Ruler Advertising Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup

This eight-inch wooden rule is divided to 1/16-inch. Various mischievous figures are depicted on the front. On the back, the rule is marked: Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup (/) Has been used for over FIFTY YEARS by MILLIONS of MOTHERS for their CHILDREN WHILE TEETHING, with (/) PERFECT SUCCESS. It SOOTHES the CHILD, SOFTENS the GUMS, ALLAYS all PAIN, CURES WIND COLIC, (/) and is the best remedy for DIARRHOEA. Sold by Druggists in every part of the world. Be sure and ask (/) for "Mrs. WINSLOW'S SOOTHING SYRUP," and take no other kind. Twenty-five Cents a Bottle.
The ruler was distributed to advertise a medication compounded by Charlotte N. Winslow, a physician and nurse. Her son-in-law, Jeremiah Curtis, and Benjamin A. Perkins began bottling and selling the syrup in Bangor, Me., in 1849. The product was effective at quieting fussy infants—because it contained 65 mg of morphine per fluid ounce. Users unknowingly risked addiction, poisoning, and death. After the Food and Drug Act of 1906 required manufacturers to list ingredients on product labels, the makers of the syrup stopped using morphine and removed "Soothing" from the product's name. However, at least as late as 1912, health officials were still finding the original version on store shelves. For bottles of the syrup, see MG*293320.1290, 1989.0711.35, and MG*M-10426.
References: Hagley Museum and Library, "Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup," Patent Medicine,; A. B. Hirsch, "Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup," American Medical Journal 12, no. 11 (1884): 504–506; "Baby Killers," in Nostrums and Quackery, 2nd ed. (Chicago: American Medical Association Press, 1912), 432–435.
Currently not on view
Object Name
scale rule
date made
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: .3 cm x 20.3 cm x 2.8 cm; 1/8 in x 8 in x 1 3/32 in
place made
United States
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Scale Rules
Science & Mathematics
Measuring & Mapping
Promotional Item
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Scale Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana
Additional Media

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