Van Horn & Ellison, Chemists, New York

Alfred VanHorn and George (Guy) R.P. Ellison started the business in 1888 opening a drug store on the northwest corner of Park Avenue and 41st Street in New York City. The first listing I can find for VanHorn & Ellison is in the 1889 Copartnership and Corporation Directory with an address of 120 Park Avenue (at the corner of 41st Street). A year or two later, they opened a prescription department and laboratory in the same area at 61 East 41st Street. An item in the 1891 Medical Directory of the City of New York announced the opening.

We call special attention of physicians to our complete Analytical and Pharmaceutical Laboratory, which we have established in connection with our new Prescription Department, in separate rooms entirely removed from the general business of the store.

Hospital and Surgeons’ Supplies, Felt and Wood Splints, Catgut warranted perfectly Antiseptic. Surgeons’ Silk, Silver Suture Wire, and Silk-worm Gut.

Reef and Flat Sponges prepared and sterilized to order for surgical operations.

A complete assortment of superior materials for Antiseptic Dressings, made especially for us by Seabury & Johnson.

A partial photograph of the sterilizing laboratory was included in a Van Horn & Ellison advertisement printed in Merck’s 1896 Index.

In 1895 the company opened a second location underneath the Bolkenhayn apartment house adjoining the Hotel Savoy at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street. An article in the Pharmaceutical Record announcing the stores opening called it the largest and handsomest retail drug store that New York or any other large city in the United States can boast of and it describes the exterior of the new store this way.

Describing the new drug store can best be done by stating that it looks about as little like the ordinary drug store as it is possible to imagine. The immense front facing on Fifth Avenue is taken up by a sheet of plate glass that is claimed to be the largest in the United States. It measures 19 feet x 13 feet 3 inches, and is said to be American plate, the largest that has ever been made here.

An old photograph of the Savoy Hotel shows the Bolkenhayn apartment house to the right with the drug store’s plate glass windows clearly visible.

The salesroom was located on the ground floor with the prescription, chemical and sterilizing departments located on the floor below. The article goes on to describe the store’s interior, leaving no doubt that the store catered to the high end customer:

Potted palms and plants adorn the window, which is also graced by four elegant specimens of the colored window bottles on the side. Two sprays of electric lights illuminate these at night.

Inside the salesrooms the general effect of quiet elegance is obtained by a combination of mahogany and plate glass in side cases and moveable counters. A pleasing contrast is also occasionally furnished by stained glass doors and panels. The ceiling is of a buff, with artistic plaster relief work, while from it depend four elegantly carved metal electroliers of four lights each. The side walls are an olive green with gold plaster relief decoration, while the floor is a pretty mosaic tiling.

As if that wasn’t enough, taking up a large portion of one side of the salesroom was a soda fountain whose counter was made up of four different colors of Numidian marble.

Behind the wrapping counter was a dumbwaiter and a speaking tube that connected with the dispensing and chemical departments. Orders were either sent down by means of the tube or the prescription was shunted down on the dumbwaiter.

According to the article, the store furnished just about anything in the drug line, but only high-end items were exhibited in the salesroom.

Only fancy articles for the toilet and boudoir are to be seen in the salesrooms proper. Combs and brushes, toilet waters and cologne, tooth powders, manicure ointments and the dainty appurtenances greet the eye.

This advertisement for the Crown Perfumery Co., of London England, provides a good example of the type of articles they showcased. The advertisement was for “The New Crown Violet,” a perfume “distilled from the natural flowers of the Riviera” and referred to as the “finest violet made and the success of the day in London and Paris.” It sold for $1.50 per bottle and Van Horn & Ellison was named in the advertisement as one of its five suppliers in New York.

Van Horn & Ellison incorporated in New York sometime in 1896. According to an item that year in the “Paint, Oil and Chemical Review:”

Incorporation papers have been secured by Van Horn & Ellison of New York, to carry on a chemical business; capital $100,000. Directors – G.R.P. Ellison, H.W.Robinson, J.Van L. Young, Alfred Van Horn and S. Harry Ellison of New York City.

A year later, in June of 1897, Alfred Van Horn had resigned and internal dissension within the corporation led to charges of forgery against George Ellison based on a technicality. Ellison admitted to having endorsed and collected checks made payable to the firm, but claimed that he had that right. His statement in response to the charges was printed in the New York Sun.

