Vintage Finds Memories of Merthiolate

Vintage finds memories of Merthiolate…just got back from visiting our daughter in Maryville, and of course no visit anywhere is complete without a thrift store or two, or even an estate sale if I can find one! With the help of Craigslist and GPS we did find a couple of estate sales, but I was several hours late. Still found some nice goodies.


vintage finds memories of merthiolate
Vintage Avon


Vintage Avon from the 50’s and 60’s…had a corner on cute containers. I couldn’t resist “Here’s My Heart Beauty Dust” powder box.


Found a sack of brass napkin rings with 3 usable sets like these~


vintage finds memories of merthiolate


vintagefinds memories of merthiolate


vintage finds memories of merthiolate

Wish I’d arrived early at this sale…everything was practically cleaned out when I arrived, so the prices must have been good~


But I did find an old book that caught my interest…a 1908 Elementary spelling book…such a tiny book, but it is loaded with info…even fables!


vintage finds memories of merthiolate


vintage finds memories of merthiolate vintage finds memories of merthiolate


Favorite find of the day~


vintage finds memories of merthiolate


It was full of little glass bottles of mostly Merthiolate…


vintage finds memories of merthiolate


…and a metal Band-Aid box, bottles of Mercurochrome, iodine, adrenaline, and Paragoric…all vintage first aid medicines.


Does anyone else remember scraping your knee, running in to Mama, and out came the dreaded Merthiolate? Wow, did it ever burn!!! So we blew on it to make it better. Burning means it’s working right??? Of course it does.


Many years later, I ran out of my one bottle of Merthiolate hoarded from childhood. I went to the pharmacy to replace it only to discover it’s not made anymore. Yep, after all that childhood torture, I actually went away disappointed! They said it was because of the red dye, but here’s a bit of “Merthiolate” history that clears it up…


The active ingredient in mercurochrome and merthiolate contained mercury and was deemed not effective and dangerous by the FDA. The active ingredient in mercurochrome and merthiolate contained mercury and was deemed not effective and dangerous by the FDA.


Dangerous huh? Not effective? (I beg to differ.) I confess I never knew it contained mercury, did you? I and every other kid was brought up on the stuff, and we’re still here. It’s my understanding that it is available, but with different ingredients, and not as good.


So much for my vintage finds memories of Merthiolate. Who else remembers Merthiolate?



vintage finds memories of merthiolate



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As an experienced online seller for 19 years, I've just begun to reveal some of my selling secrets. In my Vintage Finds posts, I show what I buy for resale, and sell for. Because many items are vintage and need TLC, I show these DIY's, and how I refurbish to sell. I love picking, junking, thrifting, and shabby chic style.

24 comments on Vintage Finds Memories of Merthiolate

    1. You’re so right Debra! Amazing we lived so long considering all those harmful things. Must have been a lot of people besides me liking merthiolate.
      So you like the spelling book! It is a little treasure & you would be surprised to see how much is in it since it’s so small.

  1. OMG mercury I knew that stuff was evil. I was so happy when my Mom brought out the bactine rather than the mercurochrome. Great finds.

  2. Florence, you got some good stuff. I like the napkin rings and that spelling book is really cool! The first aid kit is really neat, very interesting about the merthiolate.

  3. I remember Mercurochrome and Paragoric. The first was for “boo-boos”, and, if I remember correctly, the second was rubbed on gums as an aid for teething pain. Yep! How DID we survive???

  4. My granny always told us the more Merthiolate burned, the more germs were being killed. Love the first aid kit with all the bottles. The best find is the early speller. I lust for that.

  5. Great finds…I especially love the book…and yes, I remember Merthioliate…

  6. I do remember Merthioliate. My dad was a big fan of it and actually used up his last bottle a couple years ago. He was crushed that they didn’t make it anymore.

    When I was a kid and we were out playing and got a cut, we’d just rub dirt on it. To this day when somebody falls and skins their knee I automatically want to say “Rub dirt on it.” LOL I wonder if anyone else remembers that or if it was just a Chicago thing?

    1. I can totally relate to your dad being disappointed that it’s not made anymore, but I think I have a lifetime supply now!! I’ve never heard of rubbing dirt in the cut.

  7. I do not remember merthiolate… in fact I’ve never heard of it! But lots of things we had or did as kids were dangerous and we are all still here and kickin’!! I can remember riding in the car standing up on the front seat!

    I love all your finds, the Avon container is sure pretty.


    1. LOL, you’re probably too young to remember THAT! It was used on all us kids growing up in the 50’s & 60’s. It was dreaded stuff, b/c it burned, but now I miss it!

  8. Florence, I really love all three sets of the napkin rings. Especially the one with pineapples. I haven’t always been a pineapple lover, but this season they have really resonated with me. I don’t remember merthiolate from when I was a child, but I do remember that my brother held a thermometer in front of the register to see how warm he could get it, and it broke. The Mercury stained the linoleum in my parent’s brand new home, it never came off. Dog gone that mercury!

    1. Yes, I sold the one with the pineapples right off. Still waiting on the others. Oh no! (about the mercury). I didn’t know that would stain either. Surprised you don’t remember Merthiolate….most people swore by the stuff. It went on every cut & scrape, and it burned like you know what.

  9. Florence, wow, what a blast from the past! My Grandma swore by that stuff and always had a bottle of one or the other, merthiolate or mercurochrome. I still remember the glass applicator inside the lid. PS I went to an estate sale once, of an elderly sick man who had died of I don’t know what, and one of the items on sale was a bottle of used mouthwash priced 10 cents!

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