Dump digging and other assorted finds from Central Illinois

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Plumbata

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Hey there, i figured that i'd show some items of note discovered since my last thread, which aren't particularly vomuminous considering the winter frozenness and my obligation to at least pretend that i care about my college education. College is BS if you have the ability to make it on your own without it, and as such i seriously regret wasting my time with UIUC. One does not need a degree to start a successful business. I may rethink this statement and appreciate the diploma when my body is old and tired in 40 years, but until then...

I'd rather be diggin'!

Another concern I would like to address is the possible perception of my posts as being pretentious and irritating. I've been rather angry and disillusioned lately, and I come off strong when presented with the wonderful anonyminity of the internet in cases which I feel strongly about, but i want it to be known that in real interpersonal communication i am unusually meek. I am sure that I pissed Tigue off immensely, and others as well, but I couldn't resist wasting my and your time by overcoming the perceived challenges presented to me. It is entertaining, even though I couldn't give an owl's hoot less about it all. It is not often that I am contested in person, so i admit that I have overreacted, considering the nature of this medium, and at times diverged from the purpose of this site.


An awesome hand blown slugplated soda bottle from "Twin City Bottling Works Urbana, Illinois" then under the slug plate it reads "Registered" and on the reverse "This Bottle Not To Be Sold M.B. & G. CO. 1.," indicating it was produced by the Massillon Bottle & Glass Company of Massillon, OH, which was only in business from 1900-1904. I saw this bottle covered in sludge in the middle of a creek, and I debated stepping with my dry shoes into the water so I could get to it. I looked at it more closely and saw a slugplate under the algae, so i decided to get wet!
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Two rare mold variants of the Coca Cola soda (C.C. Soda) bottle. The first one was heavily damaged and melted and found this past Wednesday, but retains enough information to be identified as a special mold made to commemorate the 1925 Illini homecoming game against Michigan. I hate watching sports and consider it all a monumental waste of time, but don't mind it when associated with good bottles. To each his own though, as i have always seen sports as a common ground for men to get together and drink beer and be manly, though not much more. The male infatuation with sports almost seems forced by the societal environment we are brought up in (i have no patience for institutions or actions which seem forced), but for some it is a sincere manner of personal and physical expression, so I understand. Props if you derive enjoyment from watching others run around smacking and grabbing balls. That is something which I will never be able to do, and thus causes slight problems when interacting with my more typical peers. Some can't understand why I don't care about sports rivalries, but they are generally quite boring people who only focus on what they feel they are expected to have an active knowledge of. None of it will affect one's personal life unless you are 1/100,000 who can truly excell in this realm. And there I go ranting again... Note the school mascot Chief Illiniwek's head. One of these coca colas in good shape sold for 255.00 on ebay recently, so it is a damn good item if found whole. The area i found it in was a big dump that was generally not burned, so complete ones may be in there somewhere. The other is the same general mold without the embossed chief, and i don't know much about it. These were made during the age of the hobbleskirt so i don't know what to think. Interesting variants though.
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Excellent and in all likelihood rather scarce Half Pint "Champaign Sanitary Milk Co. (within cross: Safety First) 415 E. UVI. Ave. (reverse: Wash and Return)" milk bottle. The bottom of the milk bottle is embossed T.M'F'G CO. 21, made in 1921 I presume. The 30-40 year local milk collector hasn't seen a half pint one (nor anyone else at the club) so it is probably quite a good one.
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Mini-Jug, perhaps entirely unique, and most likely from Cairo, IL. The handle is unfortunately broken, and it is stained by rust, but it is what it is. The fact that it says consolation in bold makes me thing that it was a runner-up prize in some small long forgotten local contest and was probably one of a kind, or one of only a few consolation prizes. Have any of you ever seen a jug that says "CONSOLATION"? help me out here please. Anyone know/have an idea what pottery company made it? It reads:

"~>CONSOLATION<~
Pure Cider Vinegar
New York Store,
~> Merc, Co. Cairo,"

