Patriotic milk bottles – They did America proud

Patriotic milk bottles – They did America proud

How the World War II dairy trade aided the war effort

Story and images by Michael Polak

By the time you read this, Memorial Day and the commemoration of D-Day, June 6, 1944, celebrating the sacrifices of the brave men and women of that “Greatest Generation,” will have passed. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, war was declared against Japan, and soon after against Germany, thrusting the United States into World War II.

The need for war bonds

Bottle cap: “St. Charles Dairy - Let’s All Back The Attack (depiction of a Soldier and Sailor) Buy More War Bonds Today”

Bottle cap: “St. Charles Dairy – Let’s All Back The Attack (depiction of a Soldier and Sailor) Buy More War Bonds Today”

The cost of the machinery and materials to support all branches of the military required a call to arms of the American home-front to contribute and make sacrifices on a daily basis. As an example, families were required to accept price freezing, rationing, and recycling programs. These types of actions were helpful but a more urgent, critical need was a method to raise millions of dollars for the war effort. This is where the beginning of War Bonds entered the picture, which was fueled by aggressive poster war advertising.

The ad industry took immediate action by forming the War Advertising Council that focused on public service campaigns. As a result of these campaigns, $800 million in war bonds were issued by the end of the war. If you are wondering what that equals today, you better sit down. It’s a huge, whopping $11,291,370,786.52 … as in billions of dollars. I can’t even imagine that much money. That’s what I call an extremely successful campaign.

Recognizing the urgent need to contribute to the war effort, the dairy industry answered the call to duty by organizing an aggressive advertising campaign that even would have made General George Patton proud. Recognizing how well the poster campaigns were working being placed in every venue and open wall space in America, the dairy industry took that idea a step further. They began a campaign of patriotism in America that had never been experienced before at any time in history.

“Victory – Comes A Little Closer Everytime You Buy A – War Bond” (airplane flying), orange colors Sunshine Dairies, Utica, New York.

“Victory – Comes A Little Closer Everytime You Buy A – War Bond” (airplane flying), orange colors Sunshine Dairies, Utica, New York.

Almost overnight, nearly every dairy in the United States began manufacturing some of the most unique and colorful milk bottles depicting various types of war slogans. These milk bottles feature amazing, detailed graphics.

Some of the younger generation might be asking, “Did milk really used to come in a bottle?”

Applying War Bond advertising to milk bottles was a brilliant idea, since milk bottles of all sizes, from creamers, round and square cream tops, 1/4 pint to gallon, with quart bottles being the most common, was an item that everyone in America, at that time, touched and saw every day at breakfast, lunch, dinner, with a snack, or maybe at school or work.

It needs to be noted that the dairy industry didn’t just apply their war bond advertising to the bottles, they also applied their ads on packaging for their butter, orange juice, chocolate milk, and even cheese assortments.

John Tutton, author of “Udderly Beautiful,” “Udderly Spendid,” and other guides to collecting milk bottles and related items states, “Bottles manufactured during World War II had patriotic motifs and mottos, advertising a particular dairy’s support for the war while encouraging their customers to do the same. An example slogan was, ‘Food fights too! Conserve what you buy. Plan all meals for Victory!’”

The method for applying these graphics to the bottles is called pyro-glazing, where lead, silica, and borax are stenciled and fused into the glass at an extremely high temperature, resulting in stunning colors including red, blue, green, orange, and yellow.

Patriotic milk bottle slogans

WWII War Bond slogan page

WWII War Bond slogan page

While the majority of the war slogan bottles have the colorful pyro-glazed depictions, very few dairies utilized embossing to display their support of the war. Today, embossed war bond bottles are extremely difficult to acquire and are higher in value.

Many of the war slogans depicted detailed graphics of tanks, soldiers, fighter planes, bombers, “V” for Victory signs, and slogans related to Pearl Harbor, while others displayed simple slogans such as “Buy War Savings Bonds-Keep it Up,” “Buy Bonds and Stamps” on the wings of bombers and fighter planes.

