Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bottles from Christiansburg, VA and Radford, VA

Radford, VA actually has a connection to my area in the personage of Isaac Greenspon who ran the Radford Ice Company which also bottled at one point. Greenspon would eventually become a partner in an ice plant in Pocahontas with the Kwass brothers, and after that enterprise dissolved, created the Isaac Greenspon Manufacturing Company in Bluefield, WV where he made candy and bottled soft drinks in the teens. The bottles shown are some that I found interesting, like most of these semi-locals tend to be, and are from the Cassco Bottling Works. This bottling company was a part of the Cassco Refrigerating Corporation, which was an Ice maker based in Harrisonburg, VA. They had several branches two of which had bottling operations, which Radford appears to be the first of, and the other was located in Waynesboro, VA.

A 7oz Cassco Beverages dated 1945. This one only lists Radford, VA as the bottler.

A 7oz Cassco Beverages bottle dated 1946. They changed the label design and obviously opened another bottling branch in Waynesboro, VA. 

Christiansburg, VA is just a few miles away from Radford, VA, and as it turns out was much more successful as a bottling town, including the creation of their own Coca-Cola imitator, Banner Cola. The Christiansburg Banner Cola Corporation was incorporated on November 1, 1919, with J. W. Pepper listed as President, and P. L. Kenley as Vice President. This company appears to have lasted for several decades with bottles dating as late as the 1950's. It is possible that the Banner Cola Corporation started out as the Christiansburg Bottling Works, and after the creation of their new leader brand changed their name. The strangest bottle is the Cloverdale Soft Drink bottle from the Norment Bottling Company, Inc. of Roanoke and Christiansburg, VA which is dated 1964. I can find no information on this bottler which sounds like it had a main plant in Roanoke, VA and a branch in Christiansburg, or visa versa.

Very early Christiansburg Bottling Works bottle.

A 7oz Banner Cola Corporation straight side slug plate bottle

8oz Banner Cola Corporation deco bottle from the early 1930's

12oz Banner Brand Beverages dated 1939

7ox green Banner Brand Beverages bottle dated 1951
10oz Cloverdale Soft Drinks bottle from the Norment Bottling Company, Inc. of Roanoke and Christiansburg, VA dated 1964

1941 Banner Cola Corporation sales receipt dated August 14, 1941

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bottles from Erwin, Tenn. and Greenville, Tenn.

From time to time I will pick up what I call Semi-Local Bottles, which are bottles that don't exactly fit into my area, but are in neighboring areas. Usually these will be bottles I happen to find interesting for one reason or another. First up is one from the town of Greenville, Tennessee, it is a Kist Beverages bottle from 1951. Kist was a national brand flavor line much in the vein of Nehi. The reason I picked up this bottle was that the bottling company that produced the brand actually distributed and advertised it in Kingsport, Tennessee, which is in my area.

A 1951 Kist Beverages bottle from the Greenville Kist Bottling Company of Greenville, Tennessee.

The 1950 ad from the Kingsport Times advertising Kist's Chocolate drink.
Another East Tennessee town with a bottler was Erwin, Tennessee this bottling company was actually a fairly early bottler in the area which had lasted for at least twenty to thirty years before they were producing the bottle shown below. Julep beverages was also an older national flavor line brand dating from the teens.

A 1943 Julep Full Flavor Beverages 12oz bottle.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bottles from Knoxville, Tennessee

One of my largest collection of semi-locals is from Knoxville, Tennessee.

A late 1800's Hutchinson bottle from the Howell & Fox Bottling Company of Knoxville, Tenn.

Tenn-Cola Bottling Works, and Knoxville Bottling Company slug plate bottles

Eye-Se was an early Nu-Grape flavor line, this was replaced by the Nu-Icy flavor line.

An eight ounce Orange Crush bottle from Knoxville.

The ad announcing the introduction of Royal Crown Ginger Ale to Knoxville, Tennessee. You didn't know that Royal Crown was a flavor line before the introduction of Royal Crown Cola in 1936 did ya?

Another of the Nu-Grape flavor lines was the Five Points Beverages line these were prominent in the 1930's and early 1940's until it was replaced with the Sun Crest brand.
A real nice swimsuit 7-up bottle from the early 1950's

From the same company comes this brownie soda bottle which was a chocolate drink.
Kist was a long running line, and actually still existed a couple of years ago. It might have been discontinued since then.

A 10oz Mil-Kay from The Hartman Beverage Company of Knoxville.

An 8 3/4 oz Mil-Kay from The Hartman Beverage Company of Knoxville.

An 8 3/4oz Hartman Beverages bottle from The Hartman Beverage Company of Knoxville.   
I'll edit this post with new additions as I acquire them or take pictures of the ones that I haven't posted here.

