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Glory days of Columbia bottling plants interest many collectors
Top valued items are My Coca bottles from Nell & Son and any of the five flavors from Grapette Bottling carry a slight premium, going for around $10-12. Some Dr. Pepper plant bottles go for $10-$20, collectors Doug Janes and Mike Schorman say.
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By Ed Waggener
For the past few weeks, a number of articles have appeared in CM centered around the production, in Columbia, of "My Coca," a drink which had some cocaine in it and was similar in taste to early Coca-Cola.
Since that time, two collectors, Doug Janes and Mike Schorman, have given an update on the existence of memorabilia, including "My Coca" bottles, and artifacts from several of the other bottling companies which were headquartered here.
Janes owns two of the My Coca bottles, and has a collection of several other keepsake bottles from other bottling plants which operated here
He and Schorman said that there are a number of other collectors in the area, including Jeff Potts, Joe Moore, Lilburn Roy, Leon Lewis, Leon Huff, Winston Bennett, Louis Reeves, Charles Shirley, Donald Gene Burton, and Harold Burton, and Clifton Aaron of Campbellsville, and Roger Barnes of Russell County.
Among the plants Janes and Schorman could number were the W.E. Harris Bottle Works, Nell & Son, Columbia Bottling Co., Grapette Bottling Company, and the two Dr. Pepper plants, which operated during part of their history, at the same time. The old plant, on Fortune ST, was operated by Rives Kerbow, one time Mayor of Columbia. His competitor was Columbia Attorney Earl Huddleston, whose plant was at 704 Jamestown ST, where Jeffries Hardware Co. is today.
Quite a number of brands were bottled here, including the best known, Dr. Pepper, as well as 2-Way, Sun Crest and Circle A.The Grapette plant turned out fruit drinks in several flavors in a little plant on the west side of the road between the Columbia City Cemetery and Town Creek. Among the flavors in the little 6 oz. bottles were Orangette, Grapette, Limette, Lemonette, and Cherryette, they remember being told. The value of old Grapette Bottling bottles from Columbia ranges from $10-12.
The Nell & Son bottles can be worth more. Fruit flavored drink bottles, according to Janes' and Schorman's understanding, are in the $5-50 range, but the My Coca bottles can run from $100-150 - and up.
Most people in the area say that the top expert on soft drink bottling is Jodie DeSpain of Greensburg, KY. Adair County native Russell Montgomery, retired manager of the Campbellsville Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, is a recognized authority on Coca-Cola memorabilia.
The tidbit which started current round of interest
Several articles have appeared about soft drinks, which started with this item in an article, 100 years ago, March 16, 1910 in The News by "Jim". It referred to an advertisement found on page eight of that edition of the News, read thus:
"COLUMBIA BOTTLING COMPANY
Later, Marlton Loy questioned whether the ad read "My Cola," or "My Coca" in this letter: Was it My Cola, or My Coca drunk in 1910?
"Jim" clarified the first story, noting that the drink was, indeed, "My Coca," in this article.JIM: My-Cola or My Coca? wherein orther unmuddies the waters
And BJ Fudge sent a note about the inclusion of cocaine in the early drinks in this letter: BJ Fudge: De-dopification of drink came just 108 years ago
Dan Phillips, noted a citation on a lawsuit which suppressed the operations of "My Coca" franchisees in this letter:Dan Phillips research turns up interesting My Coca findings
And, we hope, this is not the last CM readers will hear of read on the subject. Comments are welcome, using the Contact Form with this story. -EW
This story was posted on 2011-06-05 17:28:38
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