The last line should probably read
"~> Merc, Co. Cairo, ILL <~"
But the way they created the stencil (or way they used smaller stencils) would have made the last line longer and thus mess up the centering. This crudeness is another reason why i believe this maybe one of a kind. It was from the New York Store Mercantile Company of Cairo, IL which was apparently a pretty successful business for decades. Cairo has half the people it did in 1870 and is quite the ghost town now, and thus is probably very good to dig in. I bet diggerdaveb has hammered it, as well as many others, but guaranteed there is tons left to be found there.
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Shot of the refuse layer in my main dump in Peoria. Some cool stuff peeking out.
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Unlisted "Durkin" bottle from the Durkin pharmacy of Peoria uncovered in the refuse layer pictured above. I took it into the bottle club meeting later that day (3rd wednesday of March) and learned that it is indeed very rare to find bottles from that pharmacy with such scant embossing. Underneath is a Nevada quarter with the weakest strike i've ever seen in a modern coin.
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This perfume bottle was dug several months ago but I didn't think much of it until i found that it wasn't in the bottle book. It says "Block and Kuhl Co." which was a very well known department store in Peoria, which assumed that name in 1898 i believe. I didn't check the book because I was sure bottles from there were well known, but I was wrong! I took it to the club and the old timers loved it.
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Two splendid bottles, both pontiled, which were some of the pharmacy bottles in the Ziegeler pharmacy, of Peoria. They both have hand painted labels, over which a plate of curved glass is sealed to protect the delicate waxy base and the clarity and brilliance of the black white and gold label. The labels are in great shape, considering their age. The one on the left held "TR. CANNAB. IND." Know what that was? Tincture of Cannabis Indica, which would have been a powerful alcoholic superstone solution that would put a pharmacist behind bars nowadays just for having around. It is arguably the most valuable, out of the hundreds of varieties manufactured, aside from laudanum and opiate solutions, and perhaps cocaine. The next bottle reads "TR CINCHON" which was a tincture of Cinchona, that being an alcoholic extract of the quinine alkaloids in quinine tree/shrub barks, which were indispensable in the treatment of malaria and fevers. Not as cool as a medicinal marijuana bottle but visually appealing nonetheless. My dad was at an estate sale and called me asking about the value of these and other pharmacy bottles, and thank God he did! I had him pick them up instantaneously, 33 bucks for them both.
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Peoria Pottery 1 gallon jug unearthed by my father at my Peoria dump. Stamped "Peoria Pottery" on the bottom, a business which closed in 1904.
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"Trade Mark THE DANDY" canning jar from the same fruitful dumpsite. It is flawless, aside from a slight haziness.
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A little less than 1/2 (though most consolidated) of the many keepers from the Peoria dumpsite i've been mining. Note all the stoneware, which is always fun to pull out. All the crates and the large wooden chest are packed with nice bottles and whatnot, all uncovered only since May 07. It hasn't even been a single year of serious digging!
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Very cool stamped 2 gallon beehive jug from the dump, called such because it resembles a traditional bee skep, which was usually woven out of straw. This came out from below the water table, and I want to say it is a Peoria pottery piece, maybe from the later 1870s, but I do not know. It has glaze chipping around the mouth but is very solid besides that.
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A female-threaded lightbulb from a different TOC Peoria ash dump, but with more sparse finds than my main dump. I found a half dozen of these bulbs. I believe it is from before or concurrent with the 1904 mazda patent male threaded bulbs but i'm not sure.
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"Walter Kephart Petoskey, Mich." This rolled out of the top refuse layer of the ash dump as I was caving in some overburden. I was very excited about this because I had become acquainted with the stones that bear the same name when I was 5 (resembles my last name) and I have found several of them over the years. I did some halfassed research and I think that Kephart got in trouble for selling peaches preserved with formaldehyde in 1904. Thank God for the clean food and drugs act, eh? The town is home to only 6,100 people nowadays, so I imagine that a rich Peorian had a vacation property on the lake up near Petoskey and brought it back home for me to find 100 years later.
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Bottle embossed with "Mitchell's Drug Store Springfield Ill." 4 1/2"H X 1 9/16" W. This size was not listed in the local bottle book, so i bought it for 1.00 off ebay thanks to an improper and vague title listing. Yay!
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My dad came across this bottle while searching online, and he told me it would be my Christmas present, which I didn't mind. It was won at the opening bid of 9.99 and is a pretty interesting old pharmacy bottle. The old timers at the bottle club had never seen it before, and it was recorded for inclusion in the next book.

A previously unknown F. C. Bourscheidt & Bro. Library Pharmacy Peoria bottle which was obtained by the seller from an 1890s privy in Iowa. And why in God's name would a pharmacy be in a library? Or was it a bookstore/pharmacy?
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Colonial American coin silver spoon. 14.9 grams. marked "I. M. Micksch" a (supposedly) rare alternative mark for "I.M. Miksch" John Mathew Micksch 1754 - 1823, a silversmith of Bethlehem Pa.

This spoon is monogrammed J E F on the handle.

