Murray & Lanman, Druggists, New York, Florida Water

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water has been sold as a toilet water or perfume for almost two centuries. This 1885 advertisement called it the “universal perfume,” advertising it “for the handkerchief, the toilet and the bath.”

According to one advertisement, printed in the February 6, 1880 edition of the Oakland Tribune:

The pleasure of bathing is greatly increased by mixing in the tub half or even a quarter of a bottle of Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water. Instantly the whole atmosphere of the bath-room is as fragrant as a blooming flower garden, the mind becomes buoyant, and the body emerges refreshed and strengthened.

Other advertisements from the same era add that it’s also:

delightful and healthful in the sick room, relieves weakness, fatigue, prostration, nervousness and headache.

Some say that it has “magical” properties as well and it’s commonly used in Hoodoo, Voodoo, Santeria and Wicca practices for ritual offerings and purification among other things.

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water is still made today by the firm of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, who was featured in a February 7, 1999 article in the New York Daily News. According to that article:

Despite it’s name, Florida Water was never made in Florida. In fact, Florida wasn’t even a state when the company began. The word simply means “of flowers.”

The article went on to touch on the start of the business.

“We go way back,” says Stephen Cooper, president of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, its makers. “Our company was founded in 1808 by Robert Murray. In the 1830’s, he got together with Lanman and that’s when they began our main product, which is Florida Water”

The earliest NYC directory I could find, Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory, published July 4, 1813, listed Robert J. Murray as a druggist located at 335 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan. The same directory also listed his brother, Lindley Murray, as a druggist at 313 Pearl Street. By 1826, and possibly earlier, they were listed together as Robert & Lindley Murray, druggists, located at 263 Pearl Street, corner of Fulton.

In 1835, it was Lindley Murray along with David Trumball Lanman, who established the partnership of Murray & Lanman. The business was first listed in the 1835 NYC Directory as druggists at 69 Water Street. Lindley Murray was also listed individually as a druggist at the same address. In the same directory Robert Murray was no longer listed, either individually or associated with the business.

Murray & Lanman was listed at 69 Water up through 1847. Then, in May of 1848, several legal notices printed in the Buffalo Courier named David T Lanman as the “surviving partner” of Murray & Lanaman, so Lindley Murray apparently passed away sometime in 1847 or early 1848.

Lanman remained listed individually as a druggist at 69 Water and apparently operated as a sole proprietor until 1853 when he formed a partnership with George Kemp called David T. Lanham & Co. The copartnership notice establishing the business was printed in the January 3, 1853 edition of the New York Times.

Five years later, another copartnership notice, this one printed in the January 1, 1858 edition of the New York Times, indicated that the name of the partnership was changed to D. T. Lanman & Kemp.

The company was listed in the NYC directories this way between 1858 and 1861, then in the 1862 directory they shortened the name to simply Lanman & Kemp. During this period, the business was apparently focused primarily on the foreign market. This advertisement, in the October 22, 1861 edition of the New York Times, called them “wholesale export druggists” further stating; “special attention paid to the execution of drug orders for the markets of Cuba, Mexico, West Indies and South Central America…”

It appears that by the early 1860’s, Lanman was no longer associated with the business. The 1862 NYC Directory no longer listed D.T. Lanman individually at the company’s Water Street address, and by 1865 the company listing in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory included the phrase “George Kemp only” as proprietor.

Lanman & Kemp remained listed at 69 Water Street until 1871 when they moved to 68-70 William Street. It was around this time that George’s brother, Edward, joined him in the management of the business and he continued to run the business after George Kemp’s death in 1893. According to Edward’s January 2, 1902 obituary he facilitated the construction of their long time headquarters at 135 Water Street.

In 1870 he became associated with his late brother George in the firm of Lanman & Kemp, his knowledge of commercial affairs and accurate judgement assisting greatly in making the business highly successful. It was he who built the fine building at No. 135 Water Street, in which the firm’s offices are now located.

The company was first listed at this location in the 1900 directory and they remained there through the mid to late 1950’s when they moved to New Jersey.  The 1957 NYC telephone book listed their general offices at 15 Grand Avenue, Palisades Park N.J., although it still included their 135 Water Street address as well. By 1959, the Water Street address was no longer listed.

They were first listed as Lanman & Kemp- Barclay & Co. in 1933. Today the company is located on Woodland Avenue in Westwood N.J.

Despite the many company name changes over the years, their florida water was always sold under the Murray & Lanman name and in fact, it’s still sold under that name today.  According to Lanman & Kemp-Barclay & Co.’s web site, the product was available in the United States as early as 1808.

Murray & Lanman Florida Water was introduced into the United States market on February 14, 1808. Immediately it gained popularity and approval from the consumer and became a woldwide, well-known cologne, not only because of it’s delightful fragrance, but also because of the more than twenty uses attributed to it.

Although the Murray’s may have been selling their florida water locally in the early 1800’s, a series of D. T. Lanman & Kemp advertisements from the late 1850’s indicate that the product wasn’t widely available in the United States until around that time. This advertisement which appeared in several Ohio newspapers between April 1857 and July 1858 stated under the heading “What Are Its Antecedents” that it was being sold in the Latin American countries for twenty years before being introduced in the United States.

For twenty years it has maintained its ascendency over all other perfumes throughout Cuba, South America and the West Indies. It has been introduced into the United States in response to the earnest demand growing out of its southern reputation.

Another advertisement from the same era stated:

Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water from its great celebrity in the South America and West Indian markets, for which for twenty years it was exclusively manufactured has been extensively imitated in the United States. Now however, the original article has been introduced throughout the Union, and as it bears the distinctive trade-mark of the proprietors, may be readily distinguished by its externals from the simulated preparations.

So, if you believe their own advertising, Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water was being exported to the West Indies and South America as early as the mid to late 1830’s, around the time the company was first established in 1835 and introduced in the United States sometime in the mid to late 1850’s. Recognizing the company’s focus on foreign markets this seems to make a lot of sense.

Like most successful patent medicines of the day, much of their popularity can be attributed to advertising.  Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water along with several of the company’s other products were advertised in their own publication called “Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac.” According to the 1999 Daily News feature:

…these products have been advertised for almost eight generations in Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac, the free booklets Lanman & Kemp give out each year. “Up until a short time before the Second World War, I think, it was published in Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and English,” says Cooper. The 1999 version marks 167 years of continuous publishing.”

And what publishing it is! Interspersed with page after page of shameless product endorsements are poems, recipes, weather predictions and jokes older than Florida water itself. “How to raise beets,” begins one seemingly serious entry in a turn of the century almanac. “Take hold of the tops and pull.”

What strikes me most about this product and the various companies that produced it over the years is the consistency of the image they have portrayed. The cover of their almanac hasn’t changed in over 100 years. Likewise, their bottle and its label have changed little, if at all.  Advertisements from 1887 and 1946 bear this out.

             

Finally, here’s today’s version.

On a final note, while it has the word “water” in its name, Florida Water has more alcohol than water in its formula. In 2004, after a woman, performing a Santeria cleansing ritual involving florida water and candles died tragically  in an apartment fire, the Daily News performed a test comparing the flammability of florida water to rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, nail polish remover and lighter fluid. According to the story, published in their February 26 edition:

In an indoor, controlled setting, Daily News reporters timed how long it took each product to turn a large cotton sweatshirt into a ball of flames.

About 4 ounces of each product was sprinkled on identical sweatshirts suspended on a wire coat hanger and ignited with a candle.

The sweatshirt doused in Murray & Lanman Florida Water was engulfed in flames in 10 seconds.

At 15 seconds, flames were shooting up 2 feet from the shoulders and by 40 seconds the sweatshirt was completely burned off the hanger.

The complete results of the experiment were published in the story.

The bottle I found is the typical florida water shape and is mouth blown. It’s embossed “Florida Water/Murray & Lanman/ Druggists/New York.” I’ve seen examples on the internet that also include the  69 Water Street address so it was most likely manufactured at the William Street location or right after the move to 135 Water Street.

Gude’s Pepto-Mangan

Sometime around 1890, in Leipzig Germany, Dr August Gude formulated an iron-manganese preparation that could be used for the treatment of anemia. Unlike similar preparations developed previously, it was easily digestible, palatable and minimized side effects. According to an article in the August 1902 edition of the “Southern Practitioner:”

After laborious attempts, Dr. Gude, chemist, succeeded in producing such an iron-manganese preparation, which is easily absorbed by the entire intestinal tract, evokes no concomitant effects, and, as illustrated in the following histories of cases, has proved an excellent remedy for the formation of blood. The preparation referred to is Pepto-Mangan (Gude). It contains iron and manganese in an organic combination with peptone, and is a clear fluid, resembling dark red wine, of an agreeable, non-metallic, non-astringent taste.

