In 1888, behind the prescription counter of a small drugstore near Charles in Baltimore, Isaac E. Emerson first conceived the idea of the headache remedy. This led to the development of a granular salt he named “Bromo-Seltzer.”
He organized the Emerson Drug Company, in Maryland in 1891. Bromo-Seltzer was first sold in blue glass bottles that were manufactured by the Cumberland Glass Company, of Bridgeton, New Jersey.
Because of the demand for Bromo-Seltzer grew, Cumberland Glass was unable to meet the demand for the bottles. Captain Emerson then asked his vice-president in charge of manufacturing, to organize a glass factory to make the bottles. Acin light or dark blue glass. It is believed some were given to drugstores as freebies for ordering Bromo-Seltzer. Others were gifts to visitors who had a tour of the plant for thirty cents.
Maryland Glass continued to expand and, by 1964 it employed seven hundred people who worked around the clock. They were turning out approximately one million glass bottles and jars each day. The company became the leading producer of blue glassware in the world.
The Bromo-Seltzer Tower Building
The Bromo-Seltzer Tower Building has been a landmark in Baltimore since the early part of this century.
The tower was fourteen stories high. The top story was numbered fifteen because there is no floor numbered thirteen because of superstition. There was a flashing light on the huge revolving Bromo-Seltzer bottle atop the tower.
In 1935 the bottle was taken down, after twenty-five years.The base upon which it stood was disintegrating. The framework sold as twenty tons of scrap metal.
Scientists working with chemical formulas similar to “Bromo Seltzer” thought that a fruit flavored drink could be developed the same way. After long hard work, they finally figured out how to combine the right combinations of fruit flavoring, sweetener, citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (a substance that is much like baking soda) into a tablet that when dropped into water. This turned the water into an instant sparkling fruit drink.
By 1962 Fizzies were available in every state but in 1968 one of the ingredients called Cyclamates, and artificial sweetner, was banned in the United States. This affected not only Fizzies but hundreds of other products. Scientist decided to voluntarily take Frizzies off the market.
By 1995 scientist finally found that NUTRASWEET was the perfect replacement for Cyclamates.
Make your own Fizzies
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup grape juice
Pour water into a tall glass. Stir in the baking soda. Pour in the grape juice
Emerson realized the importance of advertising. At the time of his death in 1931, he had accumulated an estate of $20 million, owning the controlling stock in four corporations: Emerson’s Bromo-Seltzer, Inc.; the Emerson Drug Corporation; the Maryland Glass Corporation and the Emerson Hotel.
This bottle was found in the 1960s when the expressway came through the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, KY. The site was a city dump many years before. When building began they dug down about 20 feet and unearthed many bottles that were thrown away years ago. This picture is taken from my private bottle collection.