BY-WAYS -4/24/41 - CAROTENE
Oh, sing a song to Carotene, a goddess quite as fair
As June, Venus, Ceres, or Diana - swift as air
In golden yellow robes she comes - and those who see her pass,
Observe her pouring something into every blade of grass,
And into every leafy vegetable - of good and lasting flavor;
Of these the lowly carrot is the one she seems to favor -
Her only beneficiary (thus far to be found)
Who carries her gold fluid in his chalice in the ground.
Every bird or beast (some fish) eats grass - and thanks the giver.
He takes the excess vitamin, and stores it in his liver.
The tiny surface fish eat seaweed, kissed by Carotene;
The larger fellows - just below - eat these fish. So 'tis seen
That, down and down - to ocean depths - the biggest eat the "bigger,"
And gobble up the vitamins - to give them vim and vigor.
The priceless vitamin called A - to fight Old Man Infection,
Who fears the goddess Carotene, and flees in great dejection.
A healthy race, a better world tomorrow may be seen,
If we accept and use the gift of Goddess Carotene.
Where did I meet the goddess Carotene? On some Buckeye Mt. Olympus? No. But in a lovely spot, among the hills - the only hills in these parts, comparable to my beloved Pennsylvania hills. In Chagrin Falls, about twenty miles east of Cleveland's public square, is located The General Biochemical Store research laboratory of the S.M.A. Corporation, whose offices are in Chicago, and whose manufacturing plant is in Mason, Mich. Two brothers, research chemists, who were with S.M.A. in its infancy, are the reason for the research laboratory being here. This is their home. Here they have found - not only the fountain of Youth - but of Health. These brothers, W.O. and Paul R. Frohring, have worked ceaselessly, with their loyal assistants, to unlock some of the secret doors that lead to marvelous new discoveries in science. By tireless experiment they have found an amazing new organic compound - of which I will speak at another time. Today I just want to introduce the human side - and the animal side - of this interesting place, where chemists, some in gas masks, bend over test tubes and syphons and queer fluids all day; where biologists study the effects on chickens, rats and monkeys of certain vitamin deficiencies. To go back to S.M.A. and its meaning. The letters stand for Synthetic Milk Adapted. The formula was worked out by these chemists, then associated with Telling Belle Vernon, who owned the formula for a number of years. S.M.A. is the perfect substitute for breast milk. The primary interest of these men in the research laboratory is the promoting and the improving of the health of little children. Their large library, given over in generous proportion, to the study of child anatomy, physiology and disease, is testament to their interest there. One of the bright memories that my "vitamin" friend and I carried away was the picture - on a commercial folder - of a beautiful, laughing, robust girl of four or five, the beloved and only girl of one of our gallant escorts. She is a perfect example of the well-nourished child. Equally charming was the snapshot of a chubby, healthy baby boy reaching out eagerly for the "goo" on his first birthday cake. The proud fathers of these two children were the Apollos who took my friend and me out to lunch. (And the lunch seemed like the ambrosia and nectar of the gods). My friend and I had arrived at ten o'clock, expecting to "cover the ground" by twelve. But the president not only gave generously of his time and knowledge, but gave us an expert guide through the plant, the aforesaid Apollos to take us to lunch, and the service of the sales manager afterward. It was four o'clock when we left, convinced that the dry-sounding Biochemical Company is made up of some of the nicest men in Greater Cleveland.
There are three ways to assay the value or power of a vitamin or mineral: By chemical analysis, by effect upon growth of bacteria, and by effect upon animals. In the basement of this laboratory are over four thousand rats, the "guinea pigs" of this field of experiment, I assure you that their quarters are immaculate - a welcome relief to the olfactory nerves after a tour through the chemists' rooms. I also assure you that they are not offensive to the eye. Most of them are black and white, with a few gray ones, being tested with that certain vitamin I told you about, not long ago. We visited the maternity ward, where baby rats were at lunch, blissfully unaware of how they must undergo experimentation for the good of humanity. One poor little rat, blind of one eye, looked at his healthy brother, and said to us, "What's he got that I haven't got?" and the answer, Brother Rat, is "Riboflavin" (B2). Two white chickens - of the same "setting" - were unbelievably different; the one, the picture of health; the other with feathers all awry and sparse, his interest nil. All the carotene had been removed from his diet. And so it goes. Over a period of two or three months definite things are proven. As a parting word, let me pass on the advice of the president of this firm that should capitalize on vitamins. "Don't take vitamin capsules except on the advice of your physician". (And add this note from one Adonis: Eat plenty of liver).
Florence B. Taylor.
Next -5/1/41 - "There are metal nuts that twist on threaded bolts…"