The year 1999 seemed like a non-stop digging adventure, starting off in
the spring with "The Old Foundation", and more abandoned farmsteads and
woodlots to carry me over until I found the site I still dig: the Brampton
In 1999, digging partner
Darren Spindler was now a Four Seasons bottle club member (we had gone to
our first bottle show in Toronto in 1998) and introduced me to club
members who came to Brampton to see our tiny collection and go digging for
the day. At the end of the day, we went to check out a 1940’s section of
the Brampton dump were diggers had found old milk bottles.
Darren had heard there was a
turn-of-the-century section somewhere within the dump. Some weeks later he located
it. This location had a few relative new digging holes, but many refilled
in areas that had the look of years of digging. The heyday of digging was
in the 60’s and 70’s and I’m sure people could tell some stories of how
well they did here. My story is of the overlooked spots that produced many
good items for Darren and me.
I chose the softest location
with turned over ash near the surface and it soon became my first moon
crater. Darren was looking for a virgin untouched location, but first he
had to dig through two feet of dried clay. I new I was re-digging old
holes, but my plan was to be thorough by digging deep to the clay bottom
and expanding in all directions.
All aqua embossed bottles
are keepers in my books, so now I have a "Nonsuch International Stove
Dressing and Shoe Polish" collection. Don’t laugh these common bottles may
not be impressive on there own, but generate interest when amassed in a
group collection of different sizes, variations and brands. Take for
example my sauce, coffee & food bottles, with name brands like "Holbrok &
Co", "Paterson’s", "Symington", "Daddies", "Lea & Perrins", "Carton H.P.",
"Seely’s", "Aylmer Canning Co", "Rowat & Co." and
"Bovril" to name a few. I can thank the Brampton dump for this crude air
bubbled filled glass collection, and isn’t this after all what glass
collecting is all about, not there value?
Now that I had many new
bottles, what better place was there to share them with and learn more
about them, than with the bottle collectors at the Four Season’s Bottle Club . If the charming club diggers I had first met where any
indication of the rest of the club then I definitely had to join. The club
meets once a month at a member’s home, or the central location of Avenue
Road & the 401 recreation center.
Before my 1999 bottle digging year came to an end, I unearthed many
bottles that previous diggers had just barely missed. Not far from a
plastic bag (full of Soy sauce pottery from China, and an unmarked pottery
master ink) that was put in a refilled hole, I found my first quart soda.
An old style aqua "Cummer
& Son Hamilton Ont." bottle came hissing out of the ground,
as the gaseous air escaped from the lips of this long buried bottle. This
growing moon crater also produced my first straight-sided coke and an aqua
Fauman Toronto" soda water bottle. Darren’s location did not produce quantity,
but he found a nice dark brown pottery Master ink, stamped Lambeth Doulton
Pottery. Darren also found an aqua "Lydia E Pinkham's Vegetable Compound",
"T. Eaton Co. Ltd. 190 Yonge Street Toronto", two Ridgeway
butter dishes, a "Healy & Bigelow's Kickapoo Indian Oil" and a clear
Underwood's master ink with a ground lip.
Here is a partial list of
some other interesting finds that year: my first four pieces of pottery
smoking pipes marked T.D. or W. White; my first and only Canadian Pot lid,
prepared Glycerine for chapped hands, sore lips, and sunburn";
beautiful blue pottery tiger whiskey jugs from China; a dark brown
pottery Master Ink; some Case gins; honey pots and a ginger pot with lid
from China; my first bunch of mustard crocks of different sizes, colours
and pottery stamps, as well as four handled jugs with no markings, cream
sides and dark brown tops. I dug ten aqua "Castoria Chas Fletchers," (may I
stop finding these things), an aqua "R.R.R. Radway & Co. New York," clear
"Doct Kellogg’s Snuff," clear "Glyco Thymoline Kress," and a clear "Murine
Eye Remedy Chicago."
The weather was getting cold
and digging in late November was new for me. I just had unearthed another
aqua "Old Irish Whiskey Mitchell & Co Belfast Imperial quart," when I
heard a voice call down to me. "What are you doing down there?" I was a
little startled and as I raised my head out of the hole my eyes came
across a pair of well polished shoes and red pin stripe up a black pant
leg, which could only mean one thing: I was busted.
Well, this Peel
Regional police officer was younger than me and I told him "I'm digging
for old bottles." "Step out of the hole," I was instructed. "Is that a fire
pit your digging?" Again my response, "No I'm digging antique bottles." "Is
this your stuff?" he asked, making a broad gesture to the whole bloody surrounding
countryside. "This is my stuff," I said, indicating my shovel and bag of bottles.
"Where is your place of residence? Is it here?" he asked. "Yes I live in Brampton."
"Is it here, is this your stuff?" I held back my frustration as I new I
was going to be bombarded with questions (that for some reason seem to
strike me as odd.) I replied "what stuff?" The police officer asked with
a louder voice, "I’m asking you were you live and is this your stuff?"
