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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Found Treasures on PCL Site

While clearing the way to start construction on the PCL site, we found some bottles left by those who occupied the space before us, many of which date back as far as the late 1800s. Still in excellent condition, these historic bottles offer us a glimpse into the lifestyles and culture of the Pacific Coast Cannery, and intrigued us to do some further research on the significance of these found treasures.

The first of the bunch is a bottle labeled as Dr S Pitcher's Castoria, later known as Fletcher's Castoria. This may sound familiar since Castoria is still being sold today under the pharmaceutical company Mentholatum. The contents of Pitcher's Casotria, a combination of senna, sodium bicarbonate, essence of wintergreen, taraxicum, sugar and water, creates an oral remedy made to soothe the stomach of children.

Aside from its cathartic qualities, Castoria was the subject of one of the most significant campaigns in early mass advertising, many of which are still visible today on the streets of New York. In fact, during the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, it was said that Castoria ads were visible on virtually every blank wall in sight. It seems that this effective advertising made it all the way to our neighborhood in Oakland!



Blogger mcaruth said...

Where did you find these bottles? I would love to have one as Dr. S. Pitcher is my great grandfather who sold the patent for his Castoria to Fletcher's. My mother is Margaret Pitcher and my grandfather was George L. Pitcher from Tulsa, Okla. I have been looking for one of these bottles for years. Please reply!

August 4, 2008 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Nancy Holliday said...

My apologies for not responding sooner. We found this bottle along with many other treasures at our development site in West Oakland, California. The building, now 163 lofts, was the old Pacific Coast Cannery.

August 20, 2008 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger jimmy said...

I also have one of these bottles. I dug it up on a construction site in Cincinnati, Ohio. Funny thing is, My family originally comes from an area in Ok. near tulsa.

October 3, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger JpeDiver1119 said...

McARuth I am a professional commercial diver in NYC and find old bottles submerged in the city's waters all the time. I have a Pitcher's Castoria bottle I found in the Hudson River. I would be more then happy to give it to you. I looked it up and it's from around the 1870-80 period.Here's my email - JoeDiver1119@aol.com. If you still want the bottle just contact me and I'll send it right out. (i have too many laying around my house and my wife is ready to string me up)

Joe Dooling

August 25, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

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