Sozodont for Teeth, Newark, NJ

Sozodont was a popular brand of oral hygiene product from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, according to American Druggist, 1889.  Created in 1859 by druggist Roswell van Buskirk (1824–1902) of New Jersey, it derived its name from the Greek sozo, meaning “to save”, and dontia, meaning “teeth”. Sozodont was later manufactured by the firm Hall & Ruckel of New York, New York, and London, England. Sozodont fell out of favor with consumers in the early twentieth century amid concerns about negative side effects of its usage.

Bottle embossed VAN BUSKIRK’S

Bottle embossed FRAGRANT SOZODONT

Bottle embossed FOR THE TEETH AND BREATH

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Kemp’s Balsam, Le Roy, New York

Kemp’s Balsam was a cough medicine that was successfully marketed by Orator Frank Woodward, a business man in Le Roy, New York. After the small success of his own inventions, Woodward bought the rights to several patent medicines from their inventors and marketed them under the Genesee Pure Food Company name, including Kemp’s Balsam, Lane’s Tea, Lane’s Cold Tablets, Kemp’s Laxatives, Sherman’s Head Ache Remedy and Raccoon Corn Plasters. He made his fortune after acquiring the rights to Jell-O from inventor Pearle Bixby Wait in 1899, and it is for Jell-O that Orator Woodward is now famous.

Bottle embossed: KEMPS BALSAM

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E-Z Stove Polish, Martin & Martin, Chicago, ILL.

According to Douglas M. Steiner, E-Z Stove Polish was manufactured in Chicago in 1895 by brothers William and Darwin Martin. The Martin & Martin company made shoe polish and stove polish and lasted until at least 1938. The most notable historical aspect of this company is not the polish they produced, or even the brothers who produced it, but the building in which it was produced, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who also designed and built a number of other buildings for the Martin brothers and their friends, as well as the Martin & Martin company logo. The E-Z Polish Factory (built 1905) is the only factory building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and it still stands today.

Bottle Embossed “Trade Mark/E-Z Stove Polish / Does It Easy / Martin & Martin / Chicago”

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Pluto Water, French Lick Springs, Indiana

According to Wikipedia, “Pluto Water was a trademark for a strongly laxative natural water product which was very popular in the United States in the early 20th century. The water’s laxative properties were from its high native content of mineral salts, with the active ingredient listed as sodium and magnesium sulfate, which are known as natural laxatives.  The water also contains a number of other minerals, most notably lithium salts. The sale of Pluto Water was halted in 1971 when lithium became a controlled substance. The water was bottled at the French Lick Springs, in French Lick, Indiana, a location with natural mineral springs.”

Bottle Embossed PLUTO WATER

Bottle base features an image of Pluto, or a devil.

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Heberling Medicinal and Extract Company, Bloomington, ILL

The Heberling Medicine & Extract Company of Bloomington, IL manufactured medicines, spices, flavoring extracts, toilet articles, minerals, tea, perfumes and assorted miscellany ranging from stove polish to sewing machine oil. Founded in 1902 by brothers George C. Heberling and John G. Heberling.  According to Historian Bill Kemp, “George Heberling bought out his brother’s interest, and under his direction, the business grew to where it occupied the entire five-story brick building at Douglas and Prairie [streets in Bloomington, IL], as well as the three-story brick structure attached on the west. The business used self-employed salesmen who went door-to-door (or rather, farm-to-farm, since most of its customers were rural folk). At one time, more than 500 of these traveling salesmen sold Heberling wares in 28 states.”

Heberling bottle front.

Bottle embossed “HEBERLING”

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Santal de Midy, Paris

The product Santal de Midy was a medicine for the treatment of venereal and urinary diseases, most notably gonorrhea. Santal is the French name of sandalwood (bois de santal), the principal ingredient of the medicine, and Midy is the name of the French pharmaceutical laboratory that pioneered the method of extraction.  Bottles embossed ‘Santal de Midy, Paris’ contained pills “distilled from Mysore Sandalwood by the Midy’s process” according to an article in American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record from 1897.

Bottle embossed Santal de Midy, Paris


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Lavoris Chemical Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota

According to the Minneapolis Historic Building Survey, “The LaVoris Company was founded in 1902 by Charles E. Leigh and William H. Levings. Leigh was a druggist at 7th Street and Nicollet Avenue. Lavoris originated the mouthwash which became the firm’s principal product. From humble beginnings in one room at the Masonic Temple (at 5th and Hennepin), the firm grew to become one of the largest manufacturing chemists’ in the industry. The Lavoris Company was acquired by the Vicks Company in 1961.”


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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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