After the resignation of Alfred Van Horn as President I controlled the majority of stock. Mr. Van Horn and I had always stood together in the Board of Directors. Since Mr. Van Horn’s resignation I have been compelled to contend against the majority of the directors. There were five directors in the corporation. Besides Mr. Van Horn and myself there were S.H. Ellison, treasurer; Dr. J. Van Loren Young, secretary, and H.W.Robinson, who has no interest, but holds one share of stock to qualify him as a director.

These last three directors combined against me because I had called a meeting of the stockholders to amend the by-laws of the company in such a manner that their powers would be curtailed, and because at the annual election to be held in July others would be elected to fill their places. S.H. Ellison, Dr. Young and Robinson refused to give me money due me by the corporation. After consulting my counsel he advised me to take the course I did in regard to the endorsement of checks. Now they have tried to take advantage of a technical point to force me out.

It’s not clear how this issue was resolved but less than six months later an item in the January 1898 issue of the Pharmaceutical Record indicated that  the business had changed it’s name to Van Horn & Co. The 1900 and 1901 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed Van Horn & Co. as a New Jersey Corporation located in Manhattan at the 118-120 Park Avenue address. Interestingly none of the original directors, including Van Horn and Ellison were listed with the business. Instead George West and Harry Hutchinson were named President and Secretary respectively and the capital was only listed as $5,000.

It’s likely that the incorporation of the company and subsequent absence of Alfred Van Horn and Guy Ellison from company leadership in 1900 and 1901 was somehow related to financial problems that the company was having. In 1900, the Bureau of Arrears for the Collection of Personal Taxes listed Van Horn & Ellison as a defendant with their ‘disposition pending.” A year later, in September, 1901, both Van Horn and Ellison declared bankruptcy. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle printed their bankruptcy notices on September, 20th and 27th respectively.

 

Then in the 1902 Directory George Ellison and Alfred Van Horn are back, listed as president and secretary respectively of Van Horn & Co., which had moved to 307 Madison Avenue. The treasurer of the company was Edward T. Sawtell.

Around this time it appears that the company divided into two separate corporations. In the 1904 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory Van Horn & Co. remained listed as a New Jersey corporation with Ellison as president and Van Horn as secretary and a New York corporation, Van Horn & Sawtell appeared for the first time. Alfred Van Horn and Edward Sawtell were listed as president and treasurer respectively of the new company.

Ultimately both George Ellison and Alfred Van Horn ended up working with Johnson & Johnson. Ellison apparently started with them after Van Horn & Co. dissolved in 1911. The June 1913 issue of the Northwestern Druggist reported:

Guy R.P. Ellison, formerly of the firm of Van Horn & Ellison, New York, is now with Johnson & Johnson as detail representative. Mr. Ellison will spend about a month in the Twin Cities. He is especially posted in the manufacture of ligatures and in the scientific departments of his firm.

Van Horn began with Johnson & Johnson in 1919 when they acquired Van Horn & Sawtell. The acquisition was reported in Red Cross notes that year.

Johnson & Johnson has taken over the well known firm of Van Horn & Sawtell of New York, and have made it the Van Horn & Sawtell Department of Johnson & Johnson. This consolidation means the continuation of a policy of progress, a gratifying increase of laboratory facilities and the addition of Mr. E.T. Sawtell and Mr. Alfred Van Horn to the personnel of the Johnson & Johnson organization.

The bottle I found is a small, mouth blown, maybe one ounce, cobalt blue medicine bottle. “Van Horn & Ellison (in script), Chemists, New York” is embossed on the front. The 1895 article announcing the opening of their Fifth Avenue location provides a clue about the use of the bottle:

In the dispensing department only two kinds of bottles were used – white and blue. The blue was only used when the contents were for external use or were poisonous.

The bottle dates to the period between 1888 and 1897, when the company name was Van Horn & Ellison.

McKesson & Robbins, New York

McKesson & Robbins was a predecessor to the McKesson Corporation, a global health provider that was ranked 11th of the Fortune 500 in 2014 with more than $179 billion in annual revenue.

According to the company history that’s presented on McKesson’s corporate web site the company dates back to 1833.

