ANOTHER "GREAT FEATURE ARTICLE" FROM THE PAGES OF
ANTIQUE BOTTLE AND GLASS COLLECTOR MAGAZINE
THE MAGAZINE OF THE ANTIQUE BOTTLE COLLECTING HOBBY
Whether by town, by embossing or by color, there is a world of opportunities for
hobbyists in Colorado.
by Ted Oppelt, Greeley, Colorado
collecting has a meaning that goes beyond the simple accumulation
A collection implies a grouping that has some value extrinsic to the things collected. In the case of Hutchinson soda bottles, it is not enough just to acquire a lot of these old sodas. They must relate to the past in some coherent way.
An example would be a collection of Hutches from an old Colorado mining town, e.g. Leadville, that gives clues to the history of the town, including its population, growth and ultimate decline. The number of soda bottlers, the time of their operation and the numbers of bottles found all relate to the history of a town and its area. This connection of the bottles to history makes a collection enjoyable over a long period of time.
There are a number of goals of Hutchinson soda collectors in Colorado and the United States. One common objective is to obtain a Hutch soda from each of the 50 states. This is a challenge, especially when one gets down to scarce states such as Rhode Island, Alaska, Vermont and Idaho. Several collectors have acquired a complete state collection (Hatcher, 1974) and then, as I did, sold it and went on to other goals.
As with much in our lives, the real fun is the search, and when a collection is complete it may begin to lose its enjoyment.
Figure 1 - Extremely rare Hutchinson sodas from Breckenridge, Erie, and Crested Butte, Colorado.
Other Hutch collectors try to get one of each of the 11
territorial Hutches (Matthews, 1977). I am still looking for the
elusive Idaho territorial Hutch that is embossed "I.T."
Colored Hutches are another category for collectors. There are an estimated 376 of these colorful sodas. The most common colors are green, cobalt blue, other shades of blue and amber. Eleven states have no known colored Hutches (Opellet, 2003; Wood, 2000).
Some collectors look for Hutches made by a particular bottle maker and some collect the quart-size Hutches. Colorado has only one Hutch of this large size. It was used by James Prittie in Denver, 1885-87.
Another goal of some collectors is to try to get all of the known Hutches from one state. In the highly populated Eastern and Midwestern states this would be a monumental task, but in the Western states that had smaller populations in 1880-1910 it is attainable with a lot of effort.
A more realistic goal is to obtain a Hutch from each of the towns that used them within a state. Hutchinson sodas were used in the United States and a few other countries from 1880 to about 1910. This period coincides with the great boom and decline of mining in the Colorado Mountains and the founding and growth of towns on the eastern front range and plains of Colorado. The number of soda bottlers and of Hutch sodas from the Colorado towns of this era reflects the history of these communities.
Figure 2 - Very rare Hutchinson sodas from Aguilar, Grand Junction, and Olathe, Colorado.
Other collectors look for Hutches from other countries
including Canada, Mexico, Cuba and Panama.
This article deals with the 10 most-difficult Colorado town Hutchinsons to find. In Colorado, there are Hutchinson sodas known from 44 towns. Forty-two of these have the town name embossed on them. Two of the 44 have only the bottlers name embossed on them. One of these, known to be from Breckenridge, is embossed: "Thompson & Braddock Soda Bottlers."
The town of Breckenridge was established in 1860. It was a mining town that never grew to be very large. In 1900 it had 978 people and by 1910 had declined to 834.
A.D. Thompson and Dave Braddock had a bottling business in Breckenridge for only two years from 1891-93. The small size of this town and the short tenure of the Thompson and Braddock firm account for the fact that the aqua Hutch from this town is extremely rare. This bottle, made by the Colorado City Glass Co., is shown in Fig. 1.
The second Hutch without a town name is embossed: "This Bottle is the Property of John J. French" and is known to be from Erie. Erie, a small front-range town in southwestern Weld county, was founded in 1870 primarily as a coal mining town with some farming and stock raising. Erie had a population of 662 in 1890 and by 1900 had grown slightly, to 697.
