From time to time, I receive historically interesting feedback on the articles published in Collection Reflections. This paraphrased information comes from reader Phil Gordon in regards to the column on patent medicine:
Your article in the Press-Republican reminded me of Jaques’ Little Wonder Capsules, which were shipped all over the country from Plattsburgh in the early part of the century. W.B. Jaques’ drug store originally compounded the capsules in store as early as 1902. When we purchased the business in 1946 (and renamed it Gordon’s Drug), there was a large supply of wooden bottles in stock. We used to buy large tin containers of 25,000 capsules from Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company and fill the bottles, then label and box them for sale all over the country. We continued filing orders until 1959 when we sold the store.
Thank you, Phil!
I set about to find more information regarding Jaques’ Little Wonder Capsules and discovered three old newspaper references dating from 1916, 1922 and 1937.
One of the advertisements featured a round cardboard box with a picture of a smiling man and the words “Jaques’ (pronounced “Jakes”) Little Wonder Capsules - 60 cents.”
Another ad made it clear that the pills were for the relief of stomach upset: “Nobody cares for chronic dyspeptic - Save your stomach - 1 capsule aids digestion of 5,000 grains of food - 60 cents.”
In addition to the wooden bottles shown in Phil’s photo, the pills were also, at one time, packaged in a bright-red tin with yellow stripes.
Phil also writes about two pieces of collectible plastic that he has:
Q: I have two unusual mint Bakelite/Catalin items from old local estates that have been shelved for many years as I never sold costume jewelry in my shop or at shows. One is a rich-red, unusual bracelet and the other a compact in tortoise color with a silver twin dove medallion on the cover (believed to have been a Jensen piece or similar maker). I am not familiar with pricing or demand.