Museum logo
Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 2005.025.020
Object Name Bottle, Apothecary
Description Clear bottle marked "Hamlin's Wizard Oil, USA, Chicago, Ill". The bottom of the bottle shows Owens ring--Owens Glass Co.--early machine made bottles.

Hamlin's Wizard Oil was sold as the "cure all" elixir. Beginning in Cincinnati and Chicago; the Wizard Oil bottles can be found pontiled, or Owen's Ring (mark of an early machine made bottle) [this refers to the markings on the bottom of the bottle]. Hamlin's Wizard Oil was introduced in 1859, moved to Chicago in the 1860's; 1929-1930 advertising other cures.

Book: 1884 Hamlin's Wizard Oil Company: "Humorous and sentimental songs as sung throughout the United States by Hamlin's Wizard Oil concert troupes in their open air advertising concerts, using the story and Clark Organ." [Chicago, 1884; Original printed and illustrated wrapper plus 44 pages.] Along with the songs and directions for using the Wizard Oil are many testimonials from satisfied users of the elixir, ["A Lady who has suffered with Neuralgia for twenty years, relieved at once by Wizard Oil..."].

In the late 18th and throughout the 19th century patent medicine industries in England and the U.S. were virtually unregulated until the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. Any person could whip up a concoction, give it an intriguing name and offer it for sale as a medicinal remedy. These cure-alls--known as patent medicines--were sold not only in rural areas and on city streets, but also in pharmacies. Alcohol was often the base for these medications with opium alkaloid (opiates) sometimes added for good measure. They were sold under various brand names such as Hamlin's Wizard Oil.
Caption Clear bottle marked "Hamlin's Wizard Oil, USA, Chicago, Ill"
Credit line
Notes See "Accession Research Information" binder for more information on old bottles.
Search Terms Bottle
Medicine
Apothecary