Topical Analgesics

WLMD ID: akgo, akgn, akgm
Topical analgesics are pain relievers that are applied to the skin. The act of rubbing these in, by increasing blood flow to the area, can be even more beneficial than the substance. In the 19th Century, many topical agents were patent medicines that made sweeping claims to cure a wide variety of ills. The term “patent medicines” refers to ‘over-the-counter’ preparations that generally were not patented, but trademarked. Alcohol was a primary ingredient in many of them, and it was not unusual for these preparations to contain drugs such as cocaine or opium. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 clamped down on false advertising and misleading labels. St. Jacob's Oil St. Jacob's Oil contained eucalyptus oil, a plant extract with several medicinal uses. When applied topically it could be an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Once touted as a cure-all, this post-1906 label carefully states that it is "intended to help relieve pain". Bonded Analgesic Balm This ointment contained methyl salicylate, which is a counterirritant. These stimulate rather than soothe. This post-1906 label's only claim is that it is "for the relief of pain". Stearn Brothers' Camphorated Chloroform Best known as an inhalation anesthetic, chloroform was also an ingredient in many topical and oral analgesics. In its camphorated form it is used as a counter irritant, but can be fatal if swallowed. From the 1870s to through the 1930s, textured and colored glass bottles were used to indicate at a glance, or a touch, that the contents were poisonous.

Catalog Record: Topical Analgesics

Access Key: akgo
Accession No.: 2011-10-20-1
Title: Bonded analgesic balm / Bonded Laboratories.

Corporate Author: Bonded Laboratories.

Publisher: Memphis ; New York : Bonded Laboratories, [1914-1955].

Physical Descript: 1 box : cardboard, paper : 3 x 4.5 x 11.5 cm.

Subject: Anesthetics, Topical.
Subject: Analgesics.
Subject: Drug Packaging.

Note Type: General
Notes: Years in the range for the possible year of manufacture (1914-1955) are based
on the dates that H.C. Fuller held a supervisory position at the Institute of
Industrial Research (approximately 1914-1919), and the year that Bonded
Laboratories was issued a permanent injunction by the FDA (1955). The date
range could change if reliable documentation indicates the range should be
corrected.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: 5065. Various drugs. Inj. No. 280. November 1957. Defendant: Bonded
Laboratories, Inc., Brooklyn, N. Y., and Hans Lowey. Drugs and Devices Court
Case Notices of Judgment. https://archive.nlm.nih.
gov/fdanj/handle/123456789/15905. Accessed March 18, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Henry Corbin Fuller. Washington Biologists’ Field Club website. https://www.
pwrc.usgs.gov/resshow/perry/bios/FullerHenryC.htm. Accessed March 18, 2013.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: One paperboard or cardboard box container for a topical analgesic, with a
telescoping lid; The box is white, with a label covering the top; The label
contains yellow, green, black and red print; At the top of the label is an
image of the statue of liberty; Printed above the statue is, “VIRTUTE. NON
VERBIS”; Below the statue is printed, “BONDED [new line] ANALGESIC [new line]
BALM [new line] CONTAINING [new line] SALICLATE OF METHYL[ new line] MENTHOL
AND LANOLIN [new line] For the relief of pain in NEURALGIA, COLDS, RHEUMATISM
ETC.”; Printed at the bottom of the label is, “BONDED [new line]
LABORATORIES”; Printed below this is “MEMPHIS”, a logo for Bonded
Laboratories, and then “NEW YORK”; On the bottom of the box is a sticker
designed to resemble a certificate; It is white and green with black text;
The text includes, “EVIDENCE OF BONDED SUPERIORITY”; “The Institute of
Industrial Research Laboratories [new line] WASHINGTON, D.C.”; “REPORT: We
have just completed a comprehensive analysis of Bonded Drug Stores products
and the tests show that they conform to the highest standard of efficiency.”;
“SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN BEFORE ME [new line] the name of a notary public; “H. C
Fuller [new line] IN CHARGE [new line] DIV FOOD & DRUGS”. Also on the bottom
of the box are mathematic calculations handwritten in pencil.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 14, 2013; This bottle was
photographed with two other topical analgesic containers: Camphorated
Chloroform and St. Jacobs Oil.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: This topical analgesic was marketed for pain caused by neuralgia, colds, and
rheumatism. According to an advertisement in the February 15, 1933 Auburn,
New York Citizen Advertiser, a person could get two Bonded Analgesic Balms
for 75 cents during a two for one sale at Hewits Cut Rate Drugs. On the
bottom of the box container is a sticker designed to look like a small
certificate. It indicates that products made by Bonded Laboratories were
analyzed and approved by H.C. Fuller of the Institute of Industrial Research,
in Washington , DC. Henry Corbin Fuller (1879-1942) was a chemist who worked
at the Institute of Industrial Research during WW I. It might be reasonable
to question whether Bonded Laboratories continued to manufacture products of
quality because in 1955 the company was issued a permanent injunction for
manufacturing and distributing adulterated and improperly labeled drugs.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: Methyl salicylate and menthol are ingredients found in topical analgesics
available over the counter today, such as BENGAY or THERA-GESIC.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted February 26, 2013).

