This page contains January 31, 2009 thru October 2, 2009 project updates.  Previous updates are posted on the Hutchinson Bottle Directory Updates page.

Finishing one chapter, starting the next...

October 2, 2009

Welcome to the final HutchBook project progress report that will be posted at!  It was somewhat bittersweet to post the " Launched September 30, 2009" headline on the Home page.  Five years of progress reports (monthly for four years, weekly during the past year) have served as an effective means of communicating with all interested parties.  While in the final throes of preparing to launch, I realized my time is now better invested in focusing on adding new site content and documenting a list of changes you can review at your convenience.

In weeks to come, portions of the Hutchinson-specific material currently posted here on will be migrated to  Until that happens, please continue to refer to both sites.

The rest of today will be dedicated to posting more information (check the Home page for change details).  Tomorrow afternoon I'm heading for Oregon to run my 28th consecutive Portland Marathon on Sunday morning.  My brain looks forward to a short break from thorny web site issues!  

Last week's update mentioned the appearance of several previously unknown Hutchinsons.  The grand total temporarily dipped, however, when several of these "rare" bottles were identified as fakes being offered by a con artist using in an attempt to defraud unsuspecting collectors.  Please visit and read Steve's comments to ensure you don't get ripped off!  New (legitimate) listings have boosted the grand total to 16,503 as of today.

Although we are closing this Hutchinson Bottle Directory initiative chapter, the next one is already proving to be incredibly exciting.  Please share in the experience by switching to and checking it out right now!

Ron F.

Feast or famine...

September 24, 2009

Identifying and cataloguing two new Hutchinsons in order to reach the 16,500 level proved more challenging than I thought it would be.  Bottle #16,499 turned up as GreedyBay 320426308126 soon after posting last week's update.   It is a Rare example embossed S. BURTIS / GOUVERNEUR / N.Y. (why does this bottle have no bids?).  Two days later #16,500 had yet to surface, so I stopped searching and began to pull together the current Hutchinson Bottle Of The Week feature.  Naturally, I no sooner started that process than newly identified bottles began appearing.  The grand total is now at 16,504 and still growing.  Bottle #16,500 is a beautiful pint from Britton, South Dakota.  Other new listings include a Pekin, North Dakota pint, and a peacock blue Kenosha, Wisconsin quart (yes, a peacock blue quart!).  We hope to feature each of these as future Hutchinson Bottles Of The Week.

A common theme to this week's correspondence has been the appearance of previously unknown, small-town Hutchinsons.  One bottle is from a town that had a population of 80 in 1900 (located on a railroad line, so most likely the bottler was selling soda to train passengers and/or supplying other local towns).  I had three separate conversations with fellow advanced Hutchinson collectors and we were all grumbling that at times Rare bottles seem to show up faster than we can catalog them!  Years ago I gave up the idea that I would ever be able to obtain an example of all known Oregon and Washington Hutchinsons.  Invariably, just when I think I'm closing in on having them all, new ones appear.  (I suddenly have a vision of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.)  Chasing a moving target can be frustrating and expensive, but it's one of the reasons I love this crazy hobby! construction is proceeding steadily.  At least the basic shell of the site is on target to be posted by month's end.  Bear with me; I'm a bottle collector, not a web designer!

Several readers have asked questions about and/or commented on the porch rebuilding project.  If you're curious to see what all of my whining was about, check out the photos and brief comments posted at Porch.

We're closing in on 16,500!

September 18, 2009

What a week!  Seattle's nice fall weather continues; that was good news for the porch project, but it made for a miserably warm marathon last Sunday.  I survived, but it wasn't pretty.  Most of the daylight hours since then have been spent slapping crimson paint (it matches the headline color) on the new steps, risers, and porch decking, and then touching up the house's gray siding and white trim.  This has been a lengthy project, but considerable planning and careful attention-to-detail produced a finished product that exceeded my expectations.  Hopefully will provide a similar end result!

We're continuing to fill in missing bottle data and add new Hutchinson listings.  This week's highlights included: three more for Minnesota (thanks, Austin!) - the MN total is now 475; two more for New York (thanks for the information on the nice Friendship, NY bottle, Joel!) - the NY total is now 1,343; and a beautiful "neon yellow green" M. GONDREZICK / TOMAH / WIS. bottle - the WI total is 1,071.  To see photographs and read about the colored WI Hutchinson, visit the Home page.  This week's flurry of activity brought the grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued to 16,498.  Whew!

I'm continuing to tinker with the basic design for, striving to make the navigation as intuitive as possible.  Gathering information about 100+ year old soda bottles is a snap compared to designing web sites!  In spite of such challenges, it is incredibly exciting to be this close to starting to make the Hutchinson material available!  I am still planning to open the site to the public by September 30th, but will likely be posting Phase I materials into October.

In case you missed the results of the GreedyBay auctions for the two bottles with fake etchings mentioned last week, the siphon drew 21 bids and closed at $76.01 + $14 P&H. $90 for a foreign siphon with fake etching; how ridiculous!  The fake gun oil bottle attracted five bids and sold for $22.49 + $14 P&H.

Check back for news about the cataloguing of Hutchinson #16,500!

Curves and sliders are okay, but please, no spitballs!

September 11, 2009

After 10 days of non-stop but much-needed rain, we're again enjoying nice weather and the front porch project is receiving major attention.  Yesterday's application of caulk improved the aesthetics thanks to masking some of my amateurish carpentry efforts. Once this update is posted, more caulk and wood filler will be applied, and hopefully by tomorrow primer will be protecting the wood from the next round of rain showers.  Major projects require considerable effort, plus a planning approach that provides the flexibility to deal with the inevitable curve balls that are thrown one's way.  

This week's HutchBook activity didn't include unhittable pitches, but likewise the activity wasn't predictable.  Thanks to an Internet search, a collector in Puerto Rico contacted us concerning Hutchinsons and hopefully we're about to finally have a resident PR Hutchinson specialist.  We have only seven PR Hutchinsons catalogued and have heard rumors there may be as many as 50.  Our potential new PR specialist suggests there are at least 30.  Hopefully we'll be able to add these additional listings soon.  It is very satisfying to constantly improve the quantity and quality of HutchBook data.  New listings this week boosted the grand total number of bottles catalogued to 16,488.

Other than discussing Puerto Rican bottles, this has been a typical week for HutchBook activity, as we've communicated with collectors of Montana, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Mexico, Louisiana, Connecticut, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Illinois, and Indiana Hutchinsons.  

HutchBook activity has also included more design work on the basic web site structure. There is a delicate balance between having a minimal number of easily understandable, high level navigation buttons, while simultaneously making it easy for users to find the information they are seeking.  Using the "BOTTLING" navigation button as an example, the "Quick-Links" index at the top of the page will include these section headings:


The American Bottling System

Pre-Hutchinson Era Bottling

Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stopper

Hutchinson Bottles

The Hutchinson Bottling Process

Each Quick-Link heading is a "hot link" to a specific portion of the accompanying material, eliminating/minimizing scrolling.  In the case of "BOTTLING," there are 65 (printed) pages of information.  Please visit to see how these Quick-Links work and let me know if you have questions or comments.

Bottles with fake etchings continue to catch my eye on GreedyBay.  One of the more persistent GreedyBay peddlers of these (and all sorts of other) fake items is "bigindian3," purportedly located in "Northern Missouri."  He/she has earned GreedyBay's "Top-Rated Seller" designation (apparently they don't yet have a "Top-Rated Faker" designation). Check out GreedyBay 200381328860, a fake Dr Pepper siphon, and 190333509794, a fake Browning Gun Oil bottle.  If your stomach can handle it, scope out the sellers' other items.  Don't waste your time reporting any of these fraudulent items; GreedyBay doesn't care and won't take action.  Apparently they think we're stupid and don't know a spitball when we see one.  Okay, I'll get off my soapbox and get busy on the porch project!

Major Project Announcement: Target Launch Dates!

September 4, 2009

This has been another highly enjoyable, very productive week highlighted by considerable HutchBook progress.  (Wrapping up construction work on the front porch [caulking, priming, and painting remain to be finished] has helped my attitude immensely, as did knocking out a long training run in preparation for next weekend's initial fall marathon.)  I have been thoroughly enjoying communicating with collectors from across the country, particularly concerning several maverick Hutchinsons (check the Can You Identify These Unknown Hutchinsons? page).

After posting last week's HutchBook update, an inquiry arrived from one of the newer Hutchinson specialists asking if I had established a time frame for opening to the public.  After evaluating current project status and reviewing my schedule for the upcoming months, I put together a response that included specific target launch dates.  For the benefit of everyone interested in the HutchBook project, here's a slightly edited version of my response that I am now sharing as a:


This is the first book project (my 10th) that hasn't had "deadlines" and "due dates."  Early on I realized we will constantly be adding new bottles, correcting errors, adding tidbits of data, etc.  Initially I estimated it would take five years to put everything together, but we're now five years and eight months into it and the number of bottles we've catalogued has doubled, I've switched from planning to publish to paper to building a web site, and on and on.  Now that is back up and I've built and successfully launched a site with MS Expression Web 2 software, I've boiled the next steps down to:

Phase I: Launch with the already prepared 265+ pages of material concerning American soda bottling, W. H. Hutchinson & Son history, patents, Hutchinson bottling, etc., not later than September 30, 2009;

Phase II: Finish the MS Access database listing all 16,400+ bottles and move this up to for all to use before December 31, 2009;

Phase III: Add bottle illustrations on a go forward basis as they are completed,
commencing in 2010; and

Phase IV: Maintain for years to come.

Some folks aren't going to be happy that I'm planning to bring the site up in phases, but it isn't like this is a simple project and a staged approach seems very logical.  I keep reminding people that access to will be FREE and ask everyone to please be patient; I believe the wait will be worth it.  

There you have it, a plan with specific target dates for opening to the public in phases.  Considerable effort will be required to meet these challenging objectives, but I think I'm up to it.  Stay tuned and find out!

Looking at the bigger picture...

August 28, 2009

After four days of rebuilding the front steps and porch, I am taking this morning off to prepare and post this week's Home page and HutchBook updates.  My aching muscles definitely appreciate the break!  Progress on the porch project is going better than anticipated, even though removal of the old steps, risers, and decking took considerably longer than I had hoped.  The 85 year old lumber was held together with hundreds of nails, caulk, and 8-10 coats of lead paint.  The area under the steps and porch hadn't seen daylight since 1924, and visions of discovering a stash of bottles and lost coins turned into finding only a few broken bricks and one Ball fruit jar shard.  Adjusting the replacement wood to fit spaces that aren't either square or level has proven tricky, but the new steps, risers, and half of the fir decking are all in place.  I am now focused on nailing
down the last of the decking and getting everything primed and painted before the fall marathon season starts up.

