Owbridge’s Lung Tonic, 1939
Owbridge’s Lung Tonic was a cure-all preparation invented in 1874 by Hull pharmacist Walter Owbridge. It was advertised as a cough medicine, a remedy for bronchitis, asthma, consumption (tuberculosis) and all manner of other throat, chest and lung afflictions – “It never fails”, or so it claimed.
It had a secret formula, but an archive analysis shows it to have consisted of chloroform, along with honey and alcohol in the form of ipecacuanha wine. Not recommended for babies under 6 months old, but fine after that, apparently.
(This archive text from 1909 is an interesting read on the subject of this and many other ancient pharmaceuticals – “Secret Remedies – What they cost and what they contain“)
They were also keen users of promotional merchandise. This small booklet, Owbridge’s Table Companion, is from 1939 and is designed to help schoolchildren with facts and figures, while advertising their wares.
The section on measurements of all manner of things interests me the most. All the befuddling names for specific amounts used just for that one item. I wonder if the schoolchildren were actually expected to know and remember all this information?