When you got sick with a cold as a kid did your folks bring out the blue Vicks jar or the green Mentholatum?

We were primarily a Vicks family. However, I do have one little green jar of Mentholatum purchased long ago in Scotland when I was fighting a cold while on vacation.

This vintage magazine ad is from The Delineator dated July 1918, war time. I'd sure like to know who the illustrator was. And I'm thinking...hmmmm...Mentholatum on aching feet. I might just give this a try. Then again I don't really want to have someone say, "What's that smell?" To which I'd respond, "My feet."

(SOURCE: The Delineator, July 1918)  Click on image to see it larger.
The beginning of The Mentholatum Company started when Albert Alexander Hyde left the real estate market in 1889. With the collapse of the market, Hyde established a new partnership called The Yucca Company, located in Wichita, Kansas, which focused on manufacturing and marketing shaving creams, laundry soap, and toilet soap. The Yucca Company was the beginning of The Mentholatum Company.
When The Yucca Company started manufacturing a cough syrup containing a blend of camphor and menthol, named Vest Pocket Cough Specific, Hyde became intrigued by the soothing and anti-inflammatory effects of menthol. After years of research and experimentation, the company introduced the original "Mentholatum Ointment" in December 1894, which consisted of a combination of menthol and petrolatum. Sales went wild. In 1903, Hyde opened a second office in Buffalo, New York, to handle sales and distribution east of the Mississippi River. In 1906, The Yucca Co. officially incorporated the name "The Mentholatum Company" after its flagship product and no longer sold soap. In 1909 a new factory was built in Wichita, Kansas and in 1919 a second factory was built in Buffalo. The Wichita factory was closed after the death of A. A. Hyde in 1935 and the corporate offices were moved to Wilmington, Delaware in 1937 and later to Buffalo in 1945. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)


  1. blue vicks jar. nothing says sick room like vicks. and that chicken soup that tastes mostly of vaguely seasoned hot water because your taste buds are deadened.

    1. Indeed that wimpy chicken soup. And I'll just add 7-UP. I always drank 7-UP when I was sick and now it's so sickeningly sweet that it makes things worse. I really hate what corn syrup has done to taste buds.

  2. Felix0912/05/2012

    VICKS by all means! I still use it occasionally. It goes a long way so my present jar is one I've had for several years.