The Town of
It was a small hole, and not even that deep, but look at the stratigraphy. On the morning of
Look carefully and note the bottom is clay and layers of top soil and finally gravel and asphalt as each generation used and improved the property. And of course let’s notice that log at the very bottom of the hole. That’s not a fence post, or a foundation beam…
According to Big Larry that post is the mooring of a small dock which may have existed here on the south side of a swampy pond almost two hundred years ago. The piles may have once supported a wooden dock or retaining wall – the whole mess was covered in and filled over in the 1830s and the land supported the busy post office and Toronto dentist.
Big Larry was just doing his job; he was digging a hole in a construction site. But like the wise old man, Larry keeps his eyes open all the time – especially when he’s working in history. As I watched him, he watched the hole. After a glimpse of ash, and the flash of glass, Larry jumped out of the cab and down into the pit, to grub knee deep in the mud on a hunt for the prize.
And it was worth it – from the depths of time Big Larry retrieved a ‘Riddel & Burns /
How did this bottle get here? The site is not a dump, but may have been dumped on all the same... This bottle was probably pitched into a water filled ditch sometime in the late 1860's or early 1870s by someone who wasn't interested in collecting the deposit. TimBits tells me that the bottle was made in 1869 by Francis Ridell and AW Burns, the proprietors of the beaver soda company. It was one of the last torpedo bottles made, before they came back into fashion again briefly in the early 1900s.
This is a very rare bottle; even good information is hard to find.
But there's no Riddel & Burns torpedos on display here; the only similar specimen is a broken 'bowling pin' squat soda.
When Larry cleans and tumbles this piece I hope to do a follow-up on Francis Riddel & AW Burns. Anyway Big Larry, nice find.