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24 Nov 2021, last revised 10 Jul 2022

Jos. James Bottling Works c.1900<br>see name on wagon<br>Courtesy of Houghton County Historical Society
Jos. James Bottling Works c.1900

Jos. James had one of the most successful bottling works in the Calumet/Laurium area. He started in the pop business with the firm, Northey Bros. & James, and then ran his own business for at least 23 years.

Joseph James was born in Mar 1842 in England and immigrated to the U.S. in 1864 (9). He was an engine driver in Copper Falls in 1870 (1), and then a pop manufacturer in Red Jacket in 1880 (2), which would have been with the Northey Bros. (3). He was first listed as a bottler on his own in the 1887 Polk directory (4). The 1895 directory listed the address as 703 Pine St. (5), which was on the northwest corner with 7th St. The Sanborn maps show that his bottling works remained at this location throughout its existence, although the address changed twice due to re-numbering of the street.

Sanborn map - Jul 1888
Sanborn map - Jul 1888
Sanborn map - Dec 1893
Sanborn map - Dec 1893

The Polk directories continued to list James as a soda water manufacturer (6) or a mineral water manufacturer (7). Interestingly, the Michigan State Polk directory in 1897 and 1903 listed his wife, Salome instead of him (16,17), so apparently, she was also involved in the business. The company had six employees in 1904 (20), seven in 1905 (21), and five in 1906 (22).

Newspaper ad - The Copper Country Evening News, 06 Apr 1896
Newspaper ad - Apr 1896

A newspaper article in Mar 1896 explained how James was appointed as Copper Country's exclusive agent for the Red Cross electrical natural mineral water (8). The water came from a 1,300-ft deep well, and when diluted and carbonated, it became a refreshing drink that was preferred over ordinary seltzer or apollinaris particularly for its health-giving properties (8). It was supplied by the Big Rapids Mineral Water Company (19).

In Feb 1910, James announced that he sold the business to Benhard Westerberg and Rudolph Beiswanger, former employees of the firm, Joseph James & Co. (9). The notice stated that they would conduct the business in the future and James was leaving for San Diego, CA (9). The 1910 U.S. Federal Census placed him, his wife, and son in San Diego and stated his occupation as manufacturer of carbonated drinks (15), although it is unknown if he was actually involved in a bottling works. His wife, Salome died on 08 Jun 1912 (11), and James was living with his daughter, Elizabeth Persons in San Deigo and had no occupation for the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Federal Censuses (12,13), indicating that he retired. He then died on 10 Feb 1932 at the age of 89 (14).

Newspaper ad - The Calumet News, 07 Dec 1910
Newspaper ad - Dec 1910
Newspaper ad - The Calumet News, 20 Dec 1910
Newspaper ad - Dec 1910
Newspaper ad - The Calumet News, 01 Jul 1912
Newspaper ad - Jul 1912

We could not find in the newspaper when N. & J. dissolved or when Jos. James started. Since we do not have access to the 1885 Michigan State Polk directory, the best we can estimate is that James' bottling works started between 1883 and 1887. Perplexingly, the blob-top quart bottle (#s78) has a C V G Co MILW. mark, which dates to 1880 (27). The most likely explanation is that Wisconsin Glass Co. continued to use the molds from Chase Valley Glass Co., and thus the bottle is not as old as the maker's mark.

James' proprietorship ended in 1910. Beiswanger & Westerberg was listed for the bottling works in 1912 (10), and then only Beiswanger was listed in 1916 (17). The bottling works had three employees in 1913 and 1914 (24,25) and only two in 1915 (26). The 1917 Sanborn map labeled the building "auto painting", so the bottling works probably closed in 1916 or 1917. By 1918, Beiswanger was working as a pop manufacturer for F. M. Kinsman (23). No bottles have been discovered to bear Beiswanger & Westerberg's names. They were only listed by their firm name and not a bottling works name, so they may have retained the Jos. James Bottling Works name and bottles. However, bottles from this later time period (particularly ABMs) have not been discovered.