The advantage of this preparation is that it exerts a stimulating effect upon the blood forming organs, these being excited to greater functional activity, and that the favorable effect manifests itself even within a short time by an increased oxygenation of the blood. At the same time…causes no digestive disturbances and does not injure the teeth.

Pepto-Mangan was manufactured in Liebzig by Dr. A Gude & Company and as early as 1892, Max J Breitenbach, a pharmacist by trade, served as Gude’s sole agent in both the United States and Canada.

According to his obituary in the September 11, 1920 edition of the “Drug Trade Weekly,” Breitenbach was born in Albany, Georgia in 1857; came to New York in 1874 and was an 1877 graduate of the New York College of Pharmacy. The obituary goes on to describe Breitenbach’s pharmacy career leading up to his association with Peptone-Mangan.

After working for a time in the drug store kept by Tsheppe & Schur at Sixtieth Street and Third Avenue, Mr. Breitenbach in 1878 took a position in the drug store of Albert Dung at Canal Street and the Bowery. Three years later he was made manager of the store and two years after that, or in 1883, he became the owner. This prospered so that he opened another drug store in Madison Avenue and met with such success in this that he decided to enter the proprietary business and in 1892 he opened an office at 53 Warren Street, which he maintained until his death.

The office on Warren Street was opened primarily, if not exclusively, to facilitate the distribution of Pepto-Mangan in the United States.  Breitenbach was first listed at that location in the 1894 NYC Directory (I don’t have access to 1893) and by 1896 the firm of M. J. Britenbach Co. was also listed at the same location. Around this time Breitenbach was also getting out of the drug store business. The Bowery store was no longer listed in 1894 and the Madison Avenue store, although still called Breitenbach Pharmacy, was listed with a new owner in the 1902 Copartnership and Corporation Directory.

M.J. Breitenbach Co. remained on Warren Street well past Breitenbach’s death in 1920.

This advertisement from the mid to late 1890’s makes it clear that originally Gude’s Peptone-Mangan was imported from Leipzig, Germany.

Another, from the same decade listed Liebzig as the laboratory location.

As far as I can tell, this all changed around 1916 when Breitenbach purchased the entire company, including the Leipzig operation and established a laboratory in New York City. According to an item in the June 1916 edition of “American Medicine,” the company opened their new facility right around that time.

NO SHORTAGE OF PEPTO-MANGAN (GUDE)

It affords us pleasure to call special attention to the advertisement of Pepto-Mangan in this issue.

It will be noted that plentiful supplies of this standard hematinic are again available, after a brief shortage of stock, due to unexpected delays in the fitting up a new and thoroughly modern laboratory for its manufacture in New York City.

Pepto-Mangan (Gude) is now and will continue to be owned, controlled and manufactured in the United States, and will be supplied, exactly the same as heretofore, in unlimited quantities and at the usual price.

Interestingly, they blame their shortage of Pepto-Mangan on construction delays and not on the fact that their laboratory was located in Germany during World War I. In fact, I have to believe that the catalyst for this move to America had a lot to do with World War I; a time when it couldn’t have been good business to sell a German made product in America.  Another story, this one in the October 1918 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Record” spoke of the company’s operation during the war as well as their public relations spin at the time.

After the Germans declared war on the rest of the world, M.J. Breitenbach, who owned the American rights for Gude’s Pepto-Mangan, purchased the entire business in Leibzig, Germany. He installed his own manager there and manufactured there the product intended for use in Germany, its allies, and neutral European countries. Mr. Breitenbach supplies the American market from his laboratory in New York City, which furnishes all the product used in the United States and in the balance of North America and South America and also for the countries of the Allies. The product therefore is entirely American, even that which is made and sold in Germany being American. Of course Mr. Breitenbach has not heard anything about what has happened to his property in Leipzig since America entered the war. Presumably it has been taken over by the alien property custodian and is therefore a complete loss to him. His American laboratory, however, has been going on most successfully, and under the influence of the large sum which he is spending in popular advertising there has been a very rapid growth in the consumption of the product.

It was in the late teens that the company’s approach to advertising also changed, certainly as a result of the sale to Breitenbach. Prior to the sale, the company only advertised to the medical practitioner in trade journals and circulars, a course of action that was stipulated in their contract with Dr. A Gude & Co. of Leipzig.

Section 9. And it is further agreed between Dr. A Gude & Co. party of the first part and the M.J. Breitenbach Co. party of the second part, that if at any time the said M.J. Breitenbach Co. by device or by advertising attempt to increase their business in Gude’s Peto-Mangan other than through the recognized channels to the Medical Profession then in such event this contract is to become null and void and all rights of the M.J. Breitenbach Co. existing under this instrument immediately become the property of said Dr. A. Gude & Co. without recourse to law.

In 1917, the company, now owned outright by Breitenbach, launched a national advertising campaign targeting general newspapers across the country. This advertisement, which appeared in the June 11, 1917 edition of the Pittsburgh Press, was part of that first wave of ads that appeared that year.

Based on this advertisement, in the October 1920 edition of the National Druggist, they were still using the trade publications as well, but now they were highlighting their advertising campaign to the druggists with no mention of the uses or benefits of the product itself.

Both liquid and tablet form are now being extensively advertised in the newspapers of this country. Stock both and be prepared for increased trade.

After Breitenbach’s death in 1920, the business continued to be listed at their Warren Street address  up through at least the late 1920’s. By the early 1930’s they were listed at 160 Varick Street and later in the 1940’s and early 1950’s 304 East 23rd Street. Then sometime after the early 1950’s the brand was acquired by the Natcon Chemical Co who was operating out of Bethpage New York on Long Island.

Pepto-Mangan was still being sold in the early 1960’s. The last advertisement I can find for them was in the June 6, 1960 edition of the New York Daily News.

I’ve seen Pepto-Mangan included in advertised drug store price listings as late as 1964.

The bottle I found is machine made, hexagonal in cross-section and contained 11 ounces. It matches the bottle shown in a number of the newspaper advertisements that appeared between 1917 and 1920.

 

Sloan’s Liniment, Kills Pain

Sloan’s Liniment was originally a veterinary product developed by Andrew Sloan to topically treat sore and lame horses. Andrew’s son, Earl S. Sloan, is credited with initially putting it on the market as a remedy for human ills and developing it into a world wide product that is still available today. Earl’s likeness has been included prominently on Sloan’s Liniment labels from the very beginnings of the business.

             

Stories published in the August 4, 1910 edition of “Printers Ink” and the December, 1910 edition of another advertising publication called “The Poster,” both referenced an interview with Earl Sloan in which he talked about the origins of the liniment:

The formula for “Sloan’s Liniment,” said Dr. Sloan, was my fathers.

He was one of the chief surgeons and Inspectors of Stock during the Civil War, and it was in that work that he developed and made use of the liniment.

As a young man I was in the horse-trading business and made the liniment simply for my own use, but it became so popular with friends and neighbors that I resolved to go into the liniment business exclusively.

According to census records and limited city directory information, Earl’s father, Andrew, lived in Zanesfield Ohio (1840’s to 1860’s), where Earl was born in 1848 and later in St Louis Missouri (1870’s). By 1880, Earl had moved to Boston where his business took root. A publication entitled “Commercial and Financial New England Illustrated,” published by the “Boston Herald’ in 1906, described the early history of the business.

Whoever knows the ills of the horse, the noblest of beasts, knows the value of Dr. Earl S. Sloan’s Liniment and Veterinary Remedies, which, through extensive advertising and their own merit have become the leading remedies of their kind in the world since their introduction in 1885. When Dr. Sloan put Sloan’s Liniment and Veterinary Remedies on the market, he had only one small room on Portland Street. This room was used for an office, and the remedies, which were then strictly veterinary, were manufactured in a laboratory in the suburbs.

In 1888 increasing business obliged a removal to a larger building on Portland Street, which, being partly destroyed by fire in 1896, necessitated another removal to a still larger building on the corner of Canton and Albany Streets…

In 1901 he bought from Dr. Parker the right to sell and manufacture the Dr. Parker Family Remedies, a venture which from the inception has been crowned with success. Needing still larger and more commodious quarters for the conduct of the business, he bought in 1904, from the Reuben Green estate, the factory which he now occupies on the corner of Brookline and Albany Streets. The plant is more than twice the size of the old factory and has been fitted with all the most modern appliances…

The company was incorporated in 1904 with a capital of $50,000 and employs a force of sixty-four persons. The officers of the firm are Dr. Earl S. Sloan, president; Foreman Sloan, vice president; Andrew Sloan, treasurer; Mrs. Bertha P. Sloan, director, and Archie MacKiegan, clerk.

