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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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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