References

  1. U.S. Census Bureau. 1870 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau. 1880 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  3. R. L. Polk & Co. 1881. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1881. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1887. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1887-88. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  5. R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  6. R. L. Polk & Co. 1897. Houghton County Directory 1897-98. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  7. R. L. Polk & Co. 1903. Houghton County Directory 1903-04. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  8. anonymous. (1896, Mar 21). The Red Cross Mineral Water. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 4.
  9. anonymous. (1910, Feb 01). Local Brevities. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  10. R. L. Polk & Co. 1912. 1912 Calumet, Hancock, Houghton and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  11. Find a Grave. accessed Nov 2021. Salome J Northey James. findagrave.com/memorial/112173130/salome-j-james
  12. U.S. Census Bureau. 1920 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  13. U.S. Census Bureau. 1930 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  14. California Department of Health and Welfare. California, U.S., Death Index, 1905-1939 (accessed on ancestry.com)
  15. U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  16. R. L. Polk & Co. 1897. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1897. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  17. R. L. Polk & Co. 1903. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1903-1904. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  18. R. L. Polk & Co. 1916. Houghton County Directory 1916-17. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  19. The Historical Marker Database. accessed 2021. www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=106717
  20. Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. 1905. State of Michigan Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics Including the Twelfth Annual Report of State Inspection of Factories. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  21. Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. 1906. State of Michigan Twenty-Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics Including the Thirteenth Annual Report of State Inspection of Factories. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  22. Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. 1907. State of Michigan Twenty-Fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics Including the Fourteenth Annual Report of State Inspection of Factories. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  23. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (accessed on ancestry.com)
  24. Michigan Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. 1914. Thirty-First Annual Report of the Department of Labor of the State of Michigan. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  25. State of Michigan Department of Labor. 1915. Thirty-Second Annual Report of the Department of Labor of the State of Michigan. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  26. State of Michigan Department of Labor. 1916. Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Department of Labor of the State of Michigan. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  27. Lockhart, B., B. Schriever, C. Serr, and B. Lindsey. 2014. Chase Valley Glass Co. In: Encyclopedia of Manufacturer's Marks on Historic Bottles. posted on Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/ChaseValleyGlass.pdf

s78
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Blob top - applied
maker's mark: C V G Co MILW. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1884
rarity: extremely rare

90
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Twitchell top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: PATENTED FEB. 20 1883 JUN 23. 85 & AUG. 4. 85. (around heel), F.B.S. / 5 (base)
date: 1885
rarity: extremely rare
  • made by Twitchell & Bro.
  • tombstone-shaped plate
  • F.B.S. abbreviates "floating ball stopper"

79
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - applied
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: mid to late-1880s
rarity: scarce

80
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: J.J. (base)
date: 1890s
rarity: scarce
  • different plate design
  • same plate for 80 and 80a
80a
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
rarity: scarce
  • same plate for 80 and 80a
  • no J. J. initials on base

81
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: S. B. & G. Co. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1898-1905
rarity: rare
  • different plate design

s14
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: dark aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: J (base)
date: 1895-1905
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate from 81
  • BOTTLING WORKS lower on plate
  • same plate for s14 and s14a
s14a
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
color: aqua
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1898-1905
rarity: rare
  • same plate for s14 and s14a
  • no basemark

82
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: dark to medium aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1895-1905
rarity: scarce
  • different plate design
  • same plate for 82 and 82a
82a
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
color: aqua
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: J (base)
rarity: rare
  • same plate for 82 and 82a
  • plate embossing fainter
  • includes base mark

83
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: S. B. & G. CO. (lower back)
other marks: J.J. (base)
date: 1898-1905
rarity: scarce
  • different plate from previous
  • large font
  • no "." after JOS
  • same plate for 83 and 83a
83a
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: J.J. (base)
rarity: scarce
  • same plate for 83 and 83a
  • no maker's mark
  • this variant was not listed in the book
83b
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
maker's mark: N B B G CO. (back heel)
other marks: J.J. (base)
rarity: scarce
  • different plate from 83 and 83a
  • "." after JOS
  • J in JAMES over second T in BOTTLING
  • different maker's mark
  • this variant was pictured in the book

s15
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: J. J (base)
date: 1898-1905
rarity: scarce
  • oval plate
  • no "." after MICH
  • BOTTLING WORKS in larger font compared to 83 and its variants

84
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: N B B G CO (base)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1905
rarity: rare
  • quart-sized complement to 83

85
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N B B G CO (back heel)
other marks: J.J (base)
date: c.1908
rarity: common
  • different plate from 84
  • J in James over second T in BOTTLING
85a
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
maker's mark: N B B G CO (back heel)
other marks: J.J (base)
rarity: common
  • different plate from 85
  • wide space between JOS and JAMES
  • J in JAMES slightly to the right of second T in BOTTLING

s66
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: J.J (base)
date: c.1908
rarity: ?
  • different plate from 85 and 85a
  • wide space between JOS and JAMES
  • J in JAMES over L in BOTTLING
  • plate higher on mold (see comparison)

86
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: scant pint
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N. B. B. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: J. J (base)
date: c.1909
rarity: extremely rare
  • oval plate

87
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N B B G CO. (back heel)
other marks: J.J. (base)
date: c.1908
rarity: common
  • different plate from 83 and 83a
  • "." after JOS (unlike 83)
  • J in JAMES slightly to the right of second T in BOTTLING (unlike 83a)

159
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: colorless
top: siphon top
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1900-1910
rarity: extremely rare

s43
Jos. James Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: colorless
top: siphon top
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1900-1910
rarity: extremely rare