From 1893-95, John J. French had a soda manufacturing company in Erie and one very rare aqua Hutch has been found from his activities, Fig. 1.
Crested Butte is a mining town in the mountains, 40 miles north of Gunnison, Colo. Solver was found here in 1877 and the town was founded in 1879. In 1880 it had a population of 859 and by 1885 there were 1,500 people in Crested Butte. From 1899-1906 there were bottling plants in Crested Butte. Three very rare aqua Hutches have been found from this town.
In about 1900, Michele Welsh and Co. had a soda bottling business in Crested Butte. There is an extremely rare aqua Hutch embossed "Welshs Bottling Works Crested, Butte" from this company. There are two other Hutches from Crested Butte, one embossed "Elk Mountain Bottling Wks. J. Boyle," from 1900. Another Hutch from the same company, about 1902, is embossed
"Oreschnick & Yokes, Crested Butte, Colorado." One of the latter bottles is shown in Fig. 1. A total of approximately five Hutchinson sodas, several of which are damaged, have been found from Crested Butte.
|Figure 3 - Very rare Hutchinson sodas from Del Norte, Silver Cliff, Georgetown and Sterling, Colordao||Figure 4 - Hutchinson sodas with rare paper labels from Crested Butte, Salida, and Silverton, Colorado.|
Another town that had two very rare clear Hutches is Aguilar.
This town in the eastern front range of the Rocky Mountains was
established in 1890 with a population of 1,350, which by 1910 had
declined to 855. It was primarily a coal-mining town.
Frank Baudino was in the livery business in the early 1900s in Aguilar. He was also an agent for the Trinidad Bottling Works. In about 1908 Baudino started the Eagle Bottling Works, which continued until at least 1915. The two clear Hutches with paneled bases from this company are extremely rare, with only four or five known. Several of these bottles are damaged. These bottles were used about 1912 to 1915, which was the end of Hutchinson soda usage, accounting for their rarity. The only difference between these bottles is that one is embossed "Eagle Bottling Works, Frank Baudino, Prop. Aguilar, Colo." and the other lacks the proprietors name. Both have the figure of an eagle on them. One of these bottles is shown in Fig. 2.
Another rare Hutch is from the town of Grand Junction, established in 1882 on the western slope at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. In 1890, it had a population of 3,030 and by 1900 had grown to 3,503.
The first manufacturer of soda water in Grand Junction was Henry G. Wurtz. He used an aqua blob top soda for several years and then, about 1893, used a very rare aqua Hutch with his name on it Fig. 2. There are only three or four of these bottles in collections. In 1895, Wurtz was a fruit grower and, later, manager of the Turner Hall.
Figure 5 - Rare colored Hutchinson sodas from Buena Vista, Colorado.
Several other bottling companies were in business later in
Grand Junction using crown-top bottles.
Another small western-slope town, Olathe, situated 8 miles north of Montrose, was founded in 1881. It had a population of 498 in 1900, but by 1910 had shrunk to 458. It was, and still is, mainly an agricultural center known for its excellent sweet corn. The Olathe Bottling Works started about 1907 with David H. Williams as the proprietor. Williams was also the agent for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.
M.L. Williams was the proprietor in 1911 when this business is last listed.
A rare clear Hutch made by the Western Glass Manufacturing Co. is known from Olathe (Fig. 1). This bottle was used for one year in 1908-1909, toward the end of the Hutch era, which accounts for its rarity.
The small San Luis Valley town of Del Norte was founded on the Rio Grande River in 1872. It was an agricultural center and supply point for the mines in the San Juan Mountains. In 1890 it had a population of 736 and by 1900 had declined slightly to 705. Three soda bottling businesses operated in Del Norte around the turn of the century, two of which used Hutch sodas. The first bottling company, known as the Del Norte Bottling Works, was managed by Charles W. Mahon in 1889-1900. In 1891-93, F.D. Condra was the proprietor. A very rare aqua Hutch has been found from this company.
Another beer and soda bottling company, named the Del Norte Brewing Co., is listed from 1882-1891. A rare aqua Hutch from this company, circa 1889-91, is shown in Fig. 3. Both of the Hutches from Del Norte were made by the Colorado City Glass Co.
