On the evening of March 16th 2013 the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors club got together for coffee and cookies and long talks centered around organizing the upcoming bottle show
In the center of that group you might recognize a Whipper's Beverages soda bottle, a very collectible ACL soda made by a famous Canadian wrestler.
Whipper's Beverages, Whipper Billy Watson Cream Soda Pop Bottle Label Illustrated Wrestling Moves for Athletes
WHIPPER'S BEVERAGES was spawned by the eternal fame of Canadian wrestler Whipper Billy Watson or William John Potts who was born on June 25, 1915 and died on the 4th of Feb 1990. He was an international celebrity, a Canadian professional wrestler that was famous throughout the British Empire as "Whipper" Billy Watson; he was a two-time world heavyweight wrestling champion.
Watson soon became a crowd favourite, one of Toronto's most popular citizens. Within a few years he was a mainstream celebrity made famous by his repeated wrestling victories and their coverage on newsreels. Frank Tunney a famous wrestling promoter in Toronto estimated that Whipper Watson drew more than five million people into main events at Maple Leaf Gardens over the span of his long career. As one of the most popular wrestlers in the city’s history, Watson spent 31 years entertaining fans. His debut at Maple Leaf Gardens was on October 3, 1940, and his last match was held there on November 28, 1971. when he teamed up with Bulldog Brower to beat Diego the Sundowner and Man Mountain Cannon in less than five minutes.
Whipper Beverages of Toronto or Breckles Beverages of Toronto had several lines including Ginger Ale, Orange, and Cream Soda in the mid 1960's to early 1970's. The spokesperson owner was "Whipper" Billy Watson, former Canadian pro wrestler, philathropist and East Yorker .
The green glass varietals of this same bottle generally fetch more money at auction as they are rare and very pretty and definitely part of Toronto and Canada's history. Paul Huntley tells me that he has "... seen them go from $25.00 each to $250.00 each depending on who was there or not there (at the auction)." but he adds that "...not many of them out there as they are collectable in the soda world. You see about two a year come back out to auction."
In wrestling, Whipper Billy Watson was known for executing two signature wrestling moves; the Canuck Commando Unconscious move which was essentially a sleeper hold, and what wrestling fans would call a finishing move, and the Irish Whip which was a another hold, and although it was a dramatic gesture, which was invoked with 'lots of velocity' from what the commentators say, I can't figure out exactly what it was ... Some more research is required, to learn exactly what the maneuver was, and how it was executed. Perhaps I should look on the backs of the soda pop bottles, for according to Jim Dixon there are as many as eight different wrestling moves illustrated on the backs of these rare pop bottles and that makes collecting these specimens even more challenging. Now that I think on it, I'm not really sure why Jim Dixon put his Whipper on the table as it doesn't really match the theme of 'Animal Night', unless he was suggesting that Whipper Billy Watson was an animal, in the ring.
Above is a link to a video made by Igor Enriques of Centennial Sports TV detailing Whipper Billy Watson's career and professional wrestling in Canada.
More Antique Bottles with Animals on their Labels
Darren Spindler brought in this Brampton Ontario horse medicine, a colic and kidney cure that he reported as being exceptionally effective.
Brian Johnston brought in the Brandon Manitoba ginger beer bottle below with a beaver arranged like an acorn cap on a beech tree leaf.
Milk Bottles with Animals in Applied Colour LabelsPaul Huntley brought in several examples of painted label milk bottles with animals on the logos. The Pelican is a round ACL milk of the 1940 to 1950's era. This bottle was produced for Hoover's Dairy of Port Rown Ontario. It is considered a collectable Ontario dairy bottle and would fetch $200.00 or more at most bottle auctions and collectable shows. "Only a Pelican is proud of a big bill. Economize with DAIRY PRODUCTS."
During the Second World War, Canada experienced a glass shortage and many dairies adopted a bottle deposit system where the patrons would pay for the milk and a bottle deposit that would be refunded, or not charged in exchange for a full bottle if the homeowner or retail customer returned the vessel. This encouraged the bottle's return to the dairy rather than it being discarded or used for something other than dairy and was adopted into the retail sales system. The bottle deposit charge varied from 5 to 10 cents over the dairy's operating years prior to the carton and jug era of the mid 60's replacing most glass bottle deliveries. Today in 2013 the four Ontario Micro dairies that still sell milk in glass bottles, and still charge a bottle deposit to encourage the glass bottle return to their dairy only now that charge is $2.00 for the bottle plus an additional charge for the milk.
There is a resurgence of selling milk in glass bottles and buying local that has not been seen since Avon Dairies of Stratford reintroduced horse drawn delivery for a short period in the late 1990's.
The alligator below is NOT a torture device used to pinch fingers, but rather a cast iron cork crimper for apothecaries that had to put fresh corks in small bottles all day.