all indications and reports.

To those of you in the bottle community understand who is really taking your money, who is misleading you, and hurting the bottle hobby. Instead of blaming the blog for pointing out various issues and problems related to the bottle hobby and accusing the blog of damaging the hobby, one should look to those who have for years taken advantage of buyers and sellers. Spokesmen from the Federation should look at their organization and its failures rather than point fingers at the messenger.   For example, the FOHBC, the Baltimore Bottle club has sanctioned the inclusion of people at their shows such as the Jar Doctor, and others who provide cleaning machinery, cleaning equipment and supplies and bottle altering services.   By doing so they support and perpetrate the practice of altering bottles. For you and others, look inside the Federation and associated clubs and see how you have perpetuated this problem for this hobby and have corrupted and contaminated the entire hobby, over the years, not the blog. The Federation will not discuss it, will not take a position on it, but they allow these services and supplies to be a part of their shows.   Affiliated clubs like Baltimore allow the participation of individuals and companies to solicit cleaning services, sell machinery and their supplies. You can see one of the Baltimore show participants in the You Tube video showing a bottle of pellets he stated he purchased at the Baltimore bottle show 2015 from the Jar doctor. The presence of these services and supplies cannot be denied or quote swept under the rug, as one would want you to believe. The video shows otherwise.

Cobalt blue triangular poisons are continually on sale on Ebay, at shows, and in auctions. Some of the poisons are one-wing poison, while others are two-wing poisons. The range of prices is large and varied.   Seeing the variety and range of prices of these items only reinforces the blog’s comments on how skewed prices are and how people manipulate pricing to benefit their personal gains. Since no one else has the background, education, skill level, ability, or even desire to standardize these prices for the one-wing and two-wing poisons, the blog will add that aspect of Owl Drug to the project of Owl Drug bird identification that we are currently engaged in. As a result of this project the blog will be able to present to Owl Drug collecting community a book discussing and demonstrating the proper pricing of these one-and two-wing poison bottles. This project will provide people with a tool so as not be misled or taken advantage, etc.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

This week the blog returns to the Owl Drug site on Ebay. A review of the items on this site we noticed that the Clancy Kid has returned listing new items for sale. He continues with his new items to misinform spinning half-truths and stories, and failing to provide any proper sources to document and support his sales. His descriptions never cover or accurately describe his items, give the proper condition or identify whether the item has been altered in some form or another. He never provides sources to verify what he claims in his descriptions. And finally, his pricing is not tied to current market conditions or prices, auction sales or venue sales. In a sense these prices are all fabricated or made up.

Low and behold, others have now followed the Clancy Kid’s methodology to sell their items. This week the following item appeared on ebay and was sold for $194.49.


“Here is a very unusual Owl Drug Co bottle from the 1890s. It has a weird embossed Owl perched on the mortar and pestle. This is the early pedestal base bottle that stands 6  7/8 inches tall. This bottle is in super nice condition. A rare bird.’

Again there was failure to verify when the company produced the bird, why the seller considered it rare and what sources were used to justify the seller’s claim. In effect there were no sources to validate the information about the item or justify the price received. You question whether the buyer of this item even attempted to verify the truth about the bottle and what the seller claimed.   Obviously he didn’t, because there is no source to verify the rarity or commonality of that bird.   At the present time this buyer or anyone cannot verify whether this bottle with this bird is rare, common, a fake or has been altered. Why the buyer paid this price is a true mystery. Was this a valid sale?

For the past two years, the Owl Drug Collectors Blog has been compiling a booklet about “Owl Drug Birds”. The booklet will discuss when they were introduced, their historical importance, rarity, and their relationship to products and labels appearing on stationery, documents, glass, and other areas within the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. Our staff has been doing research, checking historical documents, compiling information, and assembling it into a useful tool for now and the future.

If you look at the history of this buyer’s bidding on this item, he obviously got caught up in the moment, just like what occurs in Las Vegas daily. Once a person walks into McCarran Airport in Las Vegas or drives into Las Vegas proper, they enter into a world of manipulation and “two-way mirrors”. It is always amazing how people will give up their money so easily and return time after time, never realizing they are being manipulated or fooled during the entire process.

