A COBALT POISON SAVED THE DAY

 

Bottle :  Round quilted poison 5 5/8”  circa 1870s

Year recovered:  2015

Type of dive site:    small fresh water river in NHIMG_20150501_141705811_HDRIMG_20150502_134953707_HDR

Notes:  Got this nice old poison during a “dry spell” late last year. I had been diving probably 3 times in a row, and come back with nothing! If you aren’t a diver, let me just emphasize how much work goes in to finding a site to dive at, driving to it, hauling your gear down to the water, suiting up (especially in the hot weather), then untangling yourself from your gear when the dive is over. If you do all that work and come up empty, it leaves your feeling very ugly!

So with three empty dives in a row, I was finishing up my fourth, when I finally found a goodie.  It was laying at the bottom, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was cobalt even though it was covered with river muck.  Cleaned up real nice.

May 22 dive,Pontil Medicine

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The Ted’s Soda turns out to be a pretty good bottle!  I see the Ted’s Soda with Ted Williams picture on it all the time in antique shops, cause it is a repro collectible. But the original Ted’s soda like this one I guess is a good one.

The Curtis Cherry Syrup had no damage and cleaned up great !  It’s my nicest find in quite a while!  Here’s some more picsOPcurtis1.jpg

Pontiled Green Keene ink found in river

 

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This ink came out of a river in Maine last Friday.  I wish I could say I found it, but it was diving buddy who found it.ink.jpg

What a super pontil !  A tiny tiny sharp ring pontil.   There was a proprietor in Kittery Maine with the last name “Gerrish”.  I have seen this ink, in either green or aqua, I forget, but it had a label with that proprietor on it, so I’m guessing this may have come from his store.

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These two inks , and shards were dug by me in a dump in NH in 1994.  The green ink here is the same bottle as the new one just recovered, but the new one has an even tinier pontil than mine which I thought was small.  The aqua one is a similar mold, with a pontil.  The shards include an amber pontil cone, another unembossed green pontil, and the real killer, a green Harrison’s Columbian Ink.

I hope to get out diving in the next couple of days, so I hope to have some new finds of my own to share.

 

Dr. Bowman’s Healing Embrocation Pontil

Bottle :  Bowman’s Genuine Healing Embrocation  clear  Pontil   8 sided

Year dug: 2003

Where dug:  Rye N.H.

Type of site:  Rock Wall small trash site

 

Notes:  This dump was found right behind a muffler shop on Route 1.  Route 1 is a very very old road, also called Post Rd, because it was the road that connected all the coastal town’s post offices  (and there was a tall “post”  with a hanging bag of mail on it, so the wagon driver wouldn’t have to get off the wagon, and could just grab the bag of mail as he passed).

I have found many dumps over the years, right behind the businesses that are on Route 1 all up and down the north east.  If you look at many of the businesses, the buildings may be new, but you look at the foundation shape, and it is often a rectangle, horizontal to the road, which was common to the layout of buildings in the 1700s. 

This bottle was found in a small dump right off the back parking lot of a modern business.  There was an old rock wall I noticed, and a little polluted stream running behind it.  Amongst the little, I could see some older iron and buckets. At one point this older trash was concentrated, and I scratched around with my potato rake and started finding old bottle shards.  Eventually, I found a couple dozen whole bottles from the 1800s over the course of a couple of hours.  I dug a milk glass candy dish in the shape of a battle ship, the “State of Maine”  It was broken, but I glued it nice enough to display.

This small Bowmans bottle was in perfect condition.  It is a rip off from a similar bottle with the name Blackman.  Actually, I can’t remember who ripped off whom.  It has a strange type of pontil, common to clear flint glass like this.

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New Video- Uncovering a Mass. privy

 

This is a video of the privy I wrote about in my last post.  The video shows the point where I finally located a privy, and started pulling up pontiled shards.Sals privy Tobias.jpg

Salsbury Mass, privy dig

I only got one video from this privy dig last week in Massachusetts before my phone battery died.  I don’t get a chance to dig many privies.  I have discovered that the odds of finding a bottle filled privy here in New England, is significantly lower than in most other parts of the country. This is for a variety of reasons I won’t get in to here.

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But in this particular case, I was in luck, as I passed this construction site daily, as they knocked down and cleared the trees, which exposed a total of 3 building foundations. I went back one evening last week, and probed the property for about an hour, with no luck .  Then a probed a random “stab”, up next to what looked like the trunk of a 200 year old looking tree.

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Sure enough it felt like a shallow privy, so I cut a hole into the top of it, and reached down into the hole with my gloved hand, and could feel a couple of bottles in place.  The very first thing I pulled out was the bottom have of an open pontil Browns Tomato and Sarsaparilla Bitters

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The total size of the privy was about 3’ x 4’ by 3’ deep.  On side was brick lined, so I’m guessing the other 3 were wood that had rotted away.  Although the privy was a huge tease,  it was very fun to dig.

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It was pontil age, and I got 4 whole pontils, but there were some other large whole bottles in the same layer, which felt like they were going to be show stoppers, until I pulled them out to find they were unembossed whiskeys and wines, as well as an embossed “Dr Cummings Vegetine”  which sure felt like a quart lettered flask before I got it out of the hole .Sals privy Tobias.jpg

Only one embossed pontil,  a  “Dr. Tobias Venetian Liniment”, and 3 other unembossed pontils.

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I came across a shard to the top of a Stoddard starburst flask, as well as the top and base of a mamoth 14″ tall “Clarke’s Sherry Wine Bitters, Sharon Mass”

Newsletter, April 2016

 

Click here to see our Newsletter! Newsletter April 2016

 

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Digging and Diving Podcast

This is a telephone interview that my daughter Annie did with me, for her media marketing project at college.  She is the one responsible for the creation of this blog. Scroll down for the link to the interview!

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Created by Annie Hepburn, interviewing Bram Hepburn