The bottle on the left contained Hoyt’s German Cologne, the one in the center, Rubifoam for the Teeth, and blue bottle on the right says Bromo Caffeine. And therein lies a tale (or two).
This building in Georgetown was likely where they were purchased. Now the home of a popular restaurant, Big Tuna (currently closed because workers tested positive for the corona virus), it was originally Iseman’s Drug Store. Dr. Iseman, a physician, sold wholesale and retail drugs as well as stationary, perfume, “fancy goods”, and toilet articles, like Rubifoam tooth cleaner.
Rubifoam was created by E.W. Hoyt in the 1880s and manufactured in Lowell, Massachusetts. Taking its name from the bright red color of the liquid, it was widely advertised on colorful decorative trade cards and in magazines.
Bromo Seltzer (blue bottle in the photo above) was invented in 1888 to relieve heartburn and upset stomachs. When mixed with water, the result was a fizzy drink. Bromide, its chief ingredient, has a tranquilizing effect which likely accounts for its popularity as a headache and hangover remedy. Unfortunately, bromide is toxic and the formula was changed in 1975 so it no longer contains bromide.
Wise women Bromo Seltzer take.