"During a 1928 flu epidemic, Miles president A. H. 'Hub' Beardsley visited the offices of the Elkhart Truth, the local daily. To his surprise, none of the staff was sick. Inquiring further, he learned that the paper's managing editor dosed his staff with daily drinks of aspirin and bicarbonate of soda. Impressed, Beardsley asked his head chemist, Maurice Treneer, to make a tablet of the two compounds. . . . In January, 1929, the Beardsley family went on a Mediterranean cruise, accompanied by a gross of the new tablets. The passage was unpleasant; everyone was seasick, and there was a flu virus aboard. Beardsley passed out his tablets, and the passengers felt better, except for two that died of pneumonia. After Miles improved the tablets to prevent them from exploding in the package, he marketed them in 1931 under the name of Alka-Seltzer. A few years later, Beardsley was chagrined to discover Alka-Seltzer had been paid the sincerest commercial compliment: It had more than two hundred imitators."
-- From The Aspirin Wars, by Charles C. Mann and Mark L. Plummer (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991)