Action packed adventures of real live Wisconsin Antique Bottle Collectors on THE HUNT

Wisconsin Antique Bottle collectors on the "Hunt" for Wisconsin bottles!



  • The lead came from a phone call two weeks ago from one of my construction worker contacts. The guy knew I collected pottery and thought I might be interested in the excavation his company was doing off water Street in Milwaukee. He had found some pottery bottles with "funny names" like Liebscher, Schwartz, Lill, and Calgeer. Would I be interested? WOULD I BE INTERESTED?! Forty-five minutes later, I was in his garage closing a deal for eight Milwaukee pottery beers at $8 apiece. Since I had been so fair with the prices, he asked me if I wanted to dig on the site the next weekend with him. He believed that there was plenty o... Read Full Post
  • One great thing about bottle hunting is that you can find almost anything. You can also find nothing. That’s part of the fun. It’s a treasure hunt and you never know what might turn up. Sometimes you find the type of items you’d expect to find. At other times, you find something totally different… When we first started diving, we were simply exploring the underwater environment. The antique bottles that we initially found stumped and intrigued us. We quickly learned more about them and began to collect them. Along the way, we found a whole bunch of stuff. We’ve found just about anything you ... Read Full Post
  • By the summer of 2002 it was safe to say that I was a bottle diving addict! I craved the drug of finding ancient glass more than anything up to that point in my life. Let me rewind before I get ahead of myself. About two years before in my hometown of Oconomowoc, the place where I grew up, on a cool fall afternoon I observed a couple of guys draped with weeds and muck scavenging around on the bottom of a shallow bay in Fowler Lake. As I attempted to study what they were doing, I continued to scratch my head in amazement! All I could tell at that point was that they would surface every so often and deposit something that sh... Read Full Post
  • When we go out hunting for antique bottles, we hope to mark the spot. We hope to remember it with all of the early, rare, and crude artifacts we find. This story describes how one spot left its mark on me. I started collecting antique bottles because of another hobby; scuba diving. While diving with my buddies, we found bottles and eventually got hooked on collecting them. There are, of course, other ways to find bottles. You can buy them, or dig them from the ground. Privy digging has been refined to an art form nowadays. There are collectors who dig for bottles with machine-like efficiency. However, don't let that fool ... Read Full Post
  • Every bottle diver and privy digger knows the let down you feel when you find a mint, heavily embossed, nice colored bottle in a spot that has the age for greatness when the bottle happens to be a more common national brand rather than a local or even state bottle. This one was interesting enough that I decided to throw it on eBay. The actual privy dig was disappointing. We had permission at an ancient house. There were huge trees over the entire yard and the fall of 2003 had been very dry... Probing was a struggle. We found one, 'later feeling,' privy in a yard that should have four and at least one privy in the 1850 to ... Read Full Post
  • FINDING THE HIETZLER How many times has it happened? You mention a bottle on the way out to a hunt and one turns up? Not as often as we’d like, but everyone seems to have at least one story like that. On one such day, mrbottles (or Steve as I may refer to him) and I were planning a dive in a river. On the way out, we were talking about all the items that had been found there. I said that our buddy Jim had found an S.M. Eaton pre-hutch the last time he dove there. Steve replied that he already had that bottle. Except, he noted, that he did not have the mold variety that was manufactured by the glass company ‘M... Read Full Post
  • A day was finally agreed on. It was no secret that Lake Mendota had given up Matthews gravitating stopper bottles in the past. Steve Libbey already owned the Milwaukee Spiral spring stopper, an Otto Zwietusch, but it was missing the spring. The J.A. Lindestrom bottling works was also a source for the spiral spring stopper as well. The bottling works was located on the shore at one time (1859-1889) and they discarded their broken glass in the lake. Wisconsin divers had already dived this site, so we were there to see if they missed something. SPLASH; Me, Bob and Steve drop in. I find lots of broken glass and piles of 1870'... Read Full Post
  • Bob finds YELLOW MINT Eaton quart mrbottles might have a slight memory problem. Oh, he remembers a lot of things just fine. He remembers every detail on a dive trip when he recovers a unique find. He recalls when someone brings back a cement anchor on a slow day when they couldn't find anything else. In fact, he picture of bobs eaton remembers that they outlined an entire house with them. But does he recollect losing the title of mrbottles for even one minute? Of course not. But that's okay. I remember well enough for the both of us, and I plan to share it with you. Plus, I have the proof... In early March, we were divin... Read Full Post
  • I had been to the Chicago bottle show the day before, and had picked up a lot of bottles to be cleaned. I needed some more copper, so I had to go to the scrap yard for wire. The place I went to was about 20 miles from home and was located out in the country at the intersection of two county roads. The intersection had been under construction all summer long. I bought my wire and headed back home. I pulled out the back way and turned the corner to the main road. They had just widened the road and graded the embankment. I looked over and saw aqua glass and white pottery just kinda spilling out of a spot in the embankment. So... Read Full Post
  • Finally, after years of reading articles on diggers in bottle magazines, the moment was upon me. Fellow diver Steven Libbey calls and puts pressure on me to come and dig some early holes. With his strong salesmanship, we set a time and place to meet. Arriving at this first location, I changed into my "digging shoes" and with three layers of shirts and jackets I grabbed my shovel and arrived at the two spots in the morning twilight. Peter Maas then proceeded probing the exact perimeters and layout of sticks for us to dig between. Cutting the grass into neat squares and laying them down on the large tarps in the same order w... Read Full Post
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