My 2016 Baltimore Show Weekend


My 2016 Baltimore Show Weekend

by Jim Bender

I spent the weekend of March 13 in Baltimore. I try to write up things about the shows I attend for two reasons: First and always most important to me is to support the hobby and give credit to the folks who work hard to put these events on. There are times we forget all these events are put together by people who are paid nothing. They do it for the love of the hobby.


No antique bottle show runs without volunteers. Jim and Marge Choplick, Tom Koluch and Steve Charing take care of the main entrance. (Steve Charing and Jim Choplick pictured)

The second reason I do it is to point out to people that the hobby is more than about people gathering up glass objects and filling their shelves. This hobby is about the experiences we share and the friends we make along the way.

There is a person in the hobby who spends his time posting blogs about what is wrong with our hobby. I feel so bad for this person because he clearly doesn’t see what’s right with it. I read a blog a few weeks ago about how I write only good things about shows and never report the bad things that goes on at these shows. I would like to answer that one person’s view just one time. I am a glass half full kind of person. I live my life trying to see what is good and work to make what’s bad better in a positive way. Writing negative things does not help anyone. I went down that path many years ago and it just made it worse for me. We are all in the hobby to have fun. So if my writings sometime sound like my personal experiences that is because they are. I am not the 6 o’clock news trying to create some breaking bad story to get people to pay attention to me. I am the FOHBC Historian, but everything I write is not a history lesson. I am a common man who shares his common stories with common people.

Many people today just don’t have the money to travel to these shows and see things that I am very lucky to see and do.  I like to share things with them the best and easiest way I can. That’s it and I will never drive hard-working people into the ground. I will pick them up instead. So here we go!

My weekend started out on Thursday this year. Normally, Linda and I drive to Baltimore on Friday so we can be there for the Saturday morning FOHBC board meeting. The past few years we have been asked to join a small group of people who go sight-seeing around the city. Last year, the weather was a bit wild so one no one went. This year, the weather was great so we decided to drive down a day early and do some sight-seeing. Our guide was Ferdinand Meyer who grew up in Baltimore and lived there until he left for college. I have become friends with Ferd the past few years and do enjoy his company.


Ferdinand heads off to lead the way (Linda Sheppard, Val Berry, Elizabeth Meyer and Alicia Booth pictured)

So we met at Ferd’s hotel early Friday morning. Linda and I as well as Jim and Val Berry, Alicia Booth and, of course, Elizabeth Meyer, set off. I was hoping to see Jerry Forbes as well, but he did not make the trip this year. Laughter starts early in the morning for me. That is a must, we have to laugh and have a good time no matter what happens. Baltimore is a great city to see if you’re riding with someone who knows where they are going. We circled around by the Emerson Tower. It was once owned by the famous Bromo Seltzer Company. Ferd explained that at one time there was a huge blue Bromo Seltzer bottle above the clock tower. That must have been something to see.


The historic Emerson Tower Bromo Seltzer clock face

Next stop was the Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. I have to say this place is fantastic! As we walked around the museum, I saw so many things that brought back good memories. The highlight for me was when I looked down and saw Action Comics’ 1938 Superman. This is the first issue of Superman.  I have seen pictures of this comic and they sell reproductions of it, but there it was, the real McCoy. I quickly pointed it out to everyone. Interesting thing is I don’t collect comic books, but seem to know a lot about them. I guess it is something us collectors just do. If you would like to see a short video about the museum visit their web site at


Buying tickets for the Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. What great posters on all of the walls!


This hallway is loaded with some great posters. Look who’s landing at the far end of the hall. – Geppi’s Entertainment Museum


I thought this was an ink, ever seen one? – Geppi’s Entertainment Museum


The comic book room is a hit with everybody. – Geppi’s Entertainment Museum


This was my highpoint of the tour, number one Superman! – Geppi’s Entertainment Museum


This elevator is like a time machine – Geppi’s Entertainment Museum

Next stop was the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. This was something new to me. I have never been to anything like this before. The main part of the B&O Museum is the old roundhouse where the cars were turned around. The 60-foot turntable was cranked by hand. It still works today and is used on special days. The roundhouse collapsed about 10 years ago under heavy snow and is now completely rebuilt and is beautiful. The volunteers at the  museum are great people and really know their stuff.

I learned more about trains in a few hours than I have in my whole life. Oh, by the way, the term real McCoy came from a train part. Elijah McCoy (1844-1929) was a black Canadian inventor who invented a lubrication system for steam locomotives. When competitors copied his products, they continued to fail and customers would say, “Give me the real McCoy.” There is the history lesson for the day.


