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26 Nov 2021, last revised 28 Dec 2021

The Copper Country had embossed whiskey flasks from only two companies: G. Martini and the Hancock Liquor Co. The Hancock Liquor Co. was a short-lived firm for a wholesale liquor and saloon business.

The 1901 Polk directory listed the Hancock Liquor Co. as a saloon at 301 Quincy St. (1). The firm consisted of A. L. and Ray Levy, and Henry M. and Ida Feldman (1). The 1903 directory classified the company in Saloons and also in Wines and Liquors, at 301-303 Quincy St. (2). The 1900 Sanborn map shows the saloon on the northwest corner with Ravine St. The 1907 map shows that they expanded into the adjacent building with a wholesale liquor operation, and that the street addresses were re-numbered.

Sanborn map - Jun 1900
Sanborn map - Jun 1900
Sanborn map - Nov 1907
Sanborn map - Nov 1907

A. Louis Levy was born in Apr 1874 in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in 1876 (3). Ray Levy was his wife, who was born in Apr 1878 in New York (3). According to his death record, Henry Feldman was born on 10 Nov 1866 in Hungary (8), although the 1900 census recorded a birth date of Feb 1868 (3). He immigrated to the U.S. in 1887 (3). Ida Feldman was his wife, who was born in Nov 1872 in Germany and immigrated in 1875 (3). They were neighbors on Quincy St. (3), two blocks west of the saloon (1).

The firm apparently dissolved, but the business continued. The 1905 directory listed only A. L. Levy for the saloon and wholesale liquor business (4). He had ceramic whiskey jugs glazed with his name (10). He was last listed in the 1912 directory (5). It is unknown what happened to him and his wife thereafter. In 1910, The Feldmans resided in Houghton and Henry was a saloon keeper (6). In 1920, they resided in Chicago, and Henry was still a saloon keeper (7). Henry died in Chicago on 24 Jan 1930 at the age of 63 (8).

Their embossed bottle dates to 1902-1904, during the period when they ran a wholesale liquor business. Since they were wholesalers and not manufacturers, they probably purchased whiskey by the barrel and bottled it for individual sale. This was a common practice, with most of the manufacturing of whiskey occurring in Kentucky (9).

References

  1. R. L. Polk & Co. 1901. Houghton County Directory 1901-02. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  2. R. L. Polk & Co. 1903. Houghton County Directory 1903-04. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  3. U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1905. Houghton County Directory 1905-06. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  5. R. L. Polk & Co. 1912. 1912 Calumet, Hancock, Houghton and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  6. U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  7. U.S. Census Bureau. 1920 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  8. Illinois, U.S. Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 (accessed on ancestry.com)
  9. Regan, G. and M. H. Regan. accessed Dec 2021. The Book of Bourbon. posted on Distilled Spirits Council. americanwhiskeytrail.distilledspirits.org/american-whiskey-history
  10. Copper Country Bottle Collectors. 1978. Old Copper Country Bottles of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Copper Country Bottle Collectors. Calumet, MI.

2
Hancock Liquor Co bottle
capacity: half pint
color: clear
top: cork seal
maker's mark: IGCO diamond (base)
other marks: DESIGN PATENTED (base)
date: 1902-1904
rarity: extremely rare

s54
Hancock Liquor Co bottle
capacity: pint
color: clear
top: cork seal
maker's mark: IGCO diamond (base)
other marks: DESIGN PATENTED (base)
date: 1902-1904
rarity: extremely rare