Here are a few war slogans examples:

  • “Keep ‘Em Flying (depiction of fighter plane) Buy War Bonds and Stamps”
  • “Let’s Go – U.S.A.” (depiction of Uncle Sam marching behind a soldier, sailor, and marine)
  • “Back Their Attack – Buy More War Bonds (depiction of soldiers holding rifles and fighting back) – Drink Milk for Health”
  • “There Is No Substitute for Liberty (depiction of Statue of Liberty) – There is No Substitute For Milk”
  • “Keep Them Rolling (depiction of moving tanks) Buy Bonds and Stamps”
  • “Fortify Your Health (depiction of Navy destroyer pointing their big guns) Drink More Milk”
  • “Buy War Bonds, Everybody, Every Payday (depiction of arrow pointing at target)
  • “It’s Patriotic To Save (depiction of fighter plane) Buy War Bonds and Stamps”
  • “You Can Keep ’Em Flying By Buying (depiction of fighter plane) U.S. War Bonds and Stamps”
Milk bottle collar label.

Milk bottle collar label.

When the Dairy industry decided to mount an aggressive war bond campaign, they didn’t just apply their war slogans to milk bottles, they also used a variety of other go-with items to help the war effort.

As an example, they manufactured milk bottle collars that would attach to the neck of the bottle with red, white, and blue colors with various messages and depiction of planes, soldiers, sailors, marines, tanks, and ships. These collars were used to urge the public to help win the war by recycling their glass bottles.

Rationing and recycling became a patriotic duty, a way for all Americans to support the war effort. To complement the war slogans on the milk bottles, the dairy industry also manufacture special milk bottle caps with various messages and war related depictions.

If you should ever find milk in a bottle, or happen to see some war slogan milk bottles while searching for treasures, take a moment to remember the “Greatest Generation.” As you can see, when it’s time for America to come together and support their country, they always do it right and do it big.

Milk Bottle References:

Tutton, John. Utterly Splendid, A Guide to the Pyroglazed OR Painted Milkbottle History and Price Information, John Tutton, 1967 Ridgeway Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630, 2003

Tutton, John. Utterly Beautiful, A Pictorial Guide to the Pyroglazed OR Painted Milkbottle History and Price Information, John Tutton, 1967 Ridgeway Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630, 2005

Witkowski, Terrence H. The American Consumer Home Front During World War II, Advances in Consumer Research Volume 25, 1998, Pages 568-573, California State University, Long Beach, California, 1998

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Published at Thu, 27 Jun 2019 12:27:56 +0000

I missed some very nice items at Bonham’s Modern Design | Art sale, April 24, 2019

I missed some very nice items at Bonham’s Modern Design | Art sale, April 24, 2019

I am now publishing once a week, on Monday.


I’m so busy that I miss more than a few opportunities to buy good items at fair prices. Recently there have been several auctions where some really wonderful items sold for very good prices, but I missed many of them, including Bonham’s Modern Design | Art sale on April 24, 2019.

Duffner & Kimberly Poppy table lamp, Bonham’s lot #26

Lot #26 was a gorgeous, large, 24″ diameter, Duffner & Kimberly table lamp with intense red poppies, easily worth in the $15,000 – $20,000 range. It sold for $10,000, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 – $5,000. It was incorrectly catalogued as a generic American table lamp.

Newcomb College plate, Bonham’s lot #5

Lot #5 was a high glaze Newcomb College ceramic plate with incised floral decoration, early, from 1913. It sold for $1,402, including buyer’s premium, below the pre-sale estimate of $1,500 – $2,000. I could have easily sold it for double, possibly more.

Grueby two-color vase, Bonham’s lot #7

I was also interested in a very nice Grueby 2-color vase, Bonham’s lot #7. I wouldn’t have been the buyer as it sold for $13,825, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $5,000 – $8,000.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.


No shows until the Labor Day weekend, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, one of the best shows of the year. In the meantime, we’re still very much in business. Please email or call to buy, sell or trade.

I listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Published at Mon, 17 Jun 2019 07:00:12 +0000

Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned in the Vogalonga Regatta

Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned in the Vogalonga Regatta

When I was asked to be the Drummer on a Dragon Boat for the Vogalonga I said yes because it was a Regatta and I liked the sound of the word “Regatta.” When else in my life am I going to compete in a 30km rowing marathon?  First, I should point out I wasn’t rowing. Secondly, I should say I was promised that the role of the Drummer was easy, peasy, pumpkin pie. In fact – that MIGHT have been an exaggeration, and while my core muscles may still be aching from 4 ½ hours of balancing myself on the bow of the boat on a seat the size of Bosc Pear in the choppy waters of the Venetian lagoon – it was without a doubt worth it. (Yes – that’s moi in the headdress in the above photo!) Cue the music, “I had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you… (Yes, I’m talking to you, Naomi, the woman who talked me and several other friends into this).