A similar example is the American who travels overseas. He or she is ill prepared, cannot speak the language of the country they are visiting, have little or no knowledge of the history, and the culture or the people. For the most part, the trip is planned by a travel agency and is designed to visit multiple countries and multiple cities in 7 of less days. They are motored around from one place to another visiting churches and/or museums and periodically left on their own to shop.   They never know what is a good buy, a fair price, or whether they were taken or not. When they return to the States they will tell you what a great trip they had, and when asked, they have a difficult time remembering what they saw and what they learned about the places they visited.

Returning again to the world of bottles, another example this week found on the Owl Drug site of Ebay. Is item #321712330063.


Rare Owl Drug Company Pill Bottle ($150.00)

“Up for sale is a beautiful vibrant cobalt blue Owl drug Company pill Med bottle stands approximately 6&1/4inches tall no chips markers defect in neck dug bottle so it has stains inside and out look over photos any questions feel free to ask”

This example follows the same pattern as the Clancy Kid and the “rare” bird bottle that was discussed earlier.

To buyers and sellers: Poor Preparation equals Poor Results. One must Test and Verify. First understand what makes a bottle have value before one bids on Ebay, buying at a show or elsewhere bottles can be found. Second, know and understand the basic characteristics that a bottle must have to retain its value. Third and finally, know the special characteristics a bottle must have to make it stand out or be rare in a specific category. Anytime the word “rare” is used in a description, one’s antenna should go up! If the word “rare” is used without justification and supported, it is most likely fabrication.

Poisons in the Owl Drug category are generally common not rare. Any week you visit Ebay Owl Drug category you will see poisons for sale. If you go to bottle and collectible shows in the West you will generally find poisons you can buy or sell. Certain sizes of Owl Drug poisons are rare and do not appear often. When they do appear, depending upon their condition, command high prices.

Over the years those who write about poisons, collect them, and/or sell them have done nothing to update information or correct the record that is now available about Owl Drug poisons.   One of the major inaccuracies about Owl Drug poisons is that Rexalt bought out the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. This inaccuracy continues to be found in the literature of poisons today that is presented to the public and the collector at large.

None of the basic characteristics the blog previously discussed in past posting about the Clancy Kid and in this posting, ever appear on Clancy Kid sale items. His descriptions never cover or accurately describe his items or provide sources to verify the truth of what he is selling. Time and time again, when the blog goes to check out his descriptions, no truth is never found. They are just a lot of “bull” or “hearsay”. In other words there is no “real beef” and are simply made up for the sole purpose of selling the item. Frankly, this is an old record but must be retold periodically to the reading blog public and others. One of his worst offenses continues to be the Rigo poison bottle from Canada. This bottle has been documented as being a fake and has a false label. It has been on Ebay for sale for over a year. It has set a record for being one of the longest running items for sale without being sold. It is an embarrassment but obviously he doesn’t care if he embarrasses a country, its collectors, or the bottle hobby. Is this the same path you wish to follow?

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

This week the blog returns to the past and wants to share a little history with our audience. Until 1968, a small selected group within the bottle world collected Owl Drug. The Owl Drug Company, its products, and the little known history of the company was primarily communicated by word of mouth. As we all know today, this was truly a poor method of communications, but unfortunately the only one available or used at that time. As everyone knows that method is a poor excuse for known facts and research. Even today a lot of information is still shared in the same way without verifying the truth about the information, as exemplified by last week’s example, the $6000.00 item.

In 1968, Al Jensen put out a pamphlet called “Old Owl Drug Bottles & Others”. To be exact only a small portion of the pamphlet was devoted to Owl Drug. The pamphlet was incomplete and inaccurate. It lacked information about the history of the company, its leadership, its advertising techniques, product development, and a host of societal and cultural achievements made during the company’s existence, and the reasons for the company’s disappearance. In short the pamphlet was a cursory view of Owl Drug based on an incomplete collection owned by an individual. Never the less, Jensen’s pamphlet became the guide for bottle people, both Owl Drug collectors and others in the bottle world. This was a guide that led people to false, incomplete, and distorted information of Owl Drug. Despite that fact, many have and still follow that guide even though the information that was presented as been proven to be false.

