Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bag Balm

by Shanna Hatfield 


While I was researching some information for a story yesterday, the details I found took me across a familiar old product that many people don't know exists.
Bag Balm® is manufactured in Vermont, just like it's been since 1899. It was originally developed as a salve to sooth irritation on cows' udders after milking. The story goes that farm wives soon discovered how good it was at softening hands and from there, it filled multiple uses.
Although it looks a little like petroleum jelly, Bag Balm® is it's own unique product. The green tin with a picture of cow surrounded by red clover on the lid makes distinctive packaging that's hard to miss and has remained virtually unchanged since it was designed more than 100 years ago.

In the years when my family had dairy cattle, tins of bag balm sat on the barn windowsills, ready to use after each milking. Admittedly, I still keep a tin of it on hand to heal the cracks in Captain Cavedweller's weather-weary hands.

John L. Norris bought the formula for Bag Balm® prior to 1900. Before long, farmers across the country were using this soothing product.
Admiral Byrd’s provisions for the trip to the North Pole in 1937 included Bag Balm®, which helped in the harsh climate. Soldiers during WWII used it to protect weapons from rust. It was also at Ground Zero after 9/11. The Dairy Association (which produces the product) donated Bag Balm® to the search teams looking  for survivors after the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. The salve was massaged into the paws of the search dogs who worked tirelessly in the rubble.
Bag Balm® turns up in places such as drugstores, ski resorts, knitting shops, and  feed stores. Some of the claimed uses include everything from burns and diaper rash to saddle sores and squeaky bed springs.
I've even seen a tin of it on a museum tour through a former (*ahem*) house of ill repute. 

Bag Balm®  - it's not just for cows.
Note: The fine folks at Bag Balm® don't know me from Adam's off ox and this is not a paid endorsement. It's just a great product that has definitely stood the test of time. 
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield is convinced everyone deserves a happy ending and is out to make it happen, one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem incredibly real.
When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
The author is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, and Pioneer Hearts.
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Paty Jager said...

Bag balm has been sitting in our barns and in the medicine cabinet since I was a kid. It is useful for so many things. Great post! Thanks for sharing Shanna.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Shanna, a very timely post for me today! I have a rash on my leg that the doctor just prescribed this for! I looked at Walgreen's but didn't see it--so will try CVS next. Loved learning about it--I've never used it before.

D'Ann said...

Like Paty, we have a tin of this in our tack room. Always have, always will. It is good for so many things!

Shanna Hatfield said...

Thanks, Paty and D'Ann. We always have a tin on hand. You just never know when you'll need it.
Cheryl - I hope it helps with your rash. I've seen it in our local Walmart store, so you might check yours if CVS doesn't have it. You can also order it online. Take care!

Agnes Alexander said...

I've never heard of this, but I plan to try to find a tin. I have to go to CVS tomorrow so that will be my first stop. Thanks for the post.