ARTICLES WITH INFORMATION FOR WISCONSIN ANTIQUE BOTTLE COLLECTORS:::.
|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 we cut them, the digging goes fast with three people. The first couple of feet had only shards but they looked good to these eyes knowing that there is something in this hole. Finally, when glass items turned up, they were food and medicine bottles. I found my first ink, medicine and Hutch (a rare one too!). The checklist of firsts starts filling in. As Steven & Peter turned up more and the ground next to the hole was covered by dozens of bottles laying side by side. The actual digging process is hard work but when you start hitting an ash layer the cold hard task becomes effortless. You either develop a touch for not breaking glass or you don't dig - so I lucked out and was able to keep digging. (I only chipped one bottle out of four holes - not bad for my first day) The first two finally bottomed out and the task of filling in became another first to check off. Peters' 13 year old daughter Kelly was the fourth member and she really was side by side the whole way. When it was time to fill in the hole she was right there. We dug one more hole but it was not the era we were hoping for. The 3 holes were now filled and this meant the time to divide the bounty was upon us. The homeowner got a few, Peter and Steve and Kelly took picks and I was happy with the leftovers, including broken glass. |
The next location was 2 blocks away and did not work out so we went to a third location and was allowed access. Under this huge tree we dug and the hole turned out more bottles than I could ever find underwater in a dive. Of the 40 clay pipes that came out 15 of them were complete. The hole was 6' deep and when we hit bottom it flared out 2 feet in 3 directions. Filling in went fast as Steven jumped on the dome I packed up the boxes and cleaned the tools. The drive home wore off the adrenaline and I needed a rest when arriving home. It took a few hours to clean all the glass and the experience left me rewarded with both added items to my collection and a life long memory on what it meant to be a "digger".