In 2011 the Owl Drug Collectors blog came into existence. We immediately recognized that much information about Owl Drug was false, misleading, and inaccurate and that had been swirling in the bottle community for years. Being a collector of more than 40 years of Owl Drug, it became obvious that information about Owl Drug had to be researched and examined to correct the erroneous information that had been spread around for the last 40+ years. As the director of the Owl Drug collectors blog, I went about putting together a research team to correct this problem to look into its history, its leadership, its products, its achievements, and its disappearance to determine what was the true picture of Owl Drug. For the past five years, we have traveled to find out what the truth is. From Western and Eastern universities, state and national libraries and museums and many other sources, we were able to determine how and why the Owl Drug company came into existence, was successful, and eventually disappeared. That information has been set down in three volumes set of handbooks. The Handbook has laid out in its entirety the true history and picture of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.

The blog has received praise from many in the bottle community and other sources for the thoroughness, outstanding format, and quality of the three-volume set of the Owl Drug Handbooks that we have produced. Many indicated that for the first time there is finally a complete and unique collection of information, written and pictorial, of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.

The blog has received numerous requests to share information that we have obtained about the Owl Drug Company and related finds. Originally, we did so but found individuals and others abusing the information for self-interest or monetary gain. As a result of what we saw, we realized that the information we were presenting had to be controlled and monitored, the same way that universities, libraries, and institutions control their special information.

The term for such action is “Proprietary”. Scott Selenak brought that example home to the blog. We were informed that pictures that he had taken could not be used without his permission and he refused to give that permission. We were told that his pictures were proprietary and threatened to sue if used. As a result of this incident, the Owl Drug Collectors blog and any information provided by the blog, written or pictorial and in the Owl Drug Handbooks cannot be used because it has been placed in a proprietary category and must receive prior permission from the executive director of the Owl Drug Collectors blog

The blog had a record year in 2014 with great discoveries, an increase in readership and support as well as the completion of Volume III of the Owl Drug Handbook. Our plans for the future include moving forward in securing funds, land, and developing a building complex to support a new concept in bottle collecting for 2015 and beyond. In discussions at the blog we see a new bottle hobby emerging that allows and encourages anyone from around the world to participate and share. It will allow all ages and ethnicities to participate in. It will be a structure that encourages teaching, learning, study, and research on subject related to bottles. It will also include an area where bottle auctions, sales, shows, and related activities can occur on a scheduled basis. It will include technologically advanced and interactive programs that people participate in. In other words it will not be what we currently see in the bottle hobby today. It will be interesting, challenging, fun, and something very different from what we have today

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.



While on a business trip, the only topic that permeated all television and radio was the story about the deflating of footballs by the New England Patriots. According to the experts footballs that are deflated do not meet the standards for professional football. Interviews followed by the coach of the patriots and Tom Brady, the quarterback. Both individuals denied having any knowledge of the incident. Tom Brady went as far as to say that he did not feel any difference in the balls, could not tell if there was any difference between a normal football and a deflated football. He continued to emphasize the importance of integrity, professionalism, and honesty in football. He noted that no one from the commissioner’s office ever tried to contact him on the incident and that he had no knowledge or evidence that the commissioner’s office was investigating this deflating incident, or if it were to occur, where it would occur, or who would be involved.

The commissioner of the NFL has, as part of his responsibilities, the policing of the league and its teams, has the right to investigate when wrong doings occur on the field and with players, hand out penalties, or turn over the commissioner’s findings for legal action if necessary. As a result the commissioner has a great deal of latitude when handling such matters. His decisions on most matters are generally final. Those decisions of the current commissioner, in the eyes of the general public, have not been consistent, fair, reasonable, or timely.   They, in fact, have been too supportive of the owners at the expense of the players and the public.

Today many are disappointed and turned off of sports, professional and otherwise. This is just another example that supports the notion that “sports” have some type of “cultural value” and not all about power and money. It is the concept of “winning at all costs” whether it is to shoot up someone to play, looking the other way, or being silent when you know or see something wrong going on.

If history is our teacher and it should be, what can we accept from a decision from the commissioner’s office? Can we expect a fair review of the facts, a rapid resolution, punishment or fines, or a gloss over allowing the parties to continue as usually? The answer was a gloss over, the commissioner announced it this week – the Super Bowl will go on as usual! Any action from the commissioner will come later, reaffirming the position that money and power are the driving force. In other words, the game, the television rights, the commercials, the half-time entertainment will go on, giving the impression that all is good once again. The show must go on to satisfy the many as not to disappoint their lives. That way the viewers can escape their so-so lives and reality for a few hours. The real outcome is not the preservation of the integrity and honesty of the game, but money and power.