This was unearthed in the main bottle dump that I have been exploiting, and apparently predates the town of Peoria itself by quite some time. It must have been brought to Peoria by an early and somewhat wealthy settler, so researching the initials might be a fruitful endeavor.
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A sterling silver spoon unearthed in a 1920s-1930s dump adjacent to my main 1895-1910ish dump. 21.8 grams. It is engraved "Mary Jane" in the bowl of the spoon, and " '15" on the back side of the handle, i imagine signifying the graduation year of some young lady bearing that notorious name. I think it's totally awesome.
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For quite some time now (the past 13 years...) I have been keeping my eye on a strata of shale that overlays the Pennsylvanian (late carboniferous) coal beds here in central Illinois, as it contains quite an array of interesting fossils which are far removed from the typical Mississippian fossils that float about around Illinois. I have found a lot of Listracanthus denticles, which look like feathers but are the spine/fins of a primitive eel/shark/fish, I found one rare ammonite, and just recently I discovered a splendid Agassizodus Corrugatus tooth, owned by a "Crusher Shark" of the late pennsylvalian/early permian, so I understand. That puts it at roughly 300 million years old. I was walking a creek in a smaller local town looking for bottle dumps, and though I came up dry as far as dumps were concerned, I added an incredible outcropping of black shale to my watch list. The local university paleontologist didn't even know that the shale beds not 3 miles from his office were fossiliferous, and he will be off the wall when he finds out that such a rare protoshark was in Peoria County.

And this shale is great, you grab a slab, and it has tons of perfectly flat fractures, so you just peel apart the stone leaves with your fingers, like flipping through the pages of a TRUE geology book!

I dabbed it with water to show the spongy bone of the root of the tooth, versus the solidness of the tooth enamel. I spent over an hour carefully exposing the tooth, then took the slab to a grinder to make it a nice size. The tooth has 5 very pronounced ridges on the exposed face, good for masticating those crunchy ancient fish
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I used to walk the bay back in Maryland and find hundreds of Miocene teeth and have a blast, but this tooth is on a whole other, 20 times as ancient and far more rare level. I have looked for years and this is the first tooth from the shale I've seen, whereas you would have to look for years in MD before you had a day where you found any less than 50 teeth! I might try to write a paper about the denticles and tooth and other fossils I found from this locale, as it may be well received in the anthropological circle. Or not, who knows.
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That's most of the noteworthy stuff as of late, and i see no need to bore you all with the common crap i've gathered along with this good stuff, so you get to see the distillate of the discoveries.

Happy hunting and happier digging!
 

idigjars

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Hi Plumb, great finds. That amber Dandy fruit jar is sweet! You can buy reproduction metal for those, just need to find the lid now. Congrats on all your finds. Thanks for sharing with us. Paul
 

Staunton Dan

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I see that you found it to this forum. You will get a lot more hits on your posts here and there are some very knowledgable diggers to help you along. Nice post BTW.
 

Plumbata

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Thanks guys, and I had no idea that repro metal was available but it is a good thing to know, thanks idigjars! And Dan, yes one gets more hits here but it doesn't really matter to me, and I think i have made a poor first impression here anyway so I don't expect to be treated with much consideration. It is just the internet and will have little effect on one's ability to find worthy artifacts.

Here are some more finds of note:

The finds from a recent ash-dump dig, including a "Lyons Kathairon For The Hair New York" which I broke as I was helping my dad bottle some home-brewed ginger ale in the kitchen. I was pissed but it is far more common than the Bowman's Pectoral Syrup
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Larger 6 5/8th inch bowman's juxtaposed with the known 5 inch version that I excavated from a different dumpsite, one of 2 smaller ones. The large size was not listed in the 1990 bottle book, but I am not certain that it was completely unknown since publication. It is a rare item nonetheless.
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A weisbruch bros pharmacy bottle from the above ash dump, a size unlisted in the book and a bottle that is very scarce in general regardless of size. The embossing is absolutely spectacular.
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A huge hole I dug by myself in search of a tasty refuse layer. If the privys around here don't get much deeper than 10 feet then I can dig them all alone when I get a probe.
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Rare style of basket, and almost undoubtedly a unique relic from this particular business, and perhaps one of the oldest surviving attributable shopping baskets from a Peoria grocery or goods store, period. It is of solid construction, and stenciled on 2 sides "MERKLE CO" which was a dry goods/grocery store sometime in the late 1800's, though I really don't know much about it and need to do more research. None of the staves are broken, though some are loose at the juncture with the bottom, which is a single slab of wood that has gotten a bit warped over time. The basket was made by hand (duh) and resembles modern hand-held grocery baskets. This style is their archetype. I got this for pennies via an estate sale of a personal friend and wonderful woman who taught me how to cuss like a drunken sailor. She was one of the best people that i've ever met and I miss her dearly. There is some thin wire near the base that i used to noninvasively reinforce the staves back in 5th grade for her. It feels weird owning it now, but at least it still has an appreciative home which knows the associated family history of the piece.
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PhilaBottles

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neat stuff, what is that privy lined with?

next time you see my brother at the bottle club meeting, slap him around and remind him im coming out.

Matt
 

dollarbill

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Hey Plumbata
Just wanted to say I like the stoneware not that theres not some great glass too Just happen to see that youve mined out a lot of nice size pieces of stoneware and I myself like it . . How about inks I see one i do belive or is that a polish .Anyway thanks for sharing and good luck diggen in 08 Plumbata .
bill
 

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