Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Dr. Nut

In several places in the book, Ignatius talks about Dr. Nut soda and he even tries to order one at the Night of Joy bar. This isn’t a fictitious brand but was real. It was produced by the New Orleans based World Bottling Company, but went out of business in the early 1970’s.
Here’s a website with lots of details…

Greyhound Scenicruisers

The Scenicruiser that Ignatius hates so very much is a GMC bus that Greyhound ran during from the mid 1950’s to the early 1970’s. They featured a raised seating platform for passengers that gave them an unparalleled view of the road.
For many years, they were the main workhorse in Greyhound’s fleet.
Wiki link…
And a fan site…

Big Chief Tablets

Ignatius had piles of Big Chief tablets, on which he would grace us with his genius. The tablets were produced by the Western Tablet Company out of St. Joseph, Missouri, but are no longer in production.

Muscatel Wine

Muscatel wine is made from the muscat family of grapes. The grapes range in color from white to deep red and the wine can also range in those colors. It usually produces a sweet wine that is most commonly consumed as a desert wine.
The Gallo family vineyards produce a muscatel wine that they market under their Carl Rossi brand.
Mrs. Reilly would keep a bottle of the wine in the stove and would comfort herself with it when Ignatius’ craziness became too much for her to handle.
Here’s a wiki link that explains how its made…

Early Times

At one point in the story, Ignatius walks into the house and sees his mother, Patrolman Mancuso, and Santa Bataglia sitting around the kitchen table with an empty bottle of Early Times between them. Early Times is a Kentucky Whisky that’s popular in the South.

Blue Horse Tablet

Although Ignatius preferred Big Chief tablets, he also used Blue Horse from time to time.

Venus Medalist Pencil
Ignatius writes with a Venus Medalist pencil and then probing his ear for wax. I haven’t been able to locate any information about this brand of pencil.

Dixie 45

Mrs. Reilly ordered a couple of Dixie 45’s at the Night of Joy Bar.
Dixie 45 was a beer made by the Dixie Brewing Company for many years. There are a couple of different stories about how the name was created, but most of them have a similar theme. Both stories center around a bar across the street from the brewery where many of the workers would gather after their shift. One story says that the bartender displayed a .45 cal revolver, proudly telling the workers that’s why he’s never been robbed. The workers thought that was funny and started calling him “45.” They’d say, “Hey, gimme a Dixie, 45.” Eventually, the beer became known as Dixie 45 and the workers approached their boss about officially changing its name.
The other main story says that the bartender used to announce, “Dixie kicks like a 45.” The workers liked that and approached their boss about changing the name to Dixie 45.
Either way, the name was changed to simply “Dixie,” or “Dixie Lager” after Colt 45 came onto the market. Dixie had never copyrighted the name and Colt 45 had. So, Dixie had to give up the name, even though they had used it for much longer.
This is another indication as to the time period in which Confederacy was set. Colt 45 was introduced in 1963 and it was shortly thereafter that the Dixie 45 name was changed.
Dixie Brewing Company was hurt pretty badly by Hurricane Katrina and the main brewery in New Orleans is still shut down. When the flooding peaked, the brewery sat in about ten feet of water. After the waters subsided, looters stripped the building down almost to the walls. They even stole the copper vat where the beer was brewed and the 100-year old cypress barrels where it was stored. The beer is currently being made by the Huber Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin. You can find it all over the South, especially in Louisiana.
I drank this one at the ACME Oyster House in New Orleans.

This is the company’s official website…


  1. Medalist pencils were a variety of the Venus lead pencil line produced by the American Pencil Company of Hoboken, NJ in the 1960s and 70s. The trademark information is here...

    Or, if you want to buy some, here...

    Interestingly enough, it appears the trademark was filed in January of 1962, so this fits in with the time frame of the novel. Maybe Toole included them because they were a relatively new brand that stuck in his mind due to advertising, etc.....

  2. I just came here looking for "Confederacy..." things to see and do on our upcoming trip to New Orleans. Comic masterpiece, of course, and this was great fun. Thanks so much for doing my legwork!

  3. Great blog-- on route to New Orleans now, a city I've always longed to visit and have associated with this book. Thanks!!

  4. I bought a Dixie 45 Beer sign at an auction about 12 years ago. It is about 38 inches in diameter and in pretty good shape. I wondered why the 45 was on the sign because I was only familiar with Dixie Beer. It is good to know the story about the controversy that forced Dixie Brewing Company to change the name. Thanks.

  5. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your passion for I.J. Reilly and his milieu.