It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday and today I'm showcasing a truly unique commemorative metal tray that I've added to my sadly neglected vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage.
This little piece, which measures approximately 8 inches x 5.75 inches x 1/2 inch, was a souvenir from the American Medical Association Convention held in Chicago in 1948. It was swag distributed by Sharp & Dohme, a pharmaceuticals manufacturer which began as an apothecary in 1851 and had just opened a large scale manufacturing plant in West Port, Pennsylvania in 1948. Five years later, that company was acquired by Merck, a spin off of the German Merck KGaA.
I am guessing that Sharp & Dohme chose the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) motif to celebrate the opening of their new plant in Pennsylvania. I love the whimsical motif and the use of color.
But what I find most interesting is the design itself. The AMA Convention was being held in Chicago, Illinois. And one of the most prominent yet tragic pieces of Chicago history is the Great Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871, which destroyed a large section of the city and killed over 300 people. According to legend, since discredited, the fire started when a cow owned by Patrick and Catherine (Cate) O'Leary kicked over a lantern in their barn.
I think this could make a unique gift for a med school or pharmacy school graduate -- especially one with ties to Chicago. Or perhaps it could be a Father's Day gift for a doctor or pharmacist -- or a Chicago history buff.