Schmidt Drugs Potassium Permanganate Poison Label
This label is from Schmidt Drugs Store in Springfield, Ohio, and measures 2.62” Wide x 2” High. Adam Schmidt immigrated to the United States form Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany in 1842 as a young boy of 19. He moved west and at 29 joined the business of C. A. Smith & Company in Springfield, Ohio. In 1885 Adam bought out the interests of his partners and continued the business under the name of Schmidt’s Drug Store. His son Albert came into the business around 1920. I don’t know when they closed, but traced the store being opened in the late 1940s. The store remained throughout the years in the same location it started, 63 West Main Street, Springfield, Ohio. I have found a great photo of Adam Schmidt behind the counter.
You will notice the Schmidt Drug Store logo is very ornate with clouds behind the name, eagle with wings spread, and the address in a banner. You don’t see many labels with this amount of detail.
In the mid 1800s, a London chemist named Henry Bollmann Condy came up with a solution that had good disinfectant properties. After some work he figured out how to make it stable and dried it to produce potassium permanganate powder. This powder was called Condy’s crystals or Condy’s powder and when dissolved in water to make a purple solution. Potassium permanganate was easy to make so Condy was constantly trying to stop other people from making it and selling it.
Early photographers used it in flash powder and it was used in disinfectants and in deodorizers. Dilute solutions are used as a treatment for canker sores and mild fungal infections. It can be found at pool supply stores and removes the rotten egg smell from well water. It is used to treat some parasitic diseases of fish and it is typically included in survival kits as a fire starter and water sterilizer.
Unfortunately, it can quickly stain virtually any organic material such as skin, paper, and clothing. If you mix it with, or it comes in contact with, sulfuric acid or simple alcohols it will cause a violent combustion reaction.
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