Cobalt blue medicine bottle.

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gdog68

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Anyone know anything about the rarity or the medicine company? This is a cobalt blue bottle, tooled lip, makers mark WT&co so pre 1901, Dr. N.b. wolfe's remedies for consumption, asthma, and catarrh form Cincinnati Ohio. Can't find much about it online, any thoughts?
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UncleBruce

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Can't offer much except that Cobalt is the king of colors among bottle collectors. Also being a remedy puts it in the early 1900s. Cures are what are in most demand as the Federal Laws forbade the quacks peddling Cures as these nostrums did not actually cure anything, so they changed the word Cure to Remedy and kept on peddling their wares. Companies have been finding loopholes in legislation ever since. Usually the treatment for asthma & catarrh was a product of Cresolene which turned out to be toxic. I didn't find any pictures of it on the web so I would say it is a very good bottle with considerable value. A definite keeper as I doubt you would ever find another.
 

CanadianBottles

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Wow that is a stunner! I think these pharmacy-style bottles were generally only used by very small patent med companies. I don't know anything about this bottle in particular but like Bruce says it's clearly a fantastic find.
 

gdog68

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Looks like this is the only example sold online of this variant with the monogram cant see the price because it worthpoint...
 

Sitcoms

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What a beauty of a bottle - love those deep cobalt blues, and the embossing is nice and strong!

I did a quick search of Dr. N.B. Wolfe on Newspapers.com, and the majority of articles written including his name are from 1879-1884, mostly talking about publications from the doctor. Here's a snippet of him giving away his book in 1879, and based on it he had his practice open in Cincinnati by 1857 (The Miami Helmet, Miami, OH)

Dr. Wolfe.png


It seems he went into business in 1857, and from what I can tell continued into the mid/late 1880s. He was mostly known for his publications in medicine and spiritualism, and by the 1890s he was a very wealthy man. He sold his "lung inhaler" (I assume this bottle) for $15 each - over $500 in 2023 dollars.
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By June 1891 Dr. N.B. Wolfe was on his deathbed, and on June 17, 1891 he died of dropsy (edema) at the age of 68; apparently the first article writer didn't check his birth date or had an incorrect one.

Dr N.B. Wolfe Dying.png
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From what I can tell Wolfe never incorporated a business name for his product, and I think the name may have died off when he did. His former partner Dr. C.N. Nolan went on to open a pharmacy in Dayton, OH after Wolfe's death, but I can't find anything saying he sold Wolfe's product. Doesn't help with the value, but gives some background on the practice!
 

gdog68

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This is a wealth of information thank you sitcoms and all who posted. 15 dollars is crazy expensive for that time period. This bottle looks amazing when held up to light and a definite keeper in my collection.
 

CanadianBottles

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I believe the "lung inhaler" was a device, not a patent medicine. $15 sounds like way too much for even the most expensive patent medicines of the era, I don't remember seeing many which were sold for more than $2. It was probably something along the lines of this:
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Dr. Wolfe sounds like he lived quite the life! I wonder if his patent medicines had any actual benefit, since it sounds like he was a real scientist they may not have been totally fraudulent, at least by the standards of what was considered good medical practice at that time. I'm guessing it was some sort of eucalyptol or camphor-based product. Also a good example of how "remedy" doesn't exclusively show up on 20th century bottles, it became much more popular after the Pure Food and Drug Act banned the word "cure" but it was definitely in use before then.
 

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