(Updated March 19, 2015 by Bill Baab)
The Hall of Fame is intended to recognize outstanding and significant contributions to the bottle collecting hobby that have made a lasting and enduring impact upon the hobby at the national or international level*. Such individuals should be generally known throughout the bottle collecting community for their collections, contributions and impact upon the hobby. Such contributions include but are not limited to research and publications that furthered a greater understanding of the history and production of bottles and glass, or major contributions that significantly encouraged people to participate in the hobby. Such contributions include creation and organization of significant activities or events that fostered growth, understanding, and cooperation in the hobby.
Read and Download: Hall of Fame Guidelines and Requirements Application Form
Read and Download: Requirements, Nomination, Evaluation and Award Procedure
HALL OF FAME
1981 – Helen McKearin
In recognition for her outstanding literary achievements in the field if research and writing, resulting in the publication of comprehensive reference books and periodicals on the subject of American glass and bottles. She co-authored American Glass with her father, George S. McKearin.
1983 – Charles B. Gardner
Known as the “Father of Modern Day Bottle Collecting,” he was the link between past greats in the hobby such as Stephen Van Rensselaer and George and Helen McKearin. He was a master collector for 45 years, stimulating the hobby’s growth to what it has become today – a vibrant collecting field filled with camaraderie and adventures.
1985 – Edmund R. & Jayne Blaske
Dedicated collectors and researchers in the field of historical flasks. Teachers of many young and new collectors, the Blaskes were popular banquet speakers, as well as active supporters of many local clubs, the Federation of Historical Bottle Clubs (now Collectors) and the National Bottle Museum in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
1985 – John C. Tibbitts
Founder and first president of the first U.S. bottle club, the Antique Bottle Collectors Association of California. It eventually had a national membership of more than 250 persons representing 23 states and was the model for the formation of many others. He was the first to edit a club newsletter. It was called The Pontil.
1985 – Harry Hall White
A great bottle archaeologist, his excavations of glass houses and research of public libraries produced sound data that was used by authors such as Kenneth Wilson and George McKearin in writing books that enriched the knowledge of glass collectors. “Harry Hall White is the outstanding pioneer in this field of research and investigation,” McKearin wrote in American Glass, published in 1941. In November of 1926, his story on Early Pittsburgh Glass-Houses was featured in The Magazine Antiques to which he was a frequent contributor for more than two decades. He was born in 1884 and died in Shelbyville, Ind., at the age of 60 in April 1944. He was buried in Cleveland, Ohio.
1987 – Paul L. Ballentine
A collector who became an authority on Midwestern glass, he was a noted author, speaker, collector, club founder, educator and friend. He will be remembered by members of a hobby that he promoted, preserved, advanced and loved.
1987 – Dr. Cecil Munsey, Ph.D
A bottle collecting pioneer noted for significant contributions to the organized hobby, not the least of which was his 1970 book, An Illustrated Guide to Collecting Bottles. He also authored The Illustrated Guide to the Collecting of Coca-Cola. He is a skilled researcher, writer and editor.
1988 – Bernard C. Puckhaber
He helped popularize the collecting of “Saratoga-type” mineral water bottles by writing and publishing a book (SARATOGAS) (1977). He helped further the educational aims of the Federation of Historical Bottle Clubs (now Collectors) and was instrumental in establishing the National Bottle Museum in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
1989 – George S. McKearin
His commitment to bottle collecting resulted in extensive research and development of two major books with daughter Helen – American Glass and Two Hundred Years of American Blown Glass. He spoke extensively throughout the United States and Europe and was consulted by major museums, collectors and auction houses. His unequaled early glass collection sold at auction in 1931-32, being dispersed in collections across the U.S. His figural (historical) flask identification chart remains the singular means of describing each specimen.
