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06 Oct 2021, last revised 11 Jul 2022

The Twin City Bottling Works was one of the prominent soda/mineral water bottlers in the Calumet/Laurium area. The bottles show a succession of three proprietors: Chas. Klein, Mrs. C. Klein, and Louis Decker. They also show earlier names for the bottling works under Chas. Klein.

Charles Klein was born in 1852 (1) in Russia (2). Because he had such a common name, we cannot be sure when he immigrated to the U.S. nor when he settled in the Copper Country. His earliest listing in the Polk directory was for a saloon in Red Jacket in the 1889 volume (25), and he had the same listing in the 1891 volume (3). It was announced in May 1892 that he would be opening a pop factory in Calumet Village, and he secured the services of Jos. Wolf of Milwaukee who had 30 years of experience in the business (26). He hoped that by providing a superior product he could receive at least a share of the patronage, and he felt there was room for a second pop factory in the county (26). There were, however, three competitors at this time: Matt Northey in Houghton, C. J. Sorsen in Red Jacket, and Jos. James in Red Jacket. By 12 days later, he was in full operation, and his delivery wagon made its first appearance in Lake Linden (27). In Jul 1892, we find the use of the name, Calumet Village Bottling Works (28). Since bottle #106 is also embossed with CALUMET VILLAGE BOTTLING WORKS, we can place it as his first bottle. In Oct 1892, he was agent for Barrett & Barrett's famous York State cider and was prepared to supply it in barrels or bottles (29).

The bottles embossed CHAS. KLEIN BOTTLING WORKS presumably followed. The 1893 directory listed Charles Klein as a bottler in Calumet, but it did not specify a business name. Despite the directory listing and these bottles specifying Calumet as the location, his bottling works was actually in Laurium. Laurium was previously called Calumet Village and Calumet was previously called the village of Red Jacket (30). The town name of Laurium was not established until 1895 (30), and we first see it used in the 1895 Houghton County Polk directory (4).

Charles Klein and Jos. James were the two prominent bottlers in the Calumet/Laurium area, and competition was apparently fierce. In Nov 1893, it was announced that Jos. James' employee, James Ford, was charged with stealing bottles belonging to Charles Klein, but he was acquitted by a jury (31,32). James then filed complaints against Klein but they were dismissed by juries (33).

The 1895 directory listed the name, Twin City Bottling Works as manufacturers of carbonated drinks, and located it at the southeast corner of 3rd St. and Kearsarge St. in Laurium (4). It specified Charles Klein as proprietor with residence at the same address. The twin cities were Calumet and Laurium. The 1897 directory noted that he had a branch in Hancock (7), but it is unknown where it was located or if he bottled there. Since this was its only listing, the Hancock branch was probably short-lived. It is interesting to note that his bottles embossed with TWIN CITY BOTTLING WORKS do not specify a town name, which could then be distributed from either town. In 1898, he constructed a railroad about 75 ft long to transport cases of bottles from the wash room to the bottling works (21).

Sanborn map - Dec 1897
Sanborn map - Dec 1897
Polk directory ad - Houghton County Directory 1895-96
Polk directory ad - 1895

Charles Klein dealt in more than just pop and mineral water. He was listed as agent of the Detroit Safe and Lock Company in 1895 (4). In 1897, he was advertised as agent for the liquid carbonic acid beer pump used to keep beer in barrels or kegs fresh once tapped (5,6). He was also general agent in the U.P. for the Quaker Bath Cabinet which claimed to prolong life (7). Unfortunately, he suffered from ill health, and as a result, offered his pop shop for sale in Feb 1899 (34). He visited Chicago to seek medical attention in Apr 1899 (35) and returned with Otto H. Zimmerling, who was put in charge of managing the pop business (36). Despite seeking medical attention in Detroit (37) and Denver (38), he died on 10 Feb 1900 (1) from pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 47 (2) and was buried in Lake View Cemetery, Calumet (1).

The most notable bottle Chas. Klein used was the brilliant cobalt blue Hutchinson bottle (#107). The 1903 and 1906 Illinois Glass Co. catalogs indicate that this was not a standard glass color for soda bottles and thus would have required a special order, probably at a higher price. It is the only cobalt blue bottle from the Copper Country; and even across the nation, cobalt blue Hutchinson bottles are rare. So why would he order such a bottle? Was it to celebrate the beginning of the 20th century? Was it to highlight a special drink he manufactured? Or did Mrs. C. Klein order it to memorialize her late husband?

