Bromo-Seltzer

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A horse drawn Bromo-Seltzer wagon

Bromo-Seltzer (acetaminophen, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid), is an antacid used to relieve pain occurring together with heartburn, upset stomach, or acid indigestion. First produced by inventor Isaac E. Emerson's drug company of Baltimore, Maryland in 1888, Bromo-Seltzer was sold in the United States in the form of effervescent granules which must be mixed with water before ingestion.[1]

Bromo-Seltzer newspaper ad (1908)

History[edit]

The product took its name from a component of the original formula, sodium bromide. Each dose contained 3.2 mEq/teaspoon of this active ingredient. Bromides are a class of tranquilizers that were withdrawn from the U.S. market in 1975 due to their toxicity. Their sedative effect probably accounted for Bromo-Seltzer's popularity as a remedy for hangovers. Early formulas also used, as the analgesic ingredient, acetanilide, now known as a poisonous substance.[2]

Bromo-Seltzer's main offices and main factory were located in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. The factory's most notable feature was the clock tower, built in 1911, which featured "BROMOSELTZER" in place of the numbers on all four clock faces. The tower was patterned on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tower originally had a 51 ft (16 m) Bromo-Seltzer bottle, glowing blue and rotating. The sign weighed 20 tons (18.1 tonnes), included 314 incandescent light bulbs, and was topped with a crown. The sign was removed in 1936 because of structural concerns.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

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