666 is a prescription

I’m going to be spending the next few days in the world of December 28 1926, as the Toronto Daily Star edition from that day has a lot of interesting material.

To start with, here’s an odd-looking ad for a patent medicine:

I was a little reluctant to search for this, but I did find out that 666 was the brand name for an anti-malaria drug produced by the Monticello Drug Company, which was founded in Monticello, Florida, in the 1890s by a man named T. S. Roberts, Sr. The 666 had nothing to do with the Bible: the original prescription was number 666 on the druggist’s prescription pad and the prescription’s popularity grew from there.

The company moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1908. In 1919, it moved to a building on which the 666 brand name was prominently displayed; this was intended to catch the eye, and it did. Roberts passed away in the 1940s, and the building was torn down in 1989 – ironically, on a Sunday.

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has a bottle of 666 in its collection; the listed date is about 1947.

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