Weekend Finds: Space Junk

This weekend Tammy and I headed out to the only tag sale there was to be had. Frankly, we were excited because with the cold winter weather and the rapidly approaching holiday, we weren’t anticipating any sales at all until well into the new year. So we got there early and put our game faces on. As it turns out, the rest of the crowd was pretty hungry for a sale as well and the near-zero temperatures had only agitated them more. The doors opened to a frenzy of pushing and shoving and even one crazed shopper literally raking all of the vintage toys off one table into their already loaded arms. It was a sight.

But we weren’t finding much and when you don’t find anything exciting right off the bat, it kind of zaps your enthusiasm. Because of that, we nearly passed up something amazing. Nearly.

Group-FlatWhen I first saw these vintage syrup bottles on a shelf, I thought they were cool but the thought of buying all of them at $6 each or trying to choose between them was evidently too much for my malaise at the moment and I looked on. But I didn’t stop thinking about them. I persuaded Tammy to go look at them. She had a similar reaction. We both looked on. Finally as we were each about to pay for our other finds, Tammy leapt out of line and grabbed two bottles. As we were walking toward the car I decided I wanted two as well. We went back in and eventually managed to talk ourselves into buying them all. We regret nothing.


Each of the bottles is a different color and has a different rank in some sort of a space army. We assumed some child had kept these for years after consuming the fruit flavored syrups, but we were both amazed at how pristine they were. After we returned from the sale and turned to the internet for research we learned why: they’ve never been used. In fact, none of these bottles were ever used. They were produced in 1953 for Space Foods, Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland to hold syrups for homemade sodas. Before the bottles could be filled or distributed, Space Foods went bankrupt and cases upon cases of these bottles sat for decades in a Maryland warehouse. Once discovered, they were sold to collectors.

Front_backWe fell in love with the spaceman-shaped glass and fun, colorful graphics. They are the epitome of 1950s packaging design. The detail is fantastic with a futuristic gun in one hand and rocket jet packs all cast in the glass.  Not to mention those serious eyes peering out of the helmet.

Space_FaceThe bottles were clearly meant to be kept, as the caps have a slot allowing them to be used as banks.


Marketing folks knew what they were doing 60 years ago by creating a “collect them all” mentality. It worked then and it definitely worked on us. We absolutely couldn’t bear the thought of leaving any of these little space heroes behind.


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  1. susie
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    How awesome!!! Love the spaceman theme. You guys always find the neatest things.

    • Austin
      Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Susie! If kids had things like this today, they’d all still want to be spacemen. They kind of make me want to be one…

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