The bottle world, unlike football, does not have a legal and independent commissioner or commissioner’s office to bring problems, complaints, disputes, and legal issues. There is no mechanism, has never been a mechanism, or any intention to create such a mechanism. Issues are either resolved by the individuals themselves, covered up, glossed over, or they are left out in the open to swirl around forever.

A perfect example of “lawlessness” that is occurring in the bottle world follows: Item 301504287590 entitled Rare!! 1936 The Owl Drug Co Drugstore Advertisement made of Terrazzo 3’ x2’ is currently for sale on Ebay. The seller describes the item as being a piece from the sidewalk in front of the Owl Drug Co store in Pomona, Ca. He states that he and a friend took a cement cutter and a jackhammer to remove it. He then took it to a company to have a frame made for it. Suggest each of you read this Ebay item.

Having seen this item on Ebay and being a collector and the executive director of the Owl Drug Collectors blog I called the seller to get additional information about the item. I asked him if he had any documentation about the item, any photos of the piece in front of the store before its removal or any other information about the piece. He told me no he did not and did not care if he didn’t have anything. He became very angry at the questions but asked if I was interested in buying it. When I told him I was not interested, he slammed the phone down. In other words he did not have the direct linkage of the item to the Owl Drug Co of San Francisco that would have made the item legitimate. If you go to pages 40, 42 and 43 of Volume I of the Owl Drug Handbook you will see similar items but ones that have direct linkage, authenticity and value with the Owl Drug Company.

The asking price is based on hearsay. It has no connection to correct pricing, rarity, and condition because it has no paperwork to verify its legitimacy. It is a price the seller made up and has nothing to do with the collectible market and the owl drug category and has no verification that the item is worth the $6,000.00 that has been placed on it. If it is not comical, then it is a tragedy. I had hoped that we had passed this travesty in the bottle-collecting world, but obviously we have not, because here it comes again.

In retrospect this is how the present bottle world operates. This mindset dominates so much of the bottle world. It goes something like this: I’ve owned this item for 30 years but don’t have any documentation, history, photos to support what the item is, where it came from, market value, etc., but it is my time to cash in. I expect to be paid what I ask for, regardless of the truth or its real value. Why should anyone pay for this item or any item without property authentication? But it is my time to cash in, so that is all that matters. Someone else reads his sale and gets the same idea.  Now it is my time to cash in.  So where does it end?  Your comments are welcomed.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog

As I begin to compose this blog posting I was reminded again about the  important principle of “above the law” and how it relates to bottle collecting.  For the many new readers and supporters of this blog, let me share excerpts of this posting that was published in February of 2012, making it approximately three years since it was written.  It is interesting and scary because although these events took place a while ago, nothing has changed to either the Baltimore Bottle Club or the FOHBC and its relationship toward the Baltimore bottle club and bottle collectors.

“…In my last blog posting one of the subjects that I discussed briefly was my contact with the Baltimore bottle club.  In that discussion I mentioned that I had never received any communications from the president and to this date still have not heard from him,  I did mention that I had received a newsletter from the club.  The major article in the newsletter was written by the president of the club, Nic Queen, in which he told of how he and two other individuals trespassed on state property, were arrested, brought before the court, and not fined or imprisoned for their actions.  It is to this subject and the relationship to bottle collecting that I want to directly focus on in this blog.  This situation is most disturbing to the blog.  Three individuals trespassed on state property — one the president of the Baltimore bottle club, the second a friend of the president, and the third a pastor of a local church.  They just decided that had the right to search no matter what.  Obviously  this practice had been done before by them.  This time they were arrested for trespassing.  When the courts did not find them or incarcerate them, the president, in his article, boasted of the circumstances and what occurred by the court.  They claimed that they did not know it was off-limits.  Guess they cannot read signs posted on property or think that going on private or state property without permission or a permit is ok because they had done it before and hand never been caught.  If you buy that explanation, perhaps you would like to “buy a bridge”.  These men knew exactly what they were doing.  They were trespassing on state property without permission or concern for the rights of the property owner or what condition they would leave the land in when they had finished. Did they remove any items from the land?  Yes, they found bottles and other collectibles.  And what did they do with their finds?  Are those items the property of the finders or the owner of the property?  Obviously they didn’t show any concern until they got caught “red-handed”.  Nic then boasts in the article that “I am a good citizen”.  How can he make that statement when he completely ignored the law and then boasts about how he and his cohorts got off “scot-free” without fines or jail time.  A great example of leadership, good values, and responsibility shown by the so-called leaders of their community – a president of a bottle club and a pastor.  They have definitely set great examples for their members, parishioners and the others they are responsible for and/or represent…”.