HutchBook progress this week has been steady in spite of working on the porch.  Non-stop input from Hutchinson specialists and new on-line auction listings have boosted the grand total number of bottles catalogued to 16,479.  Keep those cards, letters, EMails, photographs, pencil rubbings, and phone calls coming!

One very positive side effect of the Hutchinson Bottle Directory initiative has been a slight change in my usual reading material.  Two of the four books I am currently working on were chosen in order to continue to learn more about the 1879-World War I Hutchinson era.  I'm only part way thru these volumes, but recommend them highly if you too want to better understand what was going on in North America during these years.  The first book is Coal: A Human History by Barbara Freese, Penguin Press, © 2003, "The fascinating history of a simple black rock that has shaped our world...a captivating narrative about an ordinary substance with an extraordinary impact on human civilization."  This volume sheds considerable light on development and population growth in coal region states
where Hutchinson bottling was particularly prevalent.  The other book is
America 1908: The Dawn of Flight, The Race to the Pole, The Invention of the Model T, and the Making of a Modern Nation, by Jim Rasenberger, Scribner, © 2007.  The author provides insight into "a time of seemingly boundless innovation - everything was bigger, better, faster, and greater than ever before...shedding new light on stories we thought we knew and telling fresh stories we can't believe we've never heard...a rousing chronicle of a country on the brink of greatness - and a timely, thought-provoking glimpse at a younger America."  I'm
enjoying this one because by 1908 the Hutchinson era was drawing to a close as Owens' automatic bottle machine and crown closures were rapidly gaining the attention of bottlers and consumers alike.

To blog or not to blog...

August 21, 2009

Although I am (obviously!) keenly interested in bottles that utilized Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stoppers, I collect all types of soda bottles and related soft drink industry memorabilia from the states of Oregon and Washington, not strictly Hutchinsons.  For 10 years I acquired all types of bottles before deciding to specialize in sodas almost 40 years ago.  Unlike many collectors, my interests haven't changed and my passion for Oregon and Washington sodas remains high.  I have never been tempted to switch to another collecting category, but if I did, I'd likely go with Western whiskies or bitters.  I recently learned of new whiskey ( and bitters ( blogs, and I have been following both of them on a regular basis.  In addition to providing interesting reading material on bitters, whiskies, bottle digging, and research topics, I have been evaluating both sites in order to learn more about how blogs function.  My interest in these blogs relates directly to my on-going
desire to incorporate some sort of user communications functionality into  As the content of the whiskies and bitters blogs has grown, so too has the need for indexing that makes it easy for readers to search for and find information concerning specific topics.  If you're creating, reading, or otherwise participating in a blog (on any topic) that you think is particularly well organized and could serve as a model for the creation of a HutchBook blog, please EMail me the URL and your thoughts or suggestions.  At this point, I envision a HutchBook blog with content that would be open for the public to read, but the creation of said content would be limited to HBCA members.

This has been a routine week of work on the HutchBook project, with nothing out of the ordinary to report.  The upcoming week will likely see less than usual HutchBook activity while I focus on rebuilding my house's 85 year old front porch and steps.  That will be the last of my summer projects with the fall marathon season starting up again after Labor Day.  Where has summer gone?  

Welcome Back!

August 14, 2009

This update has been months in the making.  At long last, the "new, improved" MS Expression Web 2 version of was moved up to GoDaddy's server late this morning.  Charles David Head and I are already working on a list of changes and material that will be added, and now there's a live site to change!  I particularly want to salute Patricia, an ace GoDaddy technical support representative who correctly analyzed and solved the upload problems we were experiencing.  Danica Patrick gets most of the national headlines, but Patricia was our go-to GoDaddy girl when the chips were down. After you finish reading this update, please check out

The PINE MOUNTAIN / BOTTLING WORKS bottle (last week's "Hutchinson (Shard) Of The Week") has drawn considerable attention from collectors in several states across the South.  Laton Bare pulled his research cap on and dug out several snippets of information that lead us to believe this bottle is either from Georgia or Alabama.  We're still hoping more information (and a photograph of a whole example) will be forthcoming.  We'll share whatever we find out.

Considerable time was spent updating the North Carolina (56), Florida (254), and Illinois (1,082) spreadsheets this week (their respective totals are shown in parentheses).  Illinois has now moved past Wisconsin (1,070) into third place for most Hutchinsons behind Pennsylvania (2,935), and New York (1,338).  The grand total is now at 16,468 and still climbing.

Time Flies When One Is Having Fun...

August 7, 2009

One year ago today I was attending the FOHBC EXPO in York, PA, pitching the Hutchinson Bottle Directory and HBCA, and explaining where the HutchBook initiative was headed.  What a year it has been since then!  In spite of a nasty sinus infection I picked up at York and thirteen more marathons, I have enjoyed spending each of the past 365 days working on the HutchBook project.  Although we have yet to open the new site to the public, it has been a year of solid progress.  We have catalogued 400+ more Hutchinsons, and added thousands of bits of data for existing listings.  Considerable time has also been devoted to obtaining, installing, learning to use, and converting from Yahoo's Sitebuilder to MS FrontPage to MS Expression Web 2. Although I wanted to meet the original five year target delivery date, we made a major error by estimating there were "only" 7,000-10,000 different Hutchinsons.  Today the grand total is at 16,460 and still climbing.  These factors combined to lengthen the delivery time for, but the trade off was worth it; we have data quantity and quality far exceeding what I ever dared to dream were possible.  My thanks to everyone actively involved in making this project happen.

Even though this year's national FOHBC show was held on the West Coast last weekend, I was unable to attend.  The initial reports I've read indicate there were some nice Hutchinsons on display and for sale in Los Angeles.  An entry at www.globtopwhiskies, a blog devoted to Western whiskies, mentions a display featuring "hutch sodas from the various U.S. States."  If you can provide photos and information about this display, please EMail me at  

Earlier this week EMail brought the sad news that Paul Welko lost his long battle with cancer.  Paul was a very well-known, long-time Chicago collector, one of our first Hutchinson specialists, an HBCA member, and a wealth of knowledge about the history of W. H. Hutchinson & Son.  We have lost yet another of the good guys who contribute more back to our hobby than they receive.  Our sincere condolences to Paul's family.

Web site "hit" counts indicate more people are regularly reviewing the Home page changes (particularly the "Hutchinson Bottle Of The Week" feature) than read these weekly progress reports.  Some of the telephone and EMail questions I receive also concern issues that were already answered/explained via these updates.  Consequently, as a treat for those of you who do faithfully read these progress reports, here's a photo you might enjoy.  Ed Tardy in Arkansas sent this image taken during the preparations he and several digging buddies went thru prior to splitting over 2,000 bottles and jugs acquired during three years of digging.  This photo shows some of the over 300 Hutchinsons they divided.  I'd tell you more, but I have to go get a towel to wipe the drool off my chin...

We're Havin' A Heat Wave...

July 31, 2009

The record-eclipsing heat wave hitting Western Washington this week reminds me I need to more frequently give thanks for the opportunity to live in this area, instead of somewhere with routinely high summer temperatures.  While driving to the airport mid-afternoon on Wednesday, the car's thermometer registered 105.  It topped out at 109 near downtown on the way back home.  Wednesday's official high temperature of 103 broke the Seattle area's all-time high since record keeping began here in 1881.  That wasn't the daily record, that was the all-time record for any day in Seattle.  A small, portable fan
became my new best friend this week, faithfully following me from room to room and spinning all night long as I try to catch up on sleep.  All to say that this has been a highly
unproductive week for HutchBook activities.  The weather guessers are suggesting somewhat cooler temperatures are headed this way in days to come and I certainly hope they are correct!  Okay, enough of my whining...

One HutchBook activity that drew considerable attention this week was updating the Arkansas Hutchinson listings courtesy of detailed bottle data and terrific photographs supplied by Ed Tardy (see the Home page "Hutchinson Bottle(s) Of The Week" piece featuring a pair of Ed's bottles from Helena, Arkansas).  Considerable time was also devoted to reviewing on-line auction listings and continuing to catch up on long overdue responses to EMail inquiries.  The total number of Hutchinsons catalogued bounced up and down all week while we cleaned up some listing errors, ending at 16,454.  

Without question the week's most exciting new listing is a previously unknown quart Hutchinson we hope to feature as an upcoming Hutchinson Bottle Of The Week.  Not only is the bottle previously unknown, it is from a state with no known quart Hutchinsons at all until now, and oh, by the way, it is an error bottle with the town name spelled incorrectly. This one brings the total number of catalogued quart Hutchinsons from west of the Mississippi River to ten.  Stay tuned for more details and in the meantime, stay cool!

Chalk up another one...

July 23, 2009

This week hasn't been as productive as planned thanks to devoting considerable time to several other very important, non-HutchBook activities.  I have still only missed two days of working on the project seven days per week during the past 5.5 years, and occasionally other activities demand attention too in order to keep the master to-do list somewhat under control.  

In case you don't routinely scroll down the Home page and missed noting some of the changes continually posted on this site, click on the Bringing Betsy Back page to review photos from the two most recent car shows I have attended.  Betsy isn't currently signed up for more shows, but we will probably do one or two more before the fall marathon season starts up again in September.

I enjoyed lunches with a two close friends earlier this week, plus a tasty birthday dinner hosted by long-time bottle buddy Mark Nelson (the birthdays keep coming faster, but having them still beats the alternative).  Mark tumbled three of my Washington Hutchinsons as a birthday gift and they look so much better it feels like I upgraded to mint specimens.  Thanks, Mark!

The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued is now at 16,451.  

Its a red letter day!

July 17, 2009

Yesterday a long-time friend and I spent the day taking a nostalgic trip thru the area south of Olympia, Washington where I lived during my high school and college years.  It was fun to see and visit many of the spots that have had such a lasting impact on my life. Although it was somewhat distressing to see that our once beautiful cattle ranch has been converted to a huge dairy operation, it was fun to remember back 48 summers to the day a square inkwell popped out of the ground at one of the dump sites used by the original 1860 homesteader's family.  The bottles I dug out of that dump during the next two years were my introduction to what has been a highly enjoyable, lifelong hobby.  As we left the property I was reminded of July 17, 1969, the day I ran 1/4 mile up that same
road, sat down and rested for 15 minutes, and had to walk back to the house; a measly quarter mile was as far as I could run non-stop.  That was embarrassing and provided the motivation necessary to start running regularly.  Today marks my 40th anniversary of running and like bottle collecting, it too has become a highly enjoyable, lifelong activity. How fortunate I am to have found and enjoyed my passion for these interests for so many years.

