Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, Glenbrook, CT

Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia is a widely recognized, used and accepted over the counter antacid that works by lowering the amount of acid in the stomach. Today it’s used to treat symptoms caused by too much stomach acid such as heartburn, upset stomach, or indigestion.  But in the early 20th century, Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia was marketed to treat ailments including hangovers, wrinkles, gluttony, middle age and “smoker’s fag

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Bottle embossed: “MILK OF MAGNESIA/ REC’D IN U.S PATENT OFFICE/ AUGUST 21, 1906/ THE CHAS. H. PHILLIPS/CHEMICAL COMPANY/ GLENBROOK, CONN.


According to Wikipedia “Charles Henry Phillips (1820 – 1882) was an English pharmacist known for his invention of Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia.  He moved to an estate at 666 Hope St. in Glenbrook, a section of Stamford, Connecticut and established the Phillips Camphor and Wax Company.”

The Stamford Historical Society states, “It was in Stamford that [Phillips] concocted and received a patent in 1873 for hydrate of magnesia mixed with water which he called Milk of Magnesia. Phillips produced milk of magnesia as well as other pharmaceuticals at his Glenbrook firm which incorporated in 1885 as the Charles H. Phillips Company. After Phillips’ death in 1882, his four sons ran the corporation until 1923, at which time it was acquired by Sterling Drug, Inc. Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia is of course still manufactured today, but the last familiar blue bottle to be filled in Stamford was in 1976 when production at the Glenbrook plant was phased out.”

Fellow blogger Connie C. at Productmanufacturers.blogspot.com notes that “In 1923, Sterling Drug, Inc. acquired Chas. H. Phillips Chemical Co., and subsequently added three new products to the Milk of Magnesia line:  Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia Toothpaste in 1924, Phillips’ Dental Magnesia & Tooth Powder in 1925, and Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia Tablets in 1931.  In 1995, Sterling Drug, Inc. was acquired by Bayer HealthCare, which still manufactures products in the Phillips’ line today.”

Connie C. also mentions that “Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia began embossing its trademark (see images above) on its bottles beginning in 1906 when it was patented. Bottles manufactured before this year are often seen with differing Phillips logos. For example, in an earlier rendition of the Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia bottle, the logo appears as “C.H. PHILLIPS / NEW YORK” surrounding the double circled monogram in the center, followed by the text “PATENTED / APRIL 29th & JULY 22nd / 1873″ below the logo. Also, it should be noted that some of the earliest Milk of Magnesia bottles had no embossments at all and made do with paper labels only.”

 

medical

From The Canada Medical Record, Volume 6 (Google eBook) J. Lovell & Son., 1878

 

only safe

From Leonard’s Illustrated Medical Scientific Journal, Volumes 1-3 (Google eBook), 1880

books

From The Massachusetts Eclectic Medical Journal, Volume 5 (Google eBook), Lynde & Barrows, 1885

 

Excerpt from "Home Medicine: The Newfoundland Experience" (Google eBook), John K. Crellin, McGill-Queen's Press- MQUP, Sep 7, 1994

Excerpt from “Home Medicine: The Newfoundland Experience” (Google eBook), by John K. Crellin, McGill-Queen’s Press- MQUP, Sep 7, 1994

 

alkalies

1918 ad for Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia

 

years

From The Chicago Sunday Tribune, March 17, 1929

 

1929 print ad for Phillips Milk of Magnesia

1929 print ad for Phillips Milk of Magnesia

 

Chas. H. Phillips Chemical Co. Ad in Woman's Home Companion, 1930

Chas. H. Phillips Chemical Co. Ad in Woman’s Home Companion, 1930

 

Ad from Farmer's Wife, 1930

Ad from Farmer’s Wife, 1930

 

Ad from Saturday Evening Post, 1931

Ad from Saturday Evening Post, 1931

 

Ad from Medical Economics, 1932

Ad from Medical Economics, 1932

 

Ad from Ladies' Home Journal, 1932

Ad from Ladies’ Home Journal, 1932

 

Ad from Collier's, 1932

Ad from Collier’s, March 19, 1932

 

Ad from Saturday Evening Post, 1932

Ad from Saturday Evening Post, 1932

 

Ad from New York American, 1934

Ad from New York American, 1934

 

Ad from New York News, 1934

Ad from New York News, 1934

 

Ad from Saturday Evening Post, 1934

Ad from Saturday Evening Post, 1934

 

1935 ad for Phillips' Milk of Magnesia

1935 ad for Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia

 

1942 Ad for Phillips Milk of Magnesia Skin Cream

1942 Ad for Phillips Milk of Magnesia Skin Cream

 

1948 ad for Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia

1948 ad for Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia

 

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About Jessica

I am the supervisor of the analysis of the archaeological collection recovered from the Old Main excavation.
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5 Responses to Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, Glenbrook, CT

  1. Brittney says:

    Is the blue bottle worth anything to collectors?

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks for reading! A quick search of eBay suggests that the iconic blue glass bottles are worth between a few dollars and nearly $30 (with shipping) depending on the condition of the bottle. When searching, click the “sold listing” button on the left side to show the final selling price rather than the asking price.

  2. Martin says:

    I dug up a Philips cobalt-blue bottle, Milk of Magnesia, 7″ tall, embossed only underneath, “Genuine Philips made in Canada” with the number 7 beside… I expect it to be from somewhere in the 1950’s to 70’s since it came with a screw metal top that said “Genuine Philips” on top, and undoubtedly came with a paper label. I would like to know a few more specifics on it, and a more accurate date of manufacture etc…

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