The small West Mountain Valley town of Silver Cliff was founded in 1878. In the 1880s it was a booming silver mining town, but the silver panic of 1893 caused it to lose its luster and its population. Some of its residents and businesses moved to nearby West Cliff.
In 1882-1883, H.E. Austin and Co. had a saloon in Silver Cliff, and apparently also bottled soda water for a short time.
An attractive rare aqua Hutch has been found from Silver Cliff, vertically embossed:" Austin & Wilker Manufacturer of Carbonated Beverages, Silver Cliff, Colo." This bottle has a whittled surface and is one of my favorite Colorado Hutchinsons (Fig. 3).
Georgetown, in Clear Creek Canyon, 50 miles west of Denver, was established in 1866 as one of the earliest silver mining towns in Colorado. It was strictly a mining town and today has many buildings on the Register of Historic Places. It is a favorite summer home area for Denverites.
In 1880 Georgetown had a 2,156 residents, but by 1910 it had declined to 950 people. In 1882-1885 Louis Summer had a bottling works in Georgetown. In 1885 Joseph S. Beaman purchased this company and moved it to Central City, where he was a soda bottler for many years.
Asa Fyler and Owen Lynch had a soda water business in Georgetown from 1891-92. Later Fyler moved to Denver where he was proprietor of the Silver State Bottling Co. from 1893 to 1894. One rare aqua, paneled-base Hutch with "Fyler & Lynch" on it has been found from Georgetown (Fig. 3).
Another Colorado town from which Hutches are very rare is Sterling. This town on the northeastern plains of Colorado was founded in 1875. It is located on the South Platte River and the Union Pacific Railroad passes through it. It had 956 people in 1880 and in 1900 had only grown to 998. Sterling is primarily a farming and stock raising center and is the home of Northeastern Community College. M.D. Roseleip founded the Sterling Bottling Co. in 1910, or possibly earlier. In 1911-12 he had a partner named Butler, and in 1913-15 men named Riley and Jarvie were the proprietors.
There is a very rare clear or purple Hutch from this company (Fig. 3). It is rare because the town was small and this bottle was used at the end of the Hutch era. Two later soda bottling companies in Sterling used crown-top sodas.
Figure 6 - Sodas from common towns: Denver, Pueblo, Leadville, and Trinidad, Colorado.
Some Hutchinson sodas had paper labels, indicating the flavor
of the soda in the bottle. Usually on dug bottles the label is
gone, and very rarely a bottle is found with its original label.
Three Hutches with labels from Crested Butte, Salida, and
Silverton are shown in Figure 4.
Although not as rare as some of the bottles described above, the two colored Hutches from Colorado are highly prized by collectors. They were both used by G.A. Montag in Buena Vista about 1887-89. The earlier one is a beautiful lime green with many tiny seed bubbles, and the amber Hutch has the town name misspelled "Bueannavista". Montag did not live in Buena Vista, but in Como, 42 miles away, where he had a saloon and bottling works in 1889-1892. He commuted daily to Buena Vista on the train. The two Montag Hutches are shown in Fig. 5.
Each of the Hutch sodas described above are very difficult to find, and collectors who have them have a prized antique.
The rarity of Hutches from each town is determined by two related factors: (1) the number of bottlers operating in the town and the length of time they were in business, and
(2) the population of the town during the Hutch era, 1880-1910.
The peak year for the use of Hutchinson soda bottles in Colorado was 1900, when at least 34 companies were using this type of bottle. The 1900 populations for all of the "Hutch towns" are shown in Table 1. There are 11 Colorado towns with only one known Hutchinson soda and these towns had bottlers for only one or two years, except for Montrose where there was a bottler for four years. Whereas, Denver and several other towns with large populations had bottlers in business for 20 or 30 years.
As would be expected, the larger towns in Colorado during the period 1880-1910 have the most common and least expensive Hutch sodas. Denver, with a population of 133,859 in 1900 and many soda bottlers, has approximately 50 Hutchinson sodas ranging from common to very rare. Some collectors have all, or nearly all, of the Denver Hutches.