The past two "Hutchinson Bottle Of The Week" features generated interesting EMail input and telephone conversations.  As indicated several times before, not everyone agrees with the definition of "variant" we are using for the HutchBook, nor the approach we are taking as regards Hutchinsons versus bottles designed for use with Matthews' Gravitating Stoppers.  If you are troubled by our approach, please remember that we have absolutely no intention of trying to tell anyone else how they should collect; that is your business, not ours!  A primary HutchBook objective from the get go has been to catalog all bottles that were produced for use with Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stoppers.  Achieving this
objective required the development of specific definitions/guidelines so that data about the 16,450 different Hutchinsons we've identified thus far would be manageable.  We continue to believe the approach we're taking will satisfy the interests of the majority of collectors, historians, and archaeologists expected to most frequently utilize  

A related topic arose out of GreedyBay 280372518700l this week.  This Palmyra, Wisconsin blob top soda has what the seller describes as a "special elongated hutchinson stopper in the neck."  The rubber disk is still attached, begging the question of whether the bottle was once sealed with this stopper or it was inserted years later, perhaps by a collector.  From a HutchBook point of view, it doesn't matter; this is a cork-stoppered pony soda bottle catalogued by Tod von Mechow at and not one we are cataloguing for  That inserted Hutchinson stopper does not make it a Hutchinson!

GreedyBay 200363443991 is also an interesting listing.  Although it is a Cuban Hutchinson bottle, the seller's best guess had him/her posting it as a blob top poison. Most likely this seller has never heard of or seen a Hutchinson bottle.  We'd appreciate your ideas and suggestions on how we can make it easier for people to find the site you're reading and once we open it to the public.  What can we do to help people find us that aren't familiar with the terms "Hutch" or "Hutchinson?"  

In celebration of today's 40th anniversary, I'm off for a run!

Kickin' it up a notch

July 10, 2009

If your computer's browser picked up the color as it was mocked up, the "pink pizazz" headline lettering above represents how this week has flown by.  Rather than continuing to whine about having "too much to do and too little time," I hunkered down in front of this PC and had another very productive week.  

As many on-line auction sellers are well aware, I constantly send out EMail inquiries seeking information omitted from their listings.  My questions typically concern bottle dimensions, back and base embossing data, and clarification of front embossing details due to the posting of so-so quality photographs.  Years of asking such questions and pointing people at the Hutchinson Bottle Sales Guide page seems to be paying dividends, however, as the overall quality of listing information is steadily improving.  Better quality listings produce a win-win situation, both increasing sales for sellers, and providing Hutchinson collectors with better information.  The seller of GreedyBay 250459146507 is not someone I know, nor do I recall that we have ever corresponded, but clearly he/she is paying attention!  Check out this nice West Virginia Hutchinson and a top notch example of how to put together an on-line auction site listing.

The revised version of is standing by for upload while I continue to wrestle my way thru the labyrinth of bureaucratic red tape necessary to move the files to the host's server.  It is frustrating to be so close to the goal line and unable to make forward progress.  Hopefully we'll score next week.

Correspondence with collectors in Louisiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, California, and Canada, combined with a mid-summer increase in on-line auction offerings, boosted the grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued to 16,446.  

Fun on the Fourth...

July 4, 2009

Thank goodness for the holiday, even if the occasional fireworks "booms" and "bangs" are distracting and the temperature is too warm.  Although Seattle's extended dry spell has me crankier than usual, collectors in the Midwest are dealing with thunder and lightning, rain storms, and triple digit heat indices, and those in Florida are tired of the seemingly never-ending rain, so it could be worse and I'll quit whining.  Besides, staying busy with activities, watching the initial stages of new home construction on the lot directly north of my house, and other personal matters this week didn't allow much time to sit around and complain.  

This week's activities once again included telephone conversations with several Hutchinson collectors around the country, and lots of EMail (apparently others are also hibernating inside to beat the heat).  The calls included interesting discussions with Florida's Laton Bare that led directly to selection of the newly posted "Hutchinson Bottle Of The Week."  Laton and I were cut from the same cloth when it comes to appreciating attention to detail, and the two of us can do some serious nitpicking when it comes to distinguishing between Hutchinson variants.  One of our conversations sparked preparation of the additional material I'll post next week concerning "transitional" bottles.  

An in-depth conversation with a tech support person at a web hosting service has me very optimistic about my ability to successfully navigate the bureaucratic minefield necessary to post the new version of  Later today the existing Yahoo hosted site will be pulled.  Be watching for the new one soon!

It was a slow week for new listings; the grand total is now 16,438.

That Was The Week That Was...

June 27, 2009

Fans of mid-1960s TV shows may recognize the headline for this week's update as the title of a well known NBC show featuring a mixture of political satire and crazy musical numbers (many written by the amazingly talented Tom Lehrer).  "TW3," as it was known, however, isn't the reason for the headline.  I am also not referring to the unfortunate passing this week of celebrities Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. Instead I am noting that this has been without question the most productive and enjoyable week I have experienced since re-starting work on the Hutchinson Bottle Directory January 1, 2004.  Projects of this magnitude naturally have many highs and lows, and this week has been an amazing series of highs, both for the HutchBook initiative and personally.

Communication with Hutchinson specialists this week touched all four corners of the continental U.S. - Maine, Florida, California, and Washington - and many points in between.  I particularly enjoyed talking/corresponding with Laton Bare in Florida, and John Patterson in Delaware.  The quantity and quality of documentation we have for their respective states is incredible and testimony to Laton's and John's exceptional attention to detail.  All of us will benefit from their fine input and the efforts of all the Hutchinson specialists.  

HBCA membership grew this week with the addition of Ed LeTard in Louisiana.  Years ago Ed completed a 50 state and all territories Hutchinson collection that he subsequently sold.  These days Ed specializes in collecting Florida whiskies, and all types of Key West, Florida bottles, and he recently added quart Hutchinsons to the mix. There's something very special about Hutchinsons; once one is hooked on them, "Hutchinson Fever" often becomes a life-long passion.

The nice Saratoga Springs bottle featured as the "Hutchinson Of The Week" is one of several New York examples that have caught my eye lately.  We have catalogued 1,337 different New York Hutchinsons thus far, solidifying the Empire State's position as second only to Pennsylvania for having the most Hutchinsons.  New York Hutchinson variants are continually showing up, but it is unusual to identify one from a NY town with no other known Hutchinsons.  Last night, however, I spotted GreedyBay 170349253002, the listing for a bottle embossed Wm. H. BELLER / MIDDLEBURGH / N.Y.  We have 14 Hutchinsons catalogued from Middletown, but this is the first from Middleburgh.  It is very
unfortunate to report that this rare bottle somehow fell into the hands of one of the infamous Florida GreedyBay sellers who irradiate anything/everything that stands still (see the
Caveat Emptor page for my previous ravings about these fools).  I've given up efforts to get the bandits-in-charge at GreedyBay to boot these guys, and am pointing out this example in order to encourage other Hutchinson fans to help us run these Florida sellers out of our hobby.

The HutchBook highlight of the week happened yesterday.  Work on the revised version of had boiled down to a short list of items needing last minute clean up.  I plowed straight thru the list yesterday morning and by noon everything was resolved except for the text on the "Favorite Links" page.  Try as I may, I couldn't get MS Expression to accept and store the font style and size I had selected.  Out of frustration, I went for a run and a long walk, giving me time to mull over the situation and come up with a "Plan B."  I returned home, had at it again, and at exactly 2000 last night the new finally became a done deal!  The next challenge is contacting the web hosting service and moving up to their server.  As soon as that is done, I
will post an announcement here.  Using a baseball analogy to illustrate what this means for, finishing work on is similar to completing the pre-game warmups and knowing the umpire is about to shout "Play ball!"

The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued has jumped up to 16,436.

Time flies when you're having fun...

June 19, 2009

I wanted to post the title in "straw yellow," but it didn't show up very well on the white background, so I opted for "dark goldenrod" instead.  "Straw yellow" matches the color of my lawn thanks to Seattle's 29 day drought.  We were on track to break the local record today for consecutive days without rain, but 11 minutes before midnight the rains returned and have continued this morning.  I'm a native Seattleite and feel so much better today; breathing is much easier and the webs between my toes are no longer dry and cracking.

This has been a fun week featuring non-stop correspondence and conversations with collectors in Maine, New Brunswick, Massachusetts, Utah, California, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, New Mexico, and Georgia.  I also snuck in some more research on bottle stopper patents and, of course, spent considerable time on  Only a few more items remain undone on the to-do list and the new site will be ready to upload to a server.  I invested more time than planned into the Home page update on the Cherry Hill, NJ Hutchinsons and the latest Hutchinson(s) Of The Week piece, but both were fun to work on, so no complaints.  

Speaking of fun, the grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued is now at 16,423 and still climbing slowly.  Keep those cards, letters, EMail messages, photographs, and pencil rubbings coming!

Details, details, details...

June 12, 2009

Last Sunday's marathon went well in spite of high humidity and fighting dehydration. Post-race physical and mental recovery took longer than usual, but I am again refocused on HutchBook activities including rebuilding  

In addition to cataloguing new bottles and non-stop gathering of additional bottle data, I enjoyed being contacted by some folks who are building a series of collectibles web sites.  The information they are gathering and the services they plan to provide for collectors seemingly have the potential to greatly facilitate the collecting of antique bottles and glass.  You'll be hearing much more about their initiative as it matures.

As a child my parents stressed the importance of attention to details.  Whether it was learning to spell, writing neatly, or making sure I washed behind my ears, they taught me that details matter.  Indeed, details have been one of the main reasons I have enjoyed collecting bottles for 48 years.  The Cherry Hill, NJ Hutchinsons featured on the Home page this week are a perfect example of the importance of attention to details; I absolutely live for situations such as bottles with engraving errors.  What a great hobby this is!

The grand total number of Hutchinsons we have catalogued is now 16,418.  My thanks to everyone contributing to the Hutchinson Bottle Directory initiative!

So much to do, so little time...

June 4, 2009

This has been another one of those weeks where I knew in advance the number of items on the to-do list far exceeded the available number of hours...

I am making solid progress on MS Expression-based  The page content and illustrations are in place and I'm now working with presentation features such as fonts, colors, etc.  The process is taking longer than I hoped, but the experience I'm gaining will speed construction of  It won't be too much longer until the new is moved up to a server.  

Getting Betsy ready for and participating in her first car show of the season ate up a good portion of Tuesday.  This show was at a local high school and included as part of the last week of school's festivities.  A few show photos are posted on the Bringing Betsy Back page.  

A heat wave moved into Seattle two days ago and we are experiencing record high temperatures.  The weather guessers say cooler air is moving in tonight and I hope they're right, as tomorrow I'm heading 100 miles south to meet up with my Dad.  Saturday he is heading for Oregon and I'm returning home to prepare for Sunday's North Olympic Discovery Marathon in Port Angeles.  This is likely my last marathon until September. My body is tired and looking forward to a summer break from racing.

New Hutchinson listings continue to dribble in, but no complaints as there are
plenty of other tasks demanding attention.  The grand total is now 16,412.

More than meets the eye...

