A collection is defined as an accumulation of objects gathered as a study or a hobby. We all have them to some degree, and they usually started with an interest and then all of a sudden there were too many… My grandfather had a clown picture that he liked so it ended up displayed in the kitchen. Once people found that out, everyone who knew him and needed to find him a present, gave him a clown. The result was lots of clowns! I remember when I was young looking through all his clowns. Clown dolls, clown figurines, clown pictures, clown music boxes…
My grandmother moved to Seneca to join the family migration to South Carolina. She never expected to be a great grandmother at 95, and is now only about a 30 minute drive from my house. She went from being ‘Grandma Bette’ to now adorning the nickname ‘GG’ for great grandma 😉 When she moved east, she brought all of her collections… I mean ALL of them 🙂 I recently learned that GG, within her 95 years, has only bought four or five pieces of decor herself. EVERYthing else was collected by her mother and aunt. These two women started collecting antiques in the Wisconsin and Illinois area and then it all got passed down to GG over time. My all time favorite, among many favorites, is her collection of barber bottles. I have always admired her seemingly vast collection, not only for their impeccable beauty in their array of colors, but for the family history they whisper… If bottles could talk, eh?!
Turns out that GG’s uncle is the famous Emil J. Paidar, owner of his own barber chair company in Chicago, Illinois. On 1129 Wells Street to be precise. The Emil J. Paidar Company started business in the early 1900’s and was the leading manufacturing company of barber chairs in the industry. At the time, each floor of their eight story building hosted something new. It is all very interesting actually, if you want to learn more about the Emil J. Paidar Company, there are some links to check out that I posted at the bottom, so I can get on with what I am really here trying to talk about-
Barber bottles. When Emil would call upon the barber shops, he would collect up their used tonic bottles and even rummage through their trash to find these treasures that were thought of at the time to have been disposable. These were beautiful glass bottles, most hand blown and hand painted. One Christmas, I remember unwrapping a present and relieving a gorgeous deep purple bottle with quaint little flowers adorning it. !!! I couldn’t believe it! It was the first of my family bottle collection! I felt so honored. Some of her bottles have gone to each of her two sons, but I hope one day I can bring them all back together so they can follow one of their collector’s lineages.