Appalachia

Vicks Drops

Vicks Drops

Ever seen a bottle like the small blue one above before? Bill Dotson sent me the photo to see if you new anything about the small bottle. Here is what Bill told me:

Tipper here is the Vicks bottle that I dug up by my back door I put the quarter by it for comparison of it’s size. My daughter e-mailed the company which I think made it -Proctor & Gamble. They don’t know for sure but said they had no record of this little bottle. It has Vicks Drops on the sides.

If you remember seeing a bottle like the blue one or have any information or tips to help Bill learn more about the bottle-please leave a comment and let him know!

Tipper

 

 

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Clifford
    December 19, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    My wife has one of the Vick’s blue bobble there old

  • Reply
    Rob Ray
    April 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I found a bottle like this unopened and in original box at a barn sale in Vermont. I think it is from around 1910.

  • Reply
    Richard efaw
    November 20, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I just found the same bottle yesterday when I was digging a waterline in my back yard.its the same one in the pic above.

  • Reply
    B F
    July 25, 2012 at 7:41 am

    does anyone remember back in the day before doctors were so common that the grand parents would put kerosene(yepyou read right) in a teaspoon with sugar and /or turpentine and give it to someone with croup or bronchitis?
    boy that was strange but it worked

  • Reply
    Diane
    May 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I found a bottle identical to this in the early ’90s. The “D” in the word “Drops” is backwards on mine. I wrote to P&G when I found it and they sent me an old ad for this product from their archives. I’ll have to see if I can find it.

  • Reply
    RB
    April 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    And by the way, Vick’s Nose Drops is mentioned in the book Catcher in the Rye by Holden Caulfield.

  • Reply
    RB
    April 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Not sure, but was it the nasal drops? The bottle came with a little rubber topped plunger that you’d squeeze to get a few drops into the little glass tube. Then you’d squeeze the drops into a nasal passage to open the nasal passages. Wasn’t that Vick’s?
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Becky
    March 27, 2012 at 7:09 am

    What acute little bottle!
    I have never heard of Vick’s Drops but have used plenty of Vick’s Salve. And I have also used Save The Baby. Wish they still made that stuff. It would knock a cold right outta you.

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    March 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Vicks salve was always in our home while I was growing up. Does anyone remember Wizard Ointment? It was made in Sylva by someone in my Mother’s family in the 1920’s. Similar to Vicks and in a brown bottle of samw sizw as Vicks. That also was in oue home for years,

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

    That’s a pretty little cobalt bottle, Tipper, and your readers have quite a knowledge bank of information!

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I thought I had a handsome treasure of bottles until I began to see some of the bottles, jars and glass containers found by so many other Blind Pig and the Acorn readers. I thought my digging for bottles was probably an oddity of mine; until you opened up the subject to your digs and the finds of your readers. I have really enjoyed this series, Tipper. Thank you. Are you never at a loss for interesting lore or folkways?

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    March 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Sorry, I can’t help, but I do love the color as well as the size. Would love to know more about it?

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    March 25, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    We always used the Vicks Salve but I’ve never heard of the drops..That sure is a pretty bottle..My mom put Save The Baby on a little sugar in a spoon and held our nose and blowed in our face so we would swallow it..It was for the Croup..You can’t even buy Save The Baby anymore..

  • Reply
    martina
    March 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Vicks salve was always rubbed onto the chest and a bit up the throat and a little bit right under the nose by Mom. The directions now don’t mention putting it under the nose It came in a cobalt blue glass jar.
    Remember when BandAids came in metal tins instead of those flimsy paper boxes?

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    March 25, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    To this day, I remember the smell of Vicks-I loved it! I know, I know I’m nuts, but I always associated it with comfort & healing. Mitchell tells me his step-grandfather, Greenberry Messer ate a big drop of it every morning & he lived to be 87!

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    March 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Your article and all the comments have been so interesting! We still buy Vicks salve, but it comes in a plastic bottle now. Seems like I can remember putting the drops in my nose but it might have been something else.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    March 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I wanted to thank everyone for all their helpful info, I was thinking proctor & gamble didn’t own Vicks but never really knew for sure.I checked the ones on E-Bay and I have a vapo-rub jar with a good lid also, maybe I will find something else if I look.Thanks again to all especially you Tipper,You made my day. Bill

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned taking Vicks Salve internally. My wife says her mother used to give her and her siblings a little dab, about the size of a pea, to swallow. That’s in addition to what she rubbed on their chest and upper lip. Some of them survived!!

  • Reply
    NCMountainwoman
    March 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The reason Proctor and Gamble had no record of this bottle is probably because the bottle was manufactured long before P&G purchased the company. Vicks Chemical Company produced these nose drops. Many of their products were manufactured right here in North Carolina.
    For relative value Bill might check eBay where lots of these bottles are posted.

  • Reply
    Jane
    March 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    There are some of these on Ebay…one says 1920s but no history. Wish I could find a treasure like that at my back door!

  • Reply
    Shirla
    March 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Never heard of Vick’s Drops. Mom always kept the salve on hand and rubbed our chest when we got a cold. The little bottle is the same color of blue glass the salve came in.
    I recently read that Vick’s salve is the only topical treatment that works for nail fungus. It would be worth a try since the oral treatment causes liver damage.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

    As B Ruth indicated, Vicks was useful for many things. Pearl Cable tells the story of how her daughter, Velma was cured of pneumonia by Dr. J.F. Riter. Velma was an infant at the time.
    He had them fix up a wrap to go around her torso, and covered it with Vicks Vaporub. He told them not to remove it for a week, even for cleaning.
    A week later, she was cured. I suspect that’s not part of today’s protocol, but maybe it ought to be.
    Here’s a link to a photo of a small bottle found at an old home site. It would date to the early 1940’s (at least that’s when the owners were forced to leave).
    http://home.comcast.net/~doncasada/Pictures/VVR.jpg

  • Reply
    Don G
    March 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

    This tiny cobalt blue bottle says “Vicks” on one side and “Drops” on the other. Vicks says it’s a sample bottle for Vicks Nose and Throat Drops made between the late 1930’s and the 1960’s.