Caroline Klein was born on 05 Jul 1853 in Germany (2) and immigrated to the U.S. in 1865 (9) or 1867 (10). It must have been a shock to lose her husband and then have a pop company to run. She was previously a dressmaker (11), and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census listed a boarder, Charles Persons as manufacturer of soft drinks (9). She did take over, however, and was listed as proprietor in the 1901, 1903, and 1905 directories (12,13,14). The number of bottles that bear her name is a testament to her time as proprietor. The bottling works had three employees in 1904 (22) and five in 1905 (23).

Sanborn map - Sep 1900
Sanborn map - Sep 1900

Louis Decker was the next proprietor of the Twin City Bottling Works. He was born in Aug 1874 in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in 1890 (9). He and his newly-wedded wife, Gertrude, resided in Ironwood, MI during the 1900 U.S. Federal Census (9). It seems they moved to Minnesota next, because their two children were born there (10). He was then listed as a bartender in Laurium in the 1905 directory (14). He evidently became proprietor of the bottling works in 1905, since a sales receipt, dated 06 Jul 1905, stated his name. The 1907 directory then listed Louis Decker as proprietor of Twin City Bottling Works (15). We also see the corresponding bottles bearing his name. Decker apparently purchased the business but not the facilities, since the bottling works moved to 204 Hecla St., Laurium while Caroline Klein continued to reside at 246 3rd St. (15).

Sanborn map - May 1908
Sanborn map - May 1908
Yearbook ad - 1907
Yearbook ad - 1907
Sales Receipt Header - Jul 1905<br>Courtesy of the Richard Dana Collection
Sales Receipt Header - Jul 1905

Caroline Klein did not list an occupation on the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, but her daughter, Carrie took up dressmaking (10). In 1912, she filed a petition to the court for herself or some other suitable person to be made administrator of Charles' estate (20). She died on 23 Feb 1929 at the age of 76 (2) and was buried with Charles at Lake View Cemetery, Calumet (16).

As for Decker, he sold the bottling works to the Upper Peninsula Bottling Co. in May 1908, and the plan was for him to operate the plant for the new corporation (24). However, he was still listed as proprietor of the Twin City Bottling Works in the 1909 directory (17) and then not listed in the 1910 directory (18). Decker moved to Eveleth, MN by the 1910 U.S. Federal Census and was a manufacturer of soda water (10). Interestingly, he continued to bottle as the Minnesota Hutchbook lists a bottle embossed, UNION BOTTLING WORKS / LOUIS DECKER / EVELETH, MINN. (19).

References

  1. Find a Grave. accessed Oct 2021. Charles Klein. findagrave.com/memorial/214546834/charles-klein
  2. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records (accessed on ancestry.com).
  3. R. L. Polk & Co. 1891. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1891-92. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  5. anonymous. (1897, Nov 13). Portage Lake News. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  6. anonymous. (1897, Nov 17). For Beer Drinkers. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 2.
  7. R. L. Polk & Co. 1897. Houghton County Directory 1897-98. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  8. anonymous. (1898, May 28). Quaker Bath Cabinet. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 5.
  9. U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  10. U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  11. R. L. Polk & Co. 1899. Houghton County Directory 1899-1900. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  12. R. L. Polk & Co. 1901. Houghton County Directory 1901-02. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  13. R. L. Polk & Co. 1903. Houghton County Directory 1903-04. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  14. R. L. Polk & Co. 1905. Houghton County Directory 1905-06. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  15. R. L. Polk & Co. 1907. Houghton County Directory 1907-08. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  16. Find a Grave. accessed Oct 2021. Caroline Klein. findagrave.com/memorial/208009790/caroline-klein
  17. R. L. Polk & Co. 1909. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1909. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  18. R. L. Polk & Co. 1910. 1910 Calumet, Houghton, Hancock and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  19. Minnesota - Hutchbook.com. accessed Oct 2021. yumpu.com/en/document/view/42541031/minnesota-hutchbookcom
  20. anonymous. (1912, Jun 19). Legal Notices. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 2.
  21. anonymous. (1898, May 07). Laurium Notes. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 4.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. anonymous. (1908, May 08). Decker Plant is Purchased. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  25. R. L. Polk & Co. 1889. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1889-90. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  26. anonymous. (1892, May 05). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  27. anonymous. (1892, May 17). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  28. anonymous. (1892, Jul 26). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  29. anonymous. (1892, Oct 25). untitled. Torch Lake Times (Like Linden, MI). p. 3.
  30. Village of Laurium. accessed Feb 2022. Village of Laurium of Michigan. laurium.net/History
  31. anonymous. (1893, Nov 14). untitled. The Native Copper Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  32. anonymous. (1893, Nov 21). untitled. The Native Copper Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  33. anonymous. (1894, Feb 13). untitled. The Native Copper Times (Lake Linden, MI). p. 3.
  34. anonymous. (1899, Feb 11). Good Business Opportunity. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 8.
  35. anonymous. (1899, Apr 22). Portage Lake News. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  36. anonymous. (1899, May 05). Laurium Budget. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 6.
  37. anonymous. (1899, Jun 06). Laurium Budget. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 6.
  38. anonymous. (1899, Oct 31). Calumet-Laurium. The Daily Mining Gazette (Calumet, MI). p. 5.