1990 – Jean Matthews Garrison
She lived the FOHBC slogan: “The Federation of Historical Bottle Clubs (now Collectors) strive to promote, foster and encourage all activities toward the betterment of bottle collecting.” She became national chairman of the Federation in 1980 and served as public relations chairman for eight years. A life member of the Federation, Jean was active in no fewer than seven bottle clubs. Sam Fuss, in 1990 the Northeast Region chairman (now called director) said in nominating her to the FOHBC Hall of Fame, “She was like an auto sparkplug getting things started and finding proper people to finish the job. . .a vote for Jean is a vote for America, motherhood and apple pie!” She did not live to enjoy her hobby’s ultimate honor, passing away in her sleep at Walter Reed Army Hospital on March 16, 1990.
1992 – Dr. George Herron
He became a member of the original bottle club (in Sacramento, Calif.) in 1965 and two years later, “Doc” and his wife, Ruth, were among the original charter members of the Iowa Antique Bottleers established in 1967. He retained membership and leadership in that group and the hobby until his death. He began a regular column in Old Bottle Magazine called “Herron’s Hunches” in July of 1989.
1993 – Stephen “Peck” Markota
The Federation’s first honorary director, Peck and his wife, Audie, dug, cleaned and collected bottles and researched, wrote and taught others about them. He helped found the Federation and later the Markotas published a book called Western Blobtop Sodas.
1993 – Verna L. Wagner
Her tireless efforts in organizing the first national bottle show – the 1976 EXPO in St. Louis – set a standard of excellence. She was an officer and ambassador, in person and in print, for her local club and Federation and guided its growth, made lots of friends, and loved every minute of it.
1994 – Harold G. “Hal” Wagner
His vision and chairmanship of the first national show gave lasting strength to the Federation and hobby. The Federation was not financially able to follow through on his suggestion to hold a national show in St. Louis during the nation’s Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. He volunteered to use his own money, to be reimbursed after show profits were collected. It was the crowning achievement in his three decades of local and national leadership.
1995 – Alice Creswick
She took up the formidable task of documenting fruit jars and authoring The Red Book of Fruit Jars, among other publications, for a quarter of a century. She authored six editions of the Collector’s Guide to Old Fruit Jars, more commonly known as the Red Book, bringing to light more than 3,000 varieties of fruit jars.
1995 – John C. Fountain
1996 – Carlyn Ring
Early collector and historian who amassed what was believed to be the most complete bitters collection, she wrote For Bitters Only, which became the primary reference of bitters bottle collecting. She later collaborated with California collector Bill Ham in publishing the massive Bitters Bottles book.
1997 – Doc Ford
Considered one of the chief ambassadors of the bottle hobby, for 30 years he traveled the country supporting shows and displaying his collections, making many friends in and for the hobby.
1997 – Richard “Dick” Watson
Author of the first major book on bitters collecting, Bitters Bottles (1965), setting a standard for all the bottle books that followed, and later published a supplement to the book (1968). His service to the Federation came at a time when leadership was greatly needed. He and his wife, Elma, amassed outstanding collections of bitters and Saratoga waters. He later served as the Federation historian and was a member of the board of directors.
1998 – Dr. Burton Spiller
Giving lectures and writing articles, putting on programs and sharing his vast knowledge, he has tirelessly worked to promote our hobby.
1999 – Howard Dean
His literary contributions and work with the Federation, the National Bottle Museum and bottle clubs have made a lasting and enduring impact on the hobby. His activities continued even into his 90s. HOF Document
2002 – John Eatwell
One of the giants of the hobby, he was the Federation’s first chairman (now called president), designed the organization’s first logo, and was the first to suggest the possibility of holding a national show. He was an active member of the Antique Bottle Collectors of Colorado since 1967, serving as its president. He was famous for his collection of Pike’s Peak flasks and co-authored (with David K. Clint III) the comprehensive and beautifully illustrated landmark book, Pike’s Peak Gold, in 2000.
2002 – Bob Ferraro
President of the Federation from 1977-79, he has been a collector since the mid-1950s. He built outstanding collections of figural bitters, eastern whiskeys and Nevada bottles. He co-authored (with first wife Pat) The Past in Glass (1963) and A Bottle Collector’s Book (1964). He continues to serve the Federation (first vice president 2008-14) and director-at-large (2015).
