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We've all heard the commercials: Plop, plop, fizz, fizz--Oh, what a relief it is. The Alka-Seltzer® tablet has been marketed for years as a way to feel better when one has the flu. But, early in the century, the pill was also used for hangovers once prohibition was lifted and as a way to cure seasickness. It actually began selling about two years prior to the repeal of the 18th amendment but its demand rose after it was legal to drink alcohol.
Although many think it's a contemporary invention, the launch of Alka-Seltzer® tablets began in 1928. The president of a company, A.R. Beardsley, noticed that the employees of a local newspaper had not contracted the flu during an epidemic. Beardsley learned that the employees' boss had told them to drink a combination of aspirin and bicarbonate of soda every day. Beardsley then had the mixture made into tablets and took them on a cruise, also plagued by the flu. Many passengers reported that the rough waters did not make them as sick as before taking the tablets.
Initially the tablets 'exploded' in their containers but that was corrected by technicians, and the tablets we now affectionately call 'plop, plop, fizz, fizz' were officially ready for the store shelves in 1931. What probably seemed like a weird invention in the early 1930's has stood the test of time for making sick people feel better.