antiquebottles THEMEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON old bottles


We soldplenty of Armour Star and Swift Premium Bacon when I worked in mydad's grocery store in the 1940's and 1950's. But I have two milkglass bimal bottles that look like they could have containedmedicine: a rectangular with rounded corners and a bulged neckembossed on one panel vertically ARMOUR / AND COMPANY / CHICAGO, 5 1/4 inches tall; and around with a long neck, embossed on the base in a circle SWIFTAND COMPANY with CHICAGO / U.S.A. n the center, 4 5/8 inchestall. There's a similarly shaped 8 1/2 inch tall bottle embossedhorizontally on one panel ARMOUR / AND / COMPANY / CHICAGO aswell as a 3 inch tall square bottle with an embossed monogram ina circle Crème / Luxor on one panel and ARMOUR & COMPANY/CHICAGO / U.S.A. on the base, both in milk glass. Also, thereare at least two types of amber rectangular bottles with ARMOUR,CHICAGO embossed.

Base of Swiftbottle.

Philip Danford Armour, born in Stockbridge, New York, on May1832, founded Armour and Company in Chicago, in 1867. It soonbecame one of the worlds largest food processing and chemicalmanufacturing companies. Armour Chemical Industries includeddrugs, soaps, fertilizers and other chemical products. Armouralso gained control of several private railroad car lines andbanks. In 1892, he donated money to establish the ArmourInstitute of Technology in Chicago, which in 1940, became theIllinois Institute of Technology, a privately endowedcoeducational college. A branch, the Illinois Institute ofTechnical Research, does scientific research for business,industry and government. P.D. Armour died on January 6, 1901, inChicago.

Food processing by-products were the primary source for theirmedicines. Earlier ones included wine of beef and iron, fluid andextracts of beef, nutritive wine beef peptone, digestiveferments, desiccated thyroids, pituitary body, beef tea andelixir of enzymes. In 1985, Armour Pharmaceutical Co. ofTarrytown, N.Y., listed 19 products, which included insulins,pituitary and thyroid products, vitamins and plasma and thrombinpreparations. By 1998 the division had become Centeon and in2001, Aventis Behring.

Armour and Swiftbottles.

Gustavus Franklin Swift, 1839-1903, was born in Sagamore,Massachusetts. He quit school and started working in hisbrother's butcher shop at age 14. He went into business forhimself at 17, and by age 35, was involved in wholesale meat andcattle exportation. In 1875, he moved to Chicago and became thefirst to slaughter meat for shipment east. He hired an engineerto design a refrigerated railroad car to make this a year-aroundbusiness. Gustavus founded Swift and Co. in 1885, which includedfeed lots of cattle, assembly line butchering, refrigeratedtransportation, regional warehouse and retail stores. Plants wereopened in South America, Australia and New Zealand, and Swiftbecame one of the world's largest packing companies. Four ofGustavus' sons also played major rolls in the company.
I can find no information about a medicine or drug division.Neither have I found my swift bottle listed in any of thereference materials available to me.
Today, in our area, Armour and Swift products appear to no longerexist. A meat expert in one of our local grocery chains says thatseveral mergers have occurred to explain this.....

1. Denver, K.: Patent Medicine Picture, 1968.
2. Denver, K.: At The Sign of The Mortar, 1970.
3. Fike, R.: The Bottle Book, 1987.
4. Richardson, L.C. and C.G.: The Pill Rollers, 1992
5. World Book Encyclopedia, 1999.
6. Umberger, A. and J.: Top Bottles U.S.A., 1971.

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