Century-old Alexander Keith’s bottle ‘highlight’ of Halifax diver’s collection
HALIFAX – In The Little Mermaid, Ariel’s grotto was full of interesting “whosit’s and whatsit’s galore,” but as one diver found out, so is the Northwest Arm in Halifax.
While on a scuba dive during Monday’s rain storm, Jon Crouse found quite the treasure, an Alexander Keith’s bottle that’s more than a century old.
“It’s the highlight of my collection,” he told Global News Thursday.
An avid diver, Crouse said he usually picks up everything he can find, but in this case, this he knew he’d come across something extra special.
“I grabbed it and it felt different,” he said, then he saw the cork which said “A. Keith’s.”
“As soon as I saw the writing on the cork I was taken aback.”
Because of the markings on the bottom of the bottle, Crouse believes the bottle was made between 1872 and 1890, making it nearly 150 years old.
The old green bottle is in great condition, with hardly a chip, and it’s even got liquid still inside. Crouse said he doesn’t think it’s all beer in there, rather it’s likely a mix of beer and old sea water. He said he hopes to get the water out.
Put it on display
The bottle is a treasure, but it’s not on display in Jon’s house in Sackville just yet. Instead it’s sitting in the toilet tank in his bathroom.
That’s because if he were to leave it out in the air just yet, the cork would dry out and crumble.
Crouse said the constant flow of fresh water over the cork as it sits in the tank will flush the salt water from the cork. Then, he’ll take it out, let it dry and put a few drops of linseed oil on the cork, which will preserve it.
Crouse hopes to put the old bottle in a display case with his most special diving finds, which include other old bottles, a ceramic bowl from an old Halifax hotel, and even a silver fork – kind of like Ariel.
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