ANOTHER "PATENT MEDICINE ARTICLE" FROM THE PAGES OF

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antiquebottles THEMEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON

medicineCONFUSINGMEDICINESbottles

I have a tradecard picturing a bouquet of pansies, below which is printed Wm.H. Gill, Druggist, Dealer in Dr. C. McLane’s Liver Pills andVermifuge, Palestine, Tex. It was a year or two before I realizedthat it was Dr. C. McLane and his Volcanic Oil Liniment which hasbeen available to the public since 1841, and still is. And it wasa Volcanic Oil bottle that first aroused my interest in oldmedicine bottles that summer of 1968 (Antique Bottle and GlassCollector, Feb., 1990).

Dr. C. McLane's LiverPills and Vermifuge, Fleming Bros. Pittsburgh, PA.


Dr. C. McLane was from Sewickley, Pa. Holmes and Kidd ofPittsburgh, who began preparing and selling proprietary medicinesin the late 1830s, acquired the rights to Dr. McLane’sAmerican Worm Specific about 1844. Jonothan Kidd soon became thesole owner, and bottles such as my Doctor / McLane’s /American Worm / Specific, blowpipe pontil, aqua, round, 3 7/8inches tall were blown to contain the product. A slightly laterpontiled variant is embossed Doctor / C. McLane’s / AmericanWorm / Specific. These bottles have a more pronounced flare tothe lip.

Dr. McLane died in 1855, and by 1860, John andCochran Fleming of Fleming Brothers of Pittsburgh, had becomeproprietors of McLane’s Worm Specific, and renamed themedicine Dr. C. McLane’s Vermifuge. There was also aMcLane’s Liver Pills, Crudoform, Mikado Cologne, plusKidd’s Cough Syrup. This product may have been named for J.Kidd Fleming, who became affiliated with the business. My tradecard is from Fleming Brothers, Pittsburgh, Pa., and the backreads: “A Good Comparison, The Rev. William Roulatt, awell known Methodist clergyman residing at Naples, draws thefollowing amusing but apt comparison between Dr. C. McLane’sVermifuge prepared by Fleming Bros. of Pittsburgh, Pa., and aferret. A ferret when placed at the entrance of a rat hole,enters the aperture, travels along the passage, seizes upon therat, exterminates its existence, and draws the animal’sdefunct carcass to the light. And in like manner have I found Dr.C. McLane’s Vermifuge to operate upon worms, those dreadfuland dangerous tormentors of children. This remedy like theferret, enters the aperture of the mouth, travels down thegullet, hunts round the stomach and lays hold of the worms,shakes the life out of the reptiles, sweeps clean their den andcarries their carcasses clear out of the system. This, at least,has been the effect of the Vermifuge upon children.”

Doctor McLane's American Worm Specific.


In 1876, another drug firm in Pittsburgh, the W.L. McCord Co.,trademark Dr. C. McLane’s Lung Syrup. The first Fahrneyproduct originated in Switzerland in the 17th century. It wascalled Forni’s Alpenkrauter Blutbeleber which is German forMountain Herb Blood Vitalizer. It was brought to the UnitedStates about 1780 by Dr. Peter Fahrney who settled inPennsylvania. The Fahrney
familybecame a large one, spreading throughout the eastern states, intoIllinois, and even into Canada. Many of the sons becamephysicians, often studying under their fathers. The familyhistory indicates that all Fahrneys with this spelling arerelated.

Dr. D. Fahreny &Son Hagerstown, MD. Teething Syrup For Babes.


Dr. Peter Fahrney, 1840-1905, grandson of the early Dr. PeterFahrney, carried on the proprietary medicine business fromChicago. His first products dated around 1869 and were forms ofAlpenbrauter Blutbeleber. During the 1890s, Dr. Fahrney’ssons ran the business and set up and elaborate manufacturingplant in Chicago.
Dr. Daniel Fahrney of Hagerstown, Maryland, a cousin ofChicago’s Peter Fahrney, also became his competitor in 1872,when he began to market Teething Syrup. Other products wereadded, and sometime later, Daniel was joined by his son. I own abottle that is embossed Dr. D. Fahrney & Son / Hagerstown,Md. // Teething Syrup // For Babes (not babies but babes), and isaqua, rectangular, and 5 3/8 inches tall. By the 1890s, therewere a number of D. Fahrney remedies such as his health restorer,lightning pain knocker, peerless liniment, and worm syrup. Thesewere prepared and handled by several different companies. After1900, the Victor Remedies Company evidently bought the rights toall of these brands from Daniel’s heirs. The teething syrupwas still available in 1945.

Dr. J.W.Bull's Vegetable Baby Syrup.


My bottle embossed Dr. J.W. Bull’s / Vegetable / Baby Syrup/ Trade Mark, aqua, round, and 5 inches tall, is from Rev. Dr.John W. Bull of Baltimore, Maryland, and not John Bull ofLouisville, Kentucky, or any of the other Bulls who put outproprietary medicines such as A.H. I.D., or W.H. August Vogeler,who began manufacturing drugs and chemicals in Baltimore in 1845,acquired the preparations of Rev. Dr. Bull in 1873, and formed apartnership with Adolph C. Meyer. The company was known underseveral names, and became A.C. Meyer & Co. after Meyerpurchased all interests of the partners in 1883. They promotedDr. Bull’s Family Medicines, such as a cough syrup, referredto as “The People’s Remedy” and introduced in1852, Compound Pectoral, Pain Drops, and a blood mixture. Anotherbranch of the business produced and promoted the Dr. Koenigpreparations. Red Star Cough Cure is another related product. Yetanother branch put out St. Jacob’s Oil. Hence, the historybecomes more complicated as the years go by.

If all of this seems complicated and confusingto us, what about the poor archeologists who try to understandour ruins in a thousand or so years.....


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