29 September 2013 (R•031214)
A purely mineral and vegetable compound free from all mineral poison, also free from all poisonous drugs as morphine, heroin, opium, cocaine, nux vomica or strychnine.
Perusing the trade cards on ebay, I see a nice example of a C. K. Wilson’s Original Compound Wa-Hoo Bitters trade card (posted further below) that reminds me of my labeled bottle. Charles Kent Wilson and his Old Indian Medicine Co. in Toledo, Ohio produced the bitters and was eventually sued by the government for misbranding his product. Not a terribly exciting bottle to many but just another reason why it is fun to be a bitters collector. So many stories and neat pieces of history.
Pay close attention and look at the upper left corner of the front label on my example. There you will see the NRA Blue Eagle logo (printed in black). This would be displayed in store windows, placed on packages and labels, and included in advertising. The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was the primary New Deal agency established by U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. The goal was to eliminate “cut-throat competition” by bringing industry, labor and government together to create codes of “fair practices” and set prices.
The example further below from the Glass Works Auctions does not have this logo. There are also other subtle differences in the two labels.
The Carlyn Ring and W. C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:
W 127 WILSON’S ORIGINAL COMPOUND WA-HOO BITTERS
L… C. K. Wilson’s Original Compound Wa-Hoo Bitters
Old Indian Medicine Co. Toledo, Ohio
8 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 (6)
Rectangular, Clear, ABM
Label: We guarantee Wahoo Bitters to be just as we represent it. A purely mineral and vegetable compound free from all mineral poison, also free from all poisonous drugs as morphine, heroin, opium, cocaine, nux vomica or strychnine. A thorough trial will convince you as to its great value. Animals know by instinct to eat certain plants when needs demand. The caveman knew the value of roots and herbs. Indians resorted to them when emergency called. Our grandparents followed similar methods. God causeth the herb to grow for the service of man Psalm 104-14.
Note: U.S. Government in Judgement No. 4523, February 1917, charged it was “a watery solution with sweetening, epsom salts, sassafras, and prickly ash.” The fine was $25 plus costs. The company claimed it “A great blood and nerve tonic and an unfailing specific for partial paralysis, St. Vitus’ Dance and all forms of weakness, as well as an effective remedy for malaria, catarrh of the stomach, salt rheum, scrofula and neuralgia.”
Charles K. Wilson (Old Indian Medicine Co.) rms 1005 Washington, Toledo City Directory, 1909, 1910
Old Indian Medicine Co., Chas K Wilson propr, Mfrs of Wa-Hoo Bitters, Etc. 1005 Washington, Bell, Tel Main 1715, Toledo City Directory, 1913, 1914
Old Indian Medicine Co. (C K. Wilson), 209 Illinois, Toledo City Directory, 1923