May 29, 2009

I'm making steady progress on rebuilding with the newly acquired MS Expression Web 2 software.  I can't show you what has been built thus far, and trying to describe it in words doesn't begin to communicate the visual impact of actually viewing the revised pages.  Bear with me and you'll be able to view it soon.  The initial motivation for converting to MS Expression had to do with how "quirky" MS FrontPage is to use, combined with the inability to move the completed FrontPage version of the site up to a web hosting server.  Although it has cost time and money to convert the site, I am now firmly convinced it has been worth the time and effort.  MS Expression is definitely
easier to understand and use, particularly for someone with minimal web site building experience such as myself.  There are also hidden benefits many users won't see or recognize; MS Expression sites comply with World Wide Web Consortium standards. This means easier long-term maintenance, cross-browser compatibility (I use MS Explorer 8.0 but many others are utilizing different browers, such as Firefox), better search engine accessibility, and improved utilization by non-visual browers such as those used by the vision-impaired.

This week was filled with typical HutchBook activities.  In addition to correspondence concerning Wisconsin, Washington, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, and California Hutchinsons, we welcomed a new HBCA member, and identified another previously unknown maverick bottle.  The total number of Hutchinsons catalogued has crept up to 16,407 and definitely leveled off.

"Decoration Day!"

May 22, 2009

It was cool and clear at the start of last Sunday's Capital City Marathon, but by the mid-point the sun was baking us and I covered the last 13 miles focused on fighting off dehydration.  I survived okay physically, but mental recovery took longer than usual and consequently only minimal progress was made on the HutchBook this week.  I am now back up-to-speed and will hopefully report considerable progress during the next two weeks before running another marathon and enjoying the summer break until the fall racing season starts.

In case you didn't check the close of the auction for the siphon with the fake Coon Chicken Inn label, it drew one more bid and closed for $91.  No doubt the seller and GreedyBay executives are enjoying counting their ill gotten money and the buyer doesn't have a clue that he/she was defrauded.  The local politicians assure me that as soon as they are done raising taxes, doling out millions to poorly run businesses, and posturing for their own re-elections, they'll get after those fraudulent sellers and the GreedyBay ripoff artists.  Yeah, right.

My 97 year old Dad drove from Texas to Iowa for "Decoration Day," as he still calls it. He's there this weekend to place flowers on the graves of numerous family members and friends, many of whom were veterans.  My Dad is a retired U.S. Army Air Corps Lt. Colonel who served during WWII as a B-17 pilot, so if he wants to call it "Decoration Day," that works just fine for me.  I salute him and my fellow veterans, particularly those who gave all so we can enjoy the privilege of living free in the greatest country in the world.  Thank you, vets!

Get ready, get set...

May 14, 2009

After working with the MS Expression Web 2 tutorial for almost two weeks, it is finally time to take a deep breath and have at recreating  I am starting with a detailed vision of how the revised site will hopefully look; it will be interesting to see if my fingers, eyes, and brain can function together with the software to produce the desired end product.  

In between reading tutorial chapters and completing training exercises I took numerous breaks to address correspondence concerning Hutchinsons from Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Connecticut, California, Yukon Territory, Washington, and several other locations.  Don't be surprised if several of these areas provide featured Hutchinsons Of The Week in the future.

While paging thru GreedyBay listings this week I spotted yet another siphon bottle with a fake label.  I often track such listings to see if bidders are starting to realize they are being defrauded and increasingly refusing to bid, but apparently there are still plenty of sheep waiting to be fleeced.  Many of us have repeatedly notified GreedyBay about these fraudulent listings and it is well past time that their gutless executives are held legally accountable for failing to take action.  Check out the Caveat Emptor page for more information about the latest listing that set me off, and then join me in sending complaint letters to our respective congressional representatives.  Enough is enough!

The total number of Hutchinsons catalogued keeps inching higher.  We posted #16,405 this morning, a nice Battle Creek, Michigan quart, and it certainly looks like we'll post #16,500 before year end.  Speaking of sure things, if it is mid-May, it is time for the Capital City Marathon in Olympia, WA.  Sunday morning I'll be toeing their starting line for the 26th time.  Tune in next week to confirm I survived and then returned to report on more HutchBook progress.  

Shifting into second gear...

May 7, 2009

Other than cataloguing bottles, adding and correcting data, and responding to phone calls, EMail, and hard copy letters, this entire week has been devoted to working on the MS Expression Web 2 tutorial.  Given my wrestling match with FrontPage, I am employing a very methodical approach to learning Expression; I am reading each chapter twice and then doing each training exercise twice.  This technique is working well thus far, and I am increasingly optimistic about the end results.  After completing the tutorial, my first "real" work with Expression will be to rebuild and post  

I have been working thru the tutorial after running the Tacoma Marathon and being somewhat brain dead for a couple of days afterward.  We lucked out and caught a great weather day for the race sandwiched in between what seems to be weeks of never-ending rain.  If I wasn't a native, I'd complain.

The A. LARGE / DEADWOOD / S.D., a previous Hutchinson Of The Week, was on my GreedyBay watch list all week.  Bidding seemed dead until the last two hours when the price went from $87 to close at a very respectable $361.78.  Someone has added a great Hutchinson bottle to their collection!

A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of a newly-acquired, maverick, amber ashtray embossed THE / HIDEOUT / - / JUANITA / PARK.  Research has indeed confirmed it is from Kirkland, Washington, as suspected.  I am still working on dating it and hoping to discover glass manufacturing information for it.

The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued seesawed up and down all week and we're at 16,401 as of today.  Keep those submissions coming!

Hurry up and wait!

May 1, 2009

All week long I've had one eye on whatever I was working on and the other one watching for arrival of the new software.  As the days passed, the old USAF "hurry up and wait" feeling returned.  I finally double-checked the order and discovered the shipment was coming via the USPS, not UPS.  Duh!  The USPS tracking system indicated the box left Phoenix 04-24.  Seven days elapsed before it arrived today.  Apparently the USPS Pony Express riders encountered some difficulties along the trail.  Anyway, as soon as this update is posted, the new software will be installed and work on the tutorial will commence.  I am looking forward to the challenges ahead.

I took advantage of the waiting time this week to update several spreadsheets, review numerous on-line auction Hutchinson listings I hadn't yet perused, and catch up on some long overdue correspondence.  The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued was above 16,400 until removal of several listing errors reduced the total to "only" 16,399 as of today.  This week we welcomed another Hutchinson specialist to the project, plus two more new HBCA members.  Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the picture continues to take shape!

Work on the software tutorial will keep me planted in this chair tomorrow and off my feet in order to rest a bit for Sunday's annual Tacoma Marathon.  After that it'll be another two weeks before my next marathon and I fully intend to report on considerable HutchBook project progress in between races.

Getting the train back on track...

April 24, 2009

Although it was only for a day and a half, it was relaxing to escape the various computer challenges here at home.  The marathon went very well, and during the drive I enjoyed relaxing strolls thru several antiques malls.  I saw lots of bottles, including four common Hutchinsons, but didn't find any bottles worth dragging home.  In addition to an ashtray (see comments and photo on the Home page), five etched/embossed '30s-'40s root beer mugs joined the collection.  

My first Hutch Book action upon returning home was to obtain professional advice concerning the problems I am encountering while attempting to move the new web site to GoDaddy or Yahoo servers.  The bottom line is I'm dropping MS FrontPage web site software and moving to MS Expression Web 2.  The bad news is there'll be some down time while I learn to use it.  The good news is Expression is similar to FrontPage and I'll be able to salvage much of the revised design work and content.  I am eagerly awaiting arrival of the UPS truck bringing the new software and a tutorial from  Once they arrive, I will be focused on getting this train fully back on track and making progress toward the launch of

In spite of computer issues, the gathering of data for continues at full speed.  This has been yet another very productive week, particularly for cataloguing several nice, newly identified Hutchinsons.  The Ardmore, PA bottle featured on the Home page is one of 11 new listings, boosting the grand total to 16,396 (the PA total is 2,919). I'm open to suggestions on where to take the new "Hutchinson Bottle Of The Week" feature, so let me hear from you.

"Been down so long the gutter looks like 'up' to me!"

April 16, 2009

I gave brief thought to including sound bites with this update, but figured few people wanted to listen to me ranting and raving about computer systems.  In spite of another week's worth of effort, I have not been able to move the new version of to either the GoDaddy or Yahoo web hosting servers.  Rather than let the site remain down while I tread water and look for a life preserver, I re-posted the original Yahoo version of the site at  Once the new site is up (and it will be up!), I'll announce it here.

Although it feels like all I've been doing is wrestling with computer issues, we are still making steady progress on  The advent of spring (and discounted GreedyBay listing fees) primed the pump and all sorts of interesting Hutchinsons have surfaced lately.  In addition to rare bottles from FL, PA, NY, MN, OH, and numerous other areas, we have also gathered missing data on many bottles that have been partially catalogued for several years.  The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued is now at 16,385 and still growing.

Many web site visitors aren't checking the Caveat Emptor page, so once again I am sneaking some warnings into an update.  The April 15th issue of "Kovel's Komments" (Kovels' on-line newsletter; yes, I reference Kovel publications in spite of AB&GC's seemingly relentless attack on them) mentioned scam artists are now producing beer cans with fake and fantasy labels reproduced on plastic film and applied over existing labels.  Good grief.  I recently followed GreedyBay 130299430205, yet another siphon with faked etching reading SUSANVILLE COCA COLA / BOTTLING CO. / SUSANVILLE, CALIF.  Fifteen bids (from bidders with hidden IDs, of course) drove the closing price to $37.99 + $14.75 P&H.  GreedyBay pocketed a substantial portion of the ill-gotten proceeds and obviously couldn't care less that they are accomplices to fraud for knowingly facilitating the peddling of these fake items.  To make sure you don't get ripped
off, review the excellent guide Roger Peters put together and posted, ironically, on GreedyBay (copy and paste into your browser).  It explains and includes photos of numerous faked siphons.  Lastly, if you're wondering what these foreign siphon bottles looked like before the faked etchings were applied, check out GreedyBay 290296157832.  This seller is offering 100 of them at a $300 Buy-It-Now price! No doubt the next time you see these very same bottles, they'll be freshly etched with major brand names.

This update's headline is a quote from Spirit, an enjoyable book about Texas high school football authored by Carlton Stowers.  Although I first read the book 35+ years ago, the "gutter" line often comes to mind when I'm dealing with what seem to be insurmountable challenges.  I'm also reminded of one of my WWII B-17 pilot father's favorite USAF quotes: "The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer."  In order to, as Cool Hand Luke said, "get my mind right here, boss," once again I'm treating my brain to a brief respite from the computer wars by heading to Central Washington for the Wenatchee Marathon.  There will be more progress to report next week.  

Yet another bump in the road...

April 9, 2009

The past two weeks have been both highly challenging and terribly frustrating.  I finally managed to learn enough about FrontPage to successfully build a complete new version of; that's the good news.  The bad news is I have not been able to move the new site to GoDaddy's servers, leading me to consider staying with Yahoo for site hosting.  Although all of this grief has accelerated my aging process, what I am learning about building web sites and hosting is proving invaluable as is coming together.  

