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antiquebottlesTHE MEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON

antique CELERY MEDICINE bottles

I think of celery as what we chomp down on at the dinnertable. Its seed also has diuretic and antispasmodic propertiesaccording to my 1951 Dorland's Medical Dictionary. In the Druggist'sHand-Book of Medicinal Roots, Barks, Herbs, Flowers, Etc., putout by the G.S. Cheney Co. of Boston in 1900, I read that celeryseed was used for the treatment of dropsy, incontinence of urine,and liver complaints.

King's SarsaparillaCelery and Compound (left) and Kennedy's Sarsaparilla and CeleryCompound (right)

John DeGrafft in American SarsaparillaBottles includes six brands that also have Celery embossed: Dr.Bell's Sarsaparilla and Celery Compound, Carl's Sarsaparilla andCelery Comp., Aurora, Ill., Husted's Sarsaparilla with Celery,Kennedy's Sarsaparilla and Celery Compound, Kings SarsaparillaCelery and Compound, and Logan's Sarsaparilla and Celery, Omaha,Neb. Joseph K. Baldwin in Patent and Proprietary MedicineBottles lists twelve that include Celery in the name.Gladstone's Celery and Pepsin Compound which was “for salein all bars” according to the Mobile, Alabama Daily Registerof April 14, 1896, sounds good. There were also celery bitters.

PainesCelery Compound in aqua and amber.

Recently, I acquired the amber, square bottleembossed King's // // Sarsaparilla / Celery and Compound // // ,10 1/4 inches tall, bimal, and considered to be extremely rare byDeGrafft. Tom Eccles of California has this bottle with completelabels, which helps us to know more about this gem of the past.It was put out by the King's Medicine Co. of London, England,U.S. Branch, Pittsburgh, PA. A large B dominates the front labeland located within the B are the words Celery, Sarsaparilla, andBrain Food plus drawings of a celery plant and a sarsaparillaplant. The label reads “For the Brain, Blood, Stomach,Nerves and Kidneys. Cures Scrofia, Rheumatism, Constipation,Boils, Pimples and Humors on the Face, Catarrh, Headache,Dizziness and Female Weakness, Loss of Appetite and All Kidneyand Liver Diseases.” The directions on the back label are inboth English and German.

My amber, square bottle embossed Kennedy's //// , 9 7/8 inches tall, bimal, and given as rare by DeGrafft, isthe subject of another article. I do not know which Kennedyput it out; there were at least five different Kennedy's in thenineteenth century proprietary medicine business in the U.S.A.,and none listed this product. I have favored Donald Kennedy ofRoxbury, Mass., in an unsuccessful attempt to compete withPaine's Celery Compound from nearby Vermont. However, this couldeven be another remedy from abroad.

Bromo Celery The ArnoldChemical Co. Chicago.

Most of us have an amber, square bottle about 93/4 inches tall, embossed Paine's // // Celery Compound // // . Ialso have one 9 5/8 inches tall and aqua; clear variants exist aswell. The earliest bottle is amber, square, 9 3/4 inches tall,and embossed Celery Compound // // Compound at an angle within anembossed celery plant. Milton K. Paine, a pharmacist as early asthe 1840's in Windsor, Vermont, began bottling his “CeleryCompound” in 1882. It contained celery seed, red cinchona,orange peel, coriander seed lemon peel, hydrochloric acid,glycerine, simple syrup, water and alcohol. There is one ad withtestimonials from six members of the clergy, perhaps to assurethe public that it had not been overly steeped in alcohol.Another ad states that “Celery Compound Cures Disease of theNerves, Kidneys, Liver, Stomach, and Bowels, and acts as a BloodPurifier and Tonic to the Central System”. This verysuccessful medicine was soon marketed by the Wells, Richardsonand Company of Burlington, Vermont, and they became the soleproprietors in the late 1880's. Don Fritschel, now of Georgetown,Texas has an excellent review of Wells, Richardson, and Co. inthe September, 1974 issue of Old Bottle Magazine.

There's little in the materials available to meabout my 4 inch tall, amber, bimal, round bottle embossed BomoCelery / The Arnold / Chemical Co. / Chicago. It's shaped likethe 4-inch size of Bromo Seltzer, and was likely a competitor.The product was for headaches, rheumatism, etc., and wasadvertised in the Weekly People & Patriot of Concord, NH., onNovember 8, 1895, according to Baldwin. It probably is not one ofSeth Arnold's products.

Baldwin includes another catchy one: PineapplePepsin and Celery, The best stomach medicine in the world,manufactured by Standard Pharmacal Co., Binghamton, New York, BinghamtonPast and Present, 1894. Maybe in order to compete with Dr.Kilmer, they even threw in a trip to Hawaii.


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