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While well-known as a whimsy bottle maker, very little is known about Adam Selick the man. We do know that he lived in Pittsburgh and parts of north central Pennsylvania including Butler, Pennsylvania. His bottles generally date from the mid-1880 – 1890’s.

He built fans in various styles and sizes and would often include birds, crosses, ladders and mallets in his bottles. Paint was sparingly used in his bottles and what he did use was more like a stain. It was used for highlighting or putting dots or thin lines on the fan blades. He did occasionally use decorative paper or wallpaper to wrap columns in the bottle and to cover the face of his crosses. The number of fans used in a bottle varied from four to as many as twelve, and each fan was different. When he did include birds he would often stain them in a reddish tone or in light and dark colors such as blue and off-white. The most birds we know that he put in a single bottle was eight.

He did not always sign his bottles but those he did sign were signed “Adam Selick” usually on one side of the cross-piece used to hold in the trick stopper with the date on the other side but his name has appeared on other locations in the bottles. In the book, Genius in a Bottle, by Susan Jones it states that one of his bottles was signed "Built 1891 Built by Adam Selick, Butler Pa Presented by J. A. McCormick for Anne McCormick at MacDonald Pa." Some Selick bottles have had other names inside such as Henry and Mary Moritz, and D.H. and Mary Grove.


Additionally, there are at least three bottles by Adam Selick that contain the name “E.L. Anthony.” It may be that this is the name of the person the bottle was made for or who the bottle was being dedicated to by Adam Selick.  There was an E.L. Anthony who lived about 15 miles from Zelienople, PA, just north of Pittsburg who was a civil war veteran and later a farmer, who continued to fight for the rights of Civil War soldiers to receive a pension fund.  He may be the same Edward L. Anthony who served as a private in the Civil War in the 167th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry (Drafted Militia). One of the bottles has a date and a written a notation: "No. 4," perhaps the 4th bottle by this individual or a 4th in a series or of a style or type. 




Bottles by Adam Selick


Click on a picture to view the bottle and description in the Gallery

Bottle ID: 351

Bottle ID: 352

Bottle ID: 1016

Bottle ID: 1017