  • Reply
    Lise
    March 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

    The branding of Vicks with the blue bottle is definitely strong, I agree with Bradley, seems odd that Proctor & Gamble don’t have a record of that product. Makes the bottle a special find:)

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    March 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Whjen I was small, back in the early 40’s, I would get croup so bad I couldn’t breathe. My Grandma would put some Vick’s salve in a big juice can, then put the can in a big paper bag. She would pour boiling water in the can, and I would place my face in the paper bag and breathe the vapors. We had never heard of vaporizers back then. I think the paper bag trick gave more immediate relief than a vaporizer.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Mercy,
    That was supposed to be thick on my neck…not my thick…sorry folks..I’m old…and I’m running late…
    B. Ruth and thanks again Tipper…

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Tpper,
    Another thing…Vicks salve and drops if you can find them are good for a lot of things…not just colds..LOL
    When I smell Vicks….it reminds me of when I was a little kid staying out of school with the croup… With the vaporizer going with a lump of Vicks dissolving in it spewing the humidity around the room….For double measure the square piece of old sheet, wet and warmed laying on my thick rubbed in Vicks salve going up my nose to “open me up” and cut the cough…
    I could go on…etc…LOL
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…ants don’t like Vicks salve either up their nose or on their run…LOL To get rid of them just rub a little Vicks on the end of their nose…LOL It’s easier though to place a little on the run…LATER…

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 25, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Tipper, and
    Bill…..I suspected it was a miniature sample bottle…as I have some for other products like Milk of Magnesia, Bromo Selzer etc…They are salesmans sample bottles…I love salemans samples in everything…but can’t afford to buy them anymore since we are out of the business…LOL
    I sure would love that one…but may have it in my teeny tiny bottle collection…
    They are still making sample bottles today….anything from colonges, perfumes, hot sauces etc….I still get them free at shows sometimes…
    Bills is a late model note the screw top rings…forties, fifties…as a hint to age..
    If you will type in vintage vicks drops bottle on etsy you will find it….
    I looked at my Castoria bottle the other day, after discussing all these bottles…I still love it…raised lettering on the side, clear bottle, not a screw type lid…Once had a cork lid with the mold lines up the neck..
    Thanks Tipper, I hope he finds the picture..if not I will email you the website…

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    March 25, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I remember seeing bottles like this of Vicks Drops at my Grandmother’s house when I was a child. (1960s-1970s.) I don’t think that Procter & Gamble owned Vicks until the mid-1980s, so perhaps that is why they do not have any knowledge of the little blue bottle. I think that the company that originally manufactured Vicks was located in Greensboro, NC. I seem to remember hearing that the original company & family records are archived at UNC-Chapel Hill so you might be able to find out more information there.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    March 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Bill, We stocked Vicks drops as well as Vicks Salve at my drugstore that I bought in 1971 as the third owner since 1892. As my old memory serves me they were dispensed in glass dropper bottles but by then they were just in brown glass bottles.Vicks Salve is still in use and we keep it in stock. There can be no doubting you have an old Vicks Drops bottle. When Afrin came off prescription many nasal products like Vicks Drops fell by the wayside as demand dried up as the old people who knew the benefit died off . Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

    By googling “Vicks Drops” I found a site “Etsy.com” which had a similar bottle sold. The bottle was cobalt blue with a green cap and measured 1 7/8″ tall X 5/8″ wide X 1/4″ deep. It was described as a Drugstore Sample circa 1940s.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    March 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

    When my sons were young I would put either Vicks Drops or Vicks Vapor Rub in small cups that were a part of the vaporizer I used when they were sick. If I remember right the drops had a eye dropper type thing so you could get only a little out to put in that cup. It’s been years ago, but I think I’m remembering right ………

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

    The fact that this bottle has a screw on cap would indicate it was made after 1910 since with the exception of canning jars screw on caps weren’t in use until this era.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 25, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I just remember the salve. Maybe the drops were used by placing a ‘drop’ on a cloth to sniff when you got stuffy. Strange that P&G doesn’t know about this. Bottle is the right color too.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I googled Vicks Drops and found http://www.etsy.com/listing/88967715/circa-1940s-vicks-drops-cobalt-blue

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 25, 2012 at 7:25 am

    My parents kept Vicks Drops and Vicks Salve as medicines to doctor congestion and colds. I didnt’ like the smell, or the “burning” sensation it gave to my nose and forehead, but it made the difference many times in my being able to breathe and sleep when I had a bad cold. I don’t remember what company made it, but I know it could be bought at my Grandfather Bud Collins’s Country Store–and it was a “stand-by” for doctoring colds! An alternative–which was worse-smelling than the Vicks Drops and Salve, was a home-made onion poultice applied hot to the chest! That really did smell one up!

  • Reply
    Bradley
    March 25, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Bill this does present somewhat of a mystery. Since the words Vicks Drops are on the bottle and the familiar blue glass surely this was an early product of Vicks Vapor Rub. Still, the fact that Proctor & Gamble doesn’t seem to know about it creates a mystery. Maybe someone will have the answer today.

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