People in positions of authority are supposed to set positive examples for the people he or she represents.  They are supposed to be of a strong and positive character, possess good moral values, show excellent judgement and have positive leadership skills.  All these attributes should be part of the leaders we put in positions of power for our clubs, organizations, religious institutions, and governing bodies.  The article written by Nic and included in the club newsletter detailing his “adventure” with state property and the law leaves one questioning his qualities as a leader.  At the end of the article Nic states, “so what did we do afterwards.  We cruised the area of the courthouse to find a lot of vacant 1870-1890 row houses looking for privies to dig!!.  All with no trespassing signs….some people never learn.

It has been said …”diggers do this all the time when they dig.  They go on private property and leave the area not caring what they have done.  So what?  Unfortunately Nic represents a group that has entrusted him with representing them, their activities, their club business, their money, their youth, as well other activities.  What would you say if Nic and the others had taken a groups of young people with them  on a digging activity and this situation had occurred?  Your sons and daughters would have been brought before the courts for trespassing.  How would you feel then?  How do you feel about the outcome of this trespassing regardless of what the court did or did not do?

The Baltimore bottle club now has this cloud hanging over them because this situation was not brought to a conclusion by the courts and the punishment prescribed by law.  According to Nic and the info in his  article, they got off the hook, got away with their activities, no harm was done, so what!  Do others feel the same?  As Nic says, “A disturbing state of affairs, but GREAT nonetheless!”.  Was this president concerned with the effects his action could have on this bottle club or on any of the members of the club or the church this pastor is associated with?  Not hardly, it seems.  Self-satisfaction apparently is all that is important, regardless if it breaks the law or not.

Finally, think about this example of trespassing as it is akin to Home Invasion.  Had Nic and his friends come onto your property and into your home without permission, removed some valuables from your property, what would you have done?  You would call the police, have them brought before a court, and demand punishment or what they did.  Unfortunately the court failed to punish Nic and his associates and they believe and act as if the got off “scot-free”.

Perhaps what is most disturbing is that nothing has changed since that article was written three years ago.  Today we see more evidence of lawlessness based solely on satisfying one’s own personal needs and wants.This is true whether we are discussing the political, educational, cultural, and societal situation.

When the French were supported by millions and 40  world leaders and participated in the march in Paris against terrorism, our own government failed to attend.  Instead, the president was off playing golf and watched the NFL playoffs.  Days later he sent the Secretary of State along with James Taylor to sing “You’ve got a friend”.  What a response that our government showed!!!!!!!!!!

If you turned on the TV, the NFL was on parade.  The Dallas/Detroit games was the worst example of officiating that I have seen in years.   Did the ref ever pick up the flag?  Was that game ever investigated by the NFL?  Why wasn’t that game ever investigate by the commissioner of the FNL?  That was closely followed by controversy over the Green Bay/ Dallas game and then the Green Bay/Seattle game.  This week it is the question of whether the football was deflated by the New England Patriots.  Why is this infraction being investigated when none of the others were investigated?  With all these infractions that have occurred during the playoffs as well as during the regular football season. the commissioner comes out and announces that the Super bowl will go on as scheduled.  Is this another example of the fox guarding the hen house?  The commissioner being the fox and the NFL owners the hen house.  Are these the important issues our world faces today?  Why should these games  attract so much attention, time, and money??????  There are numerous examples of such activities occurring daily to distract people from what is really important for our survival.

Unfortunately the bottle community is no different.    Individuals in our hobby who know that an infringement of the law or fraud is taking place, do nothing about it.  They simply disregard the offense, turning their heads away.  When the issues are raised before them, they feign ignorance or state it is none of my business. The FOHBC and bottle clubs continue to perpetuate altered bottles, for example, be it through buying, selling, or adding them to their collections.  They know that these bottles are, in fact, fraudulent in nature.  They fail to condemn the process and practice or take steps to eradicate the problem.  How can anyone respect them?

