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The Legacy of St. Joseph Aspirin Green Glass Bottle

The Legacy of St. Joseph Aspirin Green Glass Bottle

Welcome to the intriguing world of St. Joseph Aspirin, where a simple orange-flavored tablet revolutionized the way children perceived medicine. Discover the captivating story behind the iconic green glass bottles that once housed this beloved aspirin brand and delve into the charm of collectible vintage containers.

The Birth of St. Joseph Aspirin: A Flavorful Twist

The Birth of St. Joseph Aspirin: A Flavorful Twist

In the post-World War II era, entrepreneur Abe Plough recognized an opportunity. He acquired the St. Joseph brand, which had been languishing in relative obscurity since its inception in 1921. Plough, a shrewd marketer, sought to breathe new life into this old, off-patent medication: aspirin.

But how could he make aspirin more appealing, especially to the youngest members of society?

The answer lay in a simple yet ingenious reformulation. In 1947, the Plough Company introduced the bright-orange St. Joseph Aspirin for Children—a chewable tablet designed to delight young palates. These tablets were not only flavored but also conveniently small-dose, making them easy for children to take.

The Marketing Magic: “Candy Aspirin” and Idealized Families

Plough’s marketing strategy was nothing short of brilliant.

He leveraged newspapers, magazines, and radio to promote his product. However, it was the pages of Parents magazine that truly showcased the aspirational vision he wanted to convey. In these ads, families were depicted in idyllic settings: mothers chatting in well-appointed living rooms while children played with dolls and trucks.

The imagery painted a picture of the quintessential American family, complete with gendered and class-based messages.

The term “candy aspirin” quickly caught on. Parents and children alike embraced this delightful medicine, and the bright orange bottle became a familiar sight in households across the nation. It wasn’t just about the medication; it was about the experience—the promise of relief wrapped in a child-friendly package.

Impact on the Pharmaceutical Landscape

St. Joseph Aspirin’s success had far-reaching effects.

However, it wasn’t all sweetness and light. Within a few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) noticed a concerning trend: a dramatic increase in aspirin poisoning among young children. By 1951, preschool-age children accounted for a staggering 80 percent of aspirin-related deaths.

The very product designed to soothe had inadvertently become a hazard.

Despite this setback, St. Joseph Aspirin’s legacy endures. It’s a blast from the past, a timeless treasure that reminds us of an era when medicine came in glass bottles, and the promise of relief was wrapped in orange hues. Today, aspirin remains a vital preventive treatment for heart attacks and strokes, a testament to its enduring impact on public health.

So, the next time you see a green glass bottle reminiscent of childhood, remember the story of St. Joseph Aspirin—a small tablet that left an indelible mark on both medicine and memory.

A close up of the top of an old green glass bottle.

IMG Source: etsystatic.com


Vintage St. Joseph Aspirin Bottle Design Exploration

The vintage green glass bottle that originally held St. Joseph aspirin is a charming relic from the past. Let’s explore some of its design elements:

  • Color and Material: The bottle is made of green glass, which gives it a distinctive appearance. The green hue adds a touch of nostalgia and uniqueness.
  • Embossed Writing: On each side of the bottle, you’ll find the “St. Joseph” embossed into the glass.

    This embossing not only serves as a label but also contributes to the bottle’s visual appeal.

  • Size and Shape: The bottle measures approximately 2.5 inches in height and about 1.5 inches in width. Its compact size makes it reminiscent of other small medicine containers.
  • Owens-Illinois Mark: The bottom of the bottle bears the Owens-Illinois mark, indicating the glass manufacturer. Owens-Illinois was a prominent glass company known for producing various glass containers.
  • Use and Purpose: Originally, this bottle held St. Joseph aspirin, which was a trusted low-dose aspirin brand.

    The safety (enteric) coated 81 mg aspirin was designed to pass through the stomach before releasing the aspirin in the small intestine.

