Friday, October 21, 2011

Wampole's Creo-Terpin ink blotter from Ensley, Alabama

It's the return of Wampole's! The early February post on Henry K. Wampole & Company has been one of the most popular and commented-upon posts in Papergreat's short history.

This is an ink blotter for Wampole's Creo-Terpin (for Coughs due to Colds) that was personalized for Gilmer Drug Co., Inc., in Ensley, Alabama.

Wampole's issued numerous ink blotters with different themes throughout the first half of the 20th century. There are blotters highlighting military ribbons, types of birds, birthstones, U.S. presidents, modes of transportation, famous inventors and more.1 They make wonderful and collectible pieces of history.2

The ink blotter featured today highlights famous flights in history and shows their routes on a world map. Aviators who are noted include Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Clarence Chamberlin, Hermann Köhl3, and Italo Balbo, among others.

Now, in the spirit of the original post here are:

Five more things I learned about Henry K. Wampole & Company

1. I have no idea how I missed this in the initial blog entry, but the Wampole brand is STILL AROUND. (In February, I wrote: "The company was acquired by the Denver Chemical Mfg. Co. in September 1957" and then assumed that was the end of it.)

The modern company, based in Canada, has a 2007 news release on the home page of its website touting its liquid vitamins:
"Wampole, the Canadian leader in natural health since 1893, is launching all new, tasty liquid formulas of nutritional supplements. The liquid supplements, distinguished by greatly improved efficiency due to their ease of absorption, allow the body to rapidly ingest the liquid's vitamins and minerals.

"Back on shelves in June, the famous Tonic Wampole, an original liquid formula combining iron and essential vitamins, helps replenish energy and maintain overall good health. Wampole's four new liquid vitamin formulas in different flavours promise to please all those who take their health to heart: the Multivitamin in pomegranate flavour, the Calcium-Magnesium-Vitamin D formula in cranberry flavour, the Calcium formula in a refreshing citrus fruit flavour and the Glucosamine-Chondroitine & MSM in an exotic mango flavour. Supplements for every need and for every taste!"
And here's what it states on the "About Wampole" page of the website:
"It’s hard to believe that 100 years of success started with Cod Liver Oil. In 1893, Henry Koch Wampole and his partners moved to Toronto and began manufacturing the popular liver extract. Over a century later, Wampole Brands Inc. is an enduring Canadian success story. Recognized as a Canadian leader in high-quality nutritional and herbal products, the Wampole name is associated with quality and value from coast-to-coast."
Can any of Papergreat's Canadian readers chip in with more information about what's available in stores these days and how relatively popular those products are?

2. On Chris Overstreet's groovy blog, Wild Postcards, he has discussed another one of Wampole's ink blotters and provided some wonderful background information in a July 2009 post. I enjoy how he breaks down the meaning of the product name Creo-Terpin. Here's an excerpt:
"The 'Creo' in Creo-Terpin seems to come from wood creosote, a bush that we know today has even more medicinal value than Wampole thought; it’s good for upset stomach, arthritis, anemia, and is even an anti-microbial. ... The 'Terpin', on the other hand, probably refers to terpin hydrate, which was usually sold in a solution with codeine to relieve bronchitis."
Overstreet's blog entry continues with other great information, and then his readers chip in with memories of their own about Creo-Terpin. This one from "Mary" seems to sum up what some people thought of Wampole's product: "Creo Turpin [sic] was awful to the tastebuds, but excellent for colds and coughs. One dose had the ability to kill a cold bug dead in its tracks. Wish this product was still available."

3. In volume 35 of The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review4, published in 1905, the following was written in "New Remedies and Appliances":
"Wampole's Creo-Terpin Compound is healing and antiseptic. Now that the season of colds is approaching, with the accompanying discomforts of coughs, pains in the chest and coryza, the nurses who do not already know of this unusually excellent remedy would be benefited by sending for a sample and literature. See H.K. Wampole's advertisement in this number."
4. Meanwhile, Wampole's also made a product called Vaginal Cones with Picric Acid. All you need to know about this product can be found in a fascinating essay written by Harry Finley on the website for the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health. Here's a small excerpt and then you should go there and read the rest:
"It's hard to imagine why Wampole put picric acid into these suppositories meant for the vagina - but as a reader pointed out, the main use for these suppositories might have been to kill sperm, which sufficiently strong acid can do."
5. Finally, here's a piece of Wampole's ephemera that I've had my eye on since I first stumbled upon it online. It's an advertising card featuring the Virgin Mary (La Virgen Y El Niño) from the pharmacy of a Dr. Cintas in Campana, Argentina. Across the bottom of the card is the text: "Obsequio de Henry K. Wampole y Cia. Inc. Filadelfia. E.U. de A."

The card is available for purchase from numerous online sites, and I have copied the image that appears below from one of them:

1. Plenty of these can be found on eBay, which is how I acquired today's piece of ephemera.
2. And if you look closely, you can see that the blotters also functioned as rulers!
3. Köhl's name is misspelled as "Koehl" on the blotter.
4. This was a monthly magazine of practical nursing, devoted to the improvement and development of the graduate nurse.


  1. Regarding footnote 3: While the characters are different, the blotter is actually not incorrect. In German, the special character above the "o" is called an umlaut (oom'-lau). Sometimes it's just difficult to write it that way, especially in print (like on my Droid "smart"phone, apparently...). So the acceptable alternate spelling permits placing an "e" after the vowel with an umlaut. They are equivalent. Learned this during my studies of German, and I guess that it probably also applies for other languages that utilize this special character. (BTW, one of my favorite breweries that I often tout on my blog is Troegs, which is a nickname based on their family name, Trogner. They "improperly" utilize both an "e" and an umlaut. Aah, what the heck, no one cares about that - their brews make up for their lack of knowledge of German grammar!)

  2. I am curious if you know anything on his "worm Syrup" I would gladly tradevsome photos for information