Sunday, July 23, 2023


Two related medicinal bottles are found in this ‘package’. STAR REMEDY NO. 1, and STAR REMEDY NO. 2. Although heavily advertised throughout the west for about one year, from August 1877 to August 1878, both bottles are relatively rare.


Advertisements such as this often peppered newspapers throughout the West during the one year period. Of great interest and causing some frustration, the advertisements never reveal the proprietors of the medicines, although some note that Redington & Co. were the wholesale agents. (Virginia Evening Chronicle, Virginia City, Nevada, August 8, 1877)


Perhaps considered the least desirable of the duo is Dr VAN DYKE’S / ANTIBILIOUS CURE / * REMEDY No 1. While it is embossed with the coveted word, CURE, the bottle lacks any pictorial embossing, aside from a five point star.


The reverse of a trade card for the Star Remedies.



Undoubtedly blown at the San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works in 1877 is Dr. Van Dykes Antibilious Cure. About 6 ¼ inches in height, it is made of typical western aqua glass with applied top.


The second bottle is the coveted Star Remedy No. 2. Embossed on a large panel is the depiction of a Lake Tahoe trout, with a five point star at about the location of the fish gill. Embossed on the side panels is, TROUT OIL LINIMENT / (STAR) REMEDY No 2.


While, in reality, the fish essence contained in these bottles could have been sourced anywhere, it was likely taken from Lake Tahoe.  At the time of production of the liniment, Tahoe fish were being harvested by the ton. Not only were commercial nets being used, long-line fishing was also practiced. Yet another devastating harvesting process was also underway. The indigenous Washoe tribe had fished Lake Tahoe for millennia and they knew how to do it well.


It was not until the new Americans came on the scene did the natives indulge in “over-fishing” induced by economic incentives from the white market hunters. With payment in the form of money and whiskey, the natives enjoyed their newly found wealth while the fishing lasted. However, the glory days were soon shortened by the lack of product.


I strongly recommend the reader look at a newspaper article on this subject of market fishing written by the recognized early ‘environmentalist’ Charles F. McGlashan, that appeared in the Sacramento Daily Union, on June 8, 1877.  It may just be a coincidence that this article was written at about the same time as the Trout Oil Liniment was being produced. And, it may also be a coincidence that sales of the liniment appears to have disappeared within a year, just as the heyday of commercial fishing in the lake came to an end. But, one has to wonder.

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