Richmond Hill, Queens history comes alive in New York basement cleanout
I found this old bottle that used to contain poison, or denatured alcohol, and it was made by the same company that manufactured Devoe and Lead Zinc Paint.
The paint was considered to be the strongest house paint you could buy in 1966. It’s made of dry white lead and dry white zinc ground together in linseed oil. The inseed oil then reduces to a liquid that has the consistency and thinness of paint. A 1904 write-up in Connecticut newspaper The Day reveals that, during that year, Devoe and Lead Zinc Paint was the most durable paint known.
The bottle says “POISON” in big bold letters on the label, which is, for the most part, still in tact. It goes on to say:
Completely DeNatured Alcohol
Contains about 10 Per Cent. Wood Alcohol
And then it outlines the warnings of not being for animal or human use. It’s interesting to see that just in 1966, the safest way to close a bottle that contained poison was simply by using a regular cork. Think of all of the safety precautions and child-lock caps companies make for toxic products to ensure protection.
When I found the bottle, it was sitting in a spot that it had been in for years – corked and all.
It was in the basement of a house in Queens, New York, just waiting for me on my basement cleanout. The neighborhood was Richmond Hill, located in the central-southern area of the borough and filled with history. It’s where the Battle of Long Island, one of the Revolutionary War’s bloodiest battles was fought.
It’s also home to the Triangle Hofbrau, which is a historic landmark and restaurant that many a celebrity frequented in the 1920s and ‘30s.
As I’ve said before, for me, finding antiques like this one is one of the reasons I love what I do. To anyone else, this might just be an old bottle to toss or trash. But to me, it opens the door to a world of history I never could have imagined. I guess that’s why I keep going back for more.
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