This history was well supported by the Boston City Directories. Sloan was first listed in the Boston directories in 1880 and by 1882 he was listed at his first Portland Street location, 166 – 175 Portland, where he remained until 1887. This advertisement in the March 6, 1886 edition of the Black Hills (South Dakota) Daily Times confirmed that by this time Sloan’s Liniment was not just being marketed as a veterinary remedy.

The man or woman that has rheumatism and fails to keep and use “Sloan’s Liniment” is like a drowning man refusing a rope.

He was subsequently listed at his second Portland Street location, 132 Portland, by 1889. His first Albany Street address was listed in 1897 at 597-599 Albany and later, by 1905, he was listed at 615 Albany.

The business was still located at 615 Albany in 1913 when Sloan sold the company to the Pfeiffer Chemical Company. The July 31, 1913 edition of “Printer’s Ink” reported the sale.

Dr. Earl S. Sloan has sold his entire interests in the Dr. Sloan’s Mfg. Company (Sloan’s Liniment), of Boston, a “close” corporation. The purchasers are Henry Pfeiffer and J. A. Pfeiffer, of the Pfeiffer Chemical Company of St. Louis Mo. The business will be continued in Boston for the present…

During most of Earl Sloan’s time heading the company, Sloan’s Liniment was advertised as both a farm and home remedy – “cures all pain in man or beast.” An advertisement included in several southern U.S. newspapers in 1898, makes the same point with a little more flair.

A beautiful woman and a handsome horse appeal to every southerner’s heart. Both are better for the use of, and may be kept free from illness, by Sloan’s Liniment!

In fact, Sloan credited advertising for growing “Sloans Liniment” from a local veterinary  medicine to a product sold world wide by 1910. According to Earl Sloan’s interview in the December, 1910 edition of Printer’s Ink:

For years I put every dollar I could possibly take out of the business back into advertising. This meant, of course, an increasing expenditure each year until today we utilize practically all mediums, and even issue a magazine of our own, known as “Sloan’s Farm and Home Journal,” of which we send out millions of copies annually.

According to the “Printer’s Ink”story, the business depended on signs and billposting for every-day reminders and on newspapers and booklets for educational work. The words “Sloans Liniment” were always the most prominent feature in his newspaper and outdoor signage.

We believe that in that way we teach the public to unconsciously connect the two in their mind. Whenever they think of liniment they think of Sloan’s.

He went on to describe the world-wide recognition the product was receiving in 1910.

The far-reaching effect of our advertising has been surprising. I do not believe there is a spot in the world, reasonably civilized, where “Sloan’s Liniment” is not for sale. A man once wanted to make a wager with me that he knew one place where there was no “Sloan’s Liniment,” and he gave the Isle of Malta, which he said is the hottest place in the world. I looked up our records and found we had two druggists there who were selling large quantities of the liniment to the natives and to sailors on ships that use the Isle of Malta as a coaling station…

Yes, we advertise in foreign countries, as much proportionately as in the United States, using mostly newspapers, outdoor advertising and some street car advertising. Our business in England, Germany, South America and the West Indies is increasing so rapidly that it is hard for us to keep up with it.

The long history of “Sloan’s Liniment” suggests that it’s value as a liniment also contributed to it’s success but the company’s advertisements marketed it as much more than just a liniment. One 1905 advertisement called it “a complete medicine chest” and another, this one from 1920, listed 26 human conditions for which the liniment offered relief.

   

Advertisements in 1905 even advertised it as a preventative for yellow fever and malaria.

Avoid Yellow Fever

Use the great antiseptic preventative Sloan’s Liniment. Six drops of Sloan’s Liniment on a teaspoonful of sugar will kill yellow fever and malaria germs.

Farmers were also in luck. This 1908 advertisement announced it brought relief for various ailments associated with horses, cattle and sheep, hogs and poultry.

After Sloan sold the business it continued to operate under the name Dr. Earl S. Sloan, Inc., and they continued to list Boston as their home office on the “Sloan’s Liniment” label through 1916. The label also listed locations of Philadelphia and St. Louis in the U.S.; Toronto, Canada, and London, England.

         

Then in 1917, the label was revised, dropping the Boston location and adding New York.

The company address in New York was 113 West 18th Street. In the 1933 NYC Directory, Henry Pfeiffer was listed as president, and G.A. Pfeiffer as vice president and treasurer. During this period their advertisements continued to focus on the relief of joint and muscle pain but they were no longer using phrases like “cures rheumatism” and “destroys all germ life.”

According to an article in the October 15, 1945 edition of the Atlanta Constitution, around that time 14 companies, including the Pfeiffer Chemical Co., and  Dr. Earl S. Sloan, Inc. were consolidated under the name Standard Laboratories, Inc. The 1948 NYC Directory listed Standard Lab’s Inc. at the 113 West 18th Street address. In fact, Standard Lab’s was listed at that address as far back as the early 1920’s so it appears that the relationship between Sloan, Pfeiffer and Standard Lab’s probably dated back much further than the consolidation.

Built in 1913, the building utilized by the business at 113 West 18th Street still remains today.

By the early 1950’s Standard Laboratories, Inc. was located in Morris Plains N.J. According to bestbusinessny.com the company has been inactive since the mid 1980’s.

Sloan’s Liniment continues to be made today by Lee Pharmaceuticals and according to drugs.com, it’s still used for temporary relief of muscle or joint pain caused by strains, sprains, arthritis, bruising or backaches.

Over 130 years later, the packaging still includes Earl Sloan’s likeness on the label.

I’ve found two “Sloan’s Liniment” bottles, both three ounces in size. One is mouth blown and Embossed “Sloan’s Liniment / Kills Pain” that was probably made prior to Earl selling the business in 1913. The other is machine made, only embossed “Sloan’s Liniment” and most likely dates to the period following the sale.

 

Wm Jay Barker, New York, Hirsutus

Wm Jay Barker was listed in the New York City directories for over 100 years from 1847 until sometime in the mid-1950’s. During this time the business was listed with a wide range of classifications including hairdresser, barber, wigs, wigs and human hair, human hair merchant, patent meds and toilet goods. Many of the listings also included the name of the hair tonic that the business manufactured called “Hirsutus.” My daughter, who has a minor in Latin, tells me “Hirsutus” is a Latin adjective and can mean “hairy” or “shaggy”

Barker was first listed in the 1847 NYC Directory at 349 1/2 Broadway. The business remained on or near Broadway for almost 50 years utilizing many different addresses. In 1851 they were located at 459 Broadway and by 1857-58 they had moved to 565 Broadway. In the 1859-60 directory their address was listed as 622 Broadway where they remained through 1871. The 1867-68 NYC Directory included an expanded listing for the business.

In 1870 they opened a second location at 1275 Broadway. The opening of this location was announced in the June 22, 1870 edition of the New York Herald.

They maintained both addresses for just a year or so, dropping 622 Broadway in the 1871-72 Directory. In 1876-77 they moved again, this time to a location four doors off Broadway at 36 West 29th Street.

After leaving Broadway they were located at 112 Fulton Street (1895 to 1903); 106 6th Avenue (1903 to approx. 1930) and 1826 Park Avenue (approx. 1930 to the mid-1940’s). By 1948 they had moved to 160 East 127th Street where they remained listed through 1953. They were no longer listed in 1957.

The business was run by William Jay Barker until his death sometime prior to 1894 after which it appears that the business remained in the family. NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories between 1901 and 1919 listed  the business as “William Jay Barker (Mary Barker Fareira, only)” and a February 7, 1918 New York Times article,  named his son, also William Jay Barker, as president of the company until his tragic death, at the time of the article, in a Connecticut house fire.

Management of the company after Mary Fareira’s death sometime in the 1920’s is not clear.

Company advertisements stated that their hair tonic “Hirsutus” dated back to the start of the business in 1847, however the first mention of it that I can find was in an April 12, 1869 advertisement in the New York Herald.

This advertisement from 1902 claims that dandruff, thin failing hair, baldness, scrub, scalp humors and itching scalp were all relieved with one application of “Barker’s Hirsutus.”

Another 1902 advertisement went further, stating:

Thousands of persons are today scratching their heads and saying they would give anything in the world if they could only get some kind of a remedy that would relieve or cure them of dandruff and other scalp diseases, a large number not knowing of a wonderful remedy which has been in existence over half a century, called Barker’s Hirsutus, which is a positive and well known cure used by the most fashionable people of the world, and if they would use it would never be troubled by these diseases.

Hirsutus is a vegetable preparation, free from grease and poisonous chemicals. Positively cures dandruff, failing hair and all scalp diseases. Grows hair on any bald head if directions are faithfully carried out.

Hisutus is indispensable to ladies and children. By its use they can keep the scalp free from scruff and dandruff, thereby creating a healthy condition of the scalp , and promoting a soft, pliant and luxurious growth of hair. This preparation costs more than most other remedies of this nature, but IT DOES MORE. Anyone troubled with scalp diseases, takes no chances in using HIRSUTUS. It positively does all that is claimed for it.

