Another thing that I found while working on this project isn't strictly a bottle, but a label from a bottle. This label came from a product that has the nickname of "Puke Weed" or "Indian Tobacco".According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, in the 19th century American physicians used this to induce vomiting to remove toxins from body. It was also used as a remedy for respiratory conditions when smoked. Up until 1993 it was also used as a nicotine substitute to help people quit smoking. However, if used in the wrong manner without doctor supervision it is a potentially toxic herb that has symptoms such as dry mouth, convulsions and even comas. Due to the fact that the label is clear glass, we had to carefully set it up against a plain white coffee mug so that you could actually read it, which you can just see the handle of on the left side.
So for the past week and a half I have been working on adding many of our medicine bottles to our records and working on trying to identify when and where they come from.
One of the more interesting things that I found in our collections was for something called "August Flower Green's Dyspeptic Medicine". This particular bottle was interesting because not only was there the original box for the product, but also a tiny corkscrew that you use to open the bottle as well as a paper instructions sheet detailing how to use it. Based on some research that myself and other volunteers here at the Historical Society did, we estimate this product to be from the late 19th century or early 20th century since there is a note on the back of the box that mentions an increase in price due to the war, which we think implies the Spanish American war.
Some of the many interesting things that are a part of the medical collection here at the La Crosse County Historical Society are a collection of Optometrist tools that were donated by Dr. Charles Vaslow.
Dr. Vaslow was a man who helped the community on multiple occasions and his deeds were even recognized in the La Crosse Tribune on multiple occasions, once in 1955 for performing eye exams on school children and again in 1977 as being a vital contributor to making the La Crosse area better. He practiced his business out of a shop located at 423 Jay Street that has since been torn down.
One item that was donated is a black handled ophthalmoscope that is used to examine the retina and other parts of the eye and can be used to detect symptoms of numerous eye diseases including glaucoma and even help predict strokes in cases of arterial hypertension. This tool was commonly used during routine eye exams and could even be used in regular doctor exams as part of a whole body check up.
My name is Miranda and I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse who is interning here at the La Crosse County Historical Society for the Spring 2017 semester! I am an archaeology major with minors in Anthropology and Spanish, and as part of my senior year I am writing my senior thesis on museum curation methods which is a perfect fit for the job here at the Historical Society as I will be helping to catalog various items throughout the semester. I am super excited to be taking you on a journey through the history of medical devices that we have here which will be a fun and interesting learning experience for us all.