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Cobalt Blue - No. 1

Cobalt Blue - No. 1

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Cobalt Blue - No. 1

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?

If I had asked that question of the big clocks a floor above in Baltimore’s
Bromo Seltzer Tower, they could not have told me, as they are awaiting renovation.

But here in the museum portion of the Italianate building along Pratt Street
near the Inner Harbor, I am satisfied to guess…oh, sometime in the 1950s.

Some of these cobalt blue glass bottles and jars in curator Ernie Dimler’s extensive collection are much older, but the Vicks VapoRub does indeed carry me back to the ‘50s and my Mom rubbing that menthol-fragrant balm on my chest seemingly at the first sign of a cold!

If you’re wondering about the connection between the Bromo Seltzer Tower and blue cobalt glass, that one’s easy. Bromo Seltzer, a product which once competed with Alka Seltzer, Brioschi, and other headache/stomach/whatever else could possibly ail you remedies (at least according to period ads!) was made in a factory building once adjacent to the tower. And, yes, it came in those attractive cobalt blue bottles.

Mr. Dimler conducts tours of the clock tower on Saturdays, imparting a wealth of information on the building, the product, the man behind them, and their oft-colorful history…and, of course, his own collectibles, which he displays in the building’s museum.

©2017 Steve Ember

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