16 Dec 2021, last revised 21 Jul 2023

Newspaper ad - The Portage Lake Mining Gazette, 25 Mar 1869
Mar 1869

The history of the A. C. SHEFFER bottle remains a mystery as we could not find any documentation of Sheffer operating his own bottling works in Hancock. Aside from this bottle, A. C. Sheffer was a partner in the firm, Shelden & Sheffer who had a squat soda bottle from Houghton (see S. & S. page).

Ambrose C. Sheffer was born in Bohemia, Germany in about 1840 and was married on 30 Dec 1868 in Houghton to Lizzie McKenzie (3). We could not find census records for an A. C. Sheffer residing in Houghton.

Shelden & Sheffer opened their drug store in Oct 1864 (6) and started their pop factory in Jul 1866 (7). The only indication of an operation in Hancock comes from the 1867 directory that listed Shelden & Sheffer in Hancock in the classified section under Soda and Mineral Water Manufacturers (1). It also listed Shelden & Sheffer as druggists in Houghton.

One possibility is that they had a second bottling operation in Hancock. If so, why was only Sheffer's name embossed on the bottle when the directory listed Shelden & Sheffer? A second possibility is that Sheffer had his own business before partnering with Shelden, but we could not find a record of such a business in The Mining Gazette or the Michigan State business directory. A third possibility is that Sheffer moved the business to Hancock, but we could not find a record of such a move in The Mining Gazette. We do not have access to the 1869 Michigan State directory to see if Sheffer was listed in Hancock. It is unlikely, however, that he moved to Hancock in 1869 after his Houghton ad ended in May, because the entire business district of Hancock burned in Apr 1869 (4). Sheffer was listed in the 1871 and 1873 volumes of the Detroit City directory as a druggist (2,5), so he evidently left the Copper Country, ending the possibility that he started a Hancock business later on.


  1. Chapin & Brother. 1867. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1867-8. The Detroit Post Company, Printers. Detroit, MI.
  2. Chas. F. Clark & Co. 1871. Annual City Directory of the Inhabitants, Business Firms, Incorporated Companies, Etc. of the City of Detroit for 1871-2. Tribune Book and Job Office. Detroit, MI.
  3. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 2; Film Description: 1868 Genesee-1869 Branch (accessed on ancestry.com)
  4. anonymous. (1869, Apr 25). The Burning of Hancock, Mich. The New York Times (New York, NY). p. 1.
  5. J.E. Scripps & R.L. Polk, compliers. 1973. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1873. Tribune Book and Job Office. Detroit.
  6. anonymous. (1864, Oct 15). Drug Store. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  7. anonymous. (1866, Jul 05). Soda Manufacture. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.

A. C. Sheffer bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: blob top - applied
maker's mark: A & D. H. C. (heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1870
rarity: extremely rare