It’s not clear how long the Hirsutus hair tonic was actually on the market. NYC phone books included the word “Hirsutus” with company listings right up through the 1950’s but I don’t see it advertised or included in drug store listings after 1936.

As far as I can tell, none of the buildings occupied by the business still exist today.

The bottle I found is mouth blown (maybe 8 to 10 oz) with a tooled finish. It’s sun-purpled indicating the presence of manganese dioxide which was predominantly used as a decolorizing agent prior to 1920. It’s shape and embossing are similar to a labeled example recently advertised on e-bay that exhibits the 6th Avenue address utilized by the company between 1903 and 1930.

  

Sallade & Co., Magic Mosquito Bite Cure & Insect Destroyer, N.Y.

Sallade & Co. was established by Mary F. Sallade, a widow who arrived in New York City via Philadelphia in the late 1870’s. She was last listed in the 1878 Philadelphia Directory as a widow with the occupation “plaitings,” someone who makes  dressmakers trimmings. In fact she held several patents in the late 1800’s related to plaiting machines.

Sometime after her arrival in New York City, while continuing her work as a plaiter, she developed and began to manufacture an insecticide. She patented the label for the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure” on January 26, 1886 but the product was certainly in use prior to that date. Later, on October 1, 1889, she lengthened the name and patented an updated label for the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure and Insect Exterminator.”

Sallade was first listed in New York City (Manhattan) in 1878 as a plaiter at 69 Fourth Avenue. A year later, in 1879, she was also listed at a second location, this one at 249 Fulton Street in Brooklyn. She continued to list the 249 Fulton Street address in Brooklyn through 1886 and it appears that the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure” had its origins at this location sometime in the early to mid-1880’s. Though she still listed her occupation as a plaiter in the directories, an advertisement for the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure” in the June 27, 1885 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated that it was sold in three different sized bottles and added:

Bites cured free at 249 Fulton Street

The mother of a small daughter, Sallade’s  early marketing strategy played heavily on that theme of motherhood.

In the late 1870’s through mid 1880’s, her Manhattan address changed on a regular basis and included 39 Union Square (1880), 878 Broadway (1881), 16 West 23rd (1883), 8 East 18th (1884 to 1889) and finally 53-59 West 24th beginning in 1889. By this time the insecticide was for sale in many of New York’s large department stores; most notably Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor.

In the mid 1880’s Sallade was also attempting to grow the business outside the New York area as well. In the fall of  1885, she placed newspaper advertisements in at least 6 states:North Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Indiana West Virginia and Kansas, as well as Washington D.C. looking for agents to sell her product. This advertisement from the Hagerstown (Indiana) Exponent was very typical.

In the mid-1890’s Sallade transferred ownership of the business to Thomas T. Pountney. Between 1896 and 1922 most NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed the business as “Sallade & Co., T.T. Pountney, only.” Mary Sallade continued to be listed in New York City through 1910 as a plaiter but was no longer associated with Sallade & Co.

The business remained on West 24th Street until 1902 when it moved to 122 Cedar Street. It remained there until the early 1920’s when it moved again, this time to 121 Leroy Street. Pountney continued to stress the theme of motherhood as evidenced by this advertisement printed in the September 1, 1904 edition of the NY Tribune:

No Skeeters Last Night Mama

Sometime between 1915 and 1917 the name of the insecticide changed from “Insect Exterminator” to “Insect Destroyer” in advertisements and listings of proprietary medicines.”

The company remained listed in New York City through the late 1940’s at 121 Leroy and 99 Pine (1920’s -1930’s) and 67 Cortlandt (1940’s). Thomas Pountney died in March of 1937 but it’s not clear how long he remained associated with the business.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown flask that exhibits the term “Insect Destroyer” as opposed to “Insect Exterminator.” This suggests that it dates no earlier than 1915 to 1917 when the name changed. It matches a labeled bottle recently exhibited on e-bay that exhibited the Cedar Street address.

Crab Orchard Spring Salts, J.B. Wilder & Co, Louisville, Ky.

According to the State of Kentuck’s web site, Kentucky is home to numerous natural mineral springs. One group of mineral springs was located near the town of Crab Orchard, where a popular resort, sometimes referred to as the “Saratoga of the South” (and sometimes “West”) was established in 1827.  The resort operated into the 1930’s and drew people from all over the country.

An 1883 notice that announced the seasonal opening provides a little insight into the scope of the resort and its amenities.

The buildings have been placed in first-class condition and everything possible will be done to promote the comfort and add to the enjoyment of the visitors. The hotel and cottages with all modern improvements, gas, telegraph office, telephone connections, extensive promenades, ample amusements, ball-room, music, billiard-room and bowling alleys, with excellent fishing and hunting convenient.

The waters for medicinal qualities, excellence and variety are the best the world affords – the Epsom, White Sulphur and Chalybeate being the finest and purest in the United States, the sulphur greatly excelling any found in Virginia.

Most of the salts were made from the Chalybeate waters. The first mention I can find for the Crab Orchard Springs Salts is in a series of 1874 advertisements in the (Louisville Ky) Courier-Journal that stated that they were manufactured by the ‘Crab Orchard Springs Salts Manufacturing Company.”

The Crab Orchard Springs Salts Manufacturing Company, having secured the control of all the territory in which the genuine salts are produced, in order to protect the public against the spurious article; are now putting up the salts in one pound and half-pound bottles, with the name of the company thereon in raised letters, and labeled with a miniature map of the State of Kentucky.

A copy of their trademark label/map was included in the advertisement.

The advertisement goes on to provide a description of the salts and their supposedly curative properties.

These salts are obtained from the waters of the mineral wells near Crab Orchard, a small town in Lincoln County, Ky, whence the name is derived. As long ago as 1825, a farmer in that vicinity observed a globular substance remaining after some of the water had been evaporated by the sun. He immediately began to experiment, and by bottling obtained a small quantity of the salts. The analysis of this by a competent physician at once showed that it contained Sulphate of Magnesia and it was at first pronounced epsom salts. Soon, however, it became apparent that it contained other constituents besides the Sulphate of Magnesia. possessing medicinal properties as powerful and more salubrious, and it acquired the appellation “Crab Orchard” as contradistinguished from Epsom Salts.

…The salts are made by boiling the water impregnated with it in large iron kettles; when boiled down to sufficient consistency the contents of the kettles are stirred gently until they granulate. Nine gallons of water yield one pound of salt.

…They are pronounced to have a specific action on the liver, joined with good tonic properties, being the only salts known in the world with these valuable qualities. They are specially recommended for patients suffering from Dyspepsia, Biliousness and Piles, and for persons who indulge in strong alcoholic drinks. The dose is from half an ounce to an ounce, dissolved in water. They act with greater certainty and more advantageously when given in drachm doses, at short intervals, until half an ounce is taken.

The next year, an advertisement/notice dated February 19, 1875  appeared in  at least two issues of the Courier-Journal that stated that the Crab Orchard Springs Manufacturing Company had appointed J.B. Wilder & Co. as the sole and general agent for the sale of all Crab Orchard Springs Salts. The notice was endorsed by H.N. Haldeman, President of the Crab Orchard Springs Manufacturing Company.

According to their advertising, Wilder & Co. was established on October 15, 1838 so by the time they partnered with the Crab Orchard Springs Manufacturing Company they had been in business for almost 40 years.

Wholesale druggists, early advertisements from 1839 listed their first location as simply 4th Street in Louisville. Sometime after 1844 they had moved to MainStreet In Louisville where they remained through 1888. During this time they utilized several Main Street addresses: 181 Main (1866 to 1878), 215 Main(1878 to 1882) and 601 -605 W. Main (1882 to 1887). As far as I can tell, at the time, each of these addresses was located on the block between 5th and 6th Streets.

The business was well known in the south serving as a wholesaler for drugs, medicines and a lot more. This advertisement, printed in the March 14, 1878 edition of the Courier-Journal listed a menu of the various items that they carried.

Newspaper advertisements also named them as agents for a wide variety of patent medicines as well including Sand’s Sarsaparilla, Wistar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry and Dr. Abernathy’s Ambrosial Balsam to name a few.

I assume that the company was started by James B Wilder. Both he and J.B. Wilder, who I assume was most likely his son, were listed in the 1850 census records; James as a merchant and J.B. as a 32 year old druggist.

The elder Wilder passed away sometime around 1860 and by 1866, J.B. Wilder & Co. listed three partners: J.B. Wilder, his son Graham Wilder and Thomas O’Mara. Around 1876 they began listing a fourth partner, T.A.Courtenay. In 1882 O’Mara retired. The youngest Wilder, Graham, died in 1885 and his father, J.B. died three years later in May of 1888. That left Courtenay as the sole surviving partner and according to this September 1, 1888 notice in the Courier Journal, he promptly put the business up for sale.