In between the web site battles (and a weekend trip to Yakima, Washington for a marathon), the usual HutchBook activities continue.  Several rare Hutchinsons have been catalogued, including examples for Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania (of course), et al.  The new unknown maverick we added was balanced by finally identifying the elusive W. C. HAVELOCK / HOMESTEAD (see the Can You Identify These Unknown Hutchinsons? page for details).  The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued has grown to 16,376.

It's time for me to contact the Yahoo and GoDaddy tech support people again.  
Keep checking;
will return!

The Third Time Is A Charm...

March 28, 2009

Early in the week I decided to have yet another go at Microsoft's Step By Step FrontPage software tutorial.  While working thru the numerous CD-based lessons for the third time, I began to realize that some of the information was finally sinking into my tired brain. Thursday I took a deep breath and (once again) started building a new version of  Today at 1730 the task list was completed and the new site is ready to move to for hosting.  Naturally, given that there are computers involved, making the switch isn't simple.  Yahoo has been hosting the existing site since we brought it up in late 2007.  Much to my surprise I was able to cancel Yahoo's hosting on-line without having to fight with customer service representatives, and the previous site is
already off-line.  Next on the to-do list is the detail work necessary to have host the revised site.  My goal is to have the site up by Monday at the latest.  Be watching for an announcement!

The many hours of web site design work were interspersed with another week's worth of phone calls, EMail messages, and snail mail from collectors across the continent dealing with everything from identification of unknown mavericks to updating listings for NY, PA, FL, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.  Meanwhile, the grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued has grown slightly to 16,358.  One of the specialists called this afternoon and asked how many Hutchinsons I think we'll ultimately catalogue.  Given my terrible history of prognostication (fully documented in the previous five years worth of updates that are still posted on this site), I was reluctant to hazard a guess.  But, naturally, I did anyway:
17,000 is my current guesstimate.  Given how the numbers have leveled off during the past year, plus the terrific quantity and quality of input we've received from long-time collectors across the continent, I'm will be quite surprised if someday we pass the 17,000 mark.  Of course, I made similar silly statements back when we passed 10,000 and 11,000 and 12,000 etc.

A lack of time (and higher priorities) have prevented me from getting up on the "Caveat Emptor" soapbox lately to attack the crooks who are continuing to peddle siphons with fake etchings on GreedyBay.  Another foreign bottle with a fake etching for the XXX Root Beer stand in Issaquah, WA closed yesterday (see 270363860641).  For six days I thought that maybe at long last people were reading and heeding the on-line guide warning about these fakes, but during the last three hours of the auction there were two bids and someone wasted $24.38 (+$14.75 P&H) on fraudulent goods.  Everything this seller has listed is the typical reproduction/fantasy junk that these bandits peddle.  Given the number of times these crooks have been reported, isn't GreedyBay guilty of "collusion" for failing to take action?  Oops.  Sorry; for a minute there I was back up on my soapbox and I don't have time for that.  Instead, I need to learn more about Shared Hosting Accounts, Domain Name Servers, and File Transfer Protocol.  Whew; this computer stuff is making me thirsty; I hope one of those guys pushing a soda cart comes by soon.  A cold pineapple soda sounds good...

Getting Back Up To Speed...

March 20, 2009

Although this has been a long and at times very frustrating week, we are rapidly regaining speed.  The flu that has been ravaging Seattle (record numbers of school and work absences) hasn't quite finished with me, but it appears I may now have the upper hand. Last Sunday I motored 75 miles south to my old high school stomping grounds and pounded out a marathon that featured freezing temperatures, running in heavy, wet snow and slush, and bone-chilling winds.  My body survived, and for sure I killed a few more brain cells, but somehow I was subsequently able to successfully set up the newly arrived PC.  This was no small feat, however, given that the accompanying instructions were without question the most poorly written PC set up directions I have ever seen. I sure hope the manufacturer follow-ups with a customer satisfaction survey!

Inspiration for this week's Home page quiz originated with an excellent U.S. history book I'm reading entitled An Age of Extremes: 1880-1917, by Joy Hakim.  This volume caught my eye because the time frame almost perfectly matches 1879-WWI, the years I define as "The Hutchinson Era."  I have prepared extensive material on this topic for  Standing back and taking a broader look at what was going on in North America during the Hutchinson Era provides an interesting perspective on the many factors and influences soda bottlers and consumers were dealing with during these years.

The quiz answers in order are: Skyscraper, Arthur, Chinese, North, Idaho, Utah, Havana, Hawaiian, Roosevelt, Orville, Earthquake, T, National.  

Rearranging the first letters of each answer spells out HUTCHINSON ERA.

With this new PC running at full speed, my immediate objective is revision of and switching to hosting.  Be watching for an announcement in days to come.

Luck 'O The Irish (needed!)...

March 12, 2009

Anticipation was high when the express delivery truck pulled up out front yesterday afternoon.  Unfortunately, the driver had only two of the expected three packages containing the newly ordered PC.  The on-line tracking system indicates the 32 pound box containing the CPU, keyboard, and mouse left Reno two nights ago.  I'm hoping the box is headed this way and soon.  With just a wee bit o' Irish luck, this is the last update that will be prepared on this PC.

Much of the past week's activity has focused on designing and implementing a detailed plan for transitioning from the old PC to the new one.  With no change in the operating system to contend with, I opted to use this event as an opportunity to further upgrade the extensive data backup procedures that have been employed since day one of the Hutchinson Bottle Directory project.  Adding a 250GB portable hard drive to the mix is already proving to be quite useful.  

PC-specific activities aside, this has been another non-stop week of gathering new listings, filling in missing data, responding to numerous inquiries concerning specific bottles, acquiring much appreciated bottle illustrations, and identifying previously unknown mavericks.  Somehow all of this has gone on in spite of it being my turn to contend with the current strain of flu rolling thru Seattle.  

We interrupt this program (literally)...

March 6, 2009

By Wednesday, this tired old PC had all but ground to a halt.  At that point I gave up on finding diagnostic solutions, and opted to focus on shopping for a new PC instead.  The bad news is this punches a 10-14 day hole in progress on  The good news, however, is the new PC has been ordered and hopefully it will arrive by late next week.  The even better news is the manufacturer offers a "downgrade" to Windows XP (for an extra charge, of course), so the new machine will have the same operating system I'm using now, and changing machines should be as easy (famous last words!) as reinstalling the present software and pressing on.  The new machine also includes Windows Vista on CD, so I can upgrade somewhere down the line when the timing is better.  

As you can likely tell from the Home page comments, EMail has been working most of the time and I've updated a bunch of listings.  I was also able to help several collectors identify where their maverick Hutchinsons originated.  As of today we have 16,341 different Hutchinsons catalogued.  

Caution: Dangerous (learning) curves ahead!

February 28, 2009

I considered posting "The Dog Ate My Homework" as a headline for this week's update, but the reality is the new web site software has a learning curve that just won't quit.  I'm still a bit weary from last Sunday's marathon, and now it seems like I'm running on a treadmill that has been set to "uphill at maximum speed."  There's no turning off the machine, of course, so I'm still running and trying my best not to crash.  All to say the web site software doesn't work exactly like the tutorials and instructions indicate it should, a situation further complicated by a PC that seems to be on its last legs.  I've been babying this PC along in hopes it would last until is launched, but it might not make it.  Building the new site is challenging enough without having to shop for,
purchase, and install a new PC in the middle of everything else that is going on.  If I'm suddenly off EMail or a weekly update is more than a couple of days later than usual, bear with me as I'm probably busy doing and/or fixing PC stuff.

This week's correspondence dealt with a broad range of topics, including the Hutchinson bottles used in Australia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and England, several closures that are frequently confused with Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stopper, and numerous inquiries about specific bottles.  It is encouraging to see more and more sellers doing a much better job of fully describing Hutchinson bottle details such as glass color, dimensions, mould shapes, front, back, and base embossings, and accurate bottle condition.  One GreedyBay listing caught my eye because the seller included a very well written, brief overview detailing the development and demise of Hutchinson stoppers.  Unfortunately, the seller lifted the paragraph word-for-word from this site's Hutchinson Bottle Sales Guide page, completely ignoring the requirement to cite the source.  I informed the seller he/she
needed to revise their listing to properly identify the source.  I was expecting a "sorry" or "oops" response along with a web site URL listing, but instead the seller's reply was "My description has been revised.  Your info has been deleted."  Such actions fuel my long-standing belief that our hobby continues to attract too many "takers" and not enough "givers."

The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued is now at 16,333.  It is worth noting that the Pennsylvania total has now passed the 2,900 mark and seems destined to easily hit 3,000.  Imagine the size a bottle room would need to be to display that many Hutchinsons!  

February has been a challenging and unusually busy month.  Like a bottle digger toughing out a long winter dreaming about good things to come in the spring time, I am anticipating good things for the HutchBook in March.  

My brain hurts...

February 21, 2009

I spent way too much time this week dealing with file incompatibility issues between the old and new web site software.  All attempts to shortcut the rebuilding process by cutting and pasting existing text have been thwarted and I am reconstructing the site from scratch.  It now looks like it will be late next week before the new site is up; that's the bad news.  The good news is I am gaining valuable practical experience with the new software that is already helping with the site design work for  

Charles Benton, a pioneer Hutchinson collector from DeLand, Florida, passed away early this week at age 82.  Charles was a long-time member of the M-T Bottle Club of DeLand. He specialized in collecting Florida Hutchinsons for almost 40 years and was a major contributor to the Hutchinson Bottle Directory initiative.  Rest in peace, Charles.

For many years I have been quite concerned about the long-term health of our bottle collecting hobby.  In my opinion, far too little attention is being given to promoting the hobby and actively involving new participants.  This topic isn't rocket science: if our hobby isn't growing, it is dying.  We are constantly losing long-time collectors and I'm not seeing adequate attention paid to attracting replacements, let alone expanding the total number of collectors involved.  This week I was at least temporarily encouraged when a new local collector stopped by to visit and see my collection.  Three hours later, we had swapped numerous bottle stories and, as always, it felt very good to pass on some of the knowledge picked up during my 48 years of bottle collecting.  The visitor appreciated the
time I devoted to him and likewise, his new collector enthusiasm was contagious; I can still feel it!  Ask yourself what
you are doing to promote our hobby and if you don't like the answer, do something about it.

Having this web site found by those searching for information about Hutchinsons continually reinforces my belief that the years of time and energy many of us have put into the creation of will produce dividends that far exceed our expectations. This week's inquiry highlights featured a collector with a previously unknown variant of a J. P. RENN JR. / NEW ALBANY, IND., and a fellow with an example of a MONTGOMERY / CARBONATING CO. / MONTGOMERY, W. VA. bottle he inherited from his grandfather.  If we build it, they will come!  Fighting with the web site software all week has made my
brain hurt, however, so tomorrow I'm taking a break and heading up near the Canadian border to run a marathon.

