I heard from a gentleman named Steve Ketcham who collects all manner of “early American bottles, advertising, Red Wing stoneware, breweriana, country store and drug store memorabilia.” Much of his wonderful collection can be seen at his website. He provided more information about an old cribbage board from the Lash’s drug company; if I hadn’t met Peter Leach a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have seen it before, but it’s a wonderful relic from a time when the Food and Drug Administration was whatever your parents said you could and couldn’t eat…or made you eat.
My wife and I enjoyed reading the article in Sunday’s Trib regarding your research into cribbage. We often played the game in our younger days when it was the only recreation two beginning English teachers could afford. We are now retired.
Here are a few photos of a cribbage board produced to advertise a 19th century patent medicine which was one of thousands of bitters produced and sold during that era. The pure food and drug laws of 1906 and beyond eventually put most of the quacks out of business, but the ends of the cribbage board shown here give an idea of just how fantastic the claims were regarding these very questionable products. Giveaway advertising was popular back then, and companies freely gave patrons all manner of cheap promotional items meant to hawk their wares. This is the only cribbage board I have found relating to the antique bottles I collect, but I suspect there may easily be more. I know of several companies that gave away dominos.