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antique bottlesTHE MEDICINECHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON

antique NO DOUBT ABOUT IT bottles

Nineteenthcentury medicine vendors often used such words as infallible,certain, guaranteed, dead shot, and sure cure to describe theirproducts. It helped sell the medicine, and there was no lawagainst it, at least until the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906.Seven of these “no doubt about it” bottles can be foundon my shelves.

Hyatt's Infallible LifeBalsam (left) and Stephen Sweet's Infallible Liniment

Leading the group is an emerald green,rectangular bottle with a bare iron pontil, 10 1/4 inches tall,embossed Hyatt's // Infallible // Life Balsam / N-Y. They alsoblew this bottle in yellow green, light green, and aqua. One ofthe rarest variants is emerald green, rectangular, but almostsquare, with a bare iron pontil, and 9 1/4 inches tall. There aresmooth based variants as well. William H. Hyatt began in theBowery about 1849, and moved to uptown New York City about 1859.He also put Hyatt's // Pulmonic // Life Balsam / N-Y in aqua,rectangular, bare iron pontiled bottles, 9 5/8 and 11 inchestall, and Hyatt's // A B / Double Strength // Life Balsam / N.Yin aqua, rectangular, smooth based bottles. This product wasadvertised in 1864.

"Elepizone"A Certain Cure for Fits & Epilepsy (left) and Dr. Hoxie'sCertain Croup Cure

Stephen // Sweet's // Infallible // Linimentcame in aqua, rectangular with beveled edges, blowpipe pontiledbottles, 5 1/4 inches tall; later there were smooth basedvariants. Sweet was a country doctor who practiced near Lebanan,Connecticut. Edmund B. Richardson, a Norwich, Vermont,apothecary, put up his medicine, and was the sole proprietor by1859. He may have been the father of Edward A. Richardson, laterof Wells, Richardson and Company, a proprietary medicine companyin Burlington, Vermont.

“Elepizon” / A / Certain Cure For /Fits & Epilepsy / Dr. H.G. Root / 183 Pearl St / New York isembossed on an aqua, rectangular, smooth based bottle, 81/2 inches tall. There are clear variants, 5 7/8 inch tallvariants, and London variants; some bottles have H.G. Root, M.C,which is an abbreviation for manufacturing chemist. Henry G. Root learnedthe drug began a practice in New York City in the early 1860s.Root started his business in 1875, and was listed in New Yorkdirectories at least through 1913.

Emerson'sSarsaparilla-3 Bottles Guaranteed to Cure-3 (left) and Dr. H.F.Peery's Dead Shot Vermifuge

Dr. Hoxie's // Certain / Croup Cure // Buffalo,N.Y., appears on a clear, rectangular bottle, 4 1/2 inches tall.A.C. Hoxie, M.D., was listed in an 1865 directory as aHomeopathies, who is one that treats diseases with small doses ofdrugs which are capable of producing symptoms in healthy personssimilar to those of the disease to be treated. At least it soundslogical. This cure was advertised in 1872, and was charged to aremedy in 1900.

Clay'sSure Cure For Rheumatism

Emerson's Sarsaparilla / 3-Bottles Guaranteedto Cure-3 / Kansas City, Mo., is embossed on a clear, ovalbottle, 8 1/2 inches tall. There is a variant with both Chicago,Ill. And Kansas City, Mo., slugged out. Perhaps the brand startedin Kansas City and moved to Chicago. The label was registered onApril 20, 1897. I have another bottle embossed Emerson's / 50Cts. Sarsaparilla which is aqua, rectangular, and 9 1/2 inchestall. A different company probably put this out.

Dr. H.F. Peery's // Dead Shot / Vermifugeappears on an aqua, oval bottle 4 inches tall. A vermifuge is amedicine that causes the expulsion of worms from the intestinaltract. There is a blowpipe pontiled variant that is embossedPerry's, but Peery's is the spelling given in their ads. H.F.Peery allowed Abraham and Isaac Sands to have his sole agencyabout 1840, and it became a big seller. Later, others bottled thepreparation, which was “capable, from the promptitude of itsaction, of clearing the system in a few hours of everyworm”.

I can imagine the thoughts of the nineteenthcentury customer. “I'm not one to play around with somethingas important as my health. I want that dead shot, sure curestuff, even if it costs a little more”. Those vendorsunderstood human nature very well.


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