(again with that broad gesture.) Then it hit me, In his mind, I was a homeless person
with filthy clothes living in a dump, and was being asked if a tree branch
lean-to wrapped in plastic was my shelter. While dusting myself off and
trying to sound professional, "No. I own a house in Brampton and that stuff
is used by three homeless men you see around here."
Now there’s silence
and he's just looking at me. I said "I came here by car and I have a job. I
will be going to work this afternoon." I gave him a description of the car,
license and location, my place of work, phone number and physical description
of myself (as I did not want to hike back to the car for identification.)
"You seem to know this routine, have you gone through this before?" he
asks. The Officer said he was going to verify my information and to have
a good day as there was “no law against digging.” Well that was a relief!
The police cleared out all the homeless men so I could continue digging
undisturbed. Who said my municipal taxes are going to waste in Peel?
In the year of the
Millennium, I couldn’t wait to get started. One of my early finds and
probably best bottle that year was a "James
Crozier Orangeville Ont." aqua blob top quart. The following is
another partial listing of bottles dug in the Brampton dump in 2000: an aqua
new version "Cummer & Son Hamilton Ont." quart; a light aqua "Carling London Ont."
beer; an aqua "Whyte & Mackay Glasgow" whiskey; an aqua "Gordon
Dry Gin London England"; two hair bottles, a "Lubys for the hair" (amber);
and a "Canadian trade booster mark hair tonic and dandruff cure Windsor Ont."
Believe it or not, I had the assistance of a ground hog who dug out a "B.F.C."
1oz. cobalt poison that it left at the base of its hole. Under my on steam I added an
to be Taken Use with Caution" 1oz cobalt poison to my collection. If you
ask me what I collect, I would have to say "everything" as shown by the rest of this list:
"Dalleys Ink" (cork/aqua); "S.S. Stafford’s Inks made in Canada" (cobalt
master); "Taylors perfumes" (clear); "Chapoteaut Paris" (clear); "Harmony
of Boston" (clear); "Hoyt’s German Cologne" (clear); "Roger & Gallet Paris"
(clear); "Gem" (aqua/ ground lip/pat nov26-67 15 –on bottom); two butter
dishes marked "Royal Ironstone China Johnson Bros England" and "J & G Meakin Hanley England";
a redware spittoon; a dark brown pottery pouring pitcher with handle and no
markings; a one ounce "True Dentalloy We Guarantee
an Ounce of Alloy Not a Bottle
Full" (clear); a "R.V. Pierce M.D. Dr Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery
Buffalo N.Y." (aqua); an "A.J. White London" (aqua); a "Dr T A Slocum Limited
Toronto Hope is the anchor of the soul Psychine the greatest of tonics" (aqua);
Menthol liniment" (aqua); a "Dr Chase’s syrup linseed & turpentine
Manson Bates & Co" (aqua); two sizes of "Florida water Murray & Lanman Druggists
New York" (aqua); a "Phillips Milk of Magnesia" (cornflower blue); a "Nerviline price 50c prepared only by the Catarrhozone
Canada" (aqua); a "Lydia E. Pinkhams Vegetable compound" (aqua); an "Ayers
Cherry Pectoral Lowell Mass" (aqua)" a "Dr Baxters Mandrakes Bitters Lord
Bros proprietors Burlington V.T." (aqua); a "Delavau’s syrup whooping couch
croup Philadelphia" (aqua); an "L.M. Green Woodbury N.J." (aqua); a "Three-in-One
Oil Co" (aqua); a "Wyeth & Bros Philada" (clear); a "The T. Eaton
Drug Co limited Toronto" (clear); a "Mckesson & Robis" (amber); a "Frontier
Asthma Co. Buffalo N.Y." (amber); a "Dr Kellogg’s Eye water prepared by
Northrop & Lyman Co Ltd Toronto" (clear); a "Carnhan’s Carlton & Church
Toronto" (clear); a "Carter drug Co Toronto Ont" (clear); a "Fairchild Bos &
Foster pure Pepsine in scales New York" (clear); a "Merrils Marvellous
Medicine" (clear); a "Chas Coopert Co New York" (clear); and a "Howarths Garminative Mixture" (clear).
Having been born and raised in Brampton, these last three bottles are
special to me: a "Brampton Dairy Brampton" quarter pint bowling style milk; an aqua
Hagyard Chemist" and a "Jack
Drug Co / The Rexall Store phone 200 Brampton" (clear/ size 3vl).
discovering what it was like to be a father of a baby girl but still
managed to get in a few digs over the course of the summer. A few items by him were: "Rowat
& Co. Glascow Reg'd No 13 / 2782"; an "Old Irish Wiskey Mitchell & Co. of
Belfast quart"; an aqua blown ink bottle, six shear top "Daddies Favorite
Sauce"; "Fellows Chemist N.B."; an "R.H. Thompson Dispensing Chemist 1284
Yonge St." and an assortment of common finds.
For the years 2001 to present, the digging finds just seem to get even
better for Darren and me. So stay tune for The Brampton Dump Volume #2.
Dump Volume #1 © COPYRIGHT Maurice Kenny
This story appeared in the Canadian Bottle
and Stoneware Collector magazine volume 8, issue 4 - February 2004.