Roanoke ads from a 1921 musical program

I found an interesting item on a hunt in Roanoke, VA this weekend and thought I would share some ads from it as I don't cover Roanoke, VA; however, feel the need to share these. The program is from a musical produced by the Kazim Temple of the Shriners organization called "The House Boat On The Sticks" which was preformed at the Academy of Music on February 17, 18, and 19, 1921. While this thing is just chocked full of ads I personally am only interested in the ones that pertain to bottling or have connections to bottling. I guess you could say that this blog is going to replace the Semi-Local section of my website. This section is where I would post pictures of bottles, ads, and give what little information I had dug up about bottlers in other areas outside my area. Roanoke is one of those.
This was the reason I picked up this item in the first place, a great 3-C Nectar ad.
My second favorite would have to be this Chero-Cola ad. I didn't even realize that Roanoke, VA had a Chero-Cola bottler until seeing this ad.
I love this one as well as it features a drawing of the November 6, 1915 hobble skirt bottle, which was the first of the now iconic "hobble skirt" Coca-Cola bottles. Another interesting thing is the notation beside the price of "No War Tax" I'm assuming they are referring to the first world war which had ended a few years prior to this ad.
Though I'm not a huge milk bottle fan I have picked up several milk bottles during the time period of my collecting bottles, and Clover Creamery bottles are fairly prominent in that collection. I have several different ones including two different cottage cheese jars. I will post these at some point now that I have a location to post items that aren't covered by the website itself.
That's right a car company, but not just any car company. This car company was started by a former bottler out of Bristol, VA who left that town in the 1890's for Roanoke, VA where he eventually started up this dealership, his name was J. W. Waynick.
Eventually I will have moved all the semi-local bottles from my site to this blog. I like picking up interesting bottles from other areas that border my main collecting area, and this is looking like the best place for items such as this. I hope you enjoyed seeing a moment in Roanoke Bottling history from 1921.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Diversification and collecting

Collecting diversification can be both a blessing and a curse. I am a collector. Which if I am honest with myself boils down to my having a hereditary hoarding gene, but I realized early that I needed to focus that gene, so I started collecting. Why do I collect? All humans have an inborn need for the thrill of the hunt, and that is what drives me. I actually have several collections/interests, some major, some minor, a few have been with me since I was a child like the Star Wars action figure collection. Some I have picked up over the years as my interests changed, the record collection would fit into this category.

Yet some evolve from the buying of what I call "Hey that's neat" items. The soda collection is one of those. I usually pick up "Hey that's neat" items when I can't find anything that I am actually full bore collecting at that particular moment, or a good source of "go with" items opens up that I can't ignore. Lately with the lack of interesting bottles, and an new source, has given rise to my picking up soda advertising signs. I've always liked this type of advertising, and had planned on getting into it, but they are usually far too expensive for my tastes. Then enters a source which has been fairly reasonable in their prices and I'm hooked, for the moment at least. You can really only spare room for so many of these. Here are some of the signs that I have acquired over the past four months.

This was the first one I picked up. I'd always liked these button signs; however, the more common Coca-Cola ones were just far too dull for me to own. I do like the Dr. Pepper 10, 2, 4 promotion and the font is from the right period.
Next and so far most expensive was this near mint Botl'o sign. Botl'o was the flavor line of the Grapette company during the 1940's and 1950's.
This is a sign for Mil-Kay which was an orange drink from the 1940's and 50's
This cardboard sign is advertising Ski-Hi Grape which was a flavor line produced by the Orange Crush Company in the 1920's and 30's.
This plastic Grapette sign is most likely from the 1960's. Even though it wouldn't be worth much, one thing to look for in soda advertising is if there is a bottle pictured.
Last but not least is this small Pop Kola sign which is most likely from the 1940's.

 To have an interesting collection you need to diversify, because it helps on those hunting trips where you don't find anything. It just gives you that thrill of satisfaction of finding something that strikes your interest. Who knows it could propel you into a whole new aspect of a present collection, or create a new collection altogether. Yet then again you could end up with far too many collections than your wallet can handle, or your abode for that matter. Collecting is fun, but sometimes you have to know when to let go of certain things as well.

Happy hunting,

Joseph Lee III

Introductions and explainations

I am a collector of vintage soft drink bottles, and a researcher of soda bottlers with a coverage area which includes Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee, and Mercer County West Virginia. I also write the occasional article pertaining to some local brand or other soda related item which isn't necessarily covered by this area, but either has connections to or was bottled in this area. The main website for this is

I have often had the desire to talk about the process and experiences I have encountered throughout my time researching these companies, but didn't feel these subjects belonged in the basic information that makes up the main site. So I have created this blog for just that purpose. I will be discussing anything that I run into either collecting the bottles, which will include my adventures digging bottles, and also finding the information which is posted on the main site itself.

This may include my recent finds, and maybe even some non-related local stuff including milk bottles, local businesses which catch my fancy, whatever.

Let me say welcome to the blog.

Joseph lee