A Boost from Virol.

Tonic sustenance for little nippers.

Virol Stoneware Pot from Todmorton, UK.

Virol Stoneware Pot from Todmorton, UK.

On our last trip to England, we picked up some interesting stoneware crockery from Todmorton, a market town in West Yorkshire. Most of the pieces featured advertising logos under their glaze. Once we returned home, we started researching the companies. Here’s what we found out about this Virol pot.

In the early 1900s, the English “Bovril” company produced a nutritional supplement called Virol. It was sold by chemists (pharmacists) first in the UK and then by 1913 to doctors in the USA. It was dark and thick, similar to the consistency of molasses, and served with a spoon from a wide mouth stoneware pot. The “Virol Bone Marrow” contained bone marrow from ox rib and calf bones, whole eggs with the shells, malt extract and lemon syrup.

Advertising claimed that the food strengthened the whole body and built firm bones and should be taken by children and invalids. Hospitals and clinics gave it to babies that were either breastfed or bottle fed and their mothers (pregnant or nursing). Growing children were encouraged to take the daily spoonful in preparation for the winter months, especially after the first World War. Cambridge University studied the product claims and found it contained numerous vitamins, fat and protein. Adults ate it on toast or used a dry powder form of Virol which was dissolved in milk.

Do you have any recollections of eating Virol?


Filed under Knowledge/History of Antique Item

2 responses to “A Boost from Virol.

  1. Pingback: Bone marrow-the breakfast of champions in 1913 | Strange Remains

  2. June

    Hello, thanks for the info on virol. We saw it as an advertisement in an old chemist’s shop in the Hull Street Museum. (The placename Todmorton should read as ‘Todmorden’)

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