Copyright © 2002 Digger Odell Publications

In the early 1870s women around the country began to demonstrate against what they saw as a great evil -alcohol. The women's Crusade as it was known was the result of years of woman taking matters into their own hands and taking action against saloons and taverns by demonstrations, prayer vigils, hymn singing and various other quasi -political means. Religion was the anti-liquor backbone of these groups. One a minister said that the only people who will be worthy of going to heaven will be the sober…"

Temperance speakers held debates on the streets and to audiences wherever they could be found. Scenes of whiskey, beer and ale running in the streets became common as they would when prohibition was ushered in years later.

The movement grew in intensity as the 20th century approached. Political organization began with the Prohibition party in 1872 and lasted until 1920. The Anti-saloon league was another organization bound to do away with the evils of alcohol. They are argued that drink was eroding the very social fabric of the nation, women demeaned and families destroyed and impoverished. They enlisted the help of numerous authorities to establish their case. Businessmen were called upon as well playing upon their fears of a diminished work force . The American Medical Association, while undecided upon the medical benefits of alcohol, determinedly fought against the abuse of the substance as contained in many so called "Temperance Drinks."

As alcohol came under attack, the patent and proprietary medicine makers disguised the nature of their products They had long known the secret to a successful product and responded with advertising, albeit false, that seemed to support the temperance creed. They well knew that their public wanted to feel some effect from taking their medicine and so for the most part did not reduce the amounts of alcohol in their products. The following is from:

The American Druggist
June 1887
Analysis of 11 Temperance Drinks.?
The chemist of the Massachusetts State Board of Health has recently the analyzed a large number of so-called temperance -drinks, and as found that all of them. contain alcohol, one of them containing as much as 44.3 percent. Several of them contain more than 40 percent, and a very large proportion more than 20 percent. One of these is said by its Manufacturer to be " a purely vegetable extract, stimulus to the body without intoxicating." " Inebriates struggling to reform will find its tonic and sustaining influence on the nervous system a great help to their efforts." This preparation was found to contain 41.6 percent of alcohol.


Carter's Physical Extract, Georgetown, Mass., 22 percent
Hooker's Wigwam Tonic, Haverhill, Mass., 20.7 percent.
Hoofland's German Tonic, Philadelphia, 29.3 percent.
Hop Tonic, Grand Rapids, 7 percent.
Howe's Arabian Tonic, New York, 13.2 percent. t
Jackson's Golden Seal Tonic, Boston, 19.6 percent.
Liebig Company's Coca Beef Tonic. New York, 23.2 percent.
Parker's Tonic, New York (advertised as without stimulants)- 42.6 percent.
Schenck's Sea Weed Tonic, Philadelphia, 19.5 percent.







Atwood's Quinine Tonic Bitters, Boston, 29.2 percent.
Atwood's Jaundice Bitters, Portland, 22.3 percent.
Baxter's Mandrake Bitters, Burlington, 16.5 percent.
Baker's Stomach Bitters, New York, 42.6 percent:
Brown's Iron Bitters, Baltimore, 19.7 percent.


A Quaker wouldn't drink would he?


Burdock Blood Bitters, Buffalo, 25. 2 percent. t
Carter's Scotch Bitters, Georgetown, 17.6 percent.
Colton's Bitters, Westfield, 27.1 percent. t
Drake's Plantation Bitters, New York, 33.2 percent.
Flint's Quaker Bitters, Boston, 21.4 percent.
Goodhue's Bitters, Boston, 16.1 percent.
Hartshorn's Bitters, Boston, 22.2 percent.
Hoofland's German Bitters, Philadelphia (claimed to be
-free from all alcohol), 25.6 percent. r
Hop Bitters, Rochester, 12 percent.
Hostetter's Stomach Bitters, Pittsburgh, 44.3 percent. 8
Sulphur Bitters, Boston (contains no sulphur), 20.5 percent.
Langley's Bitters, Boston, 18.1 percent.
Mexican Tonic Bitters, Boston, 22.4 percent.
Porter's Stomach Bitters, New York, 27.9 percent.
Bush's Bitters, New York, 3.5 percent.
Sherry Wine Bitters, Wakefield, 47.5 percent. t
Cinchonia Bitters, Providence, 13.1 percent.
German Bitters, Concord, 21.5 percent.
Strengthening Bitters, New Bedford, 29 percent
Old Continental Bitters, Lynn, 11.4 percent.
Walker's Vinegar Bitters, New York, 6.1 percent.
Warner's Safe Tonic Bitters Rochester, 35.7 percent.
Warner's Bilious Bitters, Boston, 21.5 percent.
Wheeler's Tonic Sherry Wine Bitters, Boston, 18.8 percent.
Wheat Bitters, New York, 13.6 percent.
Faith Whitcom's Nerve Bitters, Boston, 20.3 percent.
Williams' Vegetable Jaundice Bitters, Lowell, 18.5 percent.-


Boston Med. and Surg. Journal.


One need not wonder any longer why Hostetter Bitters bottles are so common. Forty-four percent alcohol is 88 proof.  This nostrum was brought to the Union troops during the Civil War by the boxcar load no doubt to treat more than physical wounds.

It's popularity lasted through the first decades of the 20th century.

Drake's Plantation Bitters was made with rum- 33% in fact more than enough to qualify as strong drink.

Some companies like the one above, capitalized on the Temperance Movement