Hidden Treasures of the Wilder: antique medicine bottles

Tucked away amidst the many artifacts in the “Doctor’s Office” exhibit at the Wilder Museum of Warren County History is an unusual display of antique medicine bottles that were donated by Dr. Richard Peters. Although all of the items are unique, two particularly stand out. One is an old 19th century remedy called “Godfrey’s Cordial.” Although the print on the label is small indeed, it is completely legible, and reads “Prepared strictly according to the form adopted by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and guaranteed to contain the quantity of opium therein, directed, vis, nearly one and a quarter grains to one fluid ounce-shake the bottle before using.” Further research of this medicine indicates that the recipe included Sassafras and it was given to infants and children for sleep. An overdose of Godfrey’s Cordial to children could be fatal due to the high and unregulated levels of opium it contained.

Another item is a typical medicine-chest item but the packaging is intriguing. It is one ounce of Aspirin made by Farbenffabriken of Elberfeld Co., Selling Agents. “The word ASPIRIN identifies it as the manufacture of the Farbenfabriken vorm FRIEDR, BAYER, & CO., Elberfield, Germany. It was patented February 27, 1900.

View the marvelous medicine bottle collection and much more at the Wilder Museum of Warren County History. The museum is located at 51 Erie Ave., Irvine, and is open Tuesday, Friday & Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. through Oct. 5. For more information, visit the website at www.warrenhistory.org., or call 723-7195 or 563-7773.