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antiquebottlesTHE MEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON

medicineTONICSbottles

Tonic has beendefined as “an agent which augments gradually andpermanently the strength and vital activity of the body or itsparts”. Dr. D. Jayne’s Tonic Vermifuge is an example of a

Dr. Miles RestorativeTonic and Harter's Iron Tonic, C.I. Hood & Co.

pontilled embossed tonic. In the early 1960s inrural Texas I was still frequently asked for a “tonic”for the poor eating or sickly child. Tonics then were mostlyvitamin and iron combinations. Bimal embossed “tonics”are numerous and of interest. I will present ten from mycollection.

Ramon andGrove's Chill Tonics.


Grove’s Tasteless / Chill Tonic Prepared By / Paris MedicineCo. / St. Louis, aqua, oval, 5 7/8 inches tall. This preparationwas still being sold when I first became interested in“patent” medicines thirty years ago. E.W. Grove, in hissmall drugstore in Paris, Tenn., compounded many prescriptions “toaid his fellowmen”. Among them was Grove’s ChillTonic which introduced in 1878. Bromo Quinine Cold Tablets, Dr.Porter’s Oil, Porter’s Cough Balsam, and Pazo Ointmentwere additional and later products. The Paris Medicine wasestablished in 1889, and in 1891, was moved to St. Louis, firstat Main St., then to Chestnut, and later, Pine Streets. Grovedied in 1927, and E.W. Grove, Jr., took over. He died in 1934,the year the firm became Grove Laboratories.


Dr. Harter’s // // Iron Tonic, amber, rectangular, 9 1/8inches tall. Milton G. Harter claimed to be a graduate of sixmedical schools from 1844-1866. He began to manufacture medicineswith Robert S. Drake of St. Louis in 1873.
Iron Tonic was originallycalled Iron Magic, and Wild Cherry Bitters was first calledElixir Of Wild Cherry. Harter died in 1890, and his daughter, whomarried a Mr. Hayner of Troy, Ohio, moved the Harter Medicine Co.to Dayton, near Troy. Some time in the 1890s, C.I. Hood ofLowell, Mass., bought the controlling interest. By 1935, itbelonged to Wm. R. Warner of New York City.

Dr. Kurnitzki's Tonic& Liver & Kidney Medicine.


Johnson’s Chill & Fever Tonic / Guaranteed To Cure /A.B. Girardeau, Savh., GA., clear, square, 5 7/8 inches tall.This tonic was first marketed in 1884, and patented in 1886, byAlexander B. Girardeau and W.B. Johnson in Monticello, Florida.It was referred to was the “Texas Cure”. Thereis an aqua square band collar variant and a clear one embossedonly Johnson’s Chill / And Fever Tonic. W.H. Schieffeln& Co., New York, listed the product in 1891.

Dr. Kurnitzki’s / Aromatic / Wire GrassTonic, amber, square, 9 1/2 inches tall. I also have an aqua,oval bottle 6 1/2 inches tall, embossed Kurnitzki’s WireGrass / Liver & Kidney Medicine / Charleston S.C. The WaringHistorical Library of the Medical University of South Carolinahas been able to supply the following information: “Thereis no listing forKurnitzki in the 1878 city directory. In the 1886 directoryKoppel Kurnitzki is listed as a Tonic Manufacturer at 30-32Market Street. In the 1890 directory the spelling of his namechanges to Kurnistki and he is listed as wholesale distributor oftobacco and cigars at 211 East Bay Street and his residence islisted as 62 Society Street.”---”Are you sure thatKurnitzki was a doctor? The medical college here was founded in1824 and the college of pharmacy was founded in 1882. I Have notfound Kurnitzki in our graduation list”.

Swamp& Johnson's Chill and Fever Tonics.