Heart's Desire Hutchinsons...

February 14, 2009

I waited a couple of extra days to post this update as an excuse to include the "heart" picture Hutchinson rubbings on the Home page.  I didn't search the entire database of 16,319 Hutchinsons we have catalogued to date, and could only remember the Olyphant has a pictured heart.  Fortunately, David Cole, our Texas Hutchinson specialist, reminded me of the Dalhart bottle.  Consider yourself loved if your Valentine presented you with either one of these beauties!

The OLYPHANT / GP (monogram) / BOTTLING WORKS Hutchinson has what looks like a heart-shaped plate mould, but it is actually a private mould bottle with the front lettering engraved inside a large heart.  The bottle is two leaf mold, aqua, 6.625" x 2.250" with private mould, blank back, G.P. (large) on base, round base with 10 panel shoulders, and Rare.  The monogram and base initials stand for G. A. Prokopovits, a soda bottler in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.

The DALHART BOTTLING WKS. / D (heart in the D) / DALHART, TEXAS is two leaf mold, aqua, 6.750" x 2.375" with round (oval) plate mould, 6-B 1339 on back heel, blank base, round base, and Rare.  What a great bottle!

It took a couple of days to recover from last Sunday's Valentine's Marathon, but once I shifted out of low gear mentally, this has been another week of solid progress on the HutchBook.  Non-stop EMail and telephone activity consumed considerable time, as did the on-going work on redesigning using the new web software.  Speaking of which, I need to get back at it if I'm going to have the rebuilt site moved to GoDaddy hosting by the end of the week.  

Speaking of Hutchinsons...

February 6, 2009

Even though I only accomplished half of the items on the seemingly never-ending HutchBook to-do list, it has been a very productive week and I am pleased with the progress that is being made.  

Speaking of progress, work on rebuilding Charles David Head's site is going well.  If you haven't looked at his existing site lately (or it has been awhile since you've looked at it), please do so ASAP so you'll be familiar with the current look and able to compare that with the new look the site will have when it is moved to hosting very soon.  Watch this site for a special announcement when the change is implemented.  The hands-on experience I'm gaining via this exercise is already proving quite useful with

Speaking of web sites, today's EMail brought exciting news from Steven Libbey (proprietor of the outstanding site in Wisconsin) about a new bottle and antiques auction site.  Check out Antique Auctions by at  You're going to like this one!

Speaking of auctions, my eye caught GreedyBay 300291930448, a listing for one of the 5.25" tall W. H. BOYER / KINGSTON / PA. Hutchinsons.  I believe this cute little guy is the shortest Hutchinson we have catalogued.   

Speaking of bottle sizes, the aqua EDMONTON / BOTTLING / WORKS quart I mentioned last week drew only three bids from two bidders and sold for $73.  I'm thinking the winning bidder picked up a terrific bargain.

Speaking of Canadian Hutchinsons, don't miss GreedyBay 290294461720, a WEST & CO. / WINNIPEG / GINGER ALE.  This is only the tenth Manitoba Hutchinson we have catalogued, and the sole Canadian Hutchinson with a 10 panel base.  

Speaking of the HBCA (okay, I didn't mention the HBCA; I just wanted to keep the theme going), the HBCA ad in the current AB&GC magazine has generated several inquiries.  If you aren't an HBCA member, what are you waiting for?

Speaking of memberships, if your love for soda bottle collecting extends beyond Hutchinsons to ACLs, check out the web site maintained by the Painted Soda Bottle Collectors Association.  I am a long-time member and consider the bi-monthly Soda Fizz newsletter the best bottle-related publication I receive.  It is the one publication I stop and read no matter how busy I am.

Speaking of busy, there's enough time left this evening to do a bit more work on the new site, so I'm out of here until next week.

On-the-job training...

January 31, 2009

This update was almost finished and when saving the file, Yahoo's "SiteBuilder" software unilaterally decided to send the entire page (not just this new portion) on a one-way trip to electronic Never-Neverland.  Fortunately I was able to copy the previous page content directly from the Internet, but doing so necessitated spending the past hour reformatting the text.  The previous updates may look slightly different, but the content hasn't changed.  Computers!

There's no quiz again this week as we are still chasing more tidbits of research information.  The bottles we're working on are worth the wait; stay tuned.  

Rebuilding this page using SiteBuilder reminded me why I am obtaining practical, on-the-job experience by converting Charles David Head's site to the new web site software.  My goal is to have it done by next week.

Although the total number of Hutchinsons catalogued has only grown to 16,306 several of the newly identified examples are killer bottles, including:

GreedyBay 160312576718, an aqua Hutchinson simply embossed BOYCE. LA. horizontally across a round (oval) plate mould.  It was misclassified under "Medicines and Cures," so some potential bidders won't spot it when performing searches.  I suspect the serious Louisiana collectors will find it, however!

Another GreedyBay listing that caught my eye is 370152246300, an aqua quart Hutchinson embossed EDMONTON / BOTTLING / WORKS.  This is the sole Canadian quart we have catalogued, and only our second total Hutchinson listing for the Province of Alberta.  Where are the bidders?

The last one I'll mention is a REMEMBER / THE / (battleship Maine) / MAINE that sold last weekend on GreedyBay.  Five bidders placed 15 bids and drove the price up to $333. This is a bottle we've had catalogued for several years and we believe it was produced for Sankey Bros. of Kittanning, PA.  Clearly other collectors besides me have it on their list of highly desirable picture Hutchinsons; it's definitely in my top five.

If you're reading this, I somehow convinced SiteBuilder to save and upload this page to Yahoo's server.  All of my fingers are crossed as I'm pushing the <Enter> key...

Racking up the numbers...

January 23, 2009

I'm sorry not to deliver the pop quiz I mentioned would be posted this week.  There simply weren't enough hours available to finalize the necessary research.  Hopefully we'll have it together by next week.  It has been a particularly interesting challenge and I think you will find it well worth the wait.

I would have to check back thru the time logs to be sure (and I don't have time to do so!), but I believe the past week had the most hours devoted to HutchBook activity during one week's time in the past five years.  Three of the days were 10+ hours, yet the project continues to be great fun.  I also managed to help Charles David Head with his Koca Nola research, and in my spare time (ha, ha!) went thru early American Carbonator and Bottler, The American Bottler, and National Bottlers' Gazette magazines assisting Chris Weide and Dennis Fewless with their massive project documenting bottler histories.  Its non-stop fun here!

Once again this week's highlight has been continuing to evaluate and refine the search engine and list printing prototypes.  Our collective years of gathering Hutchinson bottle information will soon pay major dividends when we are all able to search the entire database and obtain information we didn't dream would be possible when the late Joe Nagy dared to tackle this project 30+ years ago.  I am receiving desperately needed and greatly appreciated database and search engine design assistance from a fellow long-time collector who also happens to be an IT professional. You'll learn more in weeks to come.

The grand total is now at 16,297.  We added several new listings this week, while also deleting quite a few listing errors as we continue to steadily improve the quality of data we are capturing.

James Smith from Birmingham, AL called last night to provide information on several nice Hutchinsons he recently acquired.  James and his brother Dennis from Buffalo, NY met in Birmingham last week and attended a bottle show in Mississippi over the weekend. James reported dealer and buyer attendance at the show was unusually high, and sales were very strong.  It is too soon to attribute this to the new political administration, but let's hope it is a sign of positive changes to come for our hobby!  I have been hanging out by the mailbox every day hoping a big economic stimulus check will arrive, but so far no loot!  

Busy hands are happy hands...

January 15, 2009

If the headline adage is true, I am about to overdose on happiness, as this has definitely been a non-stop week.  Several Hutchinson specialists took advantage of the nasty winter weather gripping the country and busied themselves sending data this way.  My thanks to all of you!  The grand total is now at 16,292.  

One of the more interesting submissions came from John Patterson in Delaware.  He seized an opportunity to view and photograph a collection of over 900 Delaware bottles, and presto, the Delaware Hutchinson total has jumped to 87.  This makes an increase of 21 since John and I met at the York Expo.  Yee haw!

A key decision made this week concerns bottle numbering:

1. We're going to use two digit alpha state/territory/province/country qualifiers, e.g. AL = Alabama, OT = Oklahoma Territory, ON = Ontario, CU = Cuba, etc.;

2. Each bottle will be assigned a number when the spreadsheets are converted to the database software, e.g. the 14 Alaska Hutchinsons will be numbered AK1 thru AK14.  Those numbers will be locked the day of the conversion; and

3. As new bottles and/or variants turn up, they will be inserted into the proper list and assigned numbers with decimals, e.g. AK1.1.  Therefore AK1 will always identify the initially catalogued CAPE NOME / BOTTLING WORKS bottle.

The "Comments" portion of the description will be utilized on occasion to tie catalogued bottles to other publications, e.g. WA13 is the A. W. WARD / COLFAX / WASH. bottle and the Comments might mention "See #92A in Washington Sodas by Ron Fowler for historical information."  

Time's up; pass your answer sheets to the front of the row and let's see how you did on the Home page pop quiz:

If you identified THE F. C. LANG / BOTTLING Co. / CHICAGO bottle pictured on the Home page as being from Illinois only, give yourself half credit.  Lang was a major Chicago bottler, but at some point either Lang or Pittsburgh, PA glass manufacturer William McCully and Company shipped a load of Lang Hutchinsons to Seattle, Washington.  Digging these bottles in Seattle was a mystery until when doing research for Washington Sodas I found an October 30, 1897 trade mark filing by Seattle's Pacific & Puget Sound Bottling Company.  They registered "Bottles used in the bottling of carbonated beverages, usually called soda water with the words blown into the sides of said bottles as follows...Parallel with the sides 'F. C. Lang Bottling Co., Chicago.'" Mystery solved.  The pictured example is displayed with my Pacific & Puget Sound Bottling Co. Hutchinsons.

Answer(s) on the three Riley bottles will be graded as one response.  The bottles pictured on the Home page are not California Hutchinsons.  Although we have catalogued several examples of Riley's Hutchinsons from California, the illustrated bottles are from (drum roll, please) Seattle, Washington Territory.  Charles Riley and his son, Charles Frederick Riley, founded Washington Territory's second bottling plant in 1876.  In 1881, Charles Riley was operating Pacific Soda Works in Portland, Oregon.  In 1882 the Rileys announced their intention to open a soda works in New Tacoma, Washington Territory, but there is no evidence they followed thru with those plans.  According to the late Peck
Markota in
A Look At California Hutchinson Type Soda Bottles, the Rileys operated bottling plants in Tombstone, Arizona Territory (1881-1884), Eureka (1885-1886), San Bernadino (1887-1890s), and San Jose (1890s-1930s).  The three pictured bottles were dug together in the Georgetown area, just south of downtown Seattle.  The C. F. RILEY is very crude with dark green swirls and is the oldest of the three bottles.  The C. F. RILEY / (eagle) / SODA WORKS and the C. F. RILEY & Co / (eagle) / SODA WORKS variants feature identical eagles with their heads turned to the viewer's right.  The Riley Hutchinsons from Washington Territory are only found in aqua (darn!).  