106
Calumet Village Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: N. B. B. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (back), CK trade mark (base)
date: 1892
rarity: rare
  • full mold plate

104
Chas Klein Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - applied
maker's mark: C. C. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1892-1894
rarity: scarce

105
Chas. Klein Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (back), 3A (base)
date: mid-1892-1894
rarity: common
  • different plate design

s18
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (stamped out)
other marks: 3A (base)
date: 1894-1900
rarity: rare
  • larger plate than 108 and 109
  • G in BOTTLING under N in TWIN

109
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (back), 3A (base)
date: 1894-1900
rarity: common
  • different plate from 107
  • K in KLEIN slightly to the right of G in BOTTLING
  • different plate from 108
  • W in TWIN over N in BOTTLING
  • plate lower on mold

108
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (lower back), CK monogram (base)
date: 1897-1900
rarity: common
  • different plate from 107
  • K in KLEIN slightly to the right of G in BOTTLING
  • book does not show the "." after CHAS probably because it wasn't painted

107
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: cobalt blue
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: I. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (lower back), CK monogram (base)
date: 1897-1900
rarity: rare
  • different plate design from 106
  • specimens tend to be plagued with cracks

110
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (lower back)
date: 1897-1900
rarity: rare
  • same plate design

164
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: colorless
top: siphon top
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1894-1900
rarity: extremely rare

111
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: colorless to amethyst
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (lower back), CK monogram (base)
date: 1900-1905
rarity: rare
  • different name
  • specimens tend to be plagued with cracks

112
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: N. B. B. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: CK monogram (base)
date: 1900-1905
rarity: rare
  • different plate from 111
  • "." after MRS
  • MRS. C. KLEIN in larger font
  • different slope to shoulders

113
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: R. G. CO. back heel)
other marks: CK monogram (base)
date: 1900-1905
rarity: rare
  • different plate from 112
  • smaller font
  • wider space between C. and KLEIN
  • different shoulders
113a
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: CK monogram (base)
rarity: rare
  • different plate from previous
  • narrower spacing between C. and KLEIN
  • no maker's mark
  • different shoulders
  • this variant was not listed in the book

114
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: W. F. & S. MIL. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1900-1905
rarity: rare
  • same plate design as 113

115
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: R. G. CO. (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-c.1907
rarity: rare
  • different proprietor

117
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: ROOT (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1908
rarity: rare
  • quart-sized complement to 115

118
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1908
rarity: rare
  • different plate from 117
  • wider space between LOUIS and DECKER

119
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: R. G. Co. (base)
other marks: THIS BOTTLE NOT TO BE SOLD (back)
date: 1905-1908
rarity: rare
  • different plate from 118
  • O in PROP over M in LAURIUM

116
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1908
rarity: rare
  • different plate design
  • has 11. '03 on heel

120
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1908
rarity: rare
  • quart-sized, crown top complement to 116

s28
The Twin City Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: colorless
top: siphon top
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1908
rarity: no known whole example