1898 · St. Louis
by Antikamnia Chemical Company; Louis Crusius
St. Louis: Antikamnia Chemical Co, 1898. Antikamnia Chemical Company. (1) The Antikamnia calendar 1899. 6 sheets (plus duplicate of November-December sheet). Chromolithograph illustrations after watercolors by Louis Crusius (1862-98). St. Louis: Antikamnia Chemical Company, 1898. (2) The Antikamnia calendar 1900. 6 sheets. Chromolithograph illustrations after watercolors by Louis Crusius (1862-98). St. Louis: Antikamnia Chemical Company, 1899. Together 2 items. 254 x 177 mm. Edges a bit frayed, marginal dampstains, but good to very good. First Editions of the 1899 and 1900 promotional calendars issued by the Antikamnia Chemical Company, featuring the comically macabre "skeleton sketches" of Louis Crusius, a physician and amateur artist. The St. Louis-based company produced these calendars in limited editions between 1897 and 1901, sending them to "members of the Medical Profession" in the United States and Europe to advertise the patent medicine "Antikamnia," a pain reliever based on the coal tar derivative acetanilide. Although the Antikamnia Chemical Company aggressively promoted its product as a certain remedy for everything from headaches to tuberculosis, the main ingredient, acetanilide, was known to be toxic in high doses or to sensitive individuals. After passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which mandated that products containing dangerous drugs be clearly labeled as such, the makers of Antikamnia attempted to skirt this requirement by replacing acetanilide with its less toxic derivative, acetphenitidin. In 1910 U.S. marshals seized a shipment of Antikamnia for violating the Pure Food and Drug Act, and in 1914 the Supreme Court ruled against the company for failing to state that its product contained an acetanilide derivative. The Antikamnia Chemical Company went out of business a few years later, although not before making the fortune of one of its founders, Frank A. Ruf, who died a millionaire in 1923. B. Lovejoy, "The Deadly Pain Medicine Sold by Skeletons." Mental Floss, 7 May 2016 (web).
(Inventory #: 45137)