Sabtu, 29 Mei 2010

Dr. Caldwell and his magic elixir

My cousin and her POSSLQ were here a couple of months back and we went "bumming". That's what my mother would have called it. We take it to mean going antique shopping and rummaging around more for the purpose of getting caught up in who's done what recently than anything else. By staying on our feet and moving we avoid sitting and drinking beer or having a hot fudge sundae or both. By the time they had to leave we had all settled into a steady stream of laughter and were exhausted. Then she hauled out the box of bottles she'd been given by someone in West Virginia, from whence they were returning, having wandered a bit off their northern California trail.

Did I want any old, dirty, unusable bottles? BUT OF COURSE. Need she ask? Aren't they the find of the century and undoubtedly priceless. Good thing I took the photo. Those bottles are here in this house somewhere but I'll be darned if I can find them now. By the way, how long is the excuse, "We're having the kitchen re-done" good? I'm hoping a full year. Any comments suggesting it should be less than that will remain unposted. Ah, but I bet those rascals are under the sink.

Back to the bottles. My hub, also my POSSLQ, decided to research the one from Monticello, as in Monticello, IL. Could we have hoped it was a bottle Thomas Jefferson had had at HIS Monticello? We could have, but we didn't. While he was googling away I wondered if that sort of activity really qualifies as research. It's far too easy. Like I said, though, back to the bottles.

Well, if the Internet is to be believed, this particular bottle, and many like it, was produced between 1865 and 1945 and contained a certain Dr. Caldwell's Syrup of Pepsin. The bottles had a cork style mouth until '42 and then went with the screw on cap. They are worth every bit of $1-2. WOW.

The story is worth more than that. It seems Dr. Caldwell was a real doctor. However, the FTC (pre-Federal Drug Admin) ordered his company to cease misrepresentation as to the efficacy of its preparation for the relief of constipation or other ailments. The order prohibts the use of the word "pepsin" alone or in association with other words to describe a preparation ot containing sufficient pepsin, as an active ingredient, to possess substantial therapeutic value because pepsin content.

A handful of noteworthy remarks must be made now:

1. The government had its own language even a century ago. We have complained and not been heard.
2. Pepsin is remarkably close to Pepsi. Does that mean anything?
3. If you were full of sh_t before you took this concoction you were still full of it afterwards.

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