16 Jun 2022
Starting with the bottle (#126), we find it has an applied Baltimore loop seal top, which dates to the late 1880s to early 1890s. The S B & G Co maker's mark has a wide usage range, so it does not help to narrow this estimate. The embossing on this beer-type bottle, RED JACKET BOTTLING WORKS, signifies a bottling works, not a brewery. Given these features, the bottle was most likely used by an agent that bottled and distributed beer for a brewery striving to extend its market.
An exhaustive search of local business directories and newspapers, unfortunately, did not reveal this bottling works by name. In the past, it was common to refer to a business by its proprietor's name or firm name, not by its business name. Yet, the bottle has embossing of only the business name. Thus, we have not been able to link a proprietor and/or a brewery to the Red Jacket Bottling Works name. The best we can do is explore some possibilities.
First of all, the Copper Country had another company that used the Red Jacket Bottling Works name. It was a soda company with Isaac Lantto as proprietor. Given that Lantto's bottling works dates to a later time period and used Hutchinson soda bottles, it evidently was a completely different company.
Jos. James had a bottling works in Red Jacket that existed during this time period. Some may have referred to his company (such as in the newspaper) as "Red Jacket bottling works", but as a description of a bottling works in Red Jacket as opposed to a formal name. In fact, he had a name for his bottling works, the Jos. James Bottling Works, and he used it consistently on his bottles. Plus, he was a soda and mineral water bottler.
Around 1889, Jac. Agnitch had a bottling works in Red Jacket as an agent for Val. Blatz Brewing Co. He had a bottle with embossing of his name but not a bottling works name. It is unknown what he called his bottling works, or if it even had a name. Thus, it is possible that #126 was a second bottle of his given the same location, time period, type of bottle, and being a beer agent. But this seems improbable, since most companies did not drastically change their embossing.
A more likely possibility is that #126 was a product of the Knivel Brothers. Frank Jr. remained in Eagle River after his family moved to Detroit (1), but following the sale of his bottling works to Foley & Smith (2), he moved his family to Lake Linden in Nov 1890, leaving his birthplace (3). The plan was to stay in Lake Linden for the winter (4). In Feb 1891, John and Frank Jr. became agents of the Schlitz Brewing Co. and rented Wertin's building on Pine St., which they planned to use as an office and bottling works (5). They would not open a bar; instead, they would focus on bottling and representing Schlitz as wholesalers (5). In Mar 1891, John delivered a load of Milwaukee beer from Red Jacket to Eagle River (6). Thus, at some point following the death of his father, John moved from Detroit to Red Jacket. Frank Jr. moved his family to Red Jacket in Apr 1891, as a member of the Knivel Bros. opening up on Pine St. for Schlitz Brewing Co. on May 1st (7). In Aug 1891, they were reported "to be doing a good business" and were "good, square fellows to deal with" (8). In May 1892, they were settling into their new bottling works near the Mineral Range Depot in Red Jacket (9). The 1893 Polk directory listed the Knivel Bros. as "wholesale agents of Jos Schlitz Brewing Co. and bottlers of beer" (10). Therefore, they were bottles of beer in Red Jacket as agents during the time period of bottle #126.
What Happened Next for the Knivel Brothers?
The Knivel Bros. seemed to have been agents of Schlitz for only three years. In Feb 1894, John succeeded Emil Riewe as manager of the Houghton branch of the Pabst Brewing Co. (11), which then moved to Red Jacket (12). The 1895 directory shows that Frank Jr. partnered with Frank Schroeder in the liquor and cigar business in the Borgo Block on 5th St., Calumet (13), which was a saloon (15). In the 1901 directory, John was now partner with Frank Jr., as the Knivel Bros., for the saloon in the Borgo Block (14). In Apr 1911, they dissolved the partnership, with John expecting to continue the business in Red Jacket and Frank Jr. expecting to establish his own business in Laurium (16). Frank Jr. leased a space in the Glocke building in Laurium and applied for a liquor license (17), so his business was underway. But then he died on 06 Feb 1912 at the age of 52 in Laurium as a saloon keeper (18) and was buried in Lake View Cemetery, Calumet (19). John was retired when he died on 06 Jul 1916 at the age of 54 in Calumet (18) and was buried in Lake View Cemetery (20).
- anonymous. (1890, Jul 11). Keweenaw Jottings. Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 2.
- anonymous. (1890, May 08). Keweenaw Jottings. Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 2.
- anonymous. (1890, Nov 14). Keweenaw Jottings. Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 2.
- anonymous. (1890, Nov 18). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
- anonymous. (1891, Feb 27). untitled. Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
- anonymous. (1891, Apr 03). Keweenaw Jottings. Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 2.
- anonymous. (1891, Apr 28). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
- anonymous. (1891, Aug 28). Keweenaw Jottings. Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 2.
- anonymous. (1892, May 03). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
- R. L. Polk & Co. 1893. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1893-94. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
- anonymous. (1894, Feb 06). untitled. Native Copper Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
- anonymous. (1894, May 08). untitled. Native Copper Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
- R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
- R. L. Polk & Co. 1901. Houghton County Directory 1901-02. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
- anonymous. (1898, Mar 14). About $500 Taken. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 4.
- anonymous. (1911, Apr 18). Knivel Bros. Dissolve. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
- anonymous. (1911, Apr 18). Laurium Briefs. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 7.
- Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records (accessed on ancestry.com).
- Find A Grave. accessed Jun 2022. Frank A. Knivel. www.findagrave.com/memorial/192173524/frank-a-knivel
- Find A Grave. accessed Jun 2022. John Knivel. www.findagrave.com/memorial/185428730/john-knivel
top: Baltimore loop seal - applied
maker's mark: S B & G CO (base)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (back)
- taller bottle