Keep up with your homework; we're putting together another quiz for next week!

Still crazy after all these years...

January 8, 2009

Instead of making New Year's resolutions to not do this and not do that, this year I prepared a short list of areas on which to focus my attention.  First and foremost on the list is  If the first week of 2009 is indicative of how the year will go, many to-do list items are going to be crossed off.

Considerable time and thought is being given to how the search engine works, the search results that are generated, how bottle images are presented, and the creation of lists suitable for printing by users.  How these features function significantly impacts database design.  A good example is the planned expansion of the database to include county names, area (e.g. South Bethlehem, PA), and region (e.g. Long Island, NY; Upper Peninsula, MI; etc.).  In order to search on and present data for such criteria, the database fields need to include these categories and the records need to be populated with the appropriate data.  The good news is we're going to make it happen; stay tuned!

Once again this week much time has been devoted to cataloguing newly acquired data.  I particularly want to acknowledge the on-going stellar support being provided by Hutchinson Specialists Laton Bare for Florida, and Chris Jordan for Illinois and Indiana. Laton and Chris are two of my favorite collectors.  They are both very detail-oriented, and working with such folks is a large part of what is making this project so much fun.  Both of them continued to submit numerous photographs and data this week, steadily upgrading the quality of the HutchBook database that we'll all be able to utilize once the site is opened up.  

In case you aren't aware, American Bottle Auctions ( is currently conducting Auction #46.  Navigate to their on-line catalog and check out lots 24-29 and 38 to view several nice Hutchinsons that are listed for sale.  The P. E. WEAVER / KING CITY / SODA WORKS is a rare California Hutchinson.  My eyes were also drawn to the cobalt blue J. C. WESLEY / WHITBY / 1883 from Whitby, Ontario, Canada.  This bottle is one of the seven colored Canadian Hutchinsons we have catalogued for  

Another bottle that caught my eye is GreedyBay 380094912608, an auction for a BEEBE TAFT & Co / WARDNER / IDAHO, TER. Hutchinson.  This rare bottle is the sole Idaho Territory Hutchinson known to exist, and highly desired by those working on 50 state and territorial collections.  This particular example has some issues (so will I when I'm 119 years old!), but nonetheless it will likely take very big bucks to break thru the sellers' reserve and win this one.  Beebe Taft & Company also operated a bottling plant in Colfax, Washington.  Examples of their two different W.T. and one Wash. Hutchinsons are equally as hard to find as the Idaho Territory bottle.  After 48 years of collecting, I'm still
chasing one of the W.T. variants.  What a crazy hobby this is!  

The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued is now at 16,274 and still slowly climbing.  Keep those cards and letters (and EMail messages) coming!

2004-2008: Five amazing years!

January 1, 2009

Five years ago today I tore into three huge boxes of Joe Nagy's files that I had stored for several years and began the months long process of sorting thru disorganized bottle rubbings and photographs, data sheets, and other materials.  My best estimate at that point was it would take five years to compile and publish a Hutchinson Bottle Directory containing information about somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 different Hutchinson bottles.  The project has since taken several major twists and turns (fully detailed on the "Hutchinson Bottle Directory Updates" page and this page), and five years later this initiative is still a work-in-progress.  Much as I wanted to meet or beat the five year target, I fell short in spite of personally investing 6,500+ hours of effort and missing only two days of working on the project seven days per week during these five years. The lengthening time line has been driven by the incredible quantity of bottles we have identified; the year end 2008 grand total of 16,261 is double the original estimate!  We could have had a 3-4 volume paper book in print by now, but it would have been out of date before the ink dried. Shifting publication to the Internet will quickly prove to be worth the additional effort.  

In spite of the holiday season and nasty weather, the past week has been very productive. One of the most encouraging events was a call from an archaeologist in Utah who found this web site, read the project overview, and instantly recognized what a useful resource will be for the archaeological community.  I also enjoyed updating bottle data for IL, KY, ME, FL, and other areas, and continued to plug away on the software tutorials.  The week's only downer was a Sunday drive 85 miles south to run the Christmas Marathon only to discover the race organizers failed to notify several of us the race had been cancelled due to severe weather.  Like the underlying theme of this web site, it's all about communication!  Marathoning won't pick up speed again until spring,
so now my full attention is on!    

Here's the HBCA news that I mentioned would be posted this week: all HBCA members of record as of 12-31-08 have been granted a FREE year of membership for 2009.  If you're not sure whether or not you're a member, check the HBCA page.  Please consider joining if you're not a member!  

Although it is hard to believe I have been involved with this project over half of my life, it continues to be great fun because I love the subject matter and thoroughly enjoy associating with so many other collectors across the continent. Together we have gathered an amazing amount of information that others will find useful for generations to come.  It is incredibly exciting to be on the verge of seeing our efforts come to fruition. 2009 is going to be amazing! Happy New Year!

We've reached another major milestone!

December 25, 2008

I no sooner posted last week's update than the Christmas Marathon organizers postponed the race until the 28th because of nasty Pacific Northwest weather.  As of this writing, Sunday's race is a go, but whether or not I toe the starting line depends on what happens between now and then weather-wise.  Stay tuned!  

In between holiday activities, shoveling walkways and knocking snow and ice off of pancaked plants, making sure the water pipes in my 85 year old house aren't freezing, and running on snow, ice, and slush, I have been working on software tutorials and plugging away on several other activities.  

This week I consolidated hosting for, (Charles David Head's site), and into a "deluxe" account. This arrangement provides an unlimited number of web sites for one set price.  That price, by the way, is less than the individual hosting cost for each of the two existing sites hosted by Yahoo.  If you're investigating URL registration and/or web hosting, be sure to check out  The lower hosting costs are particularly good news for the Hutchinson Bottle Collectors' Association, as this should allow us to keep the annual membership fee at the extremely low $6.00 level and perhaps reduce it even further. Check next week's update for an announcement concerning 2009 HBCA membership.  

As typically happens during the holidays, the number of new Hutchinson listings slowed this week while people were busy shopping, traveling, and dealing with winter weather. The grand total is now at 16,252.

The most exciting project development for all of 2008 occurred this week with the highly successful testing of a professionally-built, working prototype of the search engine.  After five years of non-stop activity, it was fantastic to perform actual searches and create lists!  Users should find it very easy to understand and utilize the new site.  Working with actual data opened my eyes even wider to the need for additional data standardization and clean up, but that's not a big problem.  I have compared this project to running marathons before, and now I not only see the finish line, I can hear the crowd and am beginning to enjoy the warm, inner glow of knowing we're going to make it. You'll be hearing much more soon.  Ho, Ho, Ho!

Balancing Quantity, Quality, and Time...

December 17, 2008

Analysis of the past week's log reveals the majority of my time was devoted to correspondence concerning newly catalogued bottles and correcting existing listings. Although this activity cuts sharply into building, it is the heart and soul of the Hutchinson Bottle Directory initiative and continues to demand high priority attention. The grand total number of Hutchinsons catalogued has jumped to 16,248 but it isn't like we just slapped on 21 new listings this week.  We logged in 23 new bottles, deleted a duplicate listing and a beautiful cobalt blue bottle we determined was a blob top soda rather than a Hutchinson, and filled in hundreds of bits of previously missing data. Here's a brief peek into the activity involved with the three bottles currently pictured on
the Home page and how we are continuing to focus on both quantity and quality:

The rare ANNA BOTTLING / WORKS / JOE. BUMP / PROPRIETOR / ANNA, ILL. bottle was found near the foundation of a Midwest home along with several common Hutchinsons.  This is our first listing for Anna, a small town in Southern Illinois, and boosts the Illinois total to 1,052.  This beauty has just been listed as GreedyBay 180314881451.  A big THANK YOU to the sellers for permission to post their bottle photo. Watch out Wisconsin, Illinois is about to move into third place for most Hutchinsons (WI = 1,068; NY = 1,310; PA = 2,880)!  

The O. & C. B. BALINO / KEY WEST, FLORIDA bottle is a fortuitous discovery thanks to great legwork by two Hutchinson specialists.  One of them recently acquired a nice <> LA TROPICAL <> / Fca DE SODA / DE / OCTAVIO BALINO via an on-line auction.  We had this bottle catalogued as potentially being from Mexico, but subsequently found a duplicate listing for it under Key West, FL.  Further investigation turned up the rare variant pictured on the Home page.  Special thanks to the bottle's owner for permission to post the photo!

Information about the attractive P. J. LEONARD / NEW CASTLE / DEL. bottle was submitted by Delaware Hutchinson specialist John Patterson after he noted we catalogued two Leonard Hutchinsons with round plate moulds, but missed the variant with a horseshoe plate mould.  This rare variant has a nice PJL script monogram on the base. It sure helps to have extra folks watching for variants!

An auction listing that attracted only one bidder and sold for $4.99 (+ $10.00 P&H) is GreedyBay 180313515810, an unknown maverick quart embossed CRYSTAL WATER / CO. in a round (oval) plate mould.  Perhaps potential bidders didn't finding the listing because the seller classified the bottle under "Medicines & Cures?"  Please review the listing and photos and contact us if you can provide any information about the possible origin of this bottle.  

Much of the continent is experiencing significantly worse weather that ours, so I won't whine too loudly about our record low temperatures with ice, snow, and single digit wind chill factors.  I was hoping to sneak in an extra marathon last Saturday up near the Canadian border, but wimped out due to hazardous driving conditions, low temperatures, and bone-chilling winds.  The weather guessers are predicting more nasty weather for Sunday's Christmas Marathon south of Olympia, WA, but I'm still planning to be there. Assuming I don't turn into a popsicle, I hope to report significant progress next week.

EMail, Delaware, Minnesota, and Danica...

December 7, 2008

Last weekend's Seattle Marathon went well and I was back up-to-full-speed mentally and physically by Wednesday.  That was fortunate, as this was another very busy week, particularly for incoming EMail from Hutchinson collectors across the continent.  The holidays and the arrival of winter weather were most likely both factors in keeping the EMail lines humming and in causing a spike in the number of items listed at on-line auction sites.  Speaking of items, we have now catalogued 16,227 Hutchinsons and the total keeps creeping upward.

John Patterson, our Delaware Hutchinson specialist, provided the terrific photos currently posted on the Home page.  John's attractive display won both the FOHBC "Most Educational" and "People's Choice" awards.  That "fellow" seated at the table is "Dr. Hutch," fresh from a Halloween gig on John's front porch.  Dr. Hutch ensured the 400+ show attendees obtained handouts on the history of Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stopper, a list of Delaware bottlers known to have utilized Hutchinson bottles, and HBCA membership forms (THANK YOU, John!).

