CRYSTAL BOTTLING & CIDER COMPANY
GRAHAM BOTTLING WORKS OF GRAHAM, VA

The Crystal Bottling & Cider Company was incorporated on February 24, 1904, yet they show up on the May 1903 Sanborn Map, with William Mitchell as President, H. M. Mitchell as Vice President and General Manager, and J. M. Skinner as Secretary, all of Graham, VA. They are located on the Mitchell Transparent Ice company lot on Highland Avenue on the river side of the tracks. In the May 1, 1904 issue of The Wine and Spirit Bulletin, is a quick note that the company will build a bottling works and that equipment is needed, must have been a slow start, or they are having to build a larger facility.(2)

A letter written to the bottling industry magazine known as the Carbonator and Bottler on May 19, 1904 gives us a quick glance at their advertised product. The envelope in this the letter was sent is noted by the magazine and reads, 揅rystal Bottling & Cider Company (Wm. Mitchell, owner. Manufacturers of all kinds of carbonated non-alcoholic beverages from distilled water. Manufacturers of High Grade Ciders in Kegs. Phosphates, and Soda Pop a specialty.)"(3)

William Mitchell had come to Graham sometime in the early 1890抯, and actually owned three enterprises in Graham by 1905.(4) All three were located in the same location at the connection point of two railroad lines, and consisted of the Bluestone Mattress Company, which were distributed from Bristol, to Roanoke, and into West Virginia, The Mitchell Transparent Ice Company, and of course the Crystal Bottling & Cider Company.(4) The bottling company was being managed by H. M. Mitchell, William Mitchell抯 son, in 1905 and it had a distribution area that covered the areas between Radford, Pulaski, Williamson West Virginia, and Norton, VA, most of which were served by railroad.(4)

One thing that I have found while researching these bottlers is that sometimes they fielded baseball teams. You see this a lot during the nineteen thirties and forties; however, this is the earliest local instance of this practice that I have found. There was a baseball game played between the Crystal Bottling Company抯 employees and a team from the town of Graham in July 1905. The 損op makers?were doing well into the fifth inning only to have Witten lose control of the ball, and the town team beat them 6 to 4.(4)

By 1910 they have changed their name to the Graham Bottling Works with C. Sidney Angel as President, and Charles W. Elliott as Secretary Treasurer (both of which live in Northfork, WV), and H. Milnor Mitchell as Manager. C. Sidney Angel and H. Milnor Mitchell will go on to figure prominently in the bottling history of the two Bluefields, especially Mitchell who would later become General Manager of Coca-Cola of Bluefield, WV. As a confirmation of this fact the company is noted as having been instpected during the period between March 1, 1910 and March, 1911 and found to be in good condition.(5)The company is no longer listed by the 1912 city directory.(1)






The home of the Crystal Bottling & Cider Company of Graham, VA.




The brick building sits on the location of the Crystal Bottling & Cider Company of Graham, VA, this building was built in the 1930's (according to the sanborn maps) after the original building was torn down. Now this building is no longer standing.




From the collection of Phillip A. Townsend, photo by owner
Hutchinson bottle from the Crystal Bottling Company of Graham, VA. I am assuming this is the older one due to the lack of "& Cider" on the bottle, maybe the Cider in Kegs aspect came later on




From the collection of Phillip A. Townsend, photo by owner
A "Tomb Stone Slug" Hutchinson bottle from the Crystal Bottling & Cider Company of Graham, VA




From the collection of Phillip A. Townsend, photo by owner
Another Hutchinson bottle from the Crystal Bottling & Cider Company of Graham, VA. I am assuming this is the last hutch type bottle used as the slug plate is very similar to the following crown top bottle.




From the collection of Phillip A. Townsend, photo by owner
A Crown Top bottle from the Crystal Bottling & Cider Company of Graham, VA.




Another Crown Top bottle spotted on Ebay recently.



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Biblography:

(1) Polk's Bluefield City Directory 1904, 1910-11, 1912-13

(2) The Wine and Spirit bulletin May 1 1904

(3) Carbonator and Bottler magazine 1904

(4) Bluefield Daily Telegraph

(5) Third Annual Report of the Dairy and Food Commissioner of Virginia March 1, 1910 - March 1, 1911


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