Lane's Emulsion exhibit packs punch

North Otago Museum Curator Chloe Searle samples  Lane's Emulsion. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
North Otago Museum Curator Chloe Searle samples Lane's Emulsion. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Blasts from the past do not usually come with a full dose of sensory overload, but that is not the case with the North Otago Museum's homage to the well known childhood panacea Lane's Emulsion.

The tonic, which was marketed last century, as a "a reliable remedy for pulmonary ailments", was loved by parents and hated by children in equal measure over several generations, for its cod liver oil content.

North Otago Museum curator Chloe Searle said the exhibition, which went on display at the Oamaru museum on Friday, would give those who remembered the medicine a chance to reminisce over their experience with it. It would also provide the younger generation with a chance to understand what all the fuss was about, she said.

"People are really interested in Lane's Emulsion. It's a piece of New Zealand's history and it originated here in Oamaru."

Ms Searle said the exhibition would be a permanent fixture at the museum. Several local residents had provided items for the display.

The exhibition also included a sniffable recreation of the elixir's "fishy" odour, after the museum ran a competition to recreate the aroma.

"A local lady, Marise Martin, won the competition, and her recipe was similar to the original, including cod liver oil, brandy and egg yolk.

"It is as close as we could get to the original, as some of the ingredients are hard to get.

"No-one makes beechwood creosote any more."

Although Ms Searle added that she had never tasted the original recipe, her father had, "with not fond memories".

The emulsion was invented by Oamaru chemist Edward Lane in 1898, and was later manufactured in Oamaru by Crombie and Price with the accompanying slogan "It's Famous Because It's Good".

Manufacture ceased in 1984, following the introduction of government restrictions on the sale of over-the-counter medicines.

andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

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