Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Lash's Bitters

Lash's Bitters

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
The indications or uses for this product as provided by the manufacturer are: The Original Tonic Laxative Bitters. Known and used for over 40 years in constipation, biliousness, indigestion, headaches, and loss of appetite, arising from imperfect digestion or inactive liver or bowels.
Currently not on view
Object Name
otc preparation
Date made
about 1933
Lash's Products Company
Place Made
United States: California, San Francisco
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Place Made
United States: New Jersey, Clifton
Physical Description
alcohol 18% (drug active ingredients)
overall: 9 1/8 in x 2 5/8 in x 2 3/4 in; 23.1775 cm x 6.6675 cm x 6.985 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Gary P. and Sandra Baden
Indigestion & Nausea Drugs
Tonics, Minerals & Vitamins
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Balm of America
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


"Hello,, I have a small porcelain cup, about 1.5 " tall and 1.5 " diameter. On the outside of the cup is written in gold lettering "Drink Lash's Bitters " and on the bottom of the inside of the cup is a painted blue eye with eyelashes. I haven't been able to find any information about the cup doing google searches. I obtained the cup at an estate sale in San Francisco about 8 years ago. I understand that Lash's bitters was manufactured in San Francisco. Any information you could supply about this cup would be greatly appreciated. PS, I love to watch the Smithsonian channel when they go behind the scenes at the Smithsonian museums and show items and interview curators etc. Very interesting. "
From my grandmother I inherited the same porcelain cup. The writing is barely visible now, I had not noticed the eye in the bottom until I read this, but it is definitely there, although not so clear. Its history is very interesting: My grandmother was born in 1893 in a village near Århus in Denmark. She had two much elder sisters who emigrated to San Francisco around the turn of the century (I think). They must have returned to visit the family, because they gave their little sister this cup as a present from San Francisco. My grandmother always told me that it had survived the earthquake there. I think the idea with it was to serve as a chamber pot for her dolls, at least that was what she called it, “the chamber pot from San Francisco”. Now I have it as a dear memento of my grandmother. The two sisters married two brothers in San Francisco, they were butchers of profession, I believe they were of Danish origin as well. As far as I know they died without descendants. Perhaps someone out there knows something about them?
Hello - I am the grand daughter of Martin O'Shea who worked for Lash's from 1926 until his death in 1964. The Clifton NJ location was opened in 1928 and the Lash's name was changed to Lash's Products in the 1930's. My grandfather was the vice president of Lash's. My dad's entire family was involved in the product thru deliver of all the products and we kids got to play in the factory all the time. I have an extensive collection of Lash's products and would be very happy to share any knowledge on the history whenever you wish!

Add a comment about this object