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The way to a man’s heart …

June 8, 2017

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The Detroit Free Press, Friday, 2 October 1863, Page 1

This catchy advertisement caught my eye while doing some research on the website. Apparently the way to a man’s heart is down his throat! I think the politically correct term would be “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” But then again, who am I to say that “shoving something down his throat” isn’t more effective?

I wasn’t familiar with Herrick Allen’s Gold Medal Saleratus and had no idea what saleratus even was, so a trusty Google search led me to the answer. Saleratus was originally potassium bicarbonate and was the forerunner to sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda. It was used as a leavening agent in baked goods.

The use of saleratus in recipes can be foundĀ in cookbooks dating from the early 1850s. By the late 1870s sodium bicarbonate was more widely available and the saleratus, in its original form, was replaced.

The marketing strategy for Herrick Allen’s Gold Medal Saleratus played on the virtues of love, loyalty, and truth. Their newspaper advertisements appeared across the country and clearly they found their product superior to all others. They even inferred that other brands could cause illness.

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The Detroit Free Press, Tuesday, 27 January 1863, Page 1

Herrick Allen’s Gold Medal Saleratus eventually faded away into the pages of history as more advanced products became available to homemakers. It is great fun to go back through newspapers, though, and see what products were available to our ancestors.

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at

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