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21 Dec 2021, last revised 29 Jan 2022

The bottles exhibit four embossing designs, suggesting a succession in what has been assumed to be one bottling works.

  1. I. & S. WENTEL
  2. I. & S. WENDELL
  3. SUPERIOR BOTTLING WORKS
  4. SUPERIOR BOTTLING WORKS / WENDELL & LUOMA

Historical records confirm this was in fact one bottling works, but operated by two firms.

According to Michigan labor records, the business started in 1900 (20). The 1901 and 1903 Polk directories listed Wentell Bottling Works with Isaac and Samuel Wentell as proprietors (1,2). The bottling works was located at 1038 Minnesota St. (1,2). Isaac resided at the Finnish College in 1901 (1), and then he joined Samuel at 1040 Minnesota St. by 1903 (2). Bottles #68 and #69 show a similar WENTEL spelling of the surname.

In the 1905 to 1912 directories, they were called I & S Wendell's Bottling Works at 1038-1040 Minnesota St. (3,4,5,6). In addition to Isaac and Samuel, James Wendell was listed as a driver in 1907 (4). The next series of bottles (#66, s37, 67, 70) were embossed with this spelling of the surname. The Sanborn map shows the bottling works on the south side of the street, between Ethel Ave. and Michigan St.

Sanborn map - Nov 1907
Sanborn map - Nov 1907
Polk Directory ad - Houghton County Directory 1905-06
Polk Directory ad - 1905

A notice in The Calumet News from Dec 1910 stated, "Wendell & Luoma will shortly open a new pop factory at 1040 Minnesota Street." (7). Given the same address, this was not a new pop factory but instead a new firm running the factory. The next directory available to us, the 1916 directory, listed Superior Bottling Works with Jacob Wendell and John Luoma as proprietors at 1038-1040 Minnesota St. (8). The next two series of bottles bear the SUPERIOR BOTTLING WORKS name, with or without the names of the new proprietors. The series with the proprietor names extent to at least one ABM bottle, so we can place it last in the sequence. It is unknown when the bottling works closed, but they were not listed in the 1921 directory (10).

In 1910, the State of Michigan Dairy and Food Department tested the following sodas from Wendell & Luoma: White Pop, Red Pop, and Soft Drink (19). The bottling works was a small operation, with only three employees in 1912 and 1913 (21,20), and two in 1915 (22).

Both the bottles and business directories show different surname spellings. At first, it seemed that one was a misspelling, but it turns out, even genealogical records show different surname spellings. This occurrence, as well has having multiple people with the same names, made it difficult to track their ancestry. Yet we have pieced together the records in order to resolve their family relations.

Isaac's death was announced in The Calumet News (9). The article stated that he was a member of Superior Bottling Works, which confirms this was the correct Isaac Wendell. It stated that Isaac was a pioneer Finnish resident of Hancock, and was better known as "Isaac Wendell Ojala". He died at the age of about 65 on the same day of the article, 13 Oct 1913. His death certificate stated his name as "Isaac Vendelin 'Ojala'" (11). We determined this was the same person based on him having the same death date and his place of death was 1040 Minnesota St., the residence address specified in the directory. It stated that he was born in Dec 1847, died at the age of 64, and was buried in Lakeside Cemetery, Hancock. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census listed "Isaac Ojala", who immigrated in 1898, resided at Suomi College in Hancock, and worked there as a janitor (12). His age and birth date match those of Isaac Wendell, and residing at the college matches the 1901 directory listing.

The 1910 census was pivotal for determine his family relations (13). Their surname was listed as "Wentela". The key to identifying them as the Wendell family was that they resided at the addresses specified by the directories: 1038 and 1040 Minnesota St. It stated that Isaac immigrated in 1889 (different from the 1900 census), worked as a contractor, and was married to Wilhemina. Samuel E. Wentela was likely their son, who was born in Finland, immigrated in 1892, was 35 years old, and had the occupation of pop maker. His middle initial did not match the directory listings, however. Jacob Wentela was their son, who was born in Finland, immigrated in 1902, was 21 years old, and had the occupation of driver. It seems his name was mistakenly written as James on the 1907 directory. John Luoma was their son-in-law, who was born in Finland, married their daughter, Alina, immigrated in 1902, was 40 years old, and had the occupation of stone mason.

After the bottling works closed, they took on other jobs. Samuel was a laborer for the city from the 1920 census (14). He died in 1955 at the age of about 81 and was buried in Lakeside Cemetery, Hancock (15). Jacob married Martha Huovinen on 16 May 1912 (16), and was re-married to Hilma Ruutila on 28 Oct 1922 (16). He was a miner from the 1920 census (14), and resided in Laurium from the 1930 census (18). He died by drowning in Chassell Bay on 15 Jun 1930 at the age of 41 (11). John Luoma was a laborer from the 1920 census (14) and died in 1954 (17) at the age of about 83. Interestingly, his death record specified his spouse's name as "Alina Ojala" (11).

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. R. L. Polk & Co. 1905. Houghton County Directory 1905-06. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1907. Houghton County Directory 1907-08. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  5. R. L. Polk & Co. 1910. 1910 Calumet, Houghton, Hancock and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  6. R. L. Polk & Co. 1912. 1912 Calumet, Hancock, Houghton and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  7. anonymous. (1910, Dec 23). Hancock Briefs. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  8. R. L. Polk & Co. 1916. Houghton County Directory 1916-17. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  9. anonymous. (1913, Oct 13). Death of Isaac Wendell. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  10. R. L. Polk & Co. 1921. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1921-1922. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  11. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records (accessed on ancestry.com).
  12. U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  13. U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  14. U.S. Census Bureau. 1920 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  15. Find a Grave. accessed Dec 2021. Samuel Wendell. findagrave.com/memorial/167488558/samuel-wendell
  16. Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952 (accessed on ancestry.com).
  17. Find a Grave. accessed Dec 2021. John Luoma. findagrave.com/memorial/167486049/john-luoma
  18. U.S. Census Bureau. 1930 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  19. State of Michigan Department of Dairy and Food Department. 1910. Bulletin No. 173-178, Jan-June 1910. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  20. 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.
  21. State of Michigan Department of Labor. 1913. Thirtieth Annual Report of the Department of Labor of the State of Michigan. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  22. 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.

68
I. & S. Wentel bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1900-1905
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design

69
I. & S. Wentel bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1900-1905
rarity: extremely rare
  • quart-sized complement to 68

66
I. & S. Wendell bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: ROOT (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1912
rarity: rare
  • lacks a date code

s37
I. & S. Wendell bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1912
rarity: (?)
  • smaller plate from 66
  • "." after S very close to W in WENDELL
  • plate lower on mold compared to 66 (see comparison)

67
I. & S. Wendell bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-1912
rarity: extremely rare
  • quart-sized complement to 66 and 66a

70
I. & S. Wendell bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: R. G. Co. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1905-c.1907
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design

72
Superior Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1912-1915
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design
  • oval shaped plate

s49
Superior Bottling Works bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: 1912-1915
rarity: extremely rare
  • half-pint complement to 72
  • oval shaped plate

71
Superior Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - tooled
maker's mark: I G CO (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1912-1915
rarity: extremely rare

s48
Superior Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: ROOT (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1912-1915
rarity: extremely rare

abm-70
bottle image
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - ABM
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1913
rarity: ?
  • heel has "13 1", which may be a date code