Late 18th century/early 19th century patent medicines, particularly the old English remedies, owed their popularity to the following fact. The multitude of ingredients inside might have varied (unbeknownst to the customer), but the bottle shape did not. A patent medicine’s proprietor believed this distinctiveness leant genuineness to their remedy.
Victorian trade card, bottle of Ayers Cherry Pectoral
Distinctive packaging may have made patent medicines easily recognizable to even the most illiterate, but it also made them vulnerable to counterfeiters. Naïve proprietors eventually got smart and began to vary their packaging using differing bottle heights, mouth widths, and bottle inscriptions in order to deter counterfeiters. This may also explain why many of today’s products, not just over the counter medicines, change their packaging from time to time. Why chance loosing sales to an unscrupulous competitor?
close up of bottle on back of Victorian trade card advertising Ayers Ague Cure (notice the similarity in bottle shapes)
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Posted in Vintage Postcard Tidbits, tagged bank, bills, chariot, MSN Money, new year, new year postcard, pennies, pig, pigs, post card, post cards, postcard, postcards, protest, trip down memory lane, US law, vintage postcard, vintage postcards on June 10, 2011|
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I just had to laugh recently as I took a trip down memory lane. I ran across a MSN Money article, http://tinyurl.com/3jhwauv , about a man who got cited for disorderly conduct after paying a $25 medical bill with pennies. I once did the same thing when paying a $20 spa bill just out of high school. The spa said I owed, I said I didn’t (I’d canceled my membership the previous month.). The bank almost didn’t give me the pennies as it would severely deplete their supply (or so they said). I dumped a coffee can of unrolled pennies on the receptionist’s desk. Hah.
The article goes on to list several examples of the same type of protest. I’m surprised in today’s economy that more people don’t protest in this manner. At the end of the article, it explained US law states a merchant does not have to accept over 100 pennies as payment. I didn’t know that. Good thing the spa didn’t know either, wink wink.
Gold trimmed German New Year postcard, dressed pig rides chariot pulled by pigs
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