Tag Archives: drug

The Food and Drug Act

The 1906 Food and Drugs Act and creation of the FDA

In June 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Food and Drugs Act, also known as the “Wiley Act” after its chief advocate. The Act prohibited, under penalty of seizure of goods, the interstate transport of food which had been “adulterated”, with that term referring to the addition of fillers of reduced “quality or strength”, coloring to conceal “damage or inferiority,” formulation with additives “injurious to health,” or the use of “filthy, decomposed, or putrid” substances. The act applied similar penalties to the interstate marketing of “adulterated” drugs, in which the “standard of strength, quality, or purity” of the active ingredient was not either stated clearly on the label or listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia or the National Formulary. The act also banned “misbranding” of food and drugs. The responsibility for examining food and drugs for such “adulteration” or “misbranding” was given to Wiley’s USDA Bureau of Chemistry.

Wiley used these new regulatory powers to pursue an aggressive campaign against the manufacturers of foods with chemical additives, but the Chemistry Bureau’s authority was soon checked by judicial decisions, as well as by the creation of the Board of Food and Drug Inspection and the Referee Board of Consulting Scientific Experts as separate organizations within the USDA in 1907 and 1908 respectively. A 1911 Supreme Court decision ruled that the 1906 act did not apply to false claims of therapeutic efficacy, in response to which a 1912 amendment added “false and fraudulent” claims of “curative or therapeutic effect” to the Act’s definition of “misbranded.” However, these powers continued to be narrowly defined by the courts, which set high standards for proof of fraudulent intent. In 1927, the Bureau of Chemistry’s regulatory powers were reorganized under a new USDA body, the Food, Drug, and Insecticide organization. This name was shortened to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) three years later.
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Bottled History


Before 1858 most bottles were made the same way using a punty rod that held the bottle over a fire and when the bottle was formed the punty rod was snapped off leaving a mark on the bottom of the bottle of the bottle.

Around the middle of the nineteenth century private molds were used. Many different molds were ordered from glass factories by medicine manufactures, soda, mineral water, and other household items. The goal was to make the product stand out and be recognized against it’s competitors. Soon not only were different shape bottles made but also embossing became very popular with unusual designs.

In the late 1930’s and into the 1950’s painted label bottle became popular.

When the American Medical Association formed one of it’s goals was to not only educate doctors but also the public to many dangerous and habit forming drugs.

Most of of these drugs were hidden in what was called “miracle drugs” which was used for just about everything. Some of them contained alcohol, opium (morphine and codeine), cocaine, chloral, and cannabis (marijuana). During the time that these drugs were popular there was an outcry because of numerous children’s deaths were reported resulting from overdoses of soothing medicines.

The word “Cure” appeared on many of these bottles prior the the Civil War until it was replaced by “Remedy”.

In later years other laws and organization have been formed to control what exactly is in the medicine you are about to take.


Picture of Three In One Oil Bottle

Vintage Perfume Bottles

These bottles were 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.

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Bromo-Seltzer Bottles

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

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.

Vintage Bromo Seltzer Bottle

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.

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