Bromo-Seltzer (acetaminophen, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid), was a brand of 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.
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 Bromides are a class of tranquilizers that were withdrawn from the U.S. market in 1975 due to their toxicity.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.
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.
In popular culture
- In the days of classic radio, it was known for its slogan which was repeated rhythmically in imitation of a railroad steam engine: "BRO-mo-Selt-zer, BRO-mo-Selt-zer, ..."
- Bromo-Seltzer is mentioned in the jazz standard song "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" from the Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey (1940) and also in the Spike Jones version of the song "Laura" from the 20th Century Fox film Laura (1944).
- "Bromo Fizzy" is mentioned in Don McLean's "Circus Song" on his debut album Tapestry (1970).
- An empty packet of Bromo-Seltzer is shown on character Stringer Bell's desk during an episode of the American TV show The Wire ("Middle Ground").
- Bromo is mentioned several times in the beginning of Jack Kerouac's novel The Sea Is My Brother
- Bromo is requested by Senator Rawkins in Finian's Rainbow (film).
- Bromo-Seltzer is mentioned in chapter 15 of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
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