Access Key: akgn
Accession No.: 2005-05-01-2
Title: Camphorated chloroform / Stearn Bros.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Stearn chloroform liniment.

Publisher: Stowmarket, Suffolk, England : Stearn Bros., [1885-1920].

Physical Descript: 1 bottle ; glass : 15 x 4 x 3.5 cm.

Subject: Anesthetics, Topical.
Subject: Chloroform.
Subject: Analgesics.
Subject: Drug Packaging.

Note Type: General
Notes: Range of years for the possible year of manufacture based on the few early
dates found for the family business, Stearn Bros. Ltd. in Stowmarket, and
dates of publications in which the phrase “camphorated chloroform” is found.
The date range could change if reliable documentation indicates the range
should be corrected.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Anderson J. Observations on the chlolera epidemic, with illustrative cases
and remarks. Br J Homeopath. January, 1855;13(51):69.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Cummins WJ. Remarks on cholera. Dublin Q J Med Sci. August 1, 1867;44:57.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Formulas: camphorated chloroform. Bul Pharm. August, 1896;10(8):375.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Lush ER. Common ailments and their remedies. Lessons in Domestic Science.
Part 1. New York: Macmillan and Co.; 1905:56-57.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Olver HU. Our Teeth and Our Health. London: T. Murby; 1914:100.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: One cobalt blue glass bottle; The main body of the bottle is hexagonal in
shape; The height of the bottle measures approximately 14.8 cm in height; The
neck measures approximately 5.5 cm in height and 1.8 cm in diameter; An
orange label with black print is applied diagonally across three sides of the
body of the bottle; Text on the label includes, “CAMPHORATED CHLOROFORM. [new
line] POISON. [new line] STEARN BROS. [new line] DISPENSING CHEMISTS [new
line] STOWMARKET [new line] ESTABLISHED 1833”; Embossed on the back side of
the bottle is, “POISONOUS [new line] NOT TO BE TAKEN”.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 14, 2013; This bottle was
photographed with two other topical analgesic containers: Bonded Analgesic
Balm and St. Jacobs Oil.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: In 1855, before camphorated chloroform was well recognized as potentially
deadly if ingested, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Dr. John
Anderson, said the following when reporting on his observations during a
cholera epidemic, “The two next cases are interesting, as illustrative of the
power of Camphorated chloroform in arousing the vital energies, removing
pulmonary congestion, and restoring free respiration.” Likewise, in 1867 an
article in the Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, Dr. W. Jackson
Cummins reported that at his institution five to ten drops of camphorated
chloroform administered every 30 to 60 minutes was the only suitable
treatment for protracted cholera. Even after the danger in taking this
compound orally was more widely known, it continued to be a popular remedy
for dental pain. For relief, the liquid was either rubbed on the gums or
applied to a small ball of cotton or wool, which was pushed into a cavity in
the painful tooth.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Bethard W. Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs: Frontier Medicine in America
Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Pub.; 2004:150-151.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Cowling S, Williams S; Suffolk Family History Society. Serving you through
the years– book II : a history of more of the business families that have
served Stowmarket for generations. [Suffolk]: Suffolk Family History Society;
2004. (This publication includes a section on the Stern Bros. family business.) )