Apparently he had no takers because by December he was selling everything from show-cases to office furniture to chemical apparatus in lots to suit purchasers. The 1889 Louisville Directory noted that the company was “in liquidation”

It appears that J.B. Wilder’s relationship with the Crab Orchard Springs Manufacturing Company that started in 1875, continued until sometime in late 1882 or early 1883. In August of 1882, H.N. Haldeman, purchased the Crab Orchard Springs property. The sale was reported in the August 11, 1882 edition of the Courier-Journal.

The Crab Orchard Springs property was sold today by a decree of court for $26,000, and the furniture and fixtures for $3,500; total, $29,500. It was purchased by H.N. Haldeman, representing a Louisville syndicate. The property cost nearly $200,000, and, considering its intrinsic value, is regarded as the lowest sale ever made in the United States.

Following the sale, on January 10, 1883 they formed a new corporation called the”Crab Orchard Springs and Salts Company.” H.N. Haldeman was named as a director, along with Bennett H. Young, E.F. Trabue and P.B Muir. According to the incorporation notice printed in several January/February, 1883 editions of the Courier Journal, the new corporation’s business included the manufacturing and vending of the salts.

The business of said corporation shall be the operation of a summer resort and hotels in connection therewith near the town of Crab Orchard , in Lincoln County, Ky., manufacturing and vending salts and other products of mineral medicinal waters, with power in connection therewith to accept leases of the right to take and use such waters and lands necessary for the manufacture of such salts and other products of such waters and to do other acts incident to the purposes aforesaid.

This advertisement in the February 2, 1884 edition of the Courier-Journal exhibited a new crab-apple trademark and made it very clear that “the Crab Orchard Springs and Salt Co.were now the SOLE OWNERS of all genuine Crab Orchard Salts made.”It went on to say that the salts were sold in sealed paper box packages and that “None of their salts can be obtained in bulk or in bottles.”

These developments make it pretty clear that Haldeman and his new corporation were attempting to cut  J.B. Wilder & Co. out of the equation. Nonetheless, it appears that J.B Wilder & Co. continued to represent themselves as the product’s agent. This is supported by this Wilder advertisement for the salts that included the old “Kentucky Map” trademark and the 601 Main Street address. Wilder started using this address sometime in late 1882 so, while not definite, it’s highly possible it was produced after the January 1883 incorporation date of the Crab Orchard Springs and Salt Company. 

An article in the September 13, 1883 edition of the Courier-Journal, reporting on Wilder’s display in the “Great Southern Exposition” being held in Louisville at the time, addressed the issue.

…To the west is an assortment of Crab Orchard Springs Salts in large and small bottles. Over this portion of their display Wilder & Co. have the following sign: “Crab Orchard Sprigs Salts Manufacturing Company, J.B. Wilder & Co., agents.” Now it is not the purpose of the Courier-Journal to distract from any display in the Exhibition. Its aim is not to mislead any visitors, and right here an interesting point comes in. The genuine salts are now manufactured solely by the Crab Orchard Springs and Salts Manufacturing Company. Their goods are put up only in package form and are branded with the “crab-apple” trade mark. Thousands of pounds of these salts are manufactured every year by outside parties, and they contain really none of the active ingredients of the natural and properly manufactured salts. The Crab Orchard Springs and Salts Company have exclusive control of the entire belt of springs in Lincoln County from which the genuine salts are manufactured. J.B. Wilder & Co. are not their agents and their sign tends to lead strangers to a false impression…

To be fair, H. N. Haldeman,  was also president of the Courier-Journal so its highly possible that there was some bias built into the above story.

Whether J.B. Wilder & Company continued to sell these salts up through their liquidation in 1888 is unknown.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and embossed: “Crab Orchard Springs Salts, J.B. Wilder & Co., Louisville Ky., Sole Agents for the Company.” The bottle is 5-1/2 inches tall and 2-1/4 inches in diameter and is probably their half pound size. It’s shape matches the one in the 1880’s advertisement above. The embossing takes up half of the bottle, leaving the other half for their trade-mark label, which is long gone.

The Forbes Diastase Company, Cincinnati, Ohio

James Winchell Forbes developed the formula for Forbes Diastase and founded the Forbes Diastase Company.

A digestive aid, Forbes Diastase was described as:

a scientific production from malt, in a perfectly fluid, concentrated form, without sugar and readily aids digestion in any part of the alimentary economy without any objectionable feature

Until the mid-1920’s, it was not available to the general public but only sold to wholesale druggists from whom physicians could procure and prescribe it.

The early story of J Winchell Forbes and Forbes Diastase was printed in the January 1, 1893 issue of the Pharmaceutical Era and portions of it are summarized in the paragraphs below.

J. Winchell Forbes was born in Troy N.Y., in 1837 and in a peculiar pharmacy atmosphere, his childish playground being the upper stories of the drug store of his granduncle, the late John L. Thompson.

He started his pharmacy career in the drug and manufacturing house of Chas. F. Rogers in Lansingburgh, N.Y., but in 1859, lured by the California “gold rush,”he moved to San Francisco. After a short time, he was back in the pharmacy business out west, ultimately becoming a charter member of the California Pharmaceutical Society. After nearly 20 years in California and Nevada he returned east.

…he came to Cincinnati and at once obtained a position as superintendent of  an extensive laboratory in this city. In this position he remained nearly four years when he resigned in order to devote his entire time to analytical work and the study of chemistry and its collateral sciences, biological chemistry receiving the most attention…Reasearches in biology showed the necessity and a long series of experiments resulted in the production of Forbes Diastase during this time. Being without capital and unwilling to enlist that of others in what then was in the embryo stage, Mr. Forbes paid his expenses with his pen.

The story goes on to say that he worked as a writer and editor for several local publications until 1888 and:

then returned to analytical work and perfecting the details of manufacturing “Liquor Diastase,” as it was then called. In the latter part of 1890, these details being perfected, “The Forbes Diastase Company” was organized and the preparation placed regularly on the market. Mr. Forbes entire time is occupied with his duties as secretary of the company and general superintendent of laboratory details, and figuratively speaking, he has scarcely time to maintain a speaking acquaintance with his family.

Cincinnati directories from this era both confirm and supplement this early history and later complete the picture.

His four year employment as superintendent appears to have started in 1878 or 1879. J. W. Forbes was first listed in the 1878 directory and between 1879 and 1881 his occupation was listed as foreman (1879), superintendent (1880) and superintendent of Wm.S. Merrel & Co. (1881). Wm. S. Merrell & Co. described themselves as “Manufacturing Chemists and Wholesale Dealer in Foreign and American Drugs.”

He was listed individually as a chemist in 1882 and 1883. Then, in 1884, he was listed as the superintendent of the Standard Chemical Company, where he was manufacturing and selling the early version of his preparation called “Liquor Diastase,” that was at the time, as the biography states, in its “embryo stage.” This is confirmed by the following advertisement that appeared in an 1884 issue of the “Eclectic Medical Journal,” a publication of the Ohio State Eclectic Medical Association.

In accordance with the biography, in 1887 he was listed in the Cincinnati Directory as an editor but by the late 1880’s he was back listing himself individually as a chemist. Finally in 1890, the Forbes Diastase Company was listed in the Cincinnati Directory for the first time. R.D. Mussey was named president, Forbes was vice president and Paul Crosley and Wilmot J. Hall were treasurer and secretary respectively. The address was given as 74 Johnston Bldgs.

The following advertisement  in the Columbus Medical Journal, printed in July of 1890 has to be one of, if not their first ads. It starts out: “In presenting Forbes Diastase to the Medical Profession, we…” and appears to be completely introductory in nature.

The 1891 directory listed two locations: the office at the northwest corner of 4th and Elm and the plant or laboratory at Locust near Elmwood Ave (later 1128 Locust). The business remained listed in Cincinnati until 1898, during which Forbes was listed with different titles from year to year; sometimes vice president, secretary, superintendent, but never president.

An item in the November 20, 1897 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer announced that the company had just incorporated.

The Forbes Diastase Company of Cincinnati was incorporated today with a capital stock of $50,000, the purpose being to make and sell diastase and other chemicals.

The president was T.D. Dale and D.H. Buell was listed as treasurer and manager. It appears, at this point, that Forbes was no longer associated with the company. One month later the Marietta Daily Leader announced that the manufacture of Forbes Diatase was moving to Marietta, Ohio. The December 15, 1897 issue stated under the heading “New Business Building:”

Mr. D.H. Buell has broken ground for a new two-story brick building on the rear of the Hovey property, Third Street and close by the union depot. Mr. Buell will occupy his new building for the manufacture of Calabar Grains and Forbes Diastase.

