Doctor Seth Arnold
was born in 1799 and died on October 31, 1884. The first
reference I can find for Dr. Arnold lists him as living in
Smithfield, Rhode Island in 1849.
By 1864, he was residing
in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and was the owner of the
Dr. Seth Arnold Medicinal Corporation.
His two sons Olney and Seth Jr. were both employed by the firm
and in 1880 Seth Jr. was appointed as the corresponding
secretary to the firm.
Dr. Arnold's firm produced
several different varieties of patent medicines. The two best
known of these were Dr. Seth
Arnold's Cough Killer and
Dr. Seth Arnold's Balsam.
I don't know if Seth Arnold was an actual doctor or not; I
couldn't find any references indicating that he had an actual
degree. However, I was able to ascertain that the main
ingredient in his Cough
(Even if it didn't cure you;
after a few spoonfuls you probably wouldn't care.)
Dr. Arnold's Cough Killer
was also touted as a cure for
Arnold sold the right to his Balsam to
of Boston Massachusetts in 1868 for $12,500.
I have two different dates
for Dr. Arnolds death. A
Rhode Island Cemetery Inscription
records it in 1884. A dealer in old bottles has a bio online
listing it as 1892.
After his father's death,
Seth Jr. moved to Connecticut and sold the company to Gilman
Brothers in Boston.
What makes these items
doubly interesting is that they cross two hobbies. The old
bottles that housed Dr. Arnold's Patent Medicines are also
considered very collectable and during my research, I came
across a good many of these items offered for sale online.