Baby name story: Laxative Bromo Quinine

E. W. Grove Laxative Bromo Quinine
Laxative Bromo Quinine

A baby named Laxative? Could it be legit?

Yes, amazingly.

What’s the story?

On October 3, 1903, a baby boy was born to Taylor and Lizzie Crim of Lubbock, Texas.

When the baby was a couple of years old, he became seriously ill. His parents tried all the remedies they knew of. Nothing worked.

In an effort to save his son’s life, Taylor Crim trekked from his farm in the countryside to the nearest general store.

After Taylor explained his plight to the storekeeper, a traveling salesman who’d overheard the conversation mentioned that he sold a line of drugs that might help.

So Taylor Crim brought the salesman back to his farm. The salesman stayed the night, periodically giving the baby doses of Bromo Quinine.

(Bromo Quinine tablets, made by the Paris Medicine Company, were marketed as “the world’s first cold tablets” in the late 1800s and early 1900s.)

The baby seemed to get better; he was able to sleep.

Before leaving the next day, the salesman gave the Crims his Bromo Quinine and told them how to use it.

The baby’s health continued to improve. Eventually, he made a full recovery.

A grateful Lizzie decided to name her baby “Laxative Bromo Quinine Crim” after the medicine that she believed saved his life.

She wrote to the Paris Medicine Company, and the company was so impressed with her story that they added her letter and a photo of Bromo (as he came to be known) to their packaging. They also said they’d pay Bromo’s college tuition and hire him as an employee.

Bromo didn’t end up going to college or working for the Paris Medicine Company, though. Instead, he went into the grocery business. He married a woman named Ethel and had several children.

Sadly, he didn’t live long. Laxative Bromo Quinine Crim passed away in 1928 while still in his mid-20s.

What are your thoughts on the name Laxative?


  • Ensor, Dennis Kelso. Texas Pioneer Chronicles: The Life And Times Of The Ensor, Kelso & Crim Families Since 1856. Self-published. Charleston: CreateSpace, 2009.
  • McAlavy, Don. “Some baby names don’t come from books.” Clovis News Journal 17 Nov. 2006.

Image: E. W. Grove Laxative Bromo Quinine | National Museum of American History

P.S. As this story implies, babies born in earlier times weren’t always named at birth. Another example of this is Emancipation Proclamation Coggeshall.

3 thoughts on “Baby name story: Laxative Bromo Quinine

  1. Yep, this is an awful baby name all right! No wonder he preferred being known as Bromo.

    I couldn’t figure out why a laxative was being sold as a cold medicine, but then I read in a book on the history of home medicines (thanks Google Books) that they basically treated everything with laxatives at that time, in the belief that the actual medicine couldn’t work until you’d been “flushed out”.

    I hope his treatment didn’t shorten his life!

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