John McKesson and Charles Olcott, two young entrepreneurs, opened Olcott & McKesson, a drug import and wholesale business located on Maiden Lane in Manhattan. The company quickly thrived with it’s first customers – captains of the tall masted clipper ships that docked nearby. In 1853, Daniel Robbins, who originally started as an apprentice in 1833 after walking 80 miles to answer McKesson’s first help-wanted ad, became a partner and the company was renamed McKesson & Robbins.

I’ll leave open to speculation as to whether Robbins actually walked 80 miles to answer McKesson’s help-wanted advertisement, but I will point out that according to his obituary, in 1833 he was living 80 miles north of Manhattan in Poughkeepsie New York.

The limited NYC directories I can find from this period generally confirm the rest of the early story. The 1847-48 Directory (the earliest one I could find) listed Alcott, McKesson & Co., druggists, at 127 Maiden Lane. Charles M. Alcott, John McKesson and Daniel C. Robbins were all listed individually at 127 Maiden Lane as well. By 1853-54, the business was listed as Olcott, McKesson & Robbins and then in the 1855-56 Directory it was listed for the first time as McKesson & Robbins.

Around 1857 the company moved from Maiden Lane to a new building on Fulton Street. According to “Cast-Iron Architecture in America, The Significance of James Borardus” by Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle:

John McKesson and Daniel Robbins, who had a drug business at 127 Maiden Lane, purchased property for a new building in the spring of 1853. They bought a 50 foot wide double lot at 91-93 Fulton Street and soon added two smaller lots to the rear facing on Ann Street. Probably in 1855 they commissioned (James) Bogardus to build a five-story iron front on the Fulton Street lot.

The 1857-58 NYC Directory listed them at 91 Fulton Street and 82 Ann Street where the business remained through at least the mid-1920’s.

Over the course of the next two decades, both McKesson’s son, John McKesson Jr. and Robbins’s sons, Charles A. Robbins and Herbert D. Robbins joined the business.

According to McKesson’s corporate web site, during this period, McKesson & Robbins pioneered the development of gelatin coated pills. A full page advertisement in the August  1879 issue of the New York Medical Electric (Devoted to Reformed Medicine, General Science and Literature) provided a partial list of medications that they produced utilizing this process. The advertisement stated that “these important changeable substances will be found perfectly preserved in our Gelatine-Coated Pills.” Interestingly, the list included both Cannabis Indica (medical marijuana) and Coca Exythroxylon (cocaine).

In December of 1885, Copartnership Notices published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that McKesson & Robbins had been dissolved and a new firm with the same name had been formed along with another company called the New York Quinine and Chemical Works. The notice listed John McKesson Jr. and Herbert Robbins with McKesson and Robbins. That business, described as wholesale druggists and manufacturing chemists, remained at the original location which now included 91-93 Fulton Street and 74-84 Ann Street.

Charles A. Robbins was listed with the New York Quinine and Chemical Works. Their office was located at 35 Liberty Street, but soon after they moved to 114 William Street, within a block of McKesson & Robbins. Their Eastern District factory was located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. They were described as manufacturers of medicinal chemical preparations.

Daniel C Robbins remained associated with both firms and on December 3, 1885, the Eagle published a letter from Daniel Robbins explaining the reasoning behind the need for two companies.

Some eighteen months since the great Italian factory at Milan, which manufactured nearly one-half of all the quinine consumed in the world, failed, and Dr. Charles A. Robbins, who was educated in Germany for the purpose of conducting a similar establishment in the United States, and who had for seven years superintended the chemical productions connected with the house of McKesson & Robbins, advised the employment and transfer of trained experts connected with the Milan establishment to the United States.

Fourteen lots have been purchased in the Eastern District, a factory has been built and a corps of Italians and Germans have been transferred to the United States.

Through the early 1920’s, both companies remained closely controlled by the McKesson and Robbins families and were apparently associated in some way. In fact, when Daniel C. Robbins died suddenly in 1888, Herbert Robbins was named president of the New York Quinine and Chemical Company and also continued to remain listed as a principal of McKesson and Robbins. As late as 1919, the Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed John McKesson Jr. as president of McKesson and Robbins and Herbert D. Robbins as president of the New York Quinine & Chemical Company and a Vice President in McKesson & Robbins.

