ANTIQUE BROWN ORNATE GLASS PROHIBITION ERA MEDICINAL LIQUOR BOTTLE MANUFACTURED BY THE AMERICAN MEDICINAL SPIRITS COMPANY
This is an antique prohibition-era brown or auburn glass medicinal liquor bottle with original box and labels on front and back made by “The American Medicinal Spirits Company.”
This bottle is from when you needed a doctor’s prescription to get liquor, very much like you need a doctor’s prescription to get medicinal marijuana in 2016 and 2017.
During Prohibition, the U.S. Treasury Department authorized physicians to write prescriptions for medicinal alcohol. Licensed doctors, with pads of government-issued prescription forms, like the one shown here, advised their patients to take regular doses of hooch to stave off a number of ailments—cancer, indigestion and depression among them.
This privilege was one of the few legal exceptions to the 13-year ban on the production, sale and distribution of alcohol, initiated in 1920 by the 18th Amendment. The National Prohibition Act, which enforced the ban, also allowed farmers to produce wine for their own consumption and priests, ministers and rabbis to serve it during religious ceremonies.
Every ten days, patients willing to pay about $3 for a prescription and another $3 or $4 to have it filled could get a pint of booze.