Electric Bitters, H.E. Bucklen & Co., Chicago, ILL

Electric Bitters was a laxative that contained 18% alcohol.  It’s label proclaimed it was “The Great Family Remedy for all diseases of the stomach, liver and kidneys, biliousness, general debility, fever and ague and blood disorders.”

As mentioned in another post, H.E. Bucklen & Company of Chicago were highly successful sellers of a number of popular (and fraudulent) patent medicines, including Dr. King’s New Discovery, Electric Bitters, The New Life Pills, Dr. King’s California Golden Compound, Dr. King’s Hop Cordial, and Dr. Scheeler’s Great German Cure for Consumption.

Bottle embossed: H.E. Bucklen & Co, Chicago, ILL

Bottle embossed: Electric Bitters

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Scott’s Emulsion of Cod Liver Oil, New York City, New York

Fish oil capsules and omega-3 supplements that are common today can trace their origins to the infamous cod liver oil of yesteryear, often given to children by well intentioned adults to combat the debilitating diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency, including rickets (a disease marked by soft and deformed bones, typically resulting in bowed legs). According to the Science History Institute, “Even the most steadfast proponents of cod-liver oil admitted that the highly disagreeable taste and smell presented a significant hurdle to its use. In 1873, Alfred B. Scott came to New York City and, along with partner Samuel W. Bowne, began experimenting to produce a less nauseating preparation of cod-liver oil. Three years later they established the firm of Scott and Bowne, and began marketing their product as Scott’s Emulsion.

Bottle embossed “SCOTT’S EMULSION”

Bottle embossed “WITH LIME AND SODA”

Bottle embossed: “COD LIVER OIL”

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Waterman Pen Company, New York City, NY

The story of this Waterman’s Ink bottle is not so much about ink as it is about pens, since Lewis Waterman is known as “the inventor of the capillary feed fountain pen and the founder of Ideal Pen Company and Waterman Pen Company”. Surprisingly, what might seem a banal story of another industrious bearded Victorian man and his invention has caused some controversy among writing instrument historians and collectors, and much ink has been spilled on the subject of Lewis Waterman and his pens. The evidence recently published by historians suggest that Waterman’s humble origin story is full of deceit and deception, contrived to deliberately obscure from history the truth about the invention and the inventor history forgot.

Bottle embossed on base “WATERMAN’S INK’

Bottle embossed on base “WATERMAN’S INK’

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Husband’s Calcined Magnesia, Philadelphia, PA

Unlike many patent medicine creators of the 19th century, Thomas J. Husband, creator of Husband’s Calcined Magnesia, seems to have been well liked and highly respected by all, with a product that seemed both effective and free of controversy.

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Bottle embossed: Husband’s / Calcined / Magnesia / Philada

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Hay’s Hair Health, New York City, New York

Hay’s Hair Health was a hair product sold from the late 1880’s through the early 1940’s. Advertisements during this period indicated that it was manufactured in the late 1800’s by the London Supply Company of New York and later by the Philo Hay Specialty Company of Newark New Jersey.

Bottle embossed HAY’S HAIR HEALTH

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Dr Pierce’s Favorite Prescription, Buffalo, New York

In the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, alleged cures for “female weakness” were among the nostrums marketed by quacks. Among the most successful of such marketers was a Buffalo physician named Ray Vaughn Pierce, who became known as “The Prince of Quacks” and the “Emperor of Elixir”

Bottle embossed “DR PIERCE’S /GOLDEN / MEDICAL DISCOVERY / BUFFALO, NY”

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The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, New York

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, also known as the Great American Tea Company, has a fascinating history, starting as a humble New York tea shop and growing to become the largest retailer in the world, followed by its precipitous decline into antiquated obscurity. The A&P revolutionized how people bought their groceries, from buying bulk goods to buying branded products. And it revolutionized how retailers operated, pioneering the practice of store branded products and paving the way for retailers to dictate low prices from manufacturers and sell in the volume necessary to remain profitable, creating the template for companies like Walmart to follow.

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Bottle embossed “THE GREAT ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC TEA COMPANY NEW YORK”

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