Both companies were involved in the importing and manufacturing of cocaine in the United States. According to “Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to Modern Menace in the United States 1884-1920” by Joseph Spillane:

Before 1884 the New York firm of McKesson & Robbins was among the leading importers of coca and one of the few companies that offered small amounts of cocaine to its customers in that period. Although McKesson & Robbins was primarily a wholesale drug company, it also imported and manufactured some drug products, including cocaine. The company claimed to be the first and largest cocaine manufacturer in the United States, making all of its product from coca leaves imported into New York. Coca importation data from the late 1880’s confirm that McKesson imported between 20 and 30 percent of all leaves entering New York each year, usually the largest proportion of any single manufacturer. The families who controlled McKesson & Robbins also owned the New York Quinine and Chemical Works, which gradually took over the cocaine business from McKesson.

McKesson & Robbins also controlled at least two additional companies, the Tartarlithine Co., and the Galen Drug Co. Both were listed in the directories at the McKesson & Robbins Fulton Street and/or Ann Street addresses. The Tartarlithine Co. was listed in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories between 1901 and 1925. They manufactured a rheumatism remedy and I’ve seen advertisements for their products as early as 1902.

The Galen Drug Company was first listed around 1914 at 91 Fulton Street and was still listed in 1925. Based on the definition of galenical (a medicine prepared by extracting one or more active constituents of a plant) they were most likely involved with plant based remedies.

In the mid 1920’s, the McKesson & Robbins name, along with its medicinal departments were sold to Frank D Costa. The 1933 NYC Directory listed Costa as the president, secretary and treasurer of McKesson & Robbins with an address of 79 Cliff.

Costa, who’s real name was Phillip Musica, had a criminal past and operated under several aliases. He seeded the company with family members and proceeded to loot the business up through the mid-1930’s. His scheme involved fake purchase orders, inflated inventory and skimming cash from company sales. The scheme fell apart in 1938 when the suspicions of the company treasurer led to an investigation that revealed that the McKesson & Robbins balance sheet was made up of 20% fictitious assets that included $10 million in fictitious inventories and $8 million in overstated receivables.

The company survived the scandal and by 1948, the NYC Telephone Directory had McKesson & Robbins listings for their Executive Offices (155 E 44th), a  Wholesale Drug Division (3674 3rd Ave), Liquor Division (111 8th Ave), Export Division (155 E 44th), Industrial Chemical Division (155 E 44th) and a Warehouse (90 Beekman).

In the 1960’s they merged with Foremost Dairies of San Farancisco becoming Foremost-McKesson Inc., the largest U.S. distributor of pharmaceutical drugs, alcoholic beverages and chemicals. In 1970 they moved to new corporate headquarters at One Post Street in San Francisco.

As far as I can tell the McKesson and Robbins families retained the chemical manufacturing piece of the business and continued to operate as the NY Quinine & Chemical Works. The factory location was still listed in 1952 at 101 N 11th Street in Brooklyn.

The bottle I found is a small mouth blown rectangular medicine with a tooled finish. It’s embossed “McKesson” on one edge side and “& Robbins” on the other. I found a labeled sample listed on the Internet of what appears to be the exact same bottle. It contained 100 gelatin coated pills containing extract of cannibis.

Roberts & Co., Chemists, Florence & Rome

H. Roberts was an English chemist and druggist that established a pharmacy in Florence, Italy in the mid-1800’s. The business was featured in “Murray’s Handbook of Florence and it’s Environs” published in 1867.

Apothecaries. – Mr. Roberts, an English chemist and druggist, at the Pharmacy of the British Legation, No. 17 in the Via dei Tornabuoni will be the best person to whom the making up of English prescriptions can be confided, as he has several English assistants; he keeps an extensive stock of English patent medicines, perfumery, teas, and a good supply of foreign and of the superior qualities of Italian wines. In addition to his business as a dispensing chemist, Mr. Roberts carries a large wholesale trade, supplying most of the apothecaries in the Tuscan and neighboring Italian towns. Groves, Borgo, Ognisanti (also English), Forini, Piazza della Signori.

The business was also mentioned in the 1863 edition of Murray’s Handbook. The fact that it was a business worthy of inclusion in a travel guide suggests that by the early 1860’s it was an established business so it probably dates back to at least the 1850’s.

A description of the pharmacy was contained in the February 27, 1892 Issue of “The Chemist and Druggist.” An English publication, they were doing a feature on “English Pharmacies Abroad.”

