Collection of curiosities

By Sandra L. Brown

May 18, 2017 12:00 AM

PANACEA When you were sick in the early 1900s, why, all you had to do was take a product like Mi-o-na tablets that promised to cure a wide variety of ailments.

Whether its sports memorabilia, vintage automobiles, owl figurines, books or glassware, the start of a collection begins with one item and grows exponentially. 
Have you ever considered who influenced your passion for collecting? 
The beginnings of my vintage postcard collection came from a dear grandmother who we affectionately called Mrs. O. 
She instilled within me a profound interest in the past. 
After listening to her homesteading stories of living on the prairie and viewing timeworn newspaper articles carefully wrapped in tissue, this interest passionately grew through the years. 
The heart of a collection is determined by a natural curiosity and interest in the subject.
Curiosity is more than just wondering about the object’s link to our past, though. 
Collections can also include a compilation of random information linked together in an obscure manner. 
A May 1905 Lloydminster Times article explained a convenient method of finding your way on the sparsely populated prairie when you find yourself lost and without a compass. 
Hold the watch so that the sun is half-way between the hour hand and the number 12.
Then 12 will point towards the south, six towards the north, nine towards the east and three towards the west. 
Concluding with a disclaimer, “This is not perfectly accurate, but it is approximately so,” didn’t instill much confidence as to the proven effectiveness of this method.
In August 1910 a Lloydminster farmer was accused of overcharging by $20 for the crop damage received from his neighbor’s wandering nine cows and calf. 
Witnesses for both sides had varying accounts of the resulting damage which was considerable.
One local businessman insisted the damage was done by gophers. 
Upon cross examination he stated, “He did not see any gophers and explained that they had gone to bed at the time of his visit.” 
Interestingly, other witnesses had quite a discussion regarding the difference between the track of a gopher and that of a cow. 
Personally, I see a rather substantial difference between their tracks, as one can only assume that gophers from pioneer days were similar in size to current ones. 
After a brief court adjournment these charges were dismissed and the accused was awarded the original amount claimed plus costs.
Reading like a Ripley’s Believe it or Not, there is a plethora of medical advice and advertisements promising aid for a curious number of symptoms.
Mi-o-na tablets not only promised to cure indigestion, but also nervousness, shortness of breath and other problematic symptoms. 
These were available at the local drug store and it was recommended to buy a large box to start on the right road for improved health. 
They promised to permanently cure indigestion and came with a money back guarantee. 
Selling for 50 cents a box these miraculous pills also promised to add weight and blood to those folks who were considered scrawny by “... causing the stomach to extract more nutritious matter from the food which quickly enriches the blood.” 
If only it was that easy.
Curiously, the cure for the common cold was reportedly discovered in the early 1900s. 
Promising to cure asthma, bronchitis, croup, coughs and colds; Hyomei (pronounced High-o-me) an over the counter remedy was sold and guaranteed. 
Even headaches were believed to be a symptom of stomach issues and Chamberlain’s Stomach and Liver tablets were the answer. 
Promoted as easy to take and very effective they were available at Lloydminster dealers. 
Advertised as “The first aid for stomach ache,” Chamberlain’s liquid remedy for infant colic and stomach ailments sounded like a misguided mixture, not to mention rather sleep producing. 
Containing 45 percent alcohol, 10.7 percent ether and 19 minims (drops of) chloroform per fluid ounce, it was combined with three grains of Tri-chlor-tertiary-butyl-alcohol for its sedative effect. 
H. G. Willis, the local jeweller was also a graduate optician. 
He provided free eye examinations and prescribed and supplied eye glasses. 
Advertised as a good, healthy and scientific exercise, folks were encouraged to support the formation of a tennis club in Lloydminster.
Appealing particularly to the ladies, men were also encouraged to join. 
So there you have it folks, a collection of random information linked together with Lloydminster’s past which is anything but perfect.
Communities are continually defined by their history. 
What are you curious about?

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