Although an insect repellent may not initially inspire too much excitement, its charming name always brings a smile to visitors’ faces. Skeeter Skatter was produced by the Northrop & Lyman company, a Canadian pharmaceutical company that produced patent medicine, a term that applied to private manufacturers of medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This was a time at which the regulation of medicine was much more lax than now, so these private producers were not obligated to disclose what exactly was in their products. It was not uncommon for these products to contain alcohol or narcotic substances like opium.
We have several other patent products which you can learn about in our Quackery or Cure? display at the museum!