I sure like that THE NEW CASTLE / BOTTLING CO. / (crossed U.S. flags) / NEW CASTLE, DEL. Hutchinson.  This beauty is two piece mold, clear, 7.75" x 2.25" with round (watermelon-shaped) plate mould, REGISTERED on the back, blank base, 10 panel base, and Rare.  John and I discussed this bottle at the FOHBC Expo in York, PA and he has since obtained photos of it thanks to a fellow Delaware collector.  If you know of an example of this bottle that is for sale or trade, please contact John via EMail to  Thanks!

Another Hutchinson specialist I heard from is Austin F., the "HutchLord," in Hopkins, Minnesota.  Austin sent me the latest issue of the Minnesota Bottle Diggers' newsletter that he edits.  The front page features photos of beautiful, Rare, quart Hutchinsons from Detroit City and Alexandria, Minnesota.  Austin also provided an update on the extensive research he's doing for a new Minnesota soda book.  I placed an advance order for a special edition and am really looking forward to adding the finished product to my library. To learn more about Austin's project, EMail him at

I'm making steady progress on the web design tutorial.  I ran the first portion of last weekend's marathon with a running buddy, but we became separated during mile 10, so I spent the final 16.2 miles running by myself and mulling over design. Long runs often provide great opportunities for quality thinking and I figured out what I think/hope is a good site design.  I've since documented everything by putting together a "navigation view" diagramming the pages and how they are linked.  I also acquired a reference guide that is helping me better understand construction of the database.

Lastly, after analyzing various web hosting options, I decided to utilize  Admittedly, I'm hoping Danica Patrick (she's one of's spokespersons) will personally provide technical support, but it'll be just my luck that she's too busy driving
Indy cars.  More about GoDaddy next week.

Giving thanks to the researchers...

November 27, 2008

Good fortune continued with the welcomed arrival of additional information about the P. FAERBER / NEWPORT, R. I. / REGISTERED bottle mentioned in the previous update. Thanks to the genealogical research skills of Hutchinson Specialist Corey Stock in Jacksonville, FL, we now know considerably more about this bottler.  Corey found the full-page 1895 Newport, RI City Directory ad (currently illustrated on the Home Page) via  The ad indicates the business was founded in 1847, with Peter Faerber as the successor to James S. Hazard & Co.  Hazard was a bottler in Westerly, RI (39 miles away).  Faerber isn't listed in the directories prior to 1885, so it appears he may have
purchased Hazard's firm and moved it to Newport.  The 1885 date, combined with the "REGISTERED" embossing, strongly suggests this bottle was originally manufactured for use with Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stopper.  Our thanks to "arkandsaw1958" for permission to post bottle photos from his GreedyBay listing.

I made considerable progress on the database and web design tutorials during the past few days.  The Seattle Marathon this coming Sunday will hopefully only be a small bump in the road, and I hope to report more progress next week.  

Happy Turkey Day to all!  


November 21, 2008

If you check this site regularly, you have likely noticed updates of some sort are now being posted on an almost daily basis.  The pace of activity has picked up this month and it is often easier to compose and post changes immediately, rather than sporadically.  I am hoping this approach is the way changes will be posted, particularly as regards corrections, new bottle listings, and filling in missing bottle data.  Hosting fees are an important consideration, but the key factor for is having robust, easy-to-use/understand web hosting service.  I have been very pleased with Yahoo (they have hosted this site and since their inception), and they are a finalist for hosting, as is, et al.  We plan to complete our
evaluation and select's host by 12-01-08.  Stay tuned.  

This has been a particularly fun week for identifying unknown mavericks.  Even though we added a new one, we identified five that will soon be moved to their respective state lists. Check out these latest successes by visiting the Can You Identify These Unknown Hutchinsons? page before the listings are moved!

GreedyBay 250322617743 is an interesting bottle that recently caught our eye.  It is a P. FAERBER / NEWPORT, R. I. / REGISTERED listed by the seller as "a true Hutchinson...early teepee style."  My first reaction was to think it was a blob top/pony bottle with a Hutchinson stopper stuck in the mouth.  Or, given the steeply sloped shoulders, perhaps it was sealed with a Matthews gravitating stopper?  After corresponding with the seller, evaluating close-up photos of the top, and corresponding with several other collectors, I am now leaning toward cataloguing it as a newly discovered Rhode Island Hutchinson.  Tod von Mechow has catalogued a similar pony variant used by this bottler at, but that bottle has a slightly different front embossing pattern.  The base of this example is not embossed with Matthews' 1864 patent information; it is blank.  The fact the bottle is embossed REGISTERED suggests to me it is 1890 or later, seemingly too late to have utilized a gravitating stopper, and smack in the middle of the Hutchinson era time-wise.  Adding a new Hutchinson for Rhode Island is big news; we've only catalogued 11 Hutchinsons for Rhode Island, and this would be #12.  On the negative side, bidder reaction to the listing seems to suggest those in the know may not believe the bottle is "a true Hutchinson;"
it drew only six bids from five different bidders and sold for $100.  If you can provide any information on the bottler's years of operation and/or this bottle, please let us know.

Several folks who regularly peruse the Caveat Emptor page have noted it has not been updated for several months; this is not accidental.  The primary motivation for stopping my ranting has been the conservation of time that was better invested in working on  Another reason has been the frustration of one way communication with GreedyBay.  They flatly refuse to respond and routinely ignore the complaints of thousands of long-time, loyal (increasingly "former") GreedyBay sellers and buyers.  Their recent, heavy-handed move to mandatory use of PayPal (which GreedyBay owns) should be drawing major media attention, but the silence is deafening.  Meanwhile, sellers and buyers continue to flock to other on-line auction sites.  If I were a GreedyBay stockholder, I'd be screaming for the heads of the GreedyBay executives who seem to have the company in a death spiral.  Are they planning to bail out and pull the ripcords on their golden parachutes before impact?  Time will tell.

In between all of the other HutchBook activities, I am chipping away on the database and web design tutorials.  Several times this week I caught myself thinking I'm actually beginning to understand how to use the new software!   Speaking of the tutorials, its time for me to work on another one.


November 14, 2008

The Step by Step and Inside Out database, web design, and graphics tutorials I am working thru are very well written Microsoft Press publications.  It has been a relief to utilize standardized Microsoft screen commands while learning to use the new programs, rather than also having to deal with unfamiliar terminology, different locations for command buttons, etc.  In spite of several interruptions this week, overall progress is steady. HutchBook correspondence is non-stop as we gather missing data, catalogue new bottles (the grand total is now 16,209), and discuss unidentified bottles (check out the new maverick we just added, and be watching for information on another newly identified one to be posted soon).  

My sincere thanks to everyone who is actively supporting the HutchBook project!


November 5, 2008

Progress on the software tutorials has been sporadic the past few days thanks to interruptions caused by: raking the yard three times (will the leaves ever stop falling?); voting (thank goodness the political ad machines have been turned off!); breaking a tooth and visiting the dentist for yet another crown installation (aging sucks); a long training run (my 28th Seattle Marathon approaches); rearranging HutchBook files (they now fill eight legal-size file drawers); and considerable HutchBook-related correspondence.  Speaking of which, don't miss the new information on the Can You Identify These Unknown Hutchinsons? page.  This week's key word is "focus!"


October 31, 2008

The Hutchinson Bottle Directory initiative continues to be an unusual project because of the decision to make and implement on-going major decisions in full public view. Consistent, high quality user involvement in the decision-making process has me believing will be of far greater value to end users than we originally thought possible.  Producing regular updates has been an effective communications tool, freeing up additional time to work on the project and eliminating hours of answering phone and EMail project status inquiries.  

This project has experienced many ups and downs since being initiated in 1976.  For the benefit of those who may be late to the party, here’s an abbreviated project time line:

1976-1993: The late Joe Nagy founded the project and worked on it steadily into the early 1980s before suspending activity.  He passed away in late 1993.  

1994-2003: I obtained Joe’s files in 1994 and stored them until I retired.  

2004-present: The project was re-initiated 01-01-04.  We estimated it would take five years to gather and publish the data.  Major milestones have included:

July 2004 = 8,000+ listings

September 2004 = 9,000 listings

December 2004 = 10,000 listings

December 2004 = 11,000 listings

January 2005 = 12,000 listings

May 2005 = 13,000 listings

December 2005 = 14,000 listings

January 2006 = Decision to switch publishing from paper to

September 2006 = Announced founding of HBCA  

January 2007 = 15,000 listings

June 2008 = 16,000 listings

And this brings us to what I am now referring to as:

"Plan B:”

During the past 60 days it became apparent the web designer hired to build would not be able to deliver a site meeting the desired specifications at the agreed upon price.  He suggested a shortcut approach that would have drastically limited site search capability, eliminated illustrations that accompany the informational text, and several other changes that simply were not acceptable.  Rather than agreeing to scale back the specifications and eliminate desired features, I opted to terminate the services of the designer.  Doing so left me feeling like I had just completed three years on spin cycle and been hung out to dry, but thanks to some quick scrambling and the strong and much appreciated support of several collectors/friends (THANK YOU Tod, T.J., Bill, Paul, Jamison, Jim, and Joan!), “Plan B” has come together nicely.  Indeed, this update is the first in a series of announcements that will carry us forward to the launch of  Effective immediately, I am stopping the usual monthly Hutchinson Bottle Directory updates in favor of more frequent postings on this HutchBook page.

Here’s where we are as of October 31, 2008:

I have assumed full responsibility for designing, building, and maintaining  Four years of experience building and maintaining and have provided a solid base of knowledge on the basics of web site construction.  This month I have acquired and installed web site software that includes the features needed for  I am currently working thru a tutorial to learn how to fully use this software.

With the close assistance of some very experienced web site developers, the existing Hutchinson bottle spreadsheets will be converted to a database structure and set up for use via  This week I acquired and installed new database software and I am now working my way thru a tutorial to learn to fully use this software.

I am evaluating Microsoft graphics software that may make it easier to produce the Hutchinson bottle illustrations.  You’ll hear/see more on this topic as the evaluation unfolds.

Although I am not announcing a target launch date for, it won’t be long until you will be able to access the site.  Instead of waiting until all of the information is prepared/completed, I intend to open the site up and build it in stages as everyone follows along.  The benefits of utilizing the information sooner rather than later will hopefully outweigh any confusion caused by this approach.  The current plan is to first move the informational text up, then focus on the Hutchinson bottle database, and add in the illustrations as they are completed.  The site will include a Home page “road map” so users can track what is/isn’t completed, the latest additions and changes, etc.  

A special thank you to the Hutchinson specialist who helped us upgrade the quantity and quality of Toronto, Ontario, Canada listings this month.  The grand total is now at 16,194 and still climbing.

Good collecting,

Ron F.

© 2008 Seattle History Company