Florence boasts of two large and handsome English Pharmacies- the old established business H. Roberts & Co., and that of Henry Groves, the eminent botanist whose death in March last was so greatly lamented by his many English and Italian friends, and by the world of botanical science.

These pharmacies are located in two of the principal streets in florence, and, in comparison with the average english or continental shops, are remarkable for size and elegance. The shops are about twenty feet high with arched ceilings and walls decorated with that ornamental relief work in which the Italians are so skillful. The modern Italians have followed their progenitors the Romans in the style and substantial character of their buildings. Nearly all the floors are of marble and are supported by stone arches. The walls are usually three or four feet thick, hence the buildings have a grand, but rather heavy, appearance. Both of the shops referred to have handsome fronts of from 40 to 50 feet wide, with plate-glass windows. The laboratories and offices adjoin the dispensing establishment…

The main room of the Farmacia Roberts is probably larger than other pharmacy in England or on the Continent, and the principal room in Grove’s establishment is nearly as large. Both firms are compelled to carry a very varied stock, including nearly all medicines in general demand in England, owing to the large number of English visitors and residents. They also have large stocks of English perfumes, soaps, brushes, etc.

Meters. Roberts & Co. have developed a large trade in numerous specialties which they advertise in Italy. The Italians have great confidence in English drugs and medicines, and the firm does business with chemists in all the principal towns of Italy and endeavor to keep up with the times by procuring all the new preparations as they come out. The firm has a branch establishment in Rome.

According to the above article, prior to 1892 the company had established a branch in Rome. Subsequently, a 1905 item in the April 1 Issue of the Pharmaceutical Journal announced the opening of a Milan location and in 1908, an advertisement announced another new location in Naples.

It appears that at some point the business became Manetti & Roberts. According to bloomberg.com: “Manetti & Roberts has a rich history dating back to 1843 when it started operations in Florence.” This suggests that the Roberts of Manetti and Roberts was the same Roberts as Roberts and Co. It also establishes the start date for the company as 1843. Today, Manetti and Roberts operates as a subsidiary of the Bolton Group, B.V.

The bottle I found is a small (approximately 4 oz) mouth blown medicine. It’s embossed with the locations “Florence and Rome” so it possibly dates prior to 1905 when they added the Milan location. How it got to the south shore of Long Island is anybody’s guess.

 

T. Ebeling, 2774 Third Ave., New York

The T stands for Theodore Ebeling. A German, he was listed in the 1880 census records but not in the 1870 records so he most likely immigrated to the U.S. sometime in the 1870’s.

He was listed in various NYC Directories between 1875 and and 1892 with the occupation  “drugs.” He was located in the Bronx, on Third Avenue between 146th Street and 147th Street for the entire time. The earlier directories listed his address as Third Avenue, near 146th Street while the later ones listed it as 2774 Third Avenue (essentially the same location). The 1880 census records also listed his residence at this location, so it looks like he operated a small business out of his home or lived in an apartment above the shop.

He was still listed in the 1895 Medical, Pharmaceutical and Dental Register at 2774 Third Avenue but by 1896, he had moved to 143rd Street and was no longer listed with an occupation, apparently retired.

The bottle I found is a small (approximately 4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish. It has the 2774 Third Avenue address embossed on it and also includes a logo with Ebeling’s initials T.H. Embossing on the base indicates the bottle was made by the Whitehall Tatum Company (W.T. & Co.). The fact that there’s an ampersand (between the T and Co) indicates it was made before that company incorporated in 1901. This is in agreement with an end date for the business of 1896.

 

 

Richard Hudnut, New York

  

In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, Richard A. Hudnut, a New York businessman built a fortune manufacturing perfumes, cosmetics and beauty products and he is widely recognized as the first American to achieve international success in the cosmetics industry.

His father, Alexander, a druggist, initially established a drug store on Court Street in Brooklyn in the 1850’s. An entrepreneurial businessman in his own right, an historical feature called “The Older Brooklyn” that was published in the June 29, 1911 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and described the Brooklyn of 50 years prior, credits his drug store with being “one of the first to introduce cream and syrup flavors into soda water.” Later, in the early 1870’s he opened a drug store in the Herald Building in Manhattan at 218 Broadway.

