Bottle collectors to assemble in Badin

Published 8:22 pm Thursday, March 12, 2020

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Collectors will uncork a little bit of history in Badin Saturday.

The Uwharrie Bottle Club brings back its bottle show after a year’s hiatus. The show will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Badin Volunteer Fire Department, 128 N.C. Highway 740.

Local and state milk, soda and medicine bottles, pottery, signs and other items will be up for sale.

The club formed in 2007 through about 15 people who shared a common interest in bottle collecting.

“Most members were from Stanly and the immediate surrounding counties,” club president Todd McSwain said. “I contacted and set up a monthly meeting for the club where we established our name, purpose and show date. The monthly meetings consisted of the history, purpose and different variations of groups of bottles. For example, one meeting may feature milk bottles from local dairies, another meeting may feature different kinds of Ball fruit jars, another bitters bottles.”

Vendors and attendees have come from across the state, South Carolina and Virginia to fill their need for bottles.

“Collecting bottles is a unique hobby,” McSwain said. “For me, it started when my dad gave me two Stanly Bottling Works soda bottles when I was about 12 years old. I have been collecting ever since then. Bottle collecting has allowed me to meet and build many relationships throughout the years that I never would have formed otherwise. It is a good hobby, especially when you collect bottles from your local area.”

McSwain said Stanly County has a big interest in bottles due to the many family dairies, bottlers and drug stores within the county and surrounding area.

“Some interest in collecting the bottles comes from family ties to a particular dairy, or bottler,” he said. “For instance, Stanly County had many family dairies such as Moose, Bowers, Pickler and Morton, Herlocker, T.A. Dennis, among others, that did not have their own bottles (some used generic bottles with no names, or sold directly to a larger company such as Stanly Dairies). Other local dairies included Stanly Dairies and Aluminum from Badin. Then there are the local soda bottlers such as Stanly Bottling Works, Royal Crown, Nehi, Chero, Koca Nola, Coca Cola and Pepsi. The Koca Nola was from New London. Pepsi had a bottler in Albemarle and Norwood. And, of course, the Stanly Bottling Works and Coca Cola were in Albemarle.”

Beyond bottles, there’s an interest in advertising memorabilia through promotional signs, thermometers and clocks.

“It has been said that everyone collects something,” he said. “For some, it is bottles. It is an interesting and fun hobby. But the best part is the people you meet and the relationships you build over the years.”