Found a Cooper Bros Chestertown MD Bottle in a Creek. Found out Company's Info Today

kyle369

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I am one happy guy today.
My quest to find out what the Cooper Bros Company in Chestertown, MD was started a year or two ago when I pulled up this barnacled beauty from the depths of a local river called Still Pond Creek:

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I know it's hard to see from the picture, but this an embossed soda bottle with very thick glass, which is paneled both on the shoulder area and near the base, and there's a big, slightly indented circle between the paneled spaces, and inside it reads:

COOPER BROS
CHESTERTOWN
MARYLAND

Above the circle is stated CONTENTS 6 1/2 FL. OZS.
Below it is REGISTERED/25 B 9

Today I finally went to the Kent County Historical Society in Chestertown. I had previously called and asked if they had any information on Cooper Bros. Indeed, they had an old (1975) article from a magazine called the Kent Shoreman that was written by a local antiques and bottle collector. And guess what? On the very FIRST page of the three-page article, there's an illustration of the EXACT same bottle I have!

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If you guys want to read the full text of the article itself, I'll type it out and post it in a direct reply to this beginning post on this thread, but here's a basic summary of what it says:

In 1922, Mr. J. Arthur Cooper and his family moved from the farming community of Worton (where I live!!!) to the scenic riverside city of Chestertown (the seat of Kent County in Maryland). At the end of August of 1929 (literally just before the start of the Crash of '29 and the Great Depression), he and his brother George H. Cooper formed a partnership, and formed the Cooper Bros. Bottling Company, buying out the Graves Brothers soda drink plant, a meager 800 sq. ft. one-story building. Their machinery included a bottle washer for cleaning and sanitizing both new and returned bottles, a carbonizing and water mixing machine, and a bottling machine with a dual-purpose valve that could inject both syrup and carbonated water into the bottles. Twitchell and Company in Philadelphia, and a forgotten Baltimore company, supplied their flavoring, which cost a hefty $8.00 a gallon. Using a specific mixture of concentrated flavoring, sugar syrup, and carbonated water, Cooper Bros produced a variety of sodas. The flavors were Grape, Ginger Ale, Sarsaparilla, Orange, Root Beer, and Cream Soda. The bottles were sold for 5 cents a piece and 75 cents for a case of 12. The bottles were manufactured by Buck Glass Co. in Baltimore (their non-serif B mark is on my bottle), the crown caps (in the color of the soda's flavor and with Cooper Bros advertising) by Crown Cork and Seals in the same city. The partnership between the brothers only lasted for the first three years of operation, 1929 to 1931. The company shut down in 1934, as the depression meant customers could no longer pay the deposit on the glass bottles, most of which were simply thrown away. George H. Cooper died in late 1974. J. Arthur Cooper was still alive and living in Chestertown at the time the article was written and had just retired from banking.

I couldn't help but go "WOW!" when I read about Cooper Bros. As it turns out, my soda bottle was made by an EXTREMELY short-lived (only 6 years of operation!) local company right in the middle of the art deco and depression era!!! I can't even begin to imagine how rare this bottle is, and how much it might be worth (for me, it has a huge personal value); what are your thoughts? This has now become my favorite find from the river among several glass bottles I've found, and I'm sure to hang on to it for a long time! I hope you enjoyed reading about Cooper Bros and finding out about this wonderful rare bottle as much as I did! Until next time, Kyle :icon_thumright:
 

villagenut

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I think it's great when we find something that really excites us....something local always does it to me. Congrats.
 
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kyle369

kyle369

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I think it's great when we find something that really excites us....something local always does it to me. Congrats.

Thank you for the congrats! Good luck with your treasure hunting! Kyle
 

epackage

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Nice find, I personally don't consider 6 years extremely short lived because I collect from an area with dozens of bottlers that last were in business two years or less. If they were a popular bottler there could have been thousands, if not ten of thousands, of their bottles produced by whatever glass company they used. The majority may be busted or buried in landfills adding to the hard to find nature of your bottle, but there's really know way of knowing how many are in the hands of local collectors without checking with any bottle clubs that might be in your area. Continued success in your bottle hunting excursions...
 
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kyle369

kyle369

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Nice find, I personally don't consider 6 years extremely short lived because I collect from an are with dozens of bottlers that last were in business two years or less. If they were a popular bottler there could have been thousands, if not ten of thousands, of their bottles produced by whatever glass company they used. The majority may be busted or buried in landfills adding to the hard to find nature of your bottle, but there's really know way of knowing how many are in the hands of local collectors without checking with any bottle clubs that might be in your area. Continued success in your bottle hunting excursions...

Thanks! I can't imagine living in an area with dozens of bottlers who were active two years or less. Must make for some great history! The Cooper Bros Bottles were made by Buck Glass Company in Baltimore; their non-serif B mark is on my bottle, and was confirmed as that company in the article. They were some of the first bottles to be shipped to the Eastern Shore by truck; previous to this, personalized bottles for eastern shoremen were delivered by steamboat. I'll have to see if there are any local bottle clubs, but so far I am only aware of three existing intact Cooper Bros bottles; my example, the one that the bottle collector who wrote the article had to create the illustration, and one that sold on Ebay for an unknown price (no WAY am I giving info to Worthpoint to see the price). May you have success in your bottle hunting as well!
 

WannaDig3687

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Great history lesson! There's a bottle show coming up in Elkton, Maryland.
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Sweet find, congratulations! :occasion14:
 

yakker

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Good on you- doing all your homework!! It's great when you figure out those kinds of details and the history of your find ;) It's also really cool for me to hear about things that are found where I used to live and treasure-hunt!
These two Pepsimint bottles were found together near Chestertown and have a history similar to yours-- and they are among my very favorite things ;)
Cheers- and happy hunting, Kyle!

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Indian Steve

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Yakker, Nice Bottles. I haven't seen a post from you in a while. Are you still rock & Indian Relic hunting?
 

yakker

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Yakker, Nice Bottles. I haven't seen a post from you in a while. Are you still rock & Indian Relic hunting?
Hey Steve! I am doing both, but it's been a rough couple years coping with my very old dad and his slow (then rapid) decline... (sigh) But all's well now, and I'm venturing out to old haunts and trying to find new places too. It's just such a different environment than what I got used to on the Eastern Shore. Ended up hitting a small dump in the woods behind my house. The results were an amusing assortment of tiny metal cars and trucks in various states of decomp. So at this point, I'll take whatever treasure I can find!
P.S. Sorry for thread-jacking, Kyle :wink:
 

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