Wampole’s Creo-Terpin Compound
This handy-dandy little piece of advertising ephemera dates from the 1930s — it’s actually an ink blotter, to mop up the excess ink from those pesky fountain pens. The card that you see is mounted to a piece of purple paper that feels both rough and absorbent — lots of microscopic divots to really soak up the ink.
Wampole’s Creo-Terpin was produced from about the turn of the (20th) century until at least the 1940s; there are other World War II-era cards featuring guides to military decorations rather than common birds. As far as the bird cards, this is just one of a series. The cards allowed the local distributor to stamp their own information on them as well.
The “Creo” in Creo-Terpin seems to come from wood creosote, a bush that we know today has even more medicinal value than Wampole thought; it’s good for upset stomach, arthritis, anemia, and is even an anti-microbial. (One entry in the Canadian Journal of Medicine and Surgery from 1908 tells physicians how to increase the creosote dosage.) The “Terpin”, on the other hand, probably refers to terpin hydrate, which was usually sold in a solution with codeine to relieve bronchitis. Terpin hydrate was easy to make, a synthetic subsititute for oil of turpentine, which is an ingrediant in Vicks Vapo-Rub, and makes you feel better. Unfortunately, the synthetic has never been proven effective (it was probably the codeine that made you feel better), and the FDA banned it about 15 years ago in the US.
When I was growing up, my grandmother had one of these cards on her desk. I sure wish I had that one, but it’s doubtless been lost to the ages. But one good thing in which to lose yourself is all the other blogs celebrating this week’s Postcard Friendship Friday.