Bromo-Seltzer

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A horse drawn Bromo-Seltzer wagon.

Bromo-Seltzer (acetaminophen, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid), is an antacid used to relieve pain occurring together with heartburn, upset stomach, or acid indigestion. First produced by inventor Isaac E. Emerson's drug company of Baltimore, Maryland in 1888, Bromo-Seltzer is sold in the United States in the form of effervescent granules which must be mixed with water before ingestion.

Bromo-Seltzer newspaper ad from 1908

In the days of classic radio, it was known for its slogan which was repeated rhythmically in imitation of a railroad steam engine: "BRO-mo-Selt-zer, BRO-mo-Selt-zer, ..."

Bromo-Seltzer's main offices and main factory were located in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. The factory's most notable feature was its clock tower, which featured BROMOSELTZER in place of the numbers on all four clock faces. The tower was patterned on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tower originally had a 51 ft (16 m) Bromo-Seltzer bottle, glowing blue and rotating. Weighing 20 tons (18.1 tonnes), it was lined with 314 incandescent light bulbs and topped with a crown. The bottle was removed in 1936 because of structural concerns.

The product took its name from a component of the original formula, sodium bromide; it contained 3.2 mEq/teaspoon of this active ingredient. Bromides are a class of tranquilizers that were withdrawn from the American market in 1975 due to their toxicity. Their sedative effect probably accounted for Bromo-Seltzer's popularity as a hangover remedy. Early formulas also used acetanilide as the analgesic, a known poisonous substance.[1]

Bromo-Seltzer is mentioned in the jazz standard song "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" from the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey.[2]

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