In 1902 the company reincorporated and between 1902 and 1913 the Forbes Diastase Company was listed in the Marietta City Directory, with a Union Street location and Buell named as either president or proprietor. The 1906advertisement below, referencing the Marietta, Ohio location, is from the Memphis Medical Journal.

By 1913 it appears that the business was not headed in the right direction They reincorporated again in 1915 reducing capital from $50,000 to $10,000 and subsequently were no longer listed in the Marietta or ERA Druggist Directories. The business apparently remained operational because they were listed sporadically. I found them listed as Marietta Ohio manufacturers in the 1919 Modern Hospital Yearbook and the 1922 Druggist Circular.

It appears that the product went off the market for a stretch but returned in the mid 1920’s. A December 22, 1925 advertisement in the Richmond Indiana newspaper called the Richmond Item stated in part:

Prepared exactly as it was 40 years ago, Forbes Diastase is again on the market for use in cases where either an impoverished supply of diastase or other digestive disturbances require additional starch-digesting power.

No longer marketing to just the medical industry, their advertisements were now in general circulation newspapers and aimed at the general public.  Similar to many patent medicine advertisements of the time, they were presented to look like a typical news item. This one from the December 8, 1925 edition of the Star Gazette in Elmira New York was typical of their new approach. Under the headline: “Sent Home to Die from Incureable Stomach Trouble Recovers Almost Magically with Short Treatment of Forbes Diastase,” it goes on t say:

Today this is no longer a miracle to doctors who know and have been prescribing Forbes Diastase, and that means the majority of physicians – especially stomach specialists. But in 1892 when New York’s best known hospital gave up a chronic sufferer as hopeless and sent him home to die, his sudden recovery really seemed like a miracle. (letter testimonial X, 24, on request)

Forbes Diastase is in reality exactly the same marvelous diastase that is manufactured by the human system for digesting fats and starches, the Forbes Diastase can digest 1000 times its own mass of starch in five minutes.

Forbes Diastase does not eliminate. It digests. Therefore it is not only good for all people – it is positively wonderful for convalescents and sick folk whose digestive apparatus is below par. Excellent for building up thin, scrawny, under nourished children.

Forbes Diastase has been on the market for 40 years by prescription only. Everybody can now buy it – at these druggists: Kelly’s, Spillan’s Central, Trebell-Calkins drug store.

A series of these advertisements appeared over a six month period from December 1925 to May 1926 and only in limited geographic areas; upstate New York and Indiana. By the end of May the advertisements ceased for good and I have  to assume that the business didn’t last much longer.

In 1899, when Buell moved the company to Marietta, J. Winchell Forbes remained in Cincinnati and apparently continued to work on improving his diastase. On April 22, 1908 he established a corporation called the Dexigen Company and began manufacturing his improved product which he called Forbes Dexigen. An item in the November, 1908 issue of the Midland Druggist described the new operation.

J. Winchell Forbes, originator of Forbes Diastase, and well known to readers of pharmaceutical journals, is the president and general manager of the Dexigen Company, whose new laboratories have recently been installed at 347 E. Third St., Cincinnati.

Dexigen, a name coined from dextrin and generator is an improved form of diastase, is a much more powerful starch ferment than the varieties heretofore produced, and has the additional merits of definite strength and good keeping qualities.

It is the result of more than thirty years of study and experiment on the part of Prof. Forbes, and is believed to represent the enzymes of malt in the highest state of efficiency that has yet been attained.

It will be marketed strictly upon ethical lines, and we speak for it the favor of both pharmacist and physician which we believe its merits deserve.

The following advertisement for Dexigen appeared in a 1909 issue of the a publication called the “Lancet Clinic”

The Cincinnati directories listed the Dexigen Co. at 347 E. 3rd from 1909 to 1911 with Forbes named president in both the 1910 and 1911 editions. Forbes passed away sometime in 1911 and the company is not listed after his death

The bottle I found is mouth blown with an applied lip. It’s embossed “The Forbes Diastase Company” and the embossing includes the Cincinnati Ohio location. This dates it between 1890 when the business started and 1898 when it moved to Marietta, Ohio.

Fellows & Co., Chemists, St. John, N.B.

The founders of Fellows & Co. were Isaac Fellows and his son, James I. Fellows. Originally located in St. John, New Brunswick in Canada, the business manufactured household remedies and patent medicines. Their most famous product was a tonic called “Fellows Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites.”

The actual start date of the business is unclear but various web sites put it sometime in the vicinity of 1850. The first reference I can find for Fellow’s and Company is in the 1865-66 edition of the “Hutchinson New Brunswick Directory where they were listed as follows:

FELLOWS & CO., chemists and druggists, wholesale and retail dealers in drugs, chemicals, perfumery and fancy articles, King  cor. Germain.

James I Fellows was also listed individually in the same directory as a druggist located at King cor. Germain. Advertisements referred to this location as Foster’s Corner.

The company printed several full page advertisements in the same directory that provided some insight into their initial operation. One mentioned recent additions they had made to their premises leading me to believe that they had been in business for a while and lending more credence to a start date sometime in the 1850’s.

Another called them “Apothecaries to the Army and Navy” and provided an expanded list of their products that included in addition to drugs and perfumes, items such as medicine chests, surgical supplies, dyes, paints and artist supplies and soda water.

By this time the company was also manufacturing patent medicines under their own name. Another full page advertisement promoted Fellows Original “Worm Lozenges.”

How long the corner drug store in St.Paul survived is not clear but by the 1870’s the company had become focused on the manufacture of patent medicines and by the mid 1880’s they maintained laboratories in Montreal, London and  New York. An 1884 advertisement included the following addresses:

  • St. Antoine Street, Montreal, Canada
  • 48 Vesey Street, New York, U.S.A.
  • 7 Snow Hill, London

It’s not clear exactly when these facilities were established but I’ve found the Montreal location mentioned in advertisements dated as early as 1878 and London as early as 1881.

The New York location was first listed in the 1886 general directory as James I Fellows, pat medicines with the 48 Vesey Street address. The directory listed James Fellows’ home address as “England,” so apparently he had moved to London and was overseeing that operation until his death in January of 1896.

The New York facility remained at 48 Vesey Street until 1900. Advertisements as early as 1901 then listed them at 26 Christopher Street. In 1904, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed them as Fellows Co., a New York corporation with the Christopher Street address. Around 1919 the name of the business changed in the directories to the Fellows Medical Manufacturing Co. but they remained listed at 26 Christopher Street through the late 1950’s.

In the early 1960’s, the Fellows Medical Manufacturing Co. merged with Testagar & Co., Inc. and moved to Detroit, Michigan. According to the December 20, 1962 edition of the Detroit Free Press:

The gain by Detroit of a pharmaceutical operation accompanied the merger Wednesday of Testagar, & Co., Inc., a 30-year-old Detroit drug firm, and its affiliated firm, Fellows Medical Manufacturing Co., of New York City.

Sydney J. Heinrick, president of Testagar, said the Fellows manufacturing would be brought to Detroit. Fellows, in which Testagar has held a heavy stock interest for over 10 years, has operated in the East for nearly a century.

Testagar produces injectable drugs and tablets and capsules. Fellows makes prescription drugs and Fellows Syrup, a long used bitter tonic.

The merger will create a new name, Fellows-Testagar, Inc. The additional operation will be joined with Testagar at 1354 West Lafayette.

Fellows manufactured a number of patent medicines including “Fellows’ Original Worm Lozenges,”shown in the advertisement above, as well as “Fellows’ Speedy Relief,” “Fellows Dyspepsia Bitters,” “Fellows’ Golden Ointment,” “Fellows’ Leemings Essence” and “Fellows Balsam Liverwort & Colt’s Foot.”

According to newspaper advertisements, their signature product, Fellows Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites, originated in 1864 – “A Family Tonic Since 1864” – and  by the early 1870’s, it was being marketed over a large portion of the U.S.  This advertisement, printed in an 1871 Richmond, Indiana newspaper, named distributors in New York, Boston, Chicago and St.Louis.

By 1885 they were world-wide, listing principal depot locations for Fellows’ Hypophosphites in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the America’s.

Fellows discussed the origin of the product in an 1882 document entitled “A Few Remarks Upon Fellows Hypophosphites of Quinine, Strychnine, Iron, Lime, Potassa and Manganese”   in which he described his development of a syrup that successfully cured him of a disease: “pronounced by some chronic bronchitis and by others tubercular disease of the lungs…”

After succeeding in compounding such a preparation and finding my health so much improved under its influence, I determined to apply myself solely to its manufacture and hence the origin of Fellows’ Hypophosphites

A full page advertisement in the September, 1888 edition of the “Medical Press of Western New York” described it as containing:

  • Essential Elements to the Animal Organization – Potash and Lime
  • Oxidizing Agents – Iron and Manganese
  • Tonics – Quinine and Strychnine
  • Vitalizing Constituent – Phosphorous

All combined in the form of a syrup, with slight alkaline reaction.