  • Collectible Value: For collectors and enthusiasts, this vintage St. Joseph Aspirin bottle is a sought-after item. Its unique color, embossing, and historical significance make it a delightful addition to any collection.

Remember, these old medicine containers carry stories of the past, connecting us to bygone eras when remedies were dispensed in glass bottles like this one.

A hand holding a small green glass bottle with a black cap.

IMG Source: etsystatic.com


What Makes St. Joseph Aspirin Green Glass Bottles Special

St. Joseph Aspirin bottles in green glass hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts. Let’s delve into why these vintage bottles are sought after and how to identify rare or valuable versions:

  • Unique Color and Charm: The green glass sets St. Joseph Aspirin bottles apart from the usual clear or amber glass bottles. Collectors appreciate their distinctive appearance and the touch of nostalgia they evoke.
  • Historical Significance: St. Joseph Aspirin has been around since the early 20th century, making these bottles historically relevant.

    They represent a time when medicine was dispensed in glass containers, adding to their allure.

  • Design and Labeling: Look for original labels intact on the bottle. These labels often feature the iconic St. Joseph logo and other relevant information. Embossed lettering on the glass, such as “St. Joseph,” adds value.
  • Lid and Closure: Some St. Joseph bottles come with their original metal lids.

    Finding one with an intact lid is a bonus. The type of closure (screw-on, cork, or snap cap) can affect rarity.

  • Size and Shape: St. Joseph bottles vary in size. Smaller sizes are often more collectible due to their scarcity.

    Unusual shapes, such as square or hexagonal, are prized by collectors.

  • Condition: Bottles in excellent condition command higher prices. Check for chips, cracks, or scratches on the glass.
  • Provenance: Bottles with interesting histories or connections to specific events or places are more valuable. Research the bottle’s origin and any associated stories.

Rare Versions:

  • Emerald Green Glass: The harder-to-find emerald green color is particularly desirable.
  • Paper Labels: Bottles with paper labels (instead of painted or embossed labels) are rarer.
  • Limited Editions: Some St. Joseph bottles were released as limited editions, commemorating special occasions or anniversaries.

Remember, the allure of St. Joseph Aspirin bottles lies not only in their material value but also in the nostalgia they evoke and the stories they carry.

Happy collecting!

A small green glass bottle with a square base and a round top.

IMG Source: etsystatic.com


Preserving and Maintaining Vintage St. Joseph Aspirin Green Glass Bottles

Preserving and maintaining vintage St. Joseph aspirin green glass bottles requires care and attention. These charming relics from the past hold not only aspirin but also a piece of history. Here are steps you can take to ensure their longevity:

  • Cleaning the Bottles: Begin by soaking the bottle in room-temperature water with a few drops of dish soap.

    Let it sit overnight or for a couple of hours. Use a bottle brush to gently scrub the interior. For thorough cleaning, consider a bleach and water solution (1 part bleach to 7 parts water).

    Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary. Surprisingly, Polident tablets, typically used for dentures, work wonders on old glass bottles. Follow the instructions on the tablet packaging.

  • Storage and Display: Store your St. Joseph aspirin bottles away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.

    Keep them in a cool, dry place to avoid moisture buildup. When displaying or storing, use soft materials like towels to cushion the glass and prevent scratches.

  • Inspect for Damage: Regularly check for cracks, chips, or damage. If you notice any, handle the bottle carefully to prevent further harm.

By following these steps, you honor the past and keep the beauty of these vintage glass containers alive.

The bottom of a green glass bottle with raised lettering that reads: Property of The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, Ga.

IMG Source: ebayimg.com



In conclusion, the vintage St. Joseph aspirin green glass bottles hold a timeless allure for collectors and enthusiasts alike. By understanding their design elements, historical significance, and factors that contribute to their value, one can truly appreciate the beauty and nostalgia these relics embody. Remember to care for these pieces of history with diligence to preserve their charm for generations to come.

The legacy of St. Joseph aspirin lives on in these green glass bottles, serving as a reminder of the past and connecting us to a bygone era of medicine and memories.

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