Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ginger Beer, Cream Pots and Estonian Beer Bottles

How marvelous would it be to reach into your refrigerator for cream for your coffee and pull out this bottle? Or the 3 in the next photo?  These are cream pots from England and Scotland from 1890-1900.  The owner is a friend,  Peter Anthony van de Griend of Belgium.  He is a mechanical engineer and worked for Elopak, the maker of the first paper carton and what we all see milk packaged in today. He traveled all over Europe working with their milk packaging machines.  The interest in packaging and labeling led to collecting vintage packaging and containers.  And of course traveling all over Europe for work certainly helped to grow his collection.

I find it fascinating what people collect and why.  How one innocent item picked up leads to another and another.  In the pictures that follow you'll see the collection that grew and grew.  It seems now we just contain things in the cheapest possible way and then throw out the container.  But once bottles were so beautiful they outlived their purpose and  became little works of art on their own.   When Peter retired he continued to travel and collect.  He sought out rare vintage scrap pictures for Mamelok press who reproduced them.  He is shown here with the director of Mamelok Press.  He is on the right. He bought a house in the countryside in Estonia and began a new interest in items of the Soviet era, being so close to the border.   But most of all he collected bottles.    The earthenware can in the next photo is the oldest piece in his collection from the 17th century.  It was made to hold wine and named the Jacoba can from the ruler of the time, Jacoba van Beieren.  Following is a rare pair of Latvian liqueur containers in the shape of a pipe and pistol.  The bottles on the high shelf are all Estonian hexagon shaped beer bottles.  The next display are all ginger beer jugs and bottles.  And finally displayed above the kitchen cabinets, a long line of beautiful cream pots.  Imagine all the homes these cream pots graced over 100 years ago, and they're still gracing a home.  And what more fitting a home than someone who spent their life engineering packaged milk?!

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