Richard began his career working in his father’s business. The early history of his life and business is told in “New York State’s Prominent and Progressive Men” published in 1902.

M. Hudnut was born in the City of Philadelphia on June 2, 1856. Soon thereafter the family removed to New York, and he was educated in the schools of that city, and in the Polytechnic Institute Brooklyn. At the age of eighteen years, he left school and entered the drug store conducted by his father in New York. There he made a thorough study of the drug business, and paid special attention to the chemistry and the manufacture of perfumes. He remained in association with his father in that store until the latter’s retirement from business and the closing of the famous store in 1889.

Mr. Hudnut made a prolonged visit to Europe, during which he traveled widely, and made a careful study of the most approved and successful methods of manufacturing perfumery. Then on his father’s retirement, he opened the Richard Hudnut Pharmacy Incorporated at 925 Broadway New York. To that establishment, he has since devoted practically his entire business attention. While conducting a general pharmacy business of the best kind, Mr. Hudnut’s corporation as might be supposed, makes a specialty of the manufacture and sale of perfumery. In that industry nearly a hundred persons are employed, and the Richard Hudnut Perfumes are sold in all parts of the country and are recognized as of the highest standard of excellence, competing not only with the beast American, but with the best foreign makes.

Much of this story is supported in the various NYC Directories of the time.

  • Alexander Hudnut is first listed at 218 Broadway in the 1870/71 NYC Directory.
  • In the 1880 Directory, Alexander and Richard are both listed at the 218 Broadway address and they remain listed together at this address through 1888.
  • In the 1889 Directory, Richard A Hudnut, drugs,  is listed at the 925 Broadway address for the first time.

Up through 1914, Hudnut maintained both a retail drug business and  perfume/cosmetics manufacturing business, a business that was continually expanding.

The ERA Druggist Directories between 1905 and 1914 listed the location at 925 Broadway under “retail druggists” and the 1905 Directory provided a menu of services at this location that included: drugs/medicines, drug sundries, wines and liquors and a soda fountain.

In 1902, the Copartnership and Corporation Directory began listing a second address for Richard Hudnut at 40 East 19th Street. The ERA Druggist Directories listed this location under “drug manufacturers” (toilet preps and perfumes.) In and around 1908, this piece of the business moved to a new headquarters at 115 East 29th Street. This location was a newly built six-story building that included manufacturing space, offices, shipping areas, laboratory and a showroom. Then, still in need of more space, on November 18, 1911, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that Hudnut had leased two floors, each 10,000 square feet, in Bush Terminal as general distributing and shipping quarters.

In 1914, Hudnut sold the Broadway location and effectively retired from the retail drug business. The May 1914 issue of the Pharmaceutical Era reported it this way.

The stock and fixtures of Hudnut Pharmacy, 925 Broadway, near 21st Street, Manhattan, valued at $50,000, were sold at auction on April 23. It is understood that Richard Hudnut has been looking for an opportune time to retire from the retail drug business and that the above action is a result of his desire. The wholesale and manufacturing business will continue undisturbed at 115-117 East 29th Street. The Richard Hudnut perfumes and toilet specialties are a well-known line in the trade.

Then, two years later, in August of 1916, the Pharmaceutical Record reported that Hudnut sold the manufacturing end of the business to Wm. R Warner & Co.

An announcement of interest to the trade was recently made by Richard A. Hudnut, who has sold substantial interest in Richard Hudnut to Messrs. H. Pfeiffer, G. A. Pfeiffer and G.D. Merner, of the firm of Wm. R. Warner & Co., of Philadelphia and St. Louis. Mr. Hudnut continues as president, and the business policies that have made the name “Richard Hudnut” famous in the perfume and toilet goods world will be continued.

The office and laboratory located at 115-117 East 29th Street, New York city, have been leased by the new organization.

Two years later, the 1918-1919 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Gustavus Pfeiffer as president of the Richard Hudnut Corporation and Hudnut was no longer mentioned. So within two years of the sale, Hudnut was no longer associated with the business. Whether this decision was Hudnut’s decision or the decision of Wm. R. Warner & Co. is unclear to me. He passed away in 1928, while living in France.

The Wm R. Warner Company became Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. in 1955. Warner Lambert was acquired by Park Davis in 1970 and they merged with Pfizer in 2000.

