This weekend Baltimore's iconic building, the Bromo-Seltzer Arts Tower will host an open house of a number of artist's studios located in the fifteen story structure, as well as hourly tours of the clock room. The tours are free beginning Saturday at 1:00 p.m. through 5:00 p.m. Clock tours are limited and a signup sheet will be available in the lobby for tours beginning at 1:30 p.m. Since completion in 1911 the Bromo-Seltzer Tower has been a landmark in downtown Baltimore with it four-sided illuminated clock. The clock face has Bromo-Seltzer spelling out the popular headache remedy around the clock numbers.
Isaac E. Emerson, with a background in chemistry and pharmacy, developed an effervescent salt as a headache and pain remedy and dispensed it in his Baltimore drugstore. Within three years he incorporated the Emerson Drug Company and was manufacturing his product full-time. Part of his successful marketing was to build what would become an iconic structure on the Baltimore skyline. The tower, at the time of construction, was the tallest building in Baltimore and sported a 51-foot rotating replica of his blue bottle of Bromo-Seltzer.
The bottle was removed from the building in the mid 1930’s because of its weight and the potential damage to the structure of the building. Nevertheless the famous blue bottle lives on in artful advertising and in people’s bottle collections. The popularity of the product, advertised for headaches, disordered stomach and a cure for the hang-over, produced a number of ad campaigns in print, billboards, radio, song and television. It is fitting that the building has been converted to an Arts Tower by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.
Once touted to “cool the blood and brain, to quiet pulsing nerves and drive the clouds of care away, not to mention nervous prostration,” the product is no longer manufactured. Owners of the patent, Tower Laboratories of Essex, Connecticut, told a Baltimore Sun reporter in a June 2, 2011 article that they were “not terribly successful in trying to reposition the brand.”
Artists, architects, history buffs, and the curious are all invited to the open house, where works of art will also be available for sale and viewing. The open house begins February 16th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The location of the clock tower is 21 S. Eutaw Street. There is plenty of parking nearby for a nominal fee. Other open houses are scheduled for select Saturdays in March, April, May and June.
For more information contact the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower Manager at 443-874-3596.