Meet Chef Johnny Pol “The Foodman”


Food Product Jars c. 1850-1900, all dug by the Chef in California.

Meet Chef Johnny Pol “The Foodman”

10 October 2014

Chef Johnny Pol at the 2014 Morro Bay Antique Bottle Show

Apple-Touch-IconAI met Chef Johnny Pol at the super 2014 Morro Bay Antique Bottle Show earlier this year and was impressed with his table of bottles and personality. Our hobby has so many neat people. Recently Chef Johnny sent me some of his food bottle pictures and his bio so I thought I would share.


Circa 1875-1918 colored sauces and extracts that were dug in California and the United Kingdom.

My name is Johnny Pol. I am 56 years young and a 1990 graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. I am a retired Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager for 21 years, in the Fresno, Visalia, California area. Now I work for hotels and private country clubs averaging about 70+ hours a week, currently working as a Supervisor, who supervises supervisors for the CDCR/CMC Prison in San Luis Obispo, California.

So my passion for the “FOODS” bottles is a reflection of being a chef. Many early, hand-blown food bottles are so diverse in shape, form, color and size. It is one category in the bottle collecting field that there is no end to with what can be found. I still, after 37 years of collecting the food bottles, find that there are new ones to be found.

26 oz. Whirly Oils  Cobalt

Goldfields c. 1860+ 26 oz. Whirly form salad oils in cobalt blue! These are 14″ tall.

Compared to Western collectors, who like whiskey bottles, sodas, meds, beers, bitters, cordials, etc. and some extremely rare food bottles, most Western collectors tend to want only American or Western blown bottles for their collection. So their focus is in a different direction and they typically do not know too much about the rarity of the intercontinental food bottles that I collect.

I have been collecting for 37 years now. My collection of bottles and jars have been dug and found in the United States, United Kingdon, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, etc. Many actually came from the California gold fields.

I was very fortunate to know some diggers and we did some research and found this site on the Sacramento river north of Old Sacramento, California. This was an early stagecoach stop and turn-around for flat bottom boats from 1853 to 1878 when it burned down, and was never rebuilt. There were dozens of great western whiskeys found along with sodas, medicines, pot lids, and many foods from the restaurant and hotel on the site. We dug over a 3-year period as to keep it on the low. We sold off many good bottles from that site, and I will share some of the finds that I dug myself over that time.

Green Goldfields Pickle c.1870's

Goldfields c. 1870+ green pickle jar, with applied top. Dug by the Chef at a Northern California gold rush site in 1989. “My eyes popped out when this gem came out! No damage, mint condition. Very Crude, Heavy, Whittled Glass! This could be a Western Blown Jar!”

Amber Vinegar Jar c.1870's

Goldfields c. 1870+ golden honey, round, gothic vinegar jar.

Batty's Cobalt 26 oz. Salad Oil

Goldfields c. 1870+ Batty “Crown” embossed gothic paneled salad oil in cobalt blue glass! Less then 5 examples known!

When attending the Le Cordon Bleu on the weekends, I would go dig at the downtown hi-rise projects that were in the process of being built. Myself and other diggers would pay off the security guard with one bottle of Red and one bottle of Black, Johnny Walker Whiskey and $20 dollars each, for the night, which was the digging fee. I dug a few great sodas, pot lids, beers and whiskeys, that I traded or sold those for the foods I collect.

I am now downsizing the 600+ bottles in the collection. Most are jars and sauces while there are several extracts, and condiment types.

Cheers for now, Chef Johnny Pol… “The Foodman”

3 Colored Jars

Food product jars with applied tops. Two left jars c. 1880+ table delicacies or preserves, jam, jelly jars. Blue square Goldfields pickle jar c. 1870-85. Remember “Foods” in colored glass are rare!

Pontiled Coloured Salad Oil C.1860's

Goldfields c. 1850+ Olive yellow color glass, six sided, pontil base, salad oil or sauce. Square collared applied top. Mega-rare in colored glass!

3 Coloured Jars c.1875- 1900

Three colored jars. From left: c. 1880-1900 condiment jar, applied top. Center: Goldfields c. 1870+ caviar barrel jar, applied top. Right: c. 1885-90 mustard barrel, tool top.

Light Colour Barrel Jar

Circa 1870+ caviar barrel, applied top, in a off orange amber color!

3 early Jars

Three early jars. Left: Circa 1880+ condiment jar, applied top. Center: Goldfields c.1870+ standard size caviar barrel jar, applied top. Right: Goldfields c.1870+ double capacity caviar barrel with applied top.


Goldfields, c.1865-75 teal color, embossed “EXCELSIOR”. Very crude applied top, six sided pickle jar.

C.1870 -1900 Jars

Late Goldfields food product jars with applied tops. Left: c. 1880+ sauce or condiment jar. Center: c. 1870+ puce color pickle or berry jar. Right: c. 1875+ olive condiment jar.

Amber Pickle jar # 5

Goldfields c. 1860 amber square pickle jar with applied top.

Barrel in green

Goldfields c. 1870+ double capacity, green caviar barrel.

Black Glass Fat Lip Preserve Jar

Goldfields c. 1870’s black glass preserve jar with applied top.

Limey Green Barrel

Goldfields circa 1870+ lime green caviar barrel

condiment Jars c.1840-80

Goldfields circa 1840-80 colored glass capers and condiment jars. All dug in San Francisco…

Preserve Jar in Green  Large size

Circa 1880+ two pound size preserve jar in green glass with applied lip.


Goldfields circa 1845+ L&R embossed honey jar in honey amber glass. Pontil base, fat lip applied top. Very rare form.


Pontil base to the L&R honey jar


Goldfields circa 1845+ L&R honey jar monogramed trademark detail


Massive product barrel storage, utility jars, circa 1870+ with bung holes for spigots. Left: Green barrel storage-utility jar, with bung hole embossed VERREIE DE CANNES JB, to the base. Used for spirits, vinegar, olive oil, etc, This barrel is 18″ tall x 11″ wide! 16 sided, 17 rings to the body, heavy whittled glass, sheared ground top. Very Rare in this size. Middle jar: Cobalt blue barrel with bung hole, same embossing as the green jar on the base. Used for syrups, spirits, vinegar, olive oil, etc. Right jar: Very large size, light pale green aqua glass barrel storage jar, 17 1/2″ tall x 12′ wide, 16 sided to the mid body, 16 rings to the body, smooth base. Very rare in this larger size barrel.


Goldfields circa1870+ pickle barrel form jar dug by the Chef in Oakland , California in 1989 in light blue aqua glass. Six dug in the same hole!


Goldfields circa 1860+ extra fancy form mustard jar with pontil base


Nice Large Colored Glass set of “Bocal” utility Jars from France, circa 1860-1880, pontil and smooth bases. These were used for fruits and vegetables.

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
This entry was posted in Bottle Shows, Collectors & Collections, Color Runs, Digging and Finding, Food, Fruit Jars, Jelly & Jam, Pickle Jars, Sauce, Syrup, Utility Bottles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Meet Chef Johnny Pol “The Foodman”

  1. sandchip says:

    Wow. Some insane stuff there.

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