Despite the presence of strychnine, a poison, the advertisement stated that it was:

pleasant to taste, acceptable to the stomach and harmless under prolonged use.

The Advertisement went on to say that:

It has sustained a high reputation in America and England for efficiency in the treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Chronic Bronchitis and other affections of the respiratory organs, and is employed also in various nervous debilitating diseases with success.

An 1880 advertisement goes even further, stating:

Wasting diseases such as Consumption, Bronchitis, Asthma, General Debility, Brain Exhaustion, Chronic Constipation, Chronic Diarrhea, Dyspepsia or Loss of Nervous Power are positively cured by Fellows Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites.

Their advertising relied heavily on the strength of testimonials; both from those who were allegedly cured as well as from the doctors whose patients were allegedly cured.

The following letter, typical of a patient testimonial, appeared in the Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, on December 20, 1871. It was dated July 13, 1871 and signed “George C Font” from Baltimore Md.

Mr. James I. Fellows – Sirs, I obtained three bottles of your syrup of Hypohosphites from Hegeman & Co., New York, and to its use I ascribe cessation of cough, return of appetite, removal of pains from which I had greatly suffered in the back and chest, and greatly reduced expectoration, for several months my system has suffered a drain of nearly a pint expectorated every morning and evening, caused (the doctors tell me,) from wasting of lung tissue. Your syrup has certainly worked wonders, and greatly surprised my friends, so that now I am so far recovered as to resume my wanted duties with vigor.

One testimonial went so far as to include a signed and sealed statement from the Mayor of St. John, verifying the signatures of references supplied by Fellows. The Mayor didn’t stop there but actually went on to include his own endorsement of the product in his statement.

I, Aaron Alward, Mayor of the City of St. John, in the Province of New Brunswick, having examined the signatures attached to the foregoing permit of reference, hereby certify that I believe them all genuine. I can also testify to the high therapeutic value of Fellows Compound Syrup of Hydrophosphites, consider it deserving of attention by the profession generally.

The success of the product appears to have been based entirely on the Fellows’ marketing campaign and product literature. According to the June 1, 1918 American Medical Association Journal:

Examination of the literature used in the exploitation of Fellows’ Syrup fails to disclose any evidence to show that it has therapeutic value. Not only is there an entire absence of any evidence of its therapeutic value, but there is an abundance of evidence that the hypophosphites are devoid of any such therapeutic effects as they were formerly reputed to have, and that they are, so far as any effect based on their phosphorous content is concerned, singularly inert. As a result of its investigation of the therapeutic effects of the hypophosphites, the Council of Pharmacy and Chemistry concluded: “There is no evidence that they exert a physiologic effect: it has not been demonstrated that they influence any pathologic process; they are not foods.” If they are of any use, that use has never been discovered.

As you might expect, the Fellows claims were toned down as time went on. All mention of cures and remedies were gone from this 1928 advertisement.

Instead the product was marketed as a “good tonic” that will improve your appetite and digestion and increase your general strength. Fellows Syrup continued to appear in newspaper advertisements into the early 1960’s.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and exactly matches the description provided in the 1882 document entitled “A Few Remarks Upon Fellows Hypophosphites”

The Fellows Hypophosphites is dispensed in bottles containing about 15 oz. by measure – the address, Fellows & Co., St. John, N.B. blown on…

This document listed the company’s business address as 48 Vesey Street, New York, and James Fellows address as Snow Hill, London. Based on this it appears that the company continued to use the New Brunswick location on their bottles even after establishing facilities in New York and London.

Bell & Co., Inc., Orangeburg, New York, U.S.A., Bell-Ans

The business of Bell & Co., along with their signature product, a remedy for indigestion called “Pa-pay-ans, Bell,” later renamed “Bell-Ans,” was the brainchild of William Lanphere Dodge. According to Dodge’s April, 1940 obituary:

He was born in New York City, the son of the late Dr. John Lanphere Dodge ( a Civil War Union Army Surgeon) and Cornelia Holt Dodge of Montreal. He became a drug clerk in Groton Conn., where he lived during his early manhood.

At some point, he relocated to New York City and together with a chemist named Robert J. Bell, developed the formula for Pa-pay-ans, Bell. Prior to 1897, Bell was listed individually in the NYC Directory as a chemist with an Eighth Avenue address. I have to believe that this is the time and place where Bell & Dodge first developed their formula.

The company was first listed as Bell & Co. in the 1898 NYC Trow Business Directory under the heading “Manufacturing Chemists” with an address of 110 John Street. The business was not listed in the same directory in 1897.

They remained at 110 John Street until 1900, when they moved to 68 Murray Street. The Copartnership and Corporation Directory in 1900 listed John L. Dodge as president and R. J. Bell as secretary.

During this time, Dodge was building a new manufacturing facility north of New York City in Orangeburg, New York. It’s not clear when exactly the plant was up and running but the business remained listed in New York City at 68 Murray Street up through 1908. The 1909 listing in the Copartnership and Corporation Directory stated that Bell & Co., had “removed to Orangeburg N.Y.”

According to 1940 legal documents, up through 1909, Bell & Co., Inc manufactured and sold Bell-Ans as well as a number of other products. At this point, Dodge formed a second corporation called Hollings-Smith. The incorporation notice was printed in the June 3, 1909 edition of the Trenton Times.

Both Bell & Co and Hollings-Smith were New Jersey corporations  with their main offices, plant and assets all located in Orangeburg. The stock of both corporations was owned and controlled by Dodge. Bell was no longer mentioned.

In 1910, Dodge retired from active participation in both companies, turning the day to day management of them over to David Clark who served as director, treasurer and general manager. Dodge retained 75 % ownership with Clark the other 25%. In 1926, Dodge’s son, Joseph, become active in the management of the company and in 1933 Clark was forced out of the company as a result of conflicts with Joseph who, at the time, was an executive vice president.

As far as I can tell, up through the mid 1970’s both companies remained under control of the Dodge family and continued to manufacture pharmaceuticals.

Bell & Co.’s signature product, Pa-pay-ans, Bell, was touted to aid digestion and much more. Packaging in and around 1909 included the following information:

For the treatment of dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea, vertigo, hyperacidity, palpitation and the symptoms of indigestion and the vomiting of pregnancy. Peritonitis, cholera morbus, alcoholism and seasickness. Digests every variety of food, removes every symptom of indigestion, restores the entire digestive tract to a normal condition.

The dosage is recommended as follows: from one to three tablets before meals, or two hours after eating. In severe cases three tablets dissolved in hot water and repeated as necessary.

They claimed that papaya was the key ingredient to the success of their product, describing it as:

the digestive principle obtained by our own exclusive process from the fruit of Carica papaya, combined with willow charcoal, chemically pure sodium bicarbonate and aromatics.

However, in 1909, the August 11th Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the Council of Pharmacy and Chemistry had done a chemical analysis of the product, finding “charcoal, sodium bicarbonate, ginger, saccharine and oil of gaultheria (wintergreen) , but no papaya.

Ultimately, in 1914, Bell & Co., changed the name of the product to Bell-Ans. This caught the attention of the American Medical Association who published this opinion regarding the name change in their May 9, 1914 Journal.

Within the past few weeks physicians have been notified that the name of ‘Pa-pay-ans, Bell” has been changed to “Bell-ans.” The reason for the change, according to the company, is that the new name is “shorter, pleasanter sounding and better.” As the most valuable asset of a “patent medicine” company is the name of its product, it is hardly likely that the name of Pa-pay-ans, Bell would have been changed for purely euphonious reasons. As previous analyses indicate that there is not, and probably never has been, any appreciable amount of papain in the product, and as the older name, “Pa-pay-ans,” carries with it the impression that papain is the essential drug, a more rational reason for the change of name should be sought. There is little doubt that this might be found in the federal Food and Drugs Act, especially that part which refers to misbranding. Bell & Co. are changing a misleading name into a meaningless one.

The American Medical Association also took exception to the wide ranging and extravagant claims made in connection with the product. The May 9, 1914 AMA Journal stated:

Reading some of the literature on “Pa-pay-ans, Bell,” might, if it were believed, lead one to think that with a bottle of this preparation on hand the balance of the pysicians’ therapeutic armamentarium could be thrown into the discard.

In 1915 the AMA summed it up this way:

Bell-Ans (Pa-pay-ans, Bell) possess the virtues – and there are few – and the limitations – and these are many – inherent to a mixture of baking soda, ginger and charcoal. Any druggist could put up just as good a remedy, and any physician could write a prescription for a better one in those cases in which he might think it indicated. The whole secret of the commercial success of Bell-And lies in the mystery of it’s composition and the false and misleading claims that have been made for it. The same tablets put out under a non-proprietary name, as an open formula and with claims that were reasonable and true, would have practically no sale.

