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”
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’
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.
Bottle embossed: Husband’s / Calcined / Magnesia / Philada
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
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”
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.
Bottle embossed “THE GREAT ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC TEA COMPANY NEW YORK”
Dr. Milton Marion Fenner made his name and his fortune manufacturing and selling proprietary medicines of his own formulation, including “Dr. Fenner’s People’s Remedies”, “Dr. Fenner’s Specific Lung and Throat Remedy”, “Dr. Fenner’s Specific for the Itch”, “Dr. Fenner’s Capitol Bitters”, “Dr. Fenner’s Liver and Blood Alterative and Tonic Compound”, “Dr. Fenner’s Eye-Salve remedy”, “Dr. Fenner’s Vegetable Blood and Liver Pills”, “Dr. Fenner’s Golden Syrup”, “Dr. Fenner’s Kidney and Backache Cure” and “Dr. Fenner’s Pleasant Worm Syrup”, among many others.
Bottle embossed Dr. M. M. Fenner Fredonia, NY, 1904