And while at first it simply sounded glamorous to be in a Regatta in Venice – the Vogalonga is one of the most significant rowing races in Italy –  it was more than that. I learned several things about myself and on top of that, I had a major mental breakthrough.

The first thing I learned is that riding the waves is a lot like riding a horse.  For the first hour on the boat, I was bracing myself. And at a certain point, I realized if I relaxed into the movements of the water – if I gave up control and went with the flow – the entire process was a lot easier. I faced less resistance and simply had to work less. Hmmm… wouldn’t it be amazing if I could apply this lesson outside the boat?

Secondly, for years I have been trying to meditate. And for years I’ve discovered I simply suck at meditating.  

Eat. Pray. Love.

But my Eat Pray Love moment happened at a regatta. Elizabeth Gilbert went to Italy to eat. I apparently have decided to try all 3  –  Eating, Praying and Loving – in Italy. Gilbert explains,

Meditation does not come easily to me. My mind wanders relentlessly. I complained about this once to an Indian monk and he laughed and said, it’s a pity you’re the only human being on the planet who has that problem. But I find mental stillness really difficult.”   

For me, it is the opposite problem. I welcome the quieting of my brain. I welcome the solitude to stop thinking but within seconds of starting to meditate, I fall into a deep sleep. 

Clear your mind. Check. 
Listen to your breath. Check.
Wake up an hour later… Check.

Eat. Pray. Love.

Sitting on the bow of the Dragon Boat, perched high above facing my team, I found my mind clearing. My role as the drummer was to be the heartbeat of the team. I was to watch and mimic the Pacers – when their paddle went up, my arm went up; when their paddle dipped into the water, my drum pounded. I was the only one on the boat who could see their movements – and my job was to communicate to the rest of the team the speed with which to row. It is critical that all paddlers are synchronized in order for the boat to move forward easily.  

More than that, my job was to motivate and to encourage: helping the team using drills to increase team strength and unity. And in many ways, it reminded me of our Antiques Diva Antiques Dealer Training and Mentoring Mentoring Program where my job is to bring out the best in you – to help you find your stride in your antique business. Susan Shaw, of W Road Collection, explains of the training program,

“The way you work in your Antiques Diva Mentoring Program is exactly like the coxswain – the coach on the water, the leader in the boat making all as one in unison propelling the boat forward. I cannot thank you enough for helping me with the forward motion.”

Susan Shaw of W Road Collection

As we floated through Venice passing some of the most significant locations among the islands – S. Erasmo, S. Francesco del Deserto, Burano, Mezzorbo and Murano – I became mesmerized by the dipping on the Pacer’s oar into the water. If I lost concentration and skipped a beat – the whole boat lost synchronization. So I simply focused. On one thing. The dipping of the paddle into the water.

And in doing so – suddenly I was in the zone. My mind was quiet. As we moved water my mind went numb. I had a physical almost visceral feeling of detachment from time and place. All I could see  – all I could think about – was the dipping of the paddle into the sea. As if floating up above the boat, I felt a suspension of gravity that was soothing – achieving complete and utter mindlessness. 

During the Vogalonga I learned to meditate.

As an article in Entrepreneur magazine explains: Thought leaders such as Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Steve Jobs have all lauded the importance of meditation for the entrepreneur.

We often feel that we have to turn off the creative and wandering impulses of our brains in order to make things happen. Meditation sharpens focus, improves decision-making and boosts creativity.”

The Business of Antiques

The reality is when you’re running an antiques business,  your most valuable asset is your mind. As an Antique Dealer, it’s easy to stay positive when buyers are buying… but what about those economic downturns when none of your inventory is selling? How do you maintain your positive mindset? Meditation helps find happiness – and focus – within, even during rough seas. Meditation also teaches you not to respond. Sometimes the best thing you can do in the Antiques Business is to wait it out – ride the tide until the next economic upturn.  

