Tuesday July 2, 2013
A Bayer official in Germany, for one, thinks Arden Stickel’s collection of old Alka-Seltzer boxes, Flinstones Vitamins bottles and other Miles Laboratories/Bayer memorabilia deserves to be saved.
After I did a story on Stickel’s unusual collection of old Miles/Bayer pharmaceuticals and promotional things (look here and here), a Bayer employee from Mishawaka touched base with me. One thing led to another, and I received an e-mail from Ruediger Borstel, corporate historian for Bayer at its headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany.
Here’s what Borstel wrote, in part:
“From our point of view, we would advise (him) to keep that collection in or near Elkhart. It is like the Time Was Museum`s collection, part of the local and regional, even of the U.S. economic history, and you all should be proud of this heritage. It is like a time capsule for Elkhart.”
Unfortunately for Stickel, now 77 and searching for a new home for the collection, Bayer in Germany wouldn’t be interested. Stickel worked for years here in Elkhart for Miles, manufacturer of Alka-Seltzer, Flintstones Vitamins and many other products. Bayer later bought out the company.
Rather, Borstel, who once visited the Elkhart area, recommended that Stickel touch base with the University of Notre Dame, the Time Was Museum here in Elkhart, the Elkhart County Historical Museum in Bristol and other area museums. Stickel has indeed had contact with some of those entities, but not reported any concrete plans of action as a result.
I spoke to Stickel just a few days back, in fact, and he’s still searching. Stickel would like to sell his massive collection, 2,000 to 2,500 items, intact. He certainly doesn’t want to sell it piecemeal, and Borstel echoes that:
“It would be, from my perspective, very sad — even a tragedy — if that collection would be later thrown away or sold in hundreds of pieces to different persons or institutions,” Borstel wrote in his e-mail. “Miles was, since 1884, a big player in your area, and it would frustrate me to know that this collection with all its interesting items would not find a good, safe and new home in your beautiful city or your region.”
Alluding to Stickel’s packed basement, where the collection rests, Borstel also noted that Stickel’s wife Elsa would probably “be happy to have more space at home.”
Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-296-5884. Visit him/subscribe to him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.