2002 – Elma Watson
The perfect helpmate to husband and Hall of Famer Dick, she was an important leader in the Federation, serving as treasurer for many years. Co-chair of the 1994 National Show in Cherry Hill, N.J., she helped establish and arrange bottle exhibits at the Wheaton Museum and assisted with the establishment of the National Bottle Museum in Ballston Spa, N.Y. She was an important contributor to her husband’s books – Bitters Bottles (1965) and Supplement to Bitters Bottles (1968).
2003 – Norm & Junne Barnett
Early Federation members, the Barnetts specialized in fruit jars. In 1972, Norm joined Roger Emory of Hagerstown, Ind., to organize the Midwest Antique Fruit Jar and Bottle Club. Norm served as president for all but 10 years of its existence and was show chairman at the same time. Junne served as club newsletter editor for 30 years, retiring in 2006. She did the program books for the FOHBC 25th anniversary show in Cherry Hill, N.J. (1994) and Nashville, Tenn., Expo (1996).
2007 – Bill Ham
Avid bottle collector and author of numerous articles on historical glass, he collaborated with Carlyn Ring to produce the massive Bitters Bottles, as well as the Bitters Bottles Supplement. He also contributed to the revised Whiskey Bottles of the Old West. He is always willing to share his vast knowledge and has given many talks on his favorite subject to various organizations.
2008 – Betty Zumwalt
She researched and co-wrote Spirits Bottles of the Old West with her first husband, Bill Wilson. They later published Western Bitters and 19th Century Medicine in Glass (1971). She was an active member of the first bottle club – the ABCA of California. She was instrumental, with Bill and Dick Hansen, in drawing up the first draft of the Federation bylaws. After parting with Bill, she researched and published Ketchup-Pickles-Sauces, 19th Century Food in Glass (1980). It is sure to become the standard for this division of bottle collecting.
2008 – Tom Caniff
Since 1995, he has authored The Label Space (complemented by the photographic skills of wife Deena) in Antique Bottle & Glass Collector. From 1999, he’s authored Fruit Jar Rambles in the same magazine. He entered the bottle collecting world in 1975, became active in Midwest collecting circles and served a term as president of the Jefferson County Antique Bottle Club in Steubenville, Ohio. He served a two-year term as co-editor of the Federation newsletter (1978-80), was the Northeast Region newsletter editor from 1981-83 and served as editor of the Federation’s annual newsletter contest in 1995. He was vice president and president of the national Jelly Jammers between 1990-93. He is the recognized authority on the various Flaccus family companies and their food-packing competitors along the Ohio River.
2008 – Junior Carl Sturm
Completing his 19th straight year as a member of the FOHBC board of directors and his third term as president of the organization, Carl freely gave his time and himself for the betterment of the hobby and fellow collectors on a local and national scale. He became editor of The Federation Glassworks newsletter in 1988 and played a key role in the acquisition of Bottles and Extras, the magazine having been privately published by Scott Grandstaff and Kitty Roach, who gave it to the FOHBC as a gift. Carl’s favorites among his own collections are cures, half-pint pictorial flasks, black glass and tobacco tags.
2008 – Jim Hagenbuch
After an accidental start (through marble collecting) landed him into the bottle collecting hobby in the early 1970s, Jim Hagenbuch has become an authority on such diverse collectibles as pottery pigs and historical flasks. After the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant at which he worked 14 years closed its doors, he became a full-time bottle dealer to earn a living for himself, his wife, Janice, and daughter Jessica. After Old Bottle Magazine and another publication went out of business in 1983, he decided to publish Antique Bottle & Glass Collector and the first issue came out in May 1984. It was an instant hit with collectors, and has become a forum for topics relating to bottles around the world.. In 1986, he started Glass Works Auctions, selling reasonably priced, high-quality, full-color catalogues so potential buyers could see what they were bidding on, at the same time giving collectors options to obtain bottles not often seen. His catalogues have become collectors’ items.