Where Focus Goes Energy Flows | Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned in the Vogalonga Regatta | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva & Co

For me, my entrepreneurial spirit inspires me to focus consistently on my vision. The secret to success is simply focusing on the goal and always going in the direction of it. Vision is integral to building a company. However, sometimes we can be so focused on our goals it can have a negative impact on our personal life, our relationships, our health, even our job performance. Learning to achieve a balance in your life actually increases your chances of being successful. Meditation helps find balance. 

Basically, meditation puts you in the receiving zone. And as a business owner, finding your zone is one of the most important things you can do.  

Years ago, before I had made the final decision to end my marriage, my marriage therapist encouraged me to get regular massages. While I was all about the concept of self-care, I thought it was hogwash that a massage could solve all the problems in my marriage. But by happenstance, I accidentally had 3 massages one month. And at the end of the month, my brain had absolute crystal clarity on some issues I’d been debating. So 3 months later when I was plagued with a business decision, I did something radical. I booked a 2-hour massage. By forgetting about my problem I was able to solve it.

Have you ever forgotten someone’s name and no matter what you do – you can’t remember it?  Then you wake in the middle of the night remembering that name? That’s your subconscious at work. When you meditate you’re letting your subconscious do the work for you. Just like when I was sitting on the bow of the boat using all my core muscles to maintain my balance – I found I was better able to balance – then I sank into the sensation. I stopped resisting it and went with the flow. And trust me, lest you think massages have nothing to do with a Regatta… every team member on our boat would disagree. I think all 12 of the paddlers booked massages immediately following the rowing marathon!

Venice Vogalonga 2019
Venice Vogalonga 2019

I mentioned that Susan Shaw of W Road Collection – one of our clients in our Antiques Diva Training program – compared my role as a Mentor for Antiques Dealers to that of a Coxswain. So what does a Coxswain do?

  • The coxswain is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering. The etymology of the word gives a literal meaning of “boat servant.” In our mentoring program, we are serving you. We are assessing where you want to take your antiques business and helping you chart your course for success.
  • The coxswain is tasked with motivating the crew as well as steering as straight a course as possible to minimize the distance to the finish line, helping with speed, timing and fluidity. We help you achieve your goals.
  • The coxswain is connected to the way the boat feels, what’s working, what needs to be changed. We evaluate your business, your personal strengths and weaknesses and we advise what needs to be changed.
The Antiques Diva Antique Dealer Training & Mentorship Program: The Business of Antiques
The Antiques Diva Antique Dealer Training & Mentorship Program
The Business of Antiques

In addition to offering our Antiques Diva Training or Mentoring Program for Antiques Dealers, we also offer a slew of marketing services for Antique Dealers from help setting up business systems to helping set up your newsletter or social media strategy. One of the most important services we are offering for our Antiques Dealer Clients at this moment is our content marketing audit for antique dealers by Catherine Russell, AD&CO Content Manager.

Content Marketing For Antique Dealers 

Content Marketing for Antique Dealers by Catherine Russell, Content Strategist for The Antiques Diva & Co
Content Marketing for Antique Dealers: Free eBook | Antique Dealer Training Program | The Antiques Diva & Co

Journaling

In this month’s blog we’ve run the gamut from a Regatta in Venice to SEO optimization, but remember last month’s blog when I talked briefly about journaling? To close that’s what I’d like to focus on. I said mediation puts you in the receiving mode. The best way to process after meditating is to journal. 

As an antique dealer, I’d encourage you to start journaling about your business. Go out and buy yourself a notebook and start writing.

  • Describe what your business currently looks like. 
  • Write what you’re proud of.  
  • Write what problems you’re currently experiencing in your antiques business.
  • What are your goals?
  • What would your fantasy business look like?
  • Where would you sell?
  • How would you sell?
  • And how would you adapt your business to fit your desired lifestyle?
  • What things do you need to do to change your business to reach your goals?

Most dealers I know have a thin line between their personal life and professional life – in creative businesses those lines always tend to blur. My own life especially. Thus, when I journal, my journal is one part personal, one part professional. If you’re a loyal blog read you’ll have heard me mention that my decision to start The Antiques Diva & Co came out of my “Morning Pages.” Author Julia Cameron of the Artist Way explains Morning Pages are essentially a mind-dump – three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. Sometimes I do “Morning Pages” but most mornings I do my own version of Mel Robbins 5 Second Journal.

