Bromo Seltzer

Title

Bromo Seltzer

Subject

Medicine
Internal Medicine

Description

Remedy for nervous headache, neuralgia, brain fatigue, sleeplessness, over-brain work, depression following alcoholic and other excesses, mental exhaustion Physical Description: acetanilide, 20 grains per ounce (drug active ingredients) Bromo-Seltzer was hugely popular for decades, selling an average of $20,000,000 a year. However, it contained two addictive, poisonous compounds, encouraging its popularity by creating addicts, and eventually ensuring its own demise. The first of the compounds to be recognized as potentially harmful was acetanilide. While the 1906 FDA did require that acetanilide be listed as one of the active ingredients, the more crucial information – namely that the compound could be fatal in regular doses – was not required on the label. (Fike 1987:111, Munsey 1992:5, Munsey 2010)


Bromo-Seltzer bottles and embossed fragments make up 48 of the medicinal vessels found in the MARTA collection. By far this is the most numerous product represented within the sample, both in quantity and variety. The four sizes are present, as well as one more recent bottle, shown in the above image. This post 1950 bottle was not included statistically but gives an impression of both the consistency of form as well as the variation of style and technology in bottling this popular medicine.

Material Type: Glass
Descriptor: Cobalt
Form: Circular
Embossing: BROMO-SELTZER/EMERSON/DRUG CO/BALTIMORE MD.
Product Name: Bromo-Seltzer
Target: Headache
Proprietary Product Manufacturer: Emerson Drug Co Source Location: Baltimore, MD
Source Region: Southeast 
See: Artifact ID(s): (9Da89) P1052, P118, P1376, (9Fu91) P1452, P1334, P1616, P1480, P638, P1798, P1874, P1314, P1559, P1769, P1569, P1580, P1812, P1841, P1791, P1970, P1904, P3030, P3141, P2000, P3158, P3189, P3279, P3410, P3452, P557, P3213 Site ID(s): 9Da89, 9Fu91

Source

Cook, David L., "Medicinal Vessels of the First Gilded Age (1870-1929): Properties of Promise or Hokum of False Hope?." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2014.
doi: https://doi.org/10.57709/6430686

Publisher

Phoenix Project

Date

Dates produced: 1890-1954

Contributor

Lauren Cook

Format

Weight: 352.5g
Diameter: 68.2
Height: 16.5cm

Type

Glass
Bottle

Identifier

1452/170

Coverage

9FU91

Collection

Citation

“Bromo Seltzer,” The Phoenix Project , accessed June 17, 2024, https://martaphoenixproject.gsuanthropology.com/items/show/16.

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