original and completely intact victorian era c. 1870's light blue aqua glass "essence of jamaica ginger" medicine manufactured for philadelphia druggist frederick brown.

Regular Price: $125.00

Special Price $87.50

Availability: In Stock

UR #:: UR-23548-15

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Product Description

unique and all original late nineteenth century light blue aqua medicinal bottle fabricated for frederick brown in philadelphia, pa. the slim, oval bottle is finished with a narrow neck and applied patent finish. the front body is embossed vertically, "f. brown's / ess of / jamaica ginger / philada". at the oval base is a round indent indicating manufacture with two leaf mold. crudities are typical of its age and date of manufacture, including whittling at the shoulder, casewear, and some irridization or haze from having been dug. frederick brown was an importer and manufacturer of medicinal goods from the 1850's-1890's. he is listed in the 1873 and 1874 philadelphia directories as operating both a retail and wholesale outlets at the corner of chestnut and south fifth streets in the city. essence of jamaica ginger was sold as a popular patent medicine throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. the drink, commonly known as “jake,” was once touted as a safe remedy for a variety of common ailments including colds, menstrual cramps and digestive issues. in the twentieth century, "jake" became a popular drink for its high alcohol content and ready availability, especially among those looking to circumvent the prohibition ban on alcoholic drinks. sales of the product soared, raising the eyes of u.s. treasury department officials charged with enforcing the law. producers of jamaica ginger sought ways to mask the product’s alcohol content by adding various substances to the formula. one such ingredient was triorthocresyl phosphate. the compound didn’t alter the taste of jamaica ginger. rather, it masked the amount of alcohol the beverage contained. in 1930, as more people consumed batches of “jake,” a mysterious sickness simultaneously swept areas of the nation, baffling physicians. patients reported muscle weakness, tingling and paralysis in their extremities. some sufferers were forced to lift their leg high in the air when they walked so their paralyzed foot would clear the ground. doctors soon learned that all of the afflicted patients had consumed varying quantities of “jake”. when the jamaica ginger was tested to determine its contents, doctors discovered the triorthocresyl phosphate, a powerful neurotoxin that damaged the neurons that control movement. jamaica ginger was outlawed soon after. it’s still not clear how many americans were affected by the poisonous drink, however, estimates ranged between 20,000 and 100,000. those afflicted with permanent neurological damage came to be known as “jake leg.” the social stigma associated with their condition was particularly harmful and often prevented them from reporting their condition. many believed the victims of “jake leg” were responsible for what had befallen them, and large numbers of sufferers were reportedly reduced to begging in the streets. measures 5 1/2 inches high.