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


I’m better with faces than names, particularly whenthe names are similar. Fortunately, Wishart’s andWistar’s bottles also seem easier to me than the two names.

Wishart’s PineTree Tar Cordial bottles, 10 3/8 and 7 7/8 inchestall.Wistar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry, IB. blowpipe pontil.

I have two green square bottles, one embossed L.Q.C.Wishart’s // // Pine Tree / Tar Cordial / Phila. // Trade /Motif of Tree / Mark, 7 3/8 inches tall, and one embossed L.Q.C.Wishart’s // Pine Tree / Tar Cordial / Phila. // Patent /Motif of Tree / 1859 // //, 7 7/8 inches tall. Cordials areclosely related to the elixirs but the higher alcoholicconcentrations and are pleasantly flavored for internal use.Elixirs are aromatic sweetened alcoholic preparations used asflavors and adjuvants in prescriptions and sometimes containingactive agents. My bottles have smooth bases, but rare bare ironpontiled, square variants 7 1/2 inches tall in amber andyellow-olive embossed L.Q.C. Wishart’s // Pine Tree / TarCordial / Phila. // Motif of Tree, also exist. So do amber smoothbased ones in the two sizes.

My eight sided aqua bottle embossed Dr. Wistar’s // BalsamOf // Wild Cherry // Philada. // // IB., has a blowpipe pontiland is 6 1/2 inches tall. Balsams are resinous substances whichcontain benzoic or cinnamic acids or their esters. Holst lists 7other eight sided aqua in the 6 to 6 1/2 inch tall range witheither blowpipe or bare iron pontils, one with Wistar’sspelled Wister’s. IB stands for Isaac Butts. S & P onthe shoulder of a Philada. bottle, Sanford & Park, CincinnatiO., John D. Park, Cincinnati and W.M.S. are also embossed on thevariants. The W.M.S. has a blowpipe pontil, Philada. embossed andis probably indicative of the Williams & Company ofPhiladelphia, who advertised the product in 1841. Smooth basedbottles are known embossed with IB. 6 3/8, 5 and 4 1/4 inchestall, Seth W. Fowle & Sons, Boston 3 1/2 inches tall and JohnD. Park, Cincinnati, O., 6 3/8 inches tall.

Wishart’sPine Tree Tar Cordial bottles, 10 3/8 and 7 7/8 inches tall.

Dr. L.Q.C. Wishart at No. 10 South Second Street, Philadelphia,compounded Pine Tree Tar Cordial and introduced it to the publicin 1859. He soon moved to larger facilities at No. 232 NorthSecond Street. About 1861, he placed Dr. Wishart’s GreatAmerican Dyspepsia Pills on the market and in 1865, Dr.Wishart’s Worm Sugar Drops. The latter was advertised in1875 in Harper’s Weekly. I am not aware of embossed bottles.Wishart’s son Henry R. inherited the Pine Tree Tar Cordialabout 1870, and soon sold it to Philadelphia druggists Harry C.Campion and his son John W. John’s brother Franklin joinedthem, and the firm was called the Campion Brothers until 1897,when Franklin retired. J.W. Campion and Co. was still sellingPine Tree Tar Cordial into the nineteen hundreds. It was for"Consumption of the Lungs, Cough, Sore Throat and Breast,Bronchitis, Liver Complaint, Blind and Bleeding Piles, Asthma,Whooping Cough and Diphtheria, & c.".
Caspar Wistar compounded the original Balsam of Wild Cherry.Isaac Butts, and apothecary near Canterbury, Conn., used theformula in the 1830s, and an 1841 ad indicates that Williams andCompany of Philadelphia, prepared it. Isaac Butts, now at 25Fulton St., New York, had become the sole owner, according to anad dated December 21, 1843. By the mid 1840s, Benjamin Sanfordand John D. Park of Cincinnati, had become agents for at leastpart of the country. After 1850, the listing was only John D.Park, dealer in patent medicines. His role as an agent forWistar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry may have ended due to afinancial strain, because by 1856, the medicine had come undercontrol of Seth Fowle of Boston; this lasted into the 1880s.Since there are many later bottles with IB. embossed, Fowleprobably had IB. bottles produced long after the originalrelationship with Isaac Butts had ended. Dr. Wistar’s Balsamof Wild Cherry was advertised as the "Great Remedy forCoughs, Colds, Whooping Cough, Bronchitis, Difficulty ofBreathing, Asthma, Hoarseness, Sore Throat, Croup and everyaffection of the Throat, Lungs and Chest, including evenConsumption".
A well known fact is that if children didn’t get colds andcoughs so frequently, many more general pediatricians would beunemployed. Upper respiratory tract infections and theircomplications have been the "bread and butter" for Drs.Wishart, Wistar and Cannon all of these years.....

1. Baldwin, J.K.: Patent and Proprietary Medicine Bottles of theNineteenth Century, 1973.
2. Blasi, B.: A Bit About Balsams, 1974.
3. Holcombe, H.W.: Weekly Philatelic Gossip, October 15, 1938.
4. Holst, J.: Pontiled Medicine Price Guide, 1998.
5. Richardson, L.C. and C.G.: The Pill Rollers, 1992.
6. Wilson, B. and B.: Nineteenth Century Medicine in Glass, 1971.

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