ANNOUNCEMENT The sale of the Handbooks is doing well.  The third volume is selling well.  To those of you who wish copies, they are going fast, so make your requests known to owldrug2@gmail.com

DISCLAIMER:  All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the  Owl Drug Collectors Blog.  Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

The months of January and February tend to be quite times in the bottle community. The unpredictable weather and cold temperatures throughout most of the US make travel difficult. As a result bottle collectors tend to use this time period to review their collections, determine what additions they need to make and what items can be sold or traded. We at the blog tend to be similar in our bottle collecting activities.

The year 2014 saw major accomplishments for the blog and myself. Volume III of the Owl Drug Handbook was completed and sent off to the publisher. New items were obtained including company documents, advertising items, art works, and additional drug products. These additions have helped our ever-growing Owl Drug collection and we anticipated other items to be added in the future. The procurement of these items came from various sources, some through the research process, some through purchases, some through collections, and still others were acquired as a result of many of readers and supporters from around the world sending them to the blog.

Last week’s blog posting generated a wealth of emails supporting the blog. They stated their amazement of how, in such a short number of years, the blog has gone through all the headaches and trauma directed at the blog by others in the bottle hobby. A prevailing comment expressed in these emails was why the bottle hobbyists were so vitriolic in their attempt to get rid of the blog and prevent the blog from making any comments about the hobby and contributions to it. They resent when the blog points out how errors and falsehoods about the bottle hobby and/or individuals and how they can be improved and/or corrected. There is resentment in the bottle community or in the leadership when issues are pointed out. They cannot see the similarity between the blog pointing out such issues and a parent correcting a child in the errors of their behavior or actions to modify the behavior or make it better for all.

The master copy of Volume III of the Handbook was received from the publisher the other day. The book contains 89 pages filled with new information including a completed history of the company, products, documents, advertising, art works, and other unique contributions of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.

The three-volume set of this handbook, for the first time, provides the collector or potential collector a complete and comprehensive picture or the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. The handbooks discuss the company’s successes, its failures, its history, its policies and practices, its leadership, its products, its innovations, and its disappearance from the drug and business communities.


DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.


January 2, 2015

As the New Year begins, let us briefly review some of the high points of 2014 with our audience. Some of our major accomplishments during this past year included: the development of a research and educational department; completion of volume III of the Owl Drug Handbook series; an increase in blog readership and membership; increased and enhanced support for the blog’s goals and objectives; major additions to our Owl Drug collection of bottles, tins, go-withs, documents, internal documents related to the company’s leadership; and other new information that clears up long-standing errors, omissions and falsehoods about Owl Drug and their relationship with other companies. Those companies include: Liggett; Rexall; and Sun Drug Company just to name a few.

Our return to active collecting and the introduction of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog was initially met with hesitation from other bottle collectors because they were leery and distrustful about what we would talk about and what goals and direction this blog would take. Those in the bottle hobby tried to discredit our background, knowledge, research, and education. They tried to ridicule us, stating that the blog director was uninformed and irrelevant. When that approach did not work and they realized that we were not going away, they attempted to force us out by trying to damage our reputation, spurring inappropriate comments about our person, while saying that the information presented were lies. Even those attempts failed.

When our first volume of the Owl Drug Handbook was published, they tried to diminish its importance but failed in those attempts. The second volume of the Handbook provided more insight into the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco and cleared up many of the falsehoods and errors that had been around for years. Those in the bottle hobby could not prevent educational institutions and research organizations from accepting the Handbooks and the information they contained. Today those books reside in state and university libraries as well as the Library of Congress and are used for teaching and research. The Owl Drug Collectors Blog’s reputation is solid, both in the educational and research world as well as in the collecting world. The blog is approached on a daily basis for information about Owl Drug, their products, and other items related to the collecting hobby.

Even today, four years later, many in the bottle hobby still do not know what we are about or understand our goals and direction. They continue to perpetuate falsehoods, untruths, and inaccuracies about the blog. They only want to “blackball” this blog and our efforts. Many of the ideas about how to improve and increase membership and participation in the bottle hobby that have been expressed numerous times in our blog postings, have been considered stupid, irrelevant, or out-of-place.

