Sunday, July 15, 2012

Houston Bottle Show 2012!

Houston Bottle and Collectibles Show 2012 (Photo by James M. Schmidt)
Those of you who read or visit this blog regularly know that I have a passion for 19th century patent medicines - bottles, packages, and ephemera such as letters, almanacs, advertising, and more.  You can see a list of posts about items from collection here.

There are many great ways to learn about the hobby and history of bottles, but two of the best are:

1) to join the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors (FOHBC, here)...for $30 you get 6 issues of the amazing Bottles and Extras magazine filled with gorgeous photos, information, and a LOT of history!

2) Go to a Bottle Show!  There are hundreds of bottle shows - large and small - around the country (and world!) each year (see a listing here).  I went to my very first bottle show in Houston last year.  It's a small show (25-30 dealers) but a lot of fun.  I met some great dealers and other people last year - including Ferdinand Meyer, who has the most extensive bitters bottle collection in the country, is the incoming president of the FOHBC (Congratulation, Ferdinand!), and has an awesome bottle collecting website at Peachridge Glass.  I also met Dan Cowman, MD, who has one of the largest collections of labeled patent medicines and patent medicine ephemera in the country.  I've mentioned Dan in several posts over the past year as we have shared information and photos. Seeing Dan's table at the show is like visiting a traveling patent medicine museum.  It was the best three dollars I have ever spent!

So...I had so much fun at last year's show that I've been looking forward to this year's show ever since!  This year I even had a table of my own.  I had some of my books on display, some ephemera for sale, and also some patent medicine letters, etc., on display as conversation starters.  And I had a lot of GREAT conversations with some really nice and interesting people!  It was also nice to see Ferdinand and Dan again and also to meet Brad Seigler for the first time.  Brad lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is the premier collector of Texas druggist bottles and Texas patent medicine bottles.

Below are some photos from the show, with captions.  If you live in or near Houston (or even farther away!) come see us at next year's show!

Ferdinand Meyer also has a great write-up of the show with beautiful photos here.

It was such a pleasure to see Dan Cowman, MD, again, and he had another great table of labeled patent medicines, signs, labels, almanacs, and more!

Dan Cowman, MD, mans his three awesome tables (photo by James M. Schmidt)

Closeup of Dan's pills and tins (James M. Schmidt)

Pills and tins at Dan Cowman's table (James M. Schmidt)

Labeled patent medicines on Dan's table (James M. Schmidt)

Labeled patent medicines on Dan's table (James M. Schmidt)

Beautiful labeled Warner's Rheumatic Remedy on Dan's table (James M. Schmidt)

It was such a pleasure to see Ferdinand Meyer again!  Ferdinand taught me to appreciate the bottles as art as well as for their history.  From the photos below you can see why: colors, shape, character, and more!

Ferdinand Meyer's tables - Houston Bottle Show 2012 (James M. Schmidt)

Awesome figural bitters - fish, pig, barrel, and more on Ferdinands' table (James M. Schmidt)

BEAUTIFUL (and RARE!) Drake's Bitters on Ferdinand's table (James M. Schmidt)

 It was such a pleasure to meet my new friend Brad Seigler in person after corresponding with him for several months.  Brad is THE leading collector of Texas patent medicines and he also had a great table!  You can see more of Brad's great bottles at Ferdinand's post (here).

A selection of Texas druggist and Texas patent medicines on Brad's table (James M. Schmidt)
A bottle show attendee admires the Texas bottles on Brad's great table (James M. Schmidt)

And - finally - photos of your humble correspondent's (that's me!) table at the show!

My table - patent medicine ephemera for sale (James M. Schmidt)

My table - some of my 1800s patent medicine letter collection on display (James M. Schmidt)

A favorite part of my collection - patent-medicine themed Civil War patriotic covers (James M. Schmidt)

Ferdinand took this beautiful photo of my Lincoln Tea collection - thanks Ferd! (photo courtesy Ferdinand Meyer)


Dana Charlton-Zarro said...

Awesome - just like you!

Mark said...

Wow, I just can't believe this much stuff has survived:) Our in California we just collect sea glass at the beach;)

Jim Schmidt said...

Mark - The next time you collect some sea glass post some photos on FB or your blog and I'll make sure the nice folks on the glass and bottle collecting groups on FB see it (or join yourself!)...they love ALL KINDS of glass and I bet they would love to see it! Thanks!

Dan22 said...

Nice bottle collections! I personally love quack medicines, black glass bottles from the late 1700s-1850s, and druggist bottles from the Houston/Galveston area. I became interested in bottle collecting when I stumbled on a bottle dump dating the 1890s-early 1900s while metal detecting.