2009 – Johnnie Fletcher
A founder and several times president of the Oklahoma Territory Bottle & Relic Club, Johnnie has served as editor of Oklahoma Territory News since the club was founded in 1987. In 1991, he published Oklahoma Drug Stores; in 1994, he published the first edition of his Kansas Bottles 1854-1915; in 2006, he published the second edition of Oklahoma Bottles, and is working on a Missouri bottle reference book. He won FOHBC awards for best newsletter and best story in 2003. He was nominated for inclusion on the Federation Honor Roll, but board members voted him Hall of Fame status instead because of his important contributions to the hobby.
2011 – Bill Baab
A collector of antique bottles since 1969, Bill joined the Federation in 1996 and a few years later volunteered to become Southern Region editor when Mary Jane Ferguson was forced to resign because of illness. His goal was to improve the quality of FOHBC club newsletters by urging more historical research. His regional reports were designed to contain news of interest to all bottle collectors, leaving out items of interest only to member clubs. He updated the FOHBC Hall of Fame and Honor Roll lists. He also collected information to be used in sketches of the FOHBC presidents. His suggestion that errors of fact in stories published in Bottles and Extras be corrected in the following issue, thus raising the Federation’s credibility with members, was adopted. He also designed a stylebook for regional editors, following guidelines in The Associated Press Stylebook. Bill proof-reads all stories and President’s Messages carried in Bottles and Extras. He also proof-reads copy in Antique Bottle & Glass Collector, the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club Gazette, and Ralph Finch’s target ball newsletter On Target! In 2009, he inaugurated a series of state-by-state bottle collecting histories which continue today. He resigned as Southern Region editor in mid 2011. Bill was given President’s Awards from Ralph Van Brocklin (2004) and John Pastor (2006). Bill and his wife, Bea, self-published four books on Augusta bottles. He retired as outdoor editor and sports writer from The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle in 2000 after 36 years. He still edits the newspaper’s Friday fishing page each week.
2012 – Jack Sullivan
Author of an incredible number of bottle and pottery-related stories, Jack Sullivan’s name has been a familiar one to collectors for many years. He has written extensively for collector publications in the U.S., England, Australia and Canada. A resident of Alexandria, Va., since 1965, he writes frequently for Bottles and Extras, the Ohio Bottle Club’s Ohio Swirl newsletter and the Potomac Pontil, the online publication of the Potomac Bottle Club. He is a member of both clubs. He also has written three self-published books on whiskey containers and other collectibles. Jack also maintains two online blogs devoted to aspects of collecting and history – “Bottles, Booze and Back Stories,” and “Those Pre-Prohibition Whiskey Men.” His collecting interests include glass and ceramic whiskey containers, whiskey collectibles, breweriana, hillbilly items and paperweights. Jack holds B.A. (1957) and M.A. (1960) degrees in journalism from Marquette and a PhD in international relations from American University (1969). He is married (for 49 years in 2012) to Paula Boyer Sullivan and is the father of two sons, John, an icthyologist at Cornell University, and Brian, an entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Louisiana.
2012 – Warren Friedrich
He was born in Southern California in 1954, the son of a World War II barnstormer and his University of Southern California-educated wife. Seeking a better environment for their only child, they set their sights on Nevada City, a tiny rural community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and put down roots. While his parents worked, young Warren began to explore the area, spending his days miles from home, digging up artifacts. While his friends were spending hot summer afternoons in the coolness of a movie theater, Warren was picking his way through dark tunnels of long-abandoned mines. As he grew into adulthood, Warren continued to seriously collect bottles, amassing a modest collection of western bitters. He began traveling to bottle shows, meeting many like-minded people. He joined the local Mother Lode Antique Bottle Club, then the Federation, and in 1993 co-founded the Downieville Antique Bottle Show. He has authored articles for Antique Bottle & Glass Collector as well as Bottles and Extras. He has helped put on local shows and has a keen interest in encouraging a younger generation to get active in the hobby. Years of research led to the 2010 publication of the book, “Early Glassworks of California,” with revisions made in 2011.
