Museum Talk...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In the medical area of the Buffalo Island Museum is a doctor's medicine cabinet that was once in Harper's Clinic at Monette. The clinic was operated by Dr. B.R. Harper and his father before him, Dr. T.P. Harper.

Antique medicine cabinet on display at Buffalo Island Museum.

The yellow metal cabinet is around 100 years old. It has two locked glass doors at the top with a drawer and two bins underneath.

Although the cabinet is an interesting antique, what is most interesting are the items in the cabinet. The Asepto Snake Bite Outfit from 1930 contains a rubber bulb metal suction device, rubber tourniquet, razor, and iodine applicators. Tera Cortril Ointment was used to treat infected insect bites, and infected intertrigo. It is no longer available in the United States as are most of the medicines in the cabinet.

The 666 Cold Preparation was a cold and flu remedy for over 100 years. It treated malaria and the common cold and flu. It is credited with saving the lives of countless people during the building of the Panama Canal.

I remember Grove's Chill Tonic. It was supposed to be tasteless. In 1878 E.W. Grove made a tonic that masked the taste of quinine. It was used for malaria and colds and fever in children and adults. It smelled awful and I can tell you that it wasn't tasteless.

Black Draught was a once-common liquid syrup laxative. It was also a common folk remedy for many other ailments.

Silver Nitrate applicators were used for cauterization of the skin and to remove warts and other tissue. Mild Silver Protein by Argyrol was first introduced in 1901 and was used to cleanse mucous membrane tissues. The blood lancets were used for capillary blood sampling.

Paregoric was a household remedy in the 18th and 19th centuries used to control diarrhea in children and adults. It was also a cough medicine and used for the pain from teething. Did you know that it contained opium? There was a period that paregoric was not manufactured in the United States, but it is once again available.The cabinet also contains other medicines, salves, sterile gloves, bandages, cotton swabs and medical tools used by doctors and dentists of yesteryear.

Admission to the museum is free. Hours are Friday and Saturday 1-4 p.m.

Visit the museum's Facebook page for more information, pictures and to enter our monthly Mystery Artifact Contest. You might win a prize.

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