Scott and Bowne's Palatable Castor OilTitle
Scott and Bowne’s Palatable Castor Oil

Original Creator
Scott & Bowne Company (United States, Manufacturer)

Original Creation Date
19th century

The trade card shows a mother providing castor oil to one child while another child eagerly waits for their turn to receive the medicine. The product was marketed for children’s bone growth and for adults’ vitamin supplement.  Claimed to be “almost as palatable as milk,” it derived from cod liver oil, which has a long history of medicinal use but suffered a reputation for having a naturally nauseating taste. Scott and Bowne mixed the cod liver oil with their emulsion solution of sweet glycerin to improve the taste. The product would become one of the most profitable patent medicines of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This image is in the public domain.