Bromo Seltzer Tower

Description

While few remember the slogan of the Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Company - "If you keep late hours for Society's sake Bromo-Seltzer will cure that headache" - the iconic Bromo-Seltzer Tower has been a Baltimore landmark since its construction in 1911. At 15 stories, the tower made the Bromo-Sltzer factory the tallest building in the city boasting a four-dial gravity clock that was the largest in the world (bigger, even, than London's Big Ben) and an illuminated, rotating 51-foot blue steel bottle that immediately secured the tower's spot as a favorite of city residents and visitors alike. Ship captains traveling up the bay reportedly used the bottle as a beacon to guide them toward the Light Street docks and the removal of the blue bottle in 1936 is still a sore point with many Baltimoreans.

The tower was built by Captain Isaac Emerson, a chemist and inventor of the headache remedy and alleged hangover cure, Bromo Seltzer, as part of the company's factory. Emerson was a wealthy and well regarded Baltimorean, known as a generous philanthropist and world traveler. He had been a lieutenant in the Navy during the Spanish-American war and a post-war visit to Florence's tower on the Palazzo Vecchio provided the inspiration for the design of this tower created by local architect Joseph Evans Sperry.

Though the factory was torn down in 1969, the 289 foot tower survived several threats of demolition and in 2007 philanthropists Eddie and Sylvia Brown worked with Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts to transform the structure into 33 artists' studios. The tower is open once a month for public tours and while much has changed visitors can still ride the 1911 Otis elevator to the clock room on the 15th floor and view the still-functioning clock works.

Photos Show

Bromo Seltzer Tower, 1930

Photograph of the Emerson Bromo Seltzer Tower on Eutaw Street, December 15, 1930

Image courtesy the BG&E Collection, Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE.4202.

Bromo Seltzer Tower, 1969

Photograph of the Emerson Bromo Selzter Tower on Eutaw Street, March 1, 1969.

Image courtesy the BG&E Collection, Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE.44883.

Emerson Drug Company''s Bromo Seltzer Tower, 1930

Image courtesy the BG&E Collection, Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE.4121N.

Interior photograph of the clockworks in the Emerson Drug Company's Bromo Seltzer Tower, September 24, 1930.

Emerson Drug Company, 1930

Interior photograph of a lab at the Emerson Drug Company, September 24, 1930.

Image courtesy the BG&E Collection, Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE.4121N.

Bromo Seltzer Tower, 2012

Photograph by Kurt Waters, 2012. Image courtesy Baltimore Heritage.

Detail, Bromo Seltzer Tower, 2012

Photograph by Kurt Waters, 2012. Image courtesy Baltimore Heritage.

Cite this Page

Theresa Donnelly, “Bromo Seltzer Tower,” Explore Baltimore Heritage, accessed October 26, 2014, http:/​/​explore.​baltimoreheritage.​org/​items/​show/​82.​
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