Jar, Conserve

An aqua glass conserve jar embossed on the shoulder with "R.D COLSON" and on the reverse side of the bottle on the shoulder "NEW PLYMOUTH/NZ". The bottle front is embossed with a banner image of "COLSON'S CONSERVES / FERN / TREE / BRAND" and a pictorial image of a tree fern and mountain ranges.
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It was money for jam when the Colsons of New Plymouth earned a crust by sweetening up the town. Ralf Drayton Colson established a jam factory on the corner of Pendarves, Liardet and Gilbert streets in the late 1880s and churned out large quantities of fruit jams, candied peel, lemon syrup and tomato sauce until the factory burned down in July 1905. This heavy aqua glass Fern Tree Brand Colson’s Conserves jar may have originally held their strawberry or apricot conserve. It was part of a collection amassed by Brian Bridgeman, a Taranaki butcher and metal worker. Over a thirty-year collecting career Bridgeman became something of a legend for his comprehensive collection of New Plymouth-related bottles, many of which he dug up himself. Collectors around the country would come calling for advice, to trade or to glimpse parts of his collection. Bridgeman died in 1991 much of his treasured New Plymouth collection was placed on loan at Taranaki Museum. His family was keen to keep the 228 bottles, many of which were rare and irreplaceable, together and in May 2011 Puke Ariki purchased the collection. For more information see Bottled History: The Brian Bridgeman Bottle Collection in Moffat, A. Flashback: Tales and Treasures of Taranaki. Wellington, Huia, 2012, pp.169-174. http://www.huia.co.nz/shop&item_id=3428 
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