The bad luck of Mr. F.H Brown

A fascinating link to Orange’s past is presented by a glass cordial bottle with the name ‘F.H BROWN EAST ORANGE’ moulded on the front.  Held in Orange Regional Museum’s collection, the bottle was found in the East Orange Channel by Orange City Council staff during works undertaken in 2016.

Glass cordial bottle, ‘F.H BROWN EAST ORANGE’, found in the East Orange Channel during works in 2016. ORM2016/227  Orange Regional Museum collection

Mr. F.H Brown was not Orange’s luckiest man, his cordial factory on Autumn Street in East Orange was up for sale in September 1914. However the sale did not go ahead as another article published by the Orange Leader reports his breach of the industrial act in July 1915. F.H Brown was fined for failing to keep time sheets and for pay sheets not being correctly written. His defense was that they were most likely placed in the waste paper basket.  Found guilty Mr. Brown was fined £1.

Bad luck continued when Mr. F.H Brown’s cordial factory was destroyed by fire on Friday 13th December 1918. £1050 (over $50,000 in today’s money) worth of damage was done to the factory and machinery.

The fire seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for Mr. Brown as between February 1919 and late 1920 notices for the sale of a car, carts, wagons, scales, pumps and pipes were advertised in the local paper.

The bottle is a codd design that was used for carbonated drinks. This type of bottle is closed by a glass marble in the neck and a rubber seal in the lip. The bottles were filled upside down and the pressure of the carbonated drink closed the marble against the rubber seal. When opened the marble would fall into a larger chamber in the neck allowing the drink to be poured.

Because of the inclusion of the marble many of these bottles were broken after use to retrieve the marble for children’s entertainment. The bottle in the museum’s collection seems to have be broken for this purpose.

by Jessica Dowdell In Collections and tagged , , , , , on