In a recent Facebook Live Post with Steven Favreau of the Favreulous Factory I talked about my own morning routine and how I use a journal to focus on the MIT – Most Important Thing to bring me focus and prioritize my day. 

Today my Most Important Thing Is You – Sharing with you how you can improve your antique business and how we can help you along the way either through our antiques buying tours or antique dealer mentoring program.

On a personal level, I encourage you to go find what makes you happy.  For me, one of the things that make most happy is my cats Fortuny and Fiorella (and their lovely 3 babies!!!) My kittens had kittens!

Toma with Fortuny and Fiorella - and their 3 kittens!
Toma with Fortuny and Fiorella – and their 3 kittens!

Happy Journaling,
Toma – The Antiques Diva 




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Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America’s largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

Latest posts by Toma Clark Haines (see all)

Published at Tue, 18 Jun 2019 16:43:15 +0000

The results of Christie’s New York Design sale, June 4, 2019

The results of Christie’s New York Design sale, June 4, 2019

I am now publishing once a week, on Monday.


Christie’s New York held a Design sale on June 4, 2019 with total sales of $14,038,250. 77 of the 96 lots offered for sale sold, for an impressive average of $182,315. Included in the sale were several lamps by Tiffany Studios, the topic of today’s post.

Tiffany Studios Pond Lily table lamp, Christie’s lot #12

The selection of Tiffany lamps was small and decent quality, but not exceptional. The top lot of the group was #12, a 20″ diameter Pond Lily table lamp on a Twisted Vine base. It sold below its low estimate of $100,000, realizing $106,250, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Studios 17″ diameter Dragonfly table lamp

The second highest price for a Tiffany lamp went to lot #15, a 17″ diameter Dragonfly table lamp on a rare matching Dragonfly base with mosaic tiles. It too sold below its low estimate of $100,000, realizing $100,000, including buyer’s premium. Even though the base was rare, the shade didn’t have much pizzazz.

Tiffany 10-light lily table lamp, Christie’s lot #17

After viewing the catalog, I really wanted to buy lot #17. The 10 green shades were quite rare and beautiful. My goal was to buy the lamp and put the shades on a patina 10-light lily base, which would have looked much better. However, after inspecting the lamp in person, I decided not to bid at all. The shades looked great in the photo, but they didn’t match very well in person and had some original flaws in workmanship I found objectionable. So without my participation, the lamp sold for $43,750, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $15,000 – $20,000. My participation really didn’t matter because I wouldn’t have paid that price.


For the complete results of the sale, click here.

No shows until the Labor Day weekend, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, one of the best shows of the year. In the meantime, we’re still very much in business. Please email or call to buy, sell or trade.

I listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Published at Mon, 24 Jun 2019 07:00:11 +0000

Midcentury unmodern – how antique furnishings fell out of fashion

From the archives – Robert O’Byrne looks back at a feature published in the October 1945 issue of Apollo: ‘Furnishing with Antique Furniture’ by Lt-Col Sidney G. Goldschmidt

In her recently published study Baroque Between the Wars, Jane Stevenson notes that in England many supporters of the modern movement ‘were curiously reluctant to banish their old furniture’. She quotes interior designer Herman Schrijver, who in Decoration for the Home (1939) lamented that advocates of modernism had difficulty making headway: ‘Never since the struggle to be modern has there been such an interest in the public at large in the antique.’

No doubt many antique dealers today wish this were the case, the market for what is usually dubbed ‘brown furniture’ having substantially diminished. We are inclined to believe the phenomenon of recent origin, but a feature published by Apollo in October 1945 suggests the decline had by then already begun.

‘Furnishing with Antique Furniture’ was written by Lt-Col Sidney G. Goldschmidt. The son of a German-born textile merchant who had settled in Manchester, Goldschmidt more usually wrote on equestrian matters: Skilled HorsemanshipRandom Jottings of a Horseman and An Eye for a Horse were among the books he published. Evidently he also had an abiding interest in, and eye for, antiques: in 1925 Manchester City Art Gallery had displayed a loan collection of his Chinese blue-and-white porcelain.

To read more…