Poison: The “Cure” For What Ailed You

For my Facebook friends, this is a bit of a repeat of a post I shared over the weekend, but with more information.

Saturday, I bought this tiny (about 6 1/2″ tall) lamp at our local monthly Pickers Market.

The vendor mentioned to me that I may have “gotten a real bargain”; she hadn’t taken time to research this item.

There were some markings, which made that chore a little easier.  A quick search when I got home showed these available on Ebay from $19.99 to $120.00. We were heading to a race later that day, so my dear friend, Pam (Two Spoiled Cats), took the time to find and send more information to me.

This is a “Vapo-Cresolene” lamp, which, years ago, was thought to kill germs and help ease the discomforts of all sorts of breathing problems, as well as measles and diptheria.  The customer put Kerosene in the lamp, then Cresolene in the removable cup at the top of the lamp and lit the tiny wick located just below the white chimney.

I’m guessing that this little lamp was made sometime in the late 1800’s. It’s amazing to me that all the parts are still there, especially the removable cup at the top and the white globe, since they aren’t attached.

Of course, we now know that the Cresolene, as well as this little lamp, although certainly adorable, probably had no effect on those diseases it was thought to cure.

There’s much more information available here in the link that Pam sent me; it’s well worth a few minutes to read. Marshall had also done some quick research and found the picture of the cresolene medicine bottle, also shown in the article, which is clearly labeled “POISON”.

Some of you know my Motor Man and his quick, dry sense of humor. He’s been battling allergies the past few weeks, which included an insistent cough. Last weekend, when I read him the info about the cresolene lamp, he said: “Well, fire that sucker up. I need it!”  He’s much improved since that time; perhaps just having the lamp in the house, even unlit, was all that was necessary.

I doubt these little lamps are rare, but just for the fun of having it, I think I definitely scored a bargain for $5.00.

~These Days Of Mine~



8 responses to “Poison: The “Cure” For What Ailed You

  1. What a find! I LOVE it and the story that goes with it. Of course, it’s presence in the house must of contributed to the ‘cure’! What a sense of humor.

  2. You certainly did. What a great find.

  3. Definitely a bargain – and so interesting having a look at what back in the day was considered a modern medical miracle to cure several things. As is the way with many “modern miracles” (especially in medicine) it probably did more harm than good in the end other than make people THINK they were helping! Glad to be part of your research team :).


  4. What an interesting find with quite a backstory to it! I was helping at our church rummage sale last weekend and there were a few large framed pictures there. The kind of things that were hung over the living room couch in the 60’s and 70’s. Anyway, some were priced at $5 and some for $1. No takers. But then a lady purchased one of the $1 pictures and on her way out told one of my co-volunteers that she recognized the artist’s name and the picture was worth $125! You just never know, do you?

  5. Very cool ! I had never heard of the “medicine” or this type of lamp..

    One of those things from that era that just might’ve done more harm than good !

  6. Wow, what a neat find with history behind it! I love it – it’s so sweet and seems as if you (and Motor Man for his allergies 😉 could fire it up and it would work as well as it did when first made. I so wish things were made as well today… to last… We don’t need so much modern disposable junk, just some precious items to keep and care for and share.

  7. Congratulations on your find. It’s a curious little lamp with a colorful history. I think it could be a dandy of an inspiration for mystery story.
    I don’t know about the wee lamp curing ills, but it sure brought some smiles already, that Motor Man what a card he is. I hope he gets over his cough soon.

  8. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    A amazing find indeed. Thanks to you, Pam, and Marshall for the interest facts.

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