In just two days since the blog launched, I’ve already received an item to review! A collector sent me this message with a photo of an unusual carton:

Hi Phil,
My husband has worked for The Coca-Cola Company for 36 years. He started in the Ashtabula, Ohio plant in 1971. The Company was owned by Fred Kanuble (not sure if the spelling is correct) at the time. I believe the name of the Company at that time was Fargo Coca-Cola Bottling Co. OR Painesville Coca-Cola Bottling Co. The Ashtabula plant closed about 1978 or 1979 and this 12 pack carrier came out of that plant before it closed. It is a 12 pack carrier which holds (12) 20" display bottles. We also purchased a 20" display bottle which was filled and capped (with a plastic cap) at the Ashtabula plant before it closed. The carrier measures 40" long, 14" wide and 19" tall. The sides are made of 1/2" plywood, the handle 1/4" plywood and the dividers are masonite. Pictures are enclosed.

Cocacola_12_pk_carrier_display_bottWe were wondering if you've ever seen one like this before and have any information about it. My husband said that he thinks someone who was working with him at the time made it. Is this a fantasy item? Can you give me any information about the history of the Ashtabula plant?
Thanks so much for your time and thoughtfulness.

Ruth - Thank you so much for the pictures of this unique 12-pack carrier. I believe that this carrier was probably produced for some sort of special event. It was never intended to be used or distributed more broadly.

It is not a fantasy item, but is one of those one-of-a-kind items that show up from time to time at collector gatherings. The value of the item can only be determined when it is offered for sale. Unfortunately, we have no history of similar items sold to the public and cannot offer guidance as to an appropriate price range. You just never know how an item like this will be valued by collectors.

Ashtabula began operations in 1903 as Fargo Mineral Springs Company. In 1927, the Painesville Coca-Cola Bottling Company absorbed the Fargo firm. Fred J. Knuebel purchased the plant in 1931 and assumed operational control in 1932.

I thought you and your husband might enjoy seeing two photos of the Ashtabula plant taken in 1935. And thanks for being the first to send me an appraisal item!

Ashtabula_oh_plant_photo1_4   Ashtabula_oh_plant_photo2_6