P465: Alcohol in patent medicines: An examination of nostrums housed at the Henry Ford Museum

Author: Shelby Maurice, University of Detroit Mercy, USA

Co-Author: Mark A. Benvenuto, Danielle M. Garshott, Andrew Diefenbach and Mary Fahey, University of Detroit Mercy, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 11:50 AM12:10 PM

Room: MAK B2110

Related Symposium: S39

As the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, patent medicines and nostrums were sold widely throughout the United States. Their ingredients were a mystery, and their claims could be outlandish. While most are long gone, the Henry Ford Museum houses a collection of these past medicines, and a collaborative study has determined many of the ingredients in selected samples. Perhaps not surprisingly, alcohol has been found in various liquid samples. The seminar will discuss the place of “medicinal alcohol” in patent medicines, the analytical chemistry that found this ingredient in the patent medicines which were studied, and the place that such nostrums have in our history — and our present.