In the latest presidential message (January-February) the president of the FOHBC stated “ We need more children, teenagers, and young adults to attend and participate”. So Mr. President, how do you plan to accomplish this? Where is the action plan to do this? Months ago he advocated that the FOHBC leadership and members think outside the box. He has failed to initiate any programs. In other words, he is just lots of hollow words on a piece of paper. No programs. No resources. How long should the membership put up with this? Is this what you expect? The blog has advocated this for young people for several years. Of course credit to the blog has never been acknowledged. Why is that Mr. President?

The FOHBC continues to lose membership, support, donations, and credibility and yet their leadership doesn’t understand why or maybe they don’t care. An organization tries to rectify these types of issues or problems. They initiate programs or policies to prevent loss of membership and revenue. What has the FOHBC done? Nothing!

When an organization wishes to have something done such as a website created, magazines written and published; a virtual museum created; or even financial supervision of the organizations, the leadership solicits proposals from independent organizations for contracts. At least three proposals are selected for evaluation and review. Those participating are independent of the organizations for which the work is to be done. The reason is to prevent favoritism of one group over another or conflict of interest. The leadership then evaluates those proposals and a winner is selected. Was this procedure followed by the FOHBC? How were the contracts selected? What criteria, if any did the FOHBC leadership use? Now we see the wife of the current president of the FOHBC was awarded the job of business manager of the FOHBC as an independent contractor, when she is also the business manager of the president’s own company. How and why was she selected for this position over anyone else? How was it reviewed? Was it independently awarded? Does this action call into question legal realities? Does the membership of the FOHBC understand what transpired and why and what they could potentially face for now and in the future? Should not questions be asked and answers be given by the leadership, particularly the current president and the current business manager?

When one reads the president of the FOHBC’s January-February message, all of those points are missing. He concentrates solely on the national show and why it should be two days instead of one. He points to the by-laws and quotes them as to what should be present at such shows. He mentions the same old programs that the FOHBC has had for many years while failing to initiate any new ones. He mentions young people and teenagers but fails to make any suggestions as to how to incorporate and encourage their participation in the show or in the organization itself. As usual he calls on others to make suggestions and volunteer. Where is he in this matter? – all talk and no action. He challenges others to think outside the box, while he remains on the sidelines and stuck in the box.

This president addresses the issue of “looking out for the best interests of the hobby and membership…” In the same paragraph he addresses the concern of a past board member who does not want the show to be two days stating that the board should “ask the dealers”. This president then states, “many of the board members are dealers and regional representatives”. Is that not a conflict of interest? Now I ask you, our readers, is the show simply a vehicle for the board member/dealers to profit? In a sense is this not the fox guarding the henhouse?

If this president were in fact the head of a profit-making organization consisting of hundreds of employees, he would have been out of business a long time ago and his employee’s unemployed. He lacks the foresight, vision, and wherewithal to move the FOHBC forward in a rapidly changing technological society. All he does is rattle on with no substance, no programs, and no resources to support what he says. As long as he remains president of the FOHBC, it will continue to decay, stagnate, and lose membership.

The national show in Lexington, according to all reports, was poorly planned, poorly executed, and had low attendance. Those activities at the Lexington show were the same sad types of activities that have been part of other shows in the past. There was nothing new to encourage new attendees to participate. The auction contained approximately 100 bottles, and only FOHBC members were allowed to participate. The validity and authenticity of those bottles were never documented. Displays at the show failed to meet the criteria of what makes up a proper display.   During the show several members of the FOHBC board tried to rectify the errors in the displays but were unable to do so. The displays were inaccurate, poorly constructed, and lacked the historical elements, condition and rarity that items should have in a display. The real tragedy is that no one ever checked the accuracy of these displays prior to them being put on display at the show

A major change occurred at the board meeting at the Lexington show and included changes in the composition of the board itself and a shift in power. The four regional representatives to the board were replaced. A shift in power occurred, some of the board members were replaced or resigned. Was this series of changes merely a reflection of a change in leadership that normally occurs or were these changes a grasp for power by the currents president to have allies in board members and regional representatives? What happens to those who disagree with the decisions, policies, or lack of action by the current president? Is this their fate?

Announcement:   According to our publisher, the Owl Drug Handbook Volume III will be available for sale in mid to late January 2015. The Volume III completes the Owl Drug Handbook series. Those of you interested in obtaining Volume III or all three volumes should contact the blog to ensure receipt at owldrug2@gmail.com or at the Owl Drug Collectors store. There are limited copies available. The cost is $50.00 per copy plus shipping.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.


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