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26 Nov 2021, last revised 04 Jul 2022

Matthew Northey was a prominent soda/mineral water bottler in the Houghton/Hancock area. His bottling works operated for about 11 years prior to 1900.

Matthew Northey was born on 08 Nov 1846 (5) in Cornwall, England (1). His obituary stated that he immigrated to the U.S. in 1867, came to the Copper Country in 1870 and stayed for three years, lived in California for about three years, moved to Red Jacket, and then moved to Houghton in 1877 (11). The 1880 U.S. Federal Census placed Matthew in Houghton, where he worked in the sheriff department with his older brother, Henry, who was the jailer and sheriff (13). Although Matthew was in Houghton, he and his younger brother, William ran a saloon in Calumet as the Northey Bros. in the late 1870s (13,2). The Northey Bros. then partnered with Joseph James as pop manufacturers in Calumet (3,4) (see N. & J.).

The 1887 Holland directory listed Matt Northey as a manufacturer of mineral water, etc. at 309 Dodge St., Houghton (5), but we could not find this address on the 1888 Sanborn map. The 1895 Polk directory described the location as on the east side of Dodge St., between Montezuma St. and Albion St. (6). Interestingly, the Sanborn maps show this location to be the old Hahn brewery, which A. Haas purchased.

Sanborn map - Jun 1888
Sanborn map - Jun 1888
Sanborn map - Aug 1893
Sanborn map - Aug 1893

The 1895 directory stated the name of the bottling works as Houghton Bottling Works (6). Since this name only appeared in this volume, it is unknown if Matt used it throughout the duration of his business.

Polk directory ad - Houghton County Directory 1895-96
Polk directory ad - 1895
Polk directory ad - Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1897
Polk directory ad - 1897

Matt was last listed as a soda water manufacturer in the 1897 directory (7), and then in Jan 1899, he sold the bottling works to Richard Hooper, who had been employed by Matt for a number of years (15). Richard Hooper was then listed in the 1899 directory for a bottling works at the same location (8). Matt died on 23 Aug 1905 in Hancock at the age of 58 (9) and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Houghton (10).

Since Northey was listed in the 1887 Houghton directory (5) but not in the 1887 Michigan State directory (11), he probably started the bottling works in 1887. He then clearly gave up the business in Jan 1899. His first bottle (#5) has a blob top, but it was tooled, and the bottle shape is more like a Hutchinson bottle than a squat soda. Thus, it clearly dates later than the other blob top sodas from the Copper Country. He used mostly Hutchinson bottles but also had two crown-top bottles. His crown-top bottles were probably the earliest crown-top soda bottles of the Copper Country.

References

  1. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1851. (accessed on ancestry.com)
  2. R. L. Polk & Co. 1879. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1879. The Detroit Free Press Company. Detroit, MI.
  3. R. L. Polk & Co. 1881. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1881. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1883. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1883. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  5. Holland, A. H. 1887. 1887-8 Hand-book and Guide to Houghton, Mich. Mining Journal Book and Job Print. Marquette, MI.
  6. R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  7. R. L. Polk & Co. 1897. Houghton County Directory 1897-98. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  8. R. L. Polk & Co. 1899. Houghton County Directory 1899-1900. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  9. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records (accessed on ancestry.com).
  10. Find a Grave. accessed Nov 2021. Matthew Northey. findagrave.com/memorial/58758954/matthew-northey
  11. R. L. Polk & Co. 1887. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1887-88. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  12. anonymous. (1905, Aug 24). Death of Matthew Northey. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 7.
  13. U.S. Census Bureau. 1880 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  14. R. L. Polk & Co. 1877. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1877. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  15. anonymous. (1899, Jan 14). Portage Lake News. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.

5
Matt Northey bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: blob top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1887
rarity: extremely rare

26
Matthew Northey bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: A G W L (lower front)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (lower back)
date: 1887-c.1892
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design

27
Matt Northey bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: I. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: 15 (base)
date: 1892-1896
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design
  • gradually-sloping shoulders

28
Matt Northey bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1892-1896
rarity: rare
  • different plate from 27
  • no "," after HOUGHTON
  • larger font, esp. for MICH
  • same plate for 28 and 28a
28a
Matt Northey bottle
maker's mark: S. B. & G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1892-1896
rarity: ?
  • same plate for 28 and 28a
  • has a maker's mark

25
Matt Northey bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1892-1896
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design

29
Matt Northey bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N B B G CO (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1897
rarity: rare
  • different plate from 25
  • wider space between M in MATT and H in HOUGHTON
  • book does not show the "." after MATT
29a
maker's mark: S B & G Co. (?)
other marks: ?
rarity: rare