The Joys Of Patent Medicines

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Marine News
The Joys Of Patent Medicines
Lay-up Listings
Rothesay Revisited
Farewell To A Friend
The Invasion Of Toronto Harbour
Ship of the Month No. 97 James B. Eads
Additional Marine News
Table of Illustrations

Much has been said concerning the patent medicines which once were so much a part of life in North America. While persons living in Canada and the United States in the latter part of the nineteenth century professed considerable faith in the "healing" properties of such remedies, they were not without their dangers. How does this bit of trivia relate to shipping on the Great Lakes? Read on.

"On July 20, fire broke out in the hold of the Canadian Pacific Railway steamer ATHABASCA, which was tied up at the dock at Owen Sound. It was caused by an explosion of patent medicines. Efforts to subdue the flames by steam proving futile, the hold had to be flooded with water and the damage to cargo was considerable."

This gem of an item was taken from the August, 1899, issue of "The Railway and Shipping World". One wonders exactly what was the principal ingredient of those patent medicines that would cause them to explode so readily. No doubt the Liquor Control Board of Ontario would be interested had the event occurred in more modern times!


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Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.