Dr. King’s New Discovery for Coughs and Colds, H. E. Bucklen & Co., Chicago, ILL

Frequently advertised and widely available, Dr. King’s New Discovery products became well known enough to attract the attention of the medical profession, and was used as a symbol of the dangers of patent medicines.

bottle

Bottle embossed: “DR. KING`S NEW DISCOVERY FOR COUGHS AND COLDS” on front panel, “H. E. BUCKLEN & CO.” on right side, “CHICAGO, ILL” on left.



According to Rick’s Bottle Room,“H.E. Bucklen & Company of Chicago were highly successful sellers of a number of well-known brands. Herbert E. Bucklen had purchased the rights to his medicines from one Dr. Z.L. King of Elkhart, Indiana, about 1878 and moved the business from Elkhart to Chicago about 1878-1879. Bucklen spent lavish sums on advertising in all types of media, and created the brand name of “New Discovery”, which had national recognition by 1885. He also had several other top selling medicines including the Electric Bitters, and The New Life Pills, introduced in 1880 as a cure for stomach ailments.

Bucklen’s “New Discovery” was a medicine for consumption (tuberculosis) a disease which at the time was killing millions of people. Many companies offered cures and remedies for consumption — all were frauds, including the “New Discovery.”

By 1893, the business was well enough established to be a major retailer through sites at the World’s Fair in Chicago. This retailing accomplishment was achieved in part by offering for 50 cents a 31 page book, half filled with color lithographs of the world fair buildings, and the other half descriptive text. The advertising contained therein, of the “New Discovery,” made sure that most people who went to the World’s Fair to see the marvels available to them at the end of the 19th century thought of the “New Discovery” as one of those marvels.”

Dr. King's New Discovery (for Consumption, Coughs and Colds) souvenir booklet of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, published by the H.E. Bucklen & Co., Chicago, Ill.

Dr. King’s New Discovery (for Consumption, Coughs and Colds) souvenir booklet of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, published by the H.E. Bucklen & Co., Chicago, Ill.

Dr. King's guide to health and household instructor. Chicago & Hamilton, Ontario: H. E. Bucklen & Co., n.d., [ca. 1888]

Dr. King’s guide to health and household instructor. Chicago & Hamilton, Ontario: H. E. Bucklen & Co., n.d., [ca. 1888]

Dr. King's New Guide to Household Health, circa 1907

Dr. King’s New Guide to Household Health, circa 1907, Front Cover

Dr. King's New Guide to Household Health, circa 1907, back cover.

Dr. King’s New Guide to Household Health, circa 1907, back cover.

Dr. King's New Guide to Household Health, circa 1907. Inside front cover.

Dr. King’s New Guide to Household Health, circa 1907. Inside front cover.

The Milwaukee Journal - Jan 9, 1920, pg 24

The Milwaukee Journal – Jan 9, 1920, pg 24

The Miami News - Jan 12, 1916, pg 3

The Miami News – Jan 12, 1916, pg 3

1894 H.E. Bucklen & Co., Chicago Advertising Trading Card.

1894 H.E. Bucklen & Co., Chicago Advertising Trading Card.

But the success of Dr. King’s New Discovery caused physicians to go on the attack, drawing attention to the false claims, harmful ingredients, and tragic consequences of this and other patent medicines.  According to Rick’s Bottle Room,

“Bucklen’s “New Discovery” was targeted by Samuel Hopkins Adams in his attack on the patent medicine industry in a series of articles in Colliers Magazine in 1905. Of the ‘New Discovery,” Adams said:

“It is proclaimed to be the ‘only sure cure for consumption.’ Further announcement is made that ‘it strikes terror to the doctors.’ As it is a morphine and chloroform mixture, ‘Dr. King’s New discovery for Consumption’ is well calculated to strike terror to the doctors or to any other class or profession, except, perhaps, the undertakers. It is a pretty diabolical concoction to give to anyone, and particularly to a consumptive. The chloroform temporarily allays the cough, thereby checking Nature’s effort to throw off the dead matter from the lungs. the opium drugs the patient into a deceived cheerfulness. The combination is admirably designed to shorten the life of any consumptive who takes it steadily.””

The Great American Fraud, Samuel Hopkins Adams, 1906, pg 45

The Great American Fraud, Samuel Hopkins Adams, 1906, pg 45

The Journal of the American Medical Association. American Medical Association, Vol 22, 1894, pg 788

The Journal of the American Medical Association. American Medical Association, Vol 22, 1894, pg 788

Advertisements

About Jessica

I am the supervisor of the analysis of the archaeological collection recovered from the Old Main excavation.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Dr. King’s New Discovery for Coughs and Colds, H. E. Bucklen & Co., Chicago, ILL

  1. Robert says:

    Hello I found this bottle and it’s one sided it doesn’t say chicago on the small leftside of the bottle. It just says Dr king’s new discovery for coughs and colds on front. Is there any meaning. Could it be a sample bottle.

  2. cauleen murphey says:

    Is the bottle worth anything.?

    • Jessica says:

      The artifacts featured here were excavated and not purchased. I cannot make any claims to offer accurate appraisals, but for my own knowledge I look at sold listings on ebay to ascertain what others have paid for the item.

  3. Zachary says:

    I am part of the Bucklen family and he is my great great great grandfather.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s