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Valuck RJ, Poirier S, Mrtek RG. Patent medicine muckraking: influences on
American pharmacy, social reform, and foreign authors. Pharmacy in Hist.
1992;34(4):183-192.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted February 26, 2013).

Access Key: akgm
Accession No.: 2004-12-30-1
Title: St. Jacobs oil / The St. Jacobs Oil Co.

Corporate Author: St. Jacobs Oil Co.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: St. Jacob’s oil.

Publisher: Cincinnati, Ohio : St. Jacobs Oil Co., [1913-1920].

Physical Descript: 1 bottle : glass, cork, paper : 17 x 4 cm dia.

Subject: Anesthetics, Topical.
Subject: Ether, Sulphuric.
Subject: Analgesics.
Subject: Drug Packaging.

Note Type: General
Notes: Range of years for the possible year of manufacture (1913-1920) based on a
statement on the label of the bottle, “New label adopted June 15, 1913.”, and
the date of publications where there seems to be an end of references to The
St. Jacobs Oil Co. in Cincinnati. Publications after 1919 seem to refer to
New York. The date range could change if reliable documentation indicates the
range should be corrected.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: The Sun of Fort Covington, N.Y. February 6, 1902. https://news.nnyln.
net/fort-covington-sun/1902/fort-covington-sun-1902-january-march%20-%200026.
pdf. Accessed March 25, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Bause GS. St. Jacob’s Oil. Anesthesiology. 2009;111(2):405.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: [Advertisement for Dr. Guysott’s Extract of Yellow Dock and Sarsaparilla.]
Huron Reflector. August 28, 1849:4.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Parascandola J. Patent medicines and the public’s health. Public Health Rep.
1999;114(4):318–321.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Street JP. The Composition of Certain Patent and Proprietary Medicines.
Chicago: American Medical Association; 1917.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Valuck RJ, Poirier S, Mrtek RG. Patent medicine muckraking: influences on
American pharmacy, social reform, and foreign authors. Pharmacy in Hist.
1992;34(4):183-192.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: One clear glass bottle measuring approximately 16.7 cm in height and 4 cm in
diameter at the base; The label is a faded tan with black printing; Text on
the label includes, “St. Jacobs Oil” over a stone building in a forest of
evergreens; Text below this includes, “INTENDED TO RELIEVE PAIN [new line]
CONTAINS 10 PER CENT. OF ALCOHOL AND 46 MINIMS OF ETHER (ALCOHOL DERIVATIVE)
PER FLUID OUNCE GUARANTEED BY THE DISTRIBUTORS. THE ST. JACOBS OIL CO.,
CINCINNATI, OHIO, UNDER THE FOOD AND DRUGS ACT, June 30, 1906. (SERIAL No. 86
) [new line] Intended to help relieve the pain of Rheumatism, Gout, Sciatica,
Lumbago, Backache, Neuralgia, Sprains, Bruises, Muscular Soreness, Headache,
pain In Back of Head, pains in Feet, Shoulders and Limbs, pain from
Chest-Colds, Sore Throat, Stiff Neck–in fact to help relieve any ache or
pain, like a Sore Corn, Bunion, or for Cuts, Swellings, Frosted Feet. [new
line] FOR TOOTHACHE-Moisten a piece of cotton with ST. JACOBS OIL to the
afflicted parts by vigorous hand-rubbing for a few moments two or three times
a day. In severe cases first apply woolen cloths wrung out in very hot water,
change the cloths every five minutes, continue for half an hour, then use the
OIL as above, after which apply hot, dry cloths for fifteen minutes.”; “USE
EXTERNALLY ONLY [new line] DON’T APPLY NEAR FIRE OR FLAME [new line] KEEP
BOTTLE WELL CORKED”; “DISTRIBUTED BY” [new line] a facsimile signature of
the following text: “The St. Jacobs Oil Co.” [new line] “CINCINNATI, o., U.S.
A.”; Non-genuine without the fac-simile signature as here shown.”; “New label
adopted June 15,1913. The formula remains the same.”

