It’s America’s oldest soft drink. Pictured above is an original, tin lithograph advertising sign from around 1933. It features a wonderful image of the “Moxiemobile,” an advertising automobile that was first manufactured for Moxie in 1915.
There were several Moxiemobiles on American roads in the 1930′s, and the example seen on this sign is the Rolls Royce model. On the sign, the Moxiemobile can be seen speeding along a country road and passing a large Billboard with advertising text that reads “Drink Moxie / Distinctively Different.”
“Distinctively Different,” indeed. Moxie originated in Lowell, Massachusetts, at Doctor Augustin Thompson’s Moxie Nerve Food Company (Source) in 1876. It was originally intended to be a “cure-all” serum, which may be why some describe the soda’s taste as “medicinal.” It’s main ingredient is gentian root, which is used to help digestion and upset stomach.
On the original Moxie label, the makers claimed that the beverage:
Contains not a drop of Medicine, Poison, Stimulant or Alcohol. But is a simple sugarcane-like plant grown near the Equator and farther south, was lately accidentally discovered by Lieut. Moxie and has proved itself to be the only harmless nerve food known that can recover brain and nervous exhaustion, loss of manhood, imbecility and helplessness. It has recovered paralysis, softening of the brain, locomotor ataxia, and insanity when caused by nervous exhaustion. It gives a durable solid strength, makes you eat voraciously, takes away the tired, sleepy, listless feeling like magic, removes fatigue from mental and physical over work at once, will not interfere with action of vegetable medicines.
Some speculate that the name “Moxie” came from an Alogonquin Indian word, a tribe populating the section of Maine Dr. Thompson where Dr. Thompson grew up. It is possible that the name was derrived from the word “maski”, meaning “medicine”, which also could have been the origin of the name. As a Moxie chronicler adds, “Dr. Thompson no doubt believed that giving an Indian name to his product would lend it a mystique and perhaps imply that it contained Indian medicines.” (Source)
If you want to read more about the history of Moxie, further information can be found here.
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