Saturday, January 30, 2016

AYER'S Patent Medicine With Lead!

You may have realized by now that one of my favorite subjects is glass. This is no exception.

We'll start with a description of the document since it is too large (8" X 14") to fit on my flatbed scanner. I have a number of pieces of Montana Drug Company paper that I have used before, and I've put glass bottles on all of them. The first piece I did can be viewed HERE, and the second one is HERE. Both of them were patent medicines. This one is no different.

There are four of Ayer's products listed on this billhead, and they are Sarsaparilla, Hair Vigor, Pills, and Cherry Pectoral. I used my trusty research tool (Google) to look at the glass containers for all four of these products, and the Hair Vigor was by far the most eye-appealing. From there I had to either get a photograph taken or obtain permission to use an already existing photograph as a model. To that end, I contacted Mr. Don Fadely, who has put together a web site called Hair Raising Stories, which describes many patent medicines and their containers. It was constructed to primarily aid the collectors of the glass containers and the labeling. The bottles are collectible.

The following was taken directly from the product description on Mr. Fadely's web site: 
(1) Dissolve 9 pounds of lead acetate in water; (2) add 9 pounds of cream of tartar, dissolved in water (as little water as will take it up); (3) wash this precipitate in water twice; (4) dissolve the precipitate in 30 pounds of solution of caustic soda (specific gravity 1.07); (5) add sufficient water to bring quantity to 13 pounds; (6) add 6 1/2 gallons of glycerine.
 The description was a rewording from the patent. An exact date for the sale of Hair Vigor in this bottle is a bit vague, and although the original bottling is still to be found, I believe this bottle was headed to a barber shop, as many barber bottles are very beautiful with good reason. 

The above is an example of an Ayer's Hair Vigor advertisement from 1900. Almost psychedelic. Don't look at it for too long...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Goodkind Brothers Metropole Whiskey

We'll begin this post with a little history.

Brothers Abraham L. and Edward I. Goodkind, and Meyer and Charles Wise operated a wholesale wine, liquor, and cigar business in Helena, Montana, from 1890 or 1891 until 1896 when the Wise brothers left the business. The Goodkind brothers continued their operation until Edward died on May 11, 1916. The preceding is directly from the Montana Historical Society Research Center.

This is my first finished piece of 2016, and I intend to submit this piece for the Lobby Show at the Western Heritage Artist Show and Sale beginning on March 16, 2016, at the Holiday Inn in Great Falls, Montana.

It is a back bar bottle with fluted shoulders and base, and although I have not seen this particular bottle, I have seen a similar bottle belonging to one of my first patrons. I used a photograph as a model for this piece, and the image was borrowed from another patron and original owner of this bottle.

The letterhead is dated 22 April, 1914, and the letter concerns the shipment of whiskey barrels to be returned to Goodkind Brothers from a Mr. E. M. Smith. I am not certain how this letterhead was acquired, but I assume it came from ether the C. W. Rank or S. R. Buford establishment records in Virginia City.

The Goodkind Brothers building still stands at the corner of 6th Avenue and what is now known as Last Chance Gulch. When this letterhead was originally printed, the street was called Main Street, and was indeed THE main street of downtown Helena. The building is now the beginning of a two block long walking mall that extends South on the gulch to Broadway, which roughly parallels 6th Avenue East and West.

Urban Renewal frankly decimated downtown Helena, and eliminated some of the rich historical buildings. This one survives.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lindbergh Air Mail

This is a First Day Cover for the 10 Cent Air Mail stamp released to the public four weeks after Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic. It is believed that although he was offered $1,000 to carry a small package of mail, he declined because of his concern for weight. It is also believed that he did carry a total of five covers, and only two of those have ever come to market.

There was a huge surge in promotions of Lindbergh's name on everything from a dance to cookies, but the National Biscuit Company didn't create a Lindy Snap. This piece is what is called a Corner Card, carrying the name of the business in the upper left hand corner of the envelope serving as a return address. The image is taken from a cigar box label under the company name of Mazer-Cressman of Detroit, Michigan.

Now that this piece is finished, it's flying off to the patron who commissioned it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Watch Me Soak It.

Another commissioned cachet for a long-time patron of mine who happens to collect the first U. S. stamp celebrating the centennial of baseball. I've done a number of these for him, and I've still more to do. This particular image is from a tobacco card using a caricature representation of Hall of Fame power hitter Dan Brouthers.

I'm including a photo image I gleaned from the web while I was researching the tobacco card. I discovered that the artist apparently was unaware that Dan batted left his entire career. He dominated 19th-Century baseball by winning 5 batting titles and two home run titles during his career. Some little known facts about the man: He accidentally killed a fellow baseball player while sliding into home plate when he was 19 years old. He was the vice president of the first baseball players union. He briefly held the record for the most career home runs before it was broken by Babe Ruth.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Home Run firecrackers

Another commissioned First Day Cover for the same patron who commissioned me to do the Brownie Nine cover. I've done firecrackers before...The links to my previous efforts are here, here and here. Doing the packages is a lot of fun, as the images used are brightly colorful and imaginative.

I have a third First Day of Issue cover that was serviced for Mr. Kleinod, and I haven't decided what I'm going to put on it. Perhaps another baseball themed cigar label...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brownie Baseball

Occasionally I accept commissioned work to  supplement my passion for old paper. On top of that, I began to create collectibles in 1989, although it was unwittingly at the time. Having begun to put art work on envelopes in the mid Fifties after seeing the art of C. M. Russell, I had no idea that there were people who collected these little gems. I have posted a number of pieces of 'mail art' since I began publishing my blog, and looking for the mail art label HERE will keep you busy for awhile. Properly called first day covers, these regular envelopes carry stamps cancelled in the city where the stamp is first released for public sale, and in this case it was Cooperstown, New York.

In 1939, a person interested in creating a first day cover would have to send self-addressed envelopes and cash to cover the cost of the postage to the postmaster of the city where the stamp was to be released. I have three of these envelopes with the same name on them, and a little research informed me that Mr. Kleinod was a member of the American Philatelic Society as early as 1921.

As for the art work, it is a cigar label for the Beckett & Brown Company of Eastport, Maine, who sponsored and fielded a baseball team called the Brownie Nine. The cigars were a nickel. Before 1920, there were over 25,000 cigar manufacturers in the United States. Cigar sales were strictly regulated and taxed by the government, and the labels produced between 1880 and 1920 were works of art produced using a method of printing called stone lithography.

I urge those who are interested in the label as an art form to visit the Cigar Label Junkie for a virtual library of labels of every description. This is either my fourth or fifth cover that I have created for the same gentleman, and I have not run out of baseball related cigar labels quite yet.