ARTICLES WITH INFORMATION FOR WISCONSIN ANTIQUE BOTTLE COLLECTORS:::.
RORK'S BADGER LINIMENT by Tim Wolter
One of the fun things about collecting patent medicines is that you rather often find oddball items, specimens that seem to defy common sense.
Rork's Badger Liniment appears to qualify. I mean, how many miniscule rural medicine companies even had embossed bottles, to say nothing of one with an attractive animal figure on it!
James Rork was an early settler near Eau Claire. I find first mention of him in association with the brief, comical "Indian Scare" that gripped Eau Claire in 1862. I am afraid that Rork added to the panic a bit, riding in from his place north of town with news that he had seen smoke, perhaps from marauders setting fire to farmsteads.
Of his later years I have found little. He was said to be a miller and farmer, and to be popular with his fellow rustics. I have no idea why he decided in the early 1890s to get into patent medicines.
I have a copy of his United States patent, dated October 3, 1893, for a product called RORK'S Badger Liniment. The application itself is a rather dry read, but does show a depiction of his trade mark.
Remarkably he spent the money to have this blown into his bottles.
These are rare. I am aware of one damaged specimen, and had the good fortune to recently dig the first intact specimen.
Rork passed away in 1900, which would seem to set an end date to this bottle. I suspect that it was a small time product, probably put up on his farm and marketed with the assistance of one of the Eau Claire druggists.