A recent generous donation of an old bottle to our museum from guest speaker Russell Butcher has led us to make some notes on the life of a Drysdale chemist
Johann (John) Kruse was an inventive analytical chemist who owned many patents, he was one of the main instigators of the initial Clifton Springs Mineral Water Company which partnership comprised Kruse, Thomas
Bates and Samuel Allnutt. He lived in Drysdale at this time.
Kruse had leased the old Bellarine Mill at Drysdale to establish a chemical business on site to make various chemicals including the manufacture of dynamite (it was being made in Drysdale not long after its invention by Alfred Nobel in Sweden) and percussion caps. By 1874 it is reported he was using the Clifton Springs mineral waters to make cordials as well as for his chemicals.
In 1876 John Kruse took control of the company. Kruse, being a very qualified chemist, had devised a system for capturing carbon dioxide gas from one of the mineral springs to enhance the effervescence of his bottled mineral waters and cordials.
1876 William JOHNSON, analytical chemist to the Victoria Government quoted in detail as to the quality of Clifton mineral waters. John KRUSE was the chemist bottling them at Clifton Springs, and they compared more than favourably with world famous mineral waters.
KRUSE made lemonade, ginger beer, raspberry mineral water, etc. from the mineral water.
The eight sided bottle we have been so generously donated seems to relate to this period and the most probable manufacturer would be the Melbourne Glass Works who were then based in Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) having been established in 1872 by Felton Grimwade and Co
Kruse had previously (1868) sold many of his patents to Felton Grimwade and Co including “Kruses Fluid Magnesia”( which still exists as a brand today).
In 1868 Kruse then worked for Felton Grimwade and Co as their manager of chemical works so he knew their operation well enough to have some custom bottles made for the Clifton Springs Mineral Water Company
On the 3rd May 1878 John Kruse was declared Bankrupt and may well have left the Drysdale area at that time
In 1880 Kruse was founding President of the first Victorian School of Pharmacy.
One of John Kruse’s four sons , Johann Secundus Kruse, went on to become one of Australia’s most famous classical musicians
There is a Eucalypt - Eucalyptus kruseana (Kruses’ Bookleaf Mallee) named after John Kruse