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 14, 2013; This bottle was
photographed with two other topical analgesic containers: Bonded Analgesic
Balm and Camphrated Chloroform.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: The term “patent medicines” refers to ‘over-the-counter’ preparations that
generally were not patented, but trademarked. Some of these preparations had
beneficial effects (other than the placebo effect) but some were harmful or
potentially dangerous. Alcohol was a primary ingredient in many patent
medicines. It was not unusual for these preparations to contain drugs such as
cocaine or opium, and early testing by governmental entities found that some
contained poisons such as mercury or strychnine. Patent medicines were
heavily marketed during the 1800 and early 1900s via a wide variety of
printed materials, including newspapers, magazines, calendars, post cards,
and posters. Advertisements painted onto billboards or the sides of buildings
were not uncommon. Often the makers of patent medicines marketed their
creations as remedies for a limitless number of ailments. In an ad for St.
Jacobs Oil in the February 6, 1902 Fort Covington Sun the following is
claimed, “The Great Pain-Killing Remedy. Never fails to cure. RHEUMATISM,
SPRAINS, STIFFNESS, SCIATICA, NEURALGIA, SORENESS, LUMBAGO, CHEST COLDS, And
All Bodily Aches and Pains.” The claims for Dr. Guysott’s Extract of Yellow
Dock and Sarsaparilla went even further. In an ad from 1849 it was touted by
its manufacturer as a permanent cure for a bountiful list of disparate health
problems including corrupt humors, dyspepsia, liver complaints, diarrhea,
ulcers, tumors, syphilis, consumption, fever, piles, rheumatism and more.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: Patent medicines were purchased for a number of reasons, including the same
reasons people respond to advertising today, but in the 1800s and early 1900s
there were few effective prescription medicines for physicians to recommend.
Additionally, many people could not afford or did not have access to a
physician, and some were suspicious of physicians. With few alternatives and
little guidance, patent medicines offered hope and were a popular choice.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: During the late 1800s a number of journalists and activists, later referred
to as ‘muckrakers’, began to write and speak on the dangers posed by the
unregulated patent medicine industry. As the public became more informed,
congress and regulators were compelled to enact effective safeguards. In the
U.S. this began with the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. As regulations were
gradually strengthened, the unsubstantiated claims and dangerous ingredients
in patent medicines declined.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Adams SH. The Great American Fraud. [New York City]: P.F. Collier & Son; 1905

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Corley TAB. Interactions between the British and American patent medicine
industries 1708-1914. In: Atack J, ed. Business and Economic History. 2nd
series. Vol 16. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois; 1987:111-129.
https://www.thebhc.org/publications/BEHprint/toc161987.html. Accessed March 15
2013.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ober KP. From amusement to anger: Samuel Clemens’s shifting attitude toward
patent medicines. Pharos Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Med Soc. 2006;69(4):9-15.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: St. Jacobs Oil [advertising card]. 1980-1900. Advertising Cards (SC3)
collectio of the Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public
Library, Kansas City, Missouri. https://www.kchistory.org/cdm4/document.
php?CISOROOT=/Advert&CISOPTR=1408&REC=2. Accessed March 15, 2013.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Wood W. A Venderbilt Medical Center Library display returns you to the days
of yesteryear when worthless, dangerous nostrums, making all manner of
ridiculous claims were sold to a gullible public. Eskind Biomedical Library
website. https://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/biolib/hc/nostrums/nostrums.html.
Accessed March 15, 2013.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted February 26, 2013).