A good day diving

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blobbottlebob

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Here is a story I wrote about finding a soda underwater. Hope you like it. Please let me know what you think if you get the chance. Thanks, Bob I will post a picture later.

Not Cheeseburger or Corn-burger but Weissenberger
By Bob Libbey

I was out diving far from shore in deeper water. For some reason, I felt like I was on the verge of finding a new area to search. This was probably because I had gone bottle hunting in the shallow water nearby many times and had found a lot of glass. However, it was getting harder and harder to keep finding things.

As you dive deeper the bottom changes. At thirty feet (in most lakes in south eastern Wisconsin), the bottom is composed of soft bottomless squishy silt. Anything that sinks there is going to settle into that fine particulate. Give it a hundred years, and it’s going to settle deeply. This is especially true because many of the bottles we find are hand blown, solid and heavy. It’s not that there are no bottles in that deep mud. It’s just that they are very hard to locate.

As I was searching around out there at the end of a tank, I found a crown bottle used by a soda water company called Wheeler Brothers out of Waukesha, Wisconsin. I was excited to find it. While Wheeler bottles are not generally that rare, I almost never find the crown-topped examples. I tucked the bottle into a leg seam in my wet suit for safekeeping. I had only a small amount of bottom time left because I was running out of air.

Not long after finding the Wheeler crown, I located a heavy lead anchor. Years ago, lead must have seemed like an ideal material for making anchors. It is compact, easy to melt and mold, and it is very heavy. Nowadays, we know that lead is probably not the best thing for the environment. So, as a matter of policy, I take out every little bit that I can. Because I was low on air, I focused on getting the lead out quickly. I grabbed my float line and pulled myself up with one hand while the other held the heavy anchor. I kicked hard with my fins to help my upward momentum. Then I would reach higher on the line to pull myself closer to the surface. When I made it up, I did not have enough air left to go back down. I put the lead in my float and began to unload my bottles. I did not have the Wheeler crown. It must have worked its way loose on the fight to surface. Oh well. I’d have to come back and try to find it another time. I was a little disappointed but also determined to do exactly that.

On one of my next trips out there, I went out very deep into the soft stuff. It was impossible to find anything out there. I tried to swim over as close (as it is possible to guess in the middle of a lake) to where I was when I had found the Wheeler bottle. After swimming for several minutes, I noticed that the bottom was getting a little more dense, a little less soft and squishy. I might be approaching either a sandbar or the edge of a drop-off. I began trying to find bottles as best as I could. Right away, I felt something. Within a few moments, I could tell that it was a huchinson soda bottle. It had a blob and strong shoulders but it felt unusually wide or thick. It was too dark and murky for me to see what it was, so, I planned to surface. As I began my ascent, I was hoping that my mind was not playing tricks on me. Sometimes, you think that you’ve found something different by the way a bottle feels but then when you actually see it, it turns out to be the standard fare. I was really hoping on my way up that this bottle was not a regular thin hutch. “It’s going to be a Wheeler Brothers,†I began to fret. This bottle is not extra thick and I’ve found dozens of them. It is not nearly as rare as the crown version I was looking for out there.

When I surfaced, I took a breath and looked at it. It WAS extra thick. It WASN’T from Wheeler Brothers. It was a John Weissenberger bottle. I’ve found Weissenberger hutches with a similar slug plate before, but they always had a mug or faceted base. This bottle was completely round. Plus, it was sparkling clean and mint. It was a really nice example.

As I continued to search, I found the Wheeler Brothers crown soda bottle. Actually, I can’t say for certain that I found THE Wheeler crown that I had previously lost. However, I like to think that I did.

It wasn’t until later at home that I realized that this Weissenberger bottle was not known. Most Weissenberger bottles are not rare. However, all known variants that have a slug plate also have a mug base. My smooth based Weissenberger was a new variant. You don’t always find an unknown bottle from a previously unlisted bottler. Sometimes, finding something different and unique makes for a great day diving.
 

LC

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Great story Bob , thanks for sharing your dive with us , I always find them interesting .
 

blobbottlebob

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Here's what it looks like. Maybe a few more pics later on for comparison.


7243E00C0227474F86CBBFEA6B67DD27.jpg
 

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camron_poe

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its been a good week for huch's we dug 8 whole from one pit this week!!!
 

camron_poe

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It is really nice sometimes when ya dont have first pick but the most disirable thing you find multiples of!!
Great story as well my dream is to dive for bottles some time this summer i know a great spot as well but the water is so gross im not sure i can make myself do it also its deep but we will see ay!
 

cyberdigger

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I just read your story... so well written, I seem to have some seaweed wrapped around my ankle now!![;)] Great contribution, and a beautiful Hutch!!! Thank you!! -Charlie
 

blobbottlebob

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Hey Cameron_poe. If you take up diving you're going to love it. It's a blast. Be careful out there at first, though.

Hey Cyberdigger. Thanks for your sentiment. It was actually too deep for most of the weeds but I appreciate what you meant. I didn't even have to clean that beauty. When I dumped the mud out, that's exactly what it looked like!
 

blobbottlebob

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Here's the Wheeler crown I was hoping to find.

67AAB22BD31A4B4BAF31CA242D044891.jpg
 

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