Heading into the B&O round house. I love the flags hanging down.


This is how badly the roundhouse was damaged when the roof collapsed in a wet snow storm.


Some of the engines displayed in the roundhouse.


I thought this little train was so cool.


Alicia Booth sitting in the 4-man cab (engineers seat) of the largest locomotive ever made.

Saturday morning was the semi-annual FOHBC board meeting. The meeting is held every year in Baltimore, but we have discussed offers by other clubs to have us hold our meeting at their shows. It is nice to see clubs offering us a friendly welcome. The FOHBC supports all clubs and hopes someday to have every club in the country join. Who knows; maybe next year, we will try something new.

The FOHBC has grown greatly over the past few years. The flagship of the club is BOTTLES and EXTRAS magazine which is now in full color. Only a few short years ago, it was a run-of-the-mill magazine. Today, it is a world class magazine. This is mainly because of Ferdinand Meyer and Martin Van Zant. Their working together has resulted in a fantastic bottle magazine that’s second to none. Other board topics were the upcoming board elections and national shows.

OK, let’s talk about the bottle show. Jim Berry and I share a table at the show each year. Jim spends a lot more time at the table than me. I love to roam the room and visit with people as well as look at great bottles. Baltimore is the largest one-day show in the country. They have over 300 sales tables and dealers and attendees from over half the states in the country. They also get about three to five visitors from abroad as well.


Balcony view of the showroom floor.

If you have never attended this show, you really should. Like all shows, the Baltimore show has some collectables that are not bottles. I have not attended a bottle show in years that is 100 percent old bottles. Most people feel having some types of collectables helps the hobby and attracts more people. I myself collect many things and almost always find something non bottle at Baltimore. There is just so much stuff to look at that it becomes hard to really see everything in one day.

I bought several bottles this year for the collection. People always ask me throughout the day how is your sales and my answer is always the same” “I don’t know, but I will check tonight when I get back to my table.”

At first, I thought the attendance was down a bit, but after speaking with some of the show personnel, I learned it was not far off years past. [Editor Note: 1,103 paid admissions]

As always, the food was great and the dealers had some great snacks on Saturday night during set-up. Once again, the displays they had were great as well.

If you have never attended the Baltimore show, I would suggest you do so and have a little time to make a weekend out of it. There is a lot to see in the city.


After this weekend, I am so looking forward to the FOHBC 2017 Springfield National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo. As I walked around the show room I realized what a great convention Springfield was going to be. It’s going to be a bottle show as big or bigger than the famous Baltimore show. But the FOHBC offers so much more as a convention. We have some great seminars which are already planned. Our bottle battle is going to be like no other with some firsts. Think about this for a minute: Three of the top auctioneers are joining forces to support the FOHBC and the hobby. That’s right. Norm Heckler, Jim Hagenbuch and John Pastor have signed on as part of Team Springfield to judge the category of “Best Massachusetts bottle.” This is what this hobby is all about: joining together to make it great for all. Then a great live auction will be held as well.

The Springfield banquet will be one to remember for many years to come. The late Elma and Dick Watson’s collection will be the center point of the banquet. We not only will show you some fantastic  photos of the collection, but will share some stories about two great people.

Keep watch as more great details unfold about Springfield 2017.

Jim Bender
FOHBC Historian
Springfield 2017 Convention Co-chairman


Good to see Dave Olson at the show. He has been a little under the weather but is bouncing back fine.


The bottle looked like it was sitting under the stars.


Cure collector John Wolfe looks over something that caught his eye.


Chip Cable hard at work at his table. Chip is a great supporter of the FOHBC.


I just loved the look of this photo and had to include it.


It’s great to see families together at a show. Lex Lim, daughter Echoe and wife Yvonne all attended the sales table.


Alan DeMaison visits with Elizabeth and Alicia at the FOHBC table. Alan is heading up the Virtual Museum fund drive and filming effort.


Noel Tomas (left) and Ken Previtali always supporting the antique bottle shows.


Ken Previtali shared this great cobalt blue Ginger Ale with me. I hope to see Ken’s great display of Ginger Ales in Springfield.


The Beamans were there offering some other nice collectables.


Socrates Necklas is a regular at the Northeast shows.


Adam Koch enjoying the crowd.


The Jar Doctor was on hand selling machines and supplies. I have one of Wayne’s Lowry’s machines and it works great.


Rick Baldwin had these interesting openers for sale.


General Scotts Bitters, did have some lip damage.


Dana Charlton-Zarro looking at a great Pitkin flask.


Great Civil War display.


I just plain like this image as the centerpiece of the display.


Another nice display on Whimsies.