The rarity of the town Hutches in this article is based on the judgement of three veteran Colorado Hutch collectors. Pueblo, the second largest town, located south of Denver on the Arkansas River, had a number of soda bottlers and 22 different Hutches, some of which are embossed: "So. Pueblo".
The town of Colorado Springs, between Denver and Pueblo, had 21,085 inhabitants in 1900, making it the third largest town in Colorado. In spite of its size, there are only five different Hutches from this town and none are common. It seems that Colorado Springs should have more Hutch sodas. Perhaps, the soda water needs of the people in Colorado Springs were met by the soda bottlers in nearby Colorado City, or it may be that the old dumps were covered by construction before they could be explored.
Leadville, established in 1877, soon became the third largest town in the state. By 1880 it had a population of over 10,000. It was a boom-and-bust mining town that by 1910 had decreased to 7,500. The large open dump in Leadville has been available to diggers for many years and has yielded many blob top and Hutchinson sodas. The Leadville Hutches from the Francis Schmidt and Isaac Houghland bottling plants are some of the most common Hutches in Colorado.
Another town with common Hutches is Trinidad. It had a population of 5,345 in 1900 and had soda bottlers for 22 years. There are 15 different Hutches known from this front-range coal-mining town in southern Colorado.
Four of the most common Colorado Hutches from Denver, Pueblo, Leadville and Trinidad are shown in Fig. 6.
The locations of the 44 Colorado towns with Hutchinson sodas are shown on the map of the. Twenty-two of these towns are in the Colorado Mountains or mountain parks. Most of these were established during the mining ruches of the late 1860s to the early 1880s. They grew rapidly for a few years and then declined as the minerals played out or prices declined.
Fourteen of the 44 towns, located in the eastern front range of the Rocky Mountains, were founded in the late 1850s to early 1870s. Several were coal-mining towns and others were mining supply centers and agricultural communities. Most of these did not suffer from the mining busts, but continued to grow and are today the largest cities in Colorado.
Four of the "Hutch towns" are on the high plains of eastern Colorado. These are: Fort Morgan, Greeley, Sterling and La Junta. They are agricultural centers founded during the 1870s on the rivers and early railroad lines. They grew modestly during the mining boom and bust era.
The final three towns, Grand Junction, Olathe and Montrose, are on the western slope beyond the mountains. They were established in the 1880s and are still in a sparsely populated area of Colorado.
As the map shows, nearly all of the towns with Hutchinson sodas are located on the four great rivers with their headwaters in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
When I first began collecting Hutchinson sodas in the 1960s, many Colorado Hutches were quite common and inexpensive because there were few serious collectors. But now, all but the most common Hutches are hard to find, particularly those in good condition. The rare Hutches are nearly all owned by collectors who do not want to sell or trade them. Only when a collector passes away or decides to sell his/her collection are rare bottles available, and the at a high price. Most of the Colorado Hutch collectors still need some of the rare bottles to complete their town collection, and only one has a Hutch from each of the 44 Colorado towns.
Keep your eye out for the Colorado Hutches in this article, you may find a valuable bottle!
- Hatcher, Howard; 1974. Hutchinson
Fever. Old Bottle Magazine,
Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 16-20
- Matthews, Gerald B.; 1977. Collecting
Territorial Hutchinsons. Old Bottle
Magazine, Col. 10, No. 10, pp. 40-41.
- Oppelt, Eric; 2003. Map of Colorado
Towns with Hutchinson Sodas.
- Oppelt, Ted; 2003. Colored Hutchinsons in
the United States. Antique Bottle and
Glass Collector, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 10-13.
- Preble, Glen, Editor; 1987. Impressed in
Time: Colorado Beverages, Jugs and
Etc., 1859-1915. Antique Bottle Collectors
of Colorado, Denver.
- Schulze, Suzanne (compiler); 1976. A
Century of the Colorado Census.
University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.
- Wood, Zang; Colored Hutchinsons.
Sunbelt Publications, Flora Vista, New
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