There may not be an antique Bayer aspirin tin Rick Kirkland doesn't know about.
Though his official title is senior estimator at Bayer Corp.'s Technologies Services Americas division, he also has a second, unofficial moniker: senior historian.
Kirkland had a desire to learn more about the company when he began working there in 1984 and so he began his quest to collect all things Bayer, including old aspirin tins bearing Bayer's name and more recent items such as collectible, Bayer-sponsored NASCAR cars.
``There's a lot of history behind Bayer,'' he said.
A portion of that history now is on display at the Baytown, Texas, facility.
``It kind of gives a history of the company - where it's been and where it's going,'' he said.
Kirkland said he is not sure of the collection's value, which dates to the turn of the century when Bayer was known as Miles Inc., but said he has heard some estimate its worth at about $10,000.
One of the more interesting pieces in the treasure trove is a pre-World War I toy truck with aspirin tins for wheels. He has also been able to track down Bayer aspirin vending machines and a countertop Alka-Seltzer dispenser.
He said he does not know exactly how many pieces he has accumulated over the years.
``After 19 years,'' Kirkland said, ``it builds.''
Finding information to date some of the items was hard, Kirkland said, although there were clues on the pieces themselves that helped him decipher their ages.
For example, some of the tins were emblazoned with the initials ``NRA,'' standing for the National Reclamation Act of 1902.
``Those tins are very rare and very hard to find,'' he said. He has six or eight of the NRA tins, valued at about $30 or $40 apiece, he said.
Kirkland credits his wife, Barbara, with helping him locate the Bayer items.
``I drag her everyplace we go,'' he said. ``She's my scouter. She has the interest.''