Dr. Miles / Restorative / Tonic, aqua, rectangular, 8 1/4 inchestall. In 1875, Dr. Franklin , 1845-1929, an eye and earspecialist, set up a medical practice in the bustling railroadtown of Elkhart, Indiana, where he had grown up, and where hisfather had once owned a drugstore. Dr. Miles soon found that bycalming the nerves of his patients he was able to treat many oftheir chronic ailments. He began bottling Dr. Miles RestorativeNervine, his calmative, and selling it in small orders topatients and druggists. He formed the Miles Medical Co. in 1884.
Dr. Miles Restorative Tonicappeared in 1885, along with his Blood Purifier. The Wine ofSarsaparilla came out in 1886, and the New Heart Cure, analcoholic preparation containing digitalis, in 1888. TheRestorative Tonic was to “excite in a moderate degreethe energies of all parts of the body without causing anydeviation of healthy functions”.

Sims & Web'sTonics.


Quinine / Tonic // Atwood’s // Bitters, aqua, rectangular, 77/16 inches tall. Charles H. Atwood of Boston advertised thisproduct as early as 1860. It was an obvious competitor to MosesG. or F. Atwood’s famous bitters. Moses started before 1850in Georgetown, Mass.

Ramon’s Pepsin Chill Tonic/ Made By BrownMfg. Co. // Greenville, Tenn. // New York, N.Y., aqua,rectangular, 6 7/8 inches tall. Spencer and Brown, Spencer,Brown, Ramon, and Lookout Mountain were all Greenville, Tenn.medicine producers originally, but I still haven’t been ableto put the complete picture together.

Spencer and Brown patented Dr. Clark’sPill in 1879 and Ramon’s Genuine Nerve and Bone Oil in 1883.I own a clear, rectangular bottle, 5 3/4 inches tall embossedRamon’s / Nerve & Bone Oil / Brown Mf’g. Co.,Proprietors // Greenville, Tenn. The Brown Manufacturing Co.patented Ramon’s Pepsin Chill Tonic in 1897. It was for “AllMalarial and Billious Troubles”.


Sims Tonic / Elixir Of / Pyrophosphate / Of Iron // Sims TonicCo. // Antwerp, N.Y., amber, rectangular, 7 1/4 inches tall. E.B.Sims, a traveling salesman who developed poor health, hit upon atonic that gave him “decided and permanent benefit”.Pyrophosphate of Iron was first proposed as a medicine by E.M.Robiquet to the “Academy of Medicine” at Parisin 1857. There is some question as to whether Sims Tonic was everput on he market, but Sims gives testimonials dated as early as1902 and as late as 1923 in his printed material.

AtwoodsQuinine Tonic Bitters.


Swamp / Chill / And / Fever / Tonic // Morris Morton Drug Co. //Fort Smith, Ark., clear rectangular, 6 7/8 inches tall. TheMorris Morton Drug Co. of Fort Smith first called this productSwamp Chill and Fever Cure, and had bottles so embossed in aquaand clear. There’s a similar clear ABM bottle but embossedSwamp & Dixie Labs, Inc. // Fort Smith, Ark. I don’tknow when this change occurred.

Web’s / A No. 1 / Cathartic / Tonic // TheBest / Liver, Kidney / & Blood / Purifier, amber, square, 91/4 inches tall. This is an attractively embossed bottle that isfairly common. Because the city of origin is not embossed,I’ve not been able to find out more about it. Several Webbspatented medicines but no Web and no Best Liver, Kidney, andBlood Purifier. A labeled example should help.
Quinine is very bitter, and most 19th century chill tonicscontinue contained it. I’ve never tasted Grove’sTasteless Chill Tonic, but if it contained quinine, I bet itwasn’t tasteless......

References:
1. Baldwin, J.K.: Patent and ProprietaryMedicine Bottles, 1973.
2. Blasi, B.: A Bit About Balsams, 1974.
3. Cannon, R.: Antique Bottle and Glass Collector, June, 1992;Sept., 1994; Nov., 1994; Jan., 1995; Dec., 1995.
4. Fike, R.: The Bottle Book, 1987.
5. McGuire, E.: Bottled Products And The U.S. Patent Office,1991.


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