Originally Bell & Co. marketed and advertised only to the medical profession, usually in the form of free samples and testimonials printed on advertising post cards. The testimonials were allegedly written by prominent physicians but the names of those physicians were never provided.

Advertisements to the general public began appearing in newspapers around 1915. This advertisement from the October 1, 1915 edition of the Washington Post was typical of their earlier newspaper advertisements.

Another advertisement, this one from 1918, calls for six tablets – double the dosage they recommended in 1909.

Newspaper advertising continued into the 1960’s and 1970’s. In the 1960’s the product was also being marketed as a cure for bad breath. According to the “Palisades Newsletter,” the Bell-ans patent was sold to Grandpa Brands sometime in the 1970’s. The last newspaper advertisement I can find for Bell-ans was in 1975 for Thrift Drug Store in Pittsburg Pa.

     

Despite the negative attitude of the medical profession, Bell-ans was highly successful. The complex in Orangeburg New York was built on 1500 acres and included the main factory building as well as several smaller buildings used to house employees. A huge harness racing enthusiast, Dodge also built stables and a racetrack on the property.

Located at the intersection of Route 303 and Kings Highway, the buildings still exist today and remain owned by the Dodge family. They have been given new life as the Bell-Ans Center of Creative Arts.

The bottle I found is a machine-made small square medicine. One edge side is embossed “Bell & Co., Inc. Orangeburg, New York, U.S.A.” The other is embossed “Bell-Ans,” which dates it no earlier than 1914 when they changed their name.

Pinus Medicine Co., Monticello, Ill., USA. Fruitola

It appears that the Pinus Medicine Company was started in 1903 or 1904 by Henry F. Edsall in San Francisco, California. The company was first listed in the 1904 San Francisco Directory with an address of 734-736 Valencia. Fruitola advertisements begin appearing in 1904 as well. The earliest one I could find was in the January 12, 1904 issue of the Oakland Tribune. Marketed as a system cleaner it claimed to remove gall stones and cure all stomach troubles.

It was advertised with another product called Pinus which I have to assume was the inspiration for the company name.

Sometime in 1906 or 1907, Edsall moved the business to 622 West 9th Street in Los Angeles and on January 5, 1910, the Los Angeles Times reported that the business had incorporated with capital of $100,000. H.F. Edsall, Elizabeth Edsall and John P. Newell were listed as directors.

H.F. Edsall remained listed as president until 1912. Then, abruptly, in the 1913 directory Henry T Edsall was listed as president and Henry F. Edsall was no longer mentioned. It’s not clear what relation Henry T. was to Henry F., why the change was made or what became of Henry F. (or maybe it was just a typo in the directory?).

Anyway, that same year the company was sold. On November 5, 1913 the Los Angeles Times reported:

It was announced yesterday by Henry T. Edsall of the Pinus Medicine Company of this city that he had disposed of a majority of his stock in the corporation to Allen F. Moore of Monticello, Illinois. Moore is the president of the Dr. Caldwell’s Pepsin Syrup Company. The amount involved is understood to be about $100,000. The business of the Pinus Medicine Company, which Edsall has built into a large concern, will be continued in this city and branches will be established in the East.

I have to believe that the local press was mislead into believing that the company would remain in Los Angeles because less than two months later they had relocated to Monticello, Illinois, the home of the Pepsin Syrup Company. According to the January 1914 issue of the National Drug Clerk:

An announcement of much interest to the drug trade is found in the advertisement of the Pinus Medicine Company in this issue. It will be noted that this business is now located at Monticello Ill., a controlling interest having been acquired by the stockholders of the Pepsin Syrup company.

The initial act of the new management, reducing the trade price from $9.00 to $8.00 per dozen, will undoubtedly appeal to all druggists as is an indication of the broader spirit of cooperation that characterizes their policy.

Our readers are familiar with the liberal advertising policy and spirit of trade cooperation that has made Dr. Caldwell’s Syrup Pepsin a staple remedy with a constantly widening field, and with the experience and resources of the new management a largely increased trade in Fruitola, Traxo and Pinus can confidently be expected.

A compelling newspaper advertising campaign, National in its scope, has been inaugurated and will be continued indefinitely, insuring a persistent, constant and permanent call for these preparations. Attractive advertising material will be furnished druggists on request and no effort will be spared to make Fruitola, Traxo and Pinus as staple as is Dr. Caldwell’s Syrup Pepsin.

The advertising campaign promised in the above article apparently came to fruition. Between 1914 and 1919, newspaper.com alone identifies over 4000 advertisements in 30+ states. A significant portion of the advertisements involved testimonials from people who used and were subsequently miraculously cured by Fruitola and their digestive tonic named Traxo. Many included photographs and were presented to look more like news stories than advertisements. A woman “saved from the operating table”  was highlighted in one example from a 1916 issue of the Potsdam New York Courier & Freeman.

As early as 1910, the American Medical Association was identifying Fruitola’s curative abilities as a total scam. According to an item in the December issue of the A.M.A Journal that year:

Of more recent origin is what may be called the “fake gallstone trick” which is now being industriously worked in many parts of the country. Originally operated by traveling fakers, it has been lately adapted to the exigencies of the “patent medicine” industry. The principle on which the fake depends is the well known fact that in giving the patient massive doses of some bland oil will result in the passing of soapy concretions. These lumps, greenish in color and of varying sizes, are easily mistaken by the laymen for “gallstones.”

There are several modifications of this “gallstone cure” fake but the most widely advertised is that sold by the Pinus Medicine Company, of Los Angeles, under the name “Fruitola.” It is usually exploited in connection with another nostrum – “Traxo” – put out by the same concern.

Fruitola consisted of an eight ounce bottle of oil and six powders. The A.M.A. item went on to describe one woman’s experience with Fruitola.

One of my patients, a young woman, took the contents of this bottle, as well as the powders, which accompany the liquid as part of this treatment. Several hours after taking the medicine there were several painful evacuations, in which there appeared a large number, probably two dozen or more, small greenish masses about the size of an ordinary garden pea. The young woman was very much frightened, thinking that they were really gallstones and that she was in a serious condition.

Of course, the “gallstones” were simply soapy concretions that usually follow the administration of massive doses of oil.

The A.M.A.’s conclusion is actually quite humorous.

That persons should be mulcted of a dollar, however for the privilege of having their bowels moved and being made into a peripatetic soap factory may seem humorous – but it is an outrage nonetheless. To such as wish to make the experiment – and it is one that by no means is free of danger in all cases – we would suggest the following procedure as equally efficacious and much less expensive: Buy 20 cents worth of olive oil and a nickel’s worth of seidlitz powders. You then have all the paraphernalia necessary for the production of home-made gallstones. All that is required is to take the oil and powders and then practice watchful expectancy. The expected will happen.

Possibly as a result of this negative information, the Pinus Medicine Company went through several ownership changes in the late teens and early 1920’s. According to an article on the company in the January 25, 1959 issue of the Decatur Herald & Review, in 1919 it was taken over by Charles Demaree and then sold to William Dighton in 1922. The company remained successful enough to build the Pinus Medicine Company Building at 116-118 East Washington Street in Monticello, where they moved in September 1923. It appears that the building still exists today on the northwest corner of East Washington and North Independence Street.

In 1928 the company was purchased by John Hott, a former vice president of the Pepsin Syrup Company. The November 14, 1928 issue of the Alton Evening Telegraph reported the sale.

After being connected with the Pepsin Syrup Company for nearly quarter of a century in the capacity of second largest stockholder and vice president, John F. Hott, who is nationally known to the drug trade, has resigned his position and purchased the Pinus Medicine Company, who manufacture Fruitola for gallstones and stomach trouble. It is Mr. Hott’s idea to develop and expand the business by adding other well known preparations to the line.

Not surprisingly, around this time the Fruitola advertisements have been toned down quite a bit. Words and phrases like “cures” and “removes gallstones” have been replaced with ambiguous phrases like “recognized treatment for gallstones” and “lubricates and flushes intestinal tract.”

 

John Hott ran the company until his death in 1933 after which it was taken over by his son Max Hott. The company remained in Monticello and was still active, though barely, in 1959. According to the 1959 Decatur Herald and Review article, it was still owned by Max Hott but was down to two employees. They were still making three proprietary medicines including “Traxo” and “Fruitola”which was being marketed as “Fritola.”

The bottle I found is a 6 to 8 ounce machine made medicine. It’s embossed “Fruitola” on one side and “Pinus Medicine Co., Monticello, Ill., U.S.A.”on the other. It dates no earlier than the company’s 1914 move to Monticello.