2013 – Gene Bradberry
In 2010, the FOHBC was in trouble. Internal squabbling was pushing the organization away from being the paternal parent of the hobby. Its future was bleak. In stepped Gene Bradberry as president, a job to which he was no stranger. He’d also served previously. But this time it was different. A retired Memphis, Tenn., policeman, he quickly laid down his brand of law and, as a result, the FOHBC arose, like the phoenix, and headed in the right direction. Ed Provine, Gene’s longtime good friend and fellow collector, in his letter of nomination pointed out that many collectors know of Bradberry’s dedication and hard work for the Federation. He joined the FOHBC in 1969 and quickly became active behind the scenes. He served as 2nd vice chairman (1971-72), chairman (1972-74), President (as chairmen became) (1988-94), Membership Director (1994-2000), Expo 2004 show chairman, 1st vice president (2004-06), Membership Director (2006-10), President (2010-2012) and Director at Large (2012-Present). He also found time to serve his Memphis Bottle Collectors Club and is presently show chairman.
2013 – Alan Blakeman
Worldwide fame, at least in the antique bottle collecting hobby, long proceeded the publisher of British Bottle Review magazine. Through that medium, Blakeman has become the European spokesman and watchdog for the hobby. His magazine editor, Guy Burch, felt it was high time his boss received recognition from his peers. His peers unanimously agreed. The fact that Blakeman is a Brit did not matter. Other non-Americans have been honored by the FOHBC. “Anyone who knows Alan well will realise that money does not motivate him,” Burch said in his nomination. “He is simply in love with bottles and the related fields of pot lids and salt glaze stoneware (he was once a potter).” Based at Elsecar Heritage Centre in South Yorkshire, in addition to publishing the magazine, Blakeman organizes four auctions and four bottle and related packaging antique fairs per years. He is author of 11 books on the subject and publisher of three others.
2015 – Ralph Finch
FOHBC Board members didn’t have to ask Ralph what he had been doing to promote the hobby of antique bottle collecting since he became involved nearly 50 years ago. His articles featuring bottles and well known collectors in the field number more than 500 and have appeared in many of the hobby-related journals. In 1969, following his discovery of more bottle bug-bitten people in his native Detroit, he played host in his apartment to a meeting that resulted in the organization of the Metropolitan Detroit Antique Bottle Club. In 1994, he founded and published On Target! It is a newsletter geared to those who love and collect the glass spheres and it also led to Ralph building a collection that’s become “the largest and most important collection ever amassed.” Highly respected, Ralph, 75, and his expertise moved into the ketchup bottle world. He and his collection of some 1,800 have been featured in at least two TV documentaries. That he has a sense of humor can be found in many of his stories. Ralph has earned numerous awards, including a Distinguished Service Award (1969-1977) from his home club, a Journalism of Excellence Award from the Ohio Bottle Club as well as the 1981 Best of Show Award from the Genessee Valley Bottle Collectors Association for his target ball display. In 1979, he became a charter member of the National Bottle Museum Society and is a supporter of the museum in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
2016 – Jeff Wichmann
Jeff Wichmann is a California native who has parlayed his vast knowledge of antique bottles and glass into a full time related business called American Bottle Auctions. His was the first auction house to provide full-color glossy catalogues sent to interested collectors at no charge. He also launched what is believed to be the first online antique bottle auction. In 2013, Jeff was inducted onto the FOHBC Honor Roll, but given his increase in antique bottle collecting-related activities, including financial support of the Federation, the board of directors voted to move him up to the organization’s highest honor level. Photography of old glass is one of his strong points. He also shares his knowledge on his web site www.americanbottle.com. In 1999, he published The Best of the West – Antique Western Bitters Bottles, a book containing information of value to collectors of that genre.