Friday, December 20, 2013

The PIONEER Idaho Bottle or Nevada Bottle - a little of both.

These F. C. Brown and company sodas are pretty scarce.   They are a interesting link to significant mining booms that occurred in the Boise Basin District (Idaho City 'placer gold') and White Pine District (Hamilton/Treasure City 'silver chloride'). 

Brown followed the crowd into Idaho and set up his soda business in 1867.   The bottles were ordered and blown by either the Pacific G.W. or the San Fran. G.W.   He must have placed a fairly large order,  possibly more than one order,  as examples are known in 3 fairly distinctive colors and with somewhat different top styling.    A number of years ago,  we traveled to Idaho City and met with an interesting gent. that dug some bottles in that area in the early 1970's.   This was my first awakening as to the early 'western connection' of the Boise area.  This guy had a yellow Lacours, S.H.M. fifths,  Pacific Glass Works "star" pickle,  other embossed fifths and S.F. sodas.  He also had 3 or 4 of these Pioneer sodas.    I didn't pay attention to them,  probably could have picked one up from him at the time.  No,  I was drooling all over the Lacours. 

This ex-digger had flown choppers in Vietnam and that was his occupation in the mid 1970's if I remember correctly,  flying fire fighters around the thickly wooded region during the fire season.
He was involved in helicopter crash and had torn up his back pretty bad.  Done with digging,  but he had some great stories.   We were sitting out in the back yard listening to the stories as he went through the daily pain killing process.   His rock garden was full of interesting shards and topless bottles and I bet there were a dozen broken Pioneers in the pile.   Anyway,  he passed away shortly after our visit with him.   His sister was very active in the Idaho City Historical group and that is where his bottles are now.  Another museum to deal with!

Brown's Idaho City business declined in 1868/1869 and he decided to relocate in eastern Nevada. 
He had caught White Pine Fever and joined the rush to Hamilton,  taking his embossed bottles with him.   Several examples have been dug in the White Pine area.   White Pine was short lived,  by mid- 1869 people were rushing back to where they had come from.   Not sure where Mr. Brown headed to after Hamilton,  but his bottles have been found in Virginia City, and in California.  

A very good account of F.C. Brown and the Pioneer soda can be found in Fred Holabird's book on Nevada Bottles V.1.   Did I miss volume 2 or is it still coming?  

An interesting bottle and another early product of the west coast glass works.

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