Richard Hudnut was apparently producing perfume and cosmetic products as early as 1880 while working in his father’s business. By 1893 he had his own product line called Hudnutine that included perfumes, toilet water, talcum powder, face powder, cold cream, tooth powder, rouge, etc. A later product line developed by Hudnut was called DuBarry. After the sale of the business in 1916, the Hudnut name remained associated with various perfume and cosmetic products through at least 1959.

The bottle I found matches the bottle in a 1914 advertisement for a toilet water called Violet Sec.

The value of toilet water is the feeling of freshness its use inspires. The delicacy of Violet Sec Toilet Water, its elusive fragrance and lasting quality have made it the choice of smart women everywhere.

The above image is from Hudnut’s 1913 – 1914 Price List. A patent for Violet Sec Toilet Water was filed on September 17, 1912, however, based on a December 14, 1899 item in the Pharmaceutical Era, the product dates back to at least the late 1800’s..

One of the most artistic drug windows in New York is that of Richard Hudnut, on Broadway. Upon a royal purple background is displayed a varied assortment of goods for the holiday trade. Violet Sec Toilet Water, the “Apotheosis” of the violet odor, is having a great sale among the drug trade this year, selling to the retailer at 75 cents a bottle of six ounces. The essence of this same odor is put up in ounce bottles contained in fancy boxes of imitation grogran silk, decorated in Louis Quinze style.

For the fine trade Hudnut is equipped to supply the druggist’s holiday wants in anything pertaining to violets. (Apparently Hudnut had an entire line of “Violet Sec”Products including perfume, soaps, powders, bath salts, etc.)

In addition to his two New York locations, Hudnut’s products were sold in upscale New York department stores.  Between 1896 and 1905 his products were occasionally listed in Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisements for Abraham and Strauss (Richard Hudnut’s Nailustre for the Fingernails – 1902 and Richard Hudnut Handkerchief Perfumes – 1905), H. Batterman (Richard Hudnut’s Perfumes – 1896) and Journeay and Turnham (Richard Hudnut’s 8 oz Toilet Waters, all odors – 1897).

The building that housed the Richard Hudnut headquarters at 115 -117 East 29th Street is still there today and has been converted to condominiums (each in the $2 million + price range).

   

The current building at 925 Broadway was built in 1918, after the Hudnut retail business was discontinued at that location.

The building at 218 Broadway, Alexander Hudnut’s first Manhattan location, was called the NY Herald Building. It is said that Alexander placed a large thermometer outside his drugstore and as a result, “Hudnut’s Temperature” was published every day in the NY Herald (and the NY Times).

The Herald Building was torn down in 1895, replaced by the St. Paul Building. According to “Glimpses of New York” published in 1917:

The St. Paul Building. One of the tallest buildings in New York when erected. This replaced the old New York Herald office building, where for years Hudnut’s Drug Store on the corner did a land office business in soda-water during the summer, his thermometer regarded as the official figure of temperature.

It should be noted that Alexander sold the business in and around 1889-90 after, according to his New York Tribune obituary, “discussing terms for only half an hour.”  The new owners continued to operate it as Hudnut’s Pharmacy at 218 Broadway until the building was torn down in 1895. At that point, the business moved to 205 Broadway where the NYC Directories still associated it with the name Hudnut (why change a good thing?) through 1904.

In addition to the Hudnut name embossed on the front, the bottle I found has the Hudnut Logo comprised of his initials RH (with the H presented both front and back) embossed on the side. It’s machine made and matches the image in the 1913-1914 price list dating it to that period. Amazingly, the bottle was found with the spout (also embossed Richard Hudnut NY) still attached.

Reader’s Reliable Pharmacy, Cedarhurst, L.I.

The original proprietor of Raeder’s Pharmacy was Edward M Raeder. Originally from Roxbury New York in Delaware County, he graduated from the New York College of Pharmacy in 1898. In addition to being in the pharmacy business he served as Cedarhurst Village Treasurer and President of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Board of Trade.

According to the September 1909 issue of the Practical Druggist, Raeder started his pharmacy business around this time.

E. M. Raeder has opened a new drug store at Cedarhurst L.I., N.Y.

Located at the intersection of Cedarhurst Avenue and Central Avenue, the business is listed in the 1910 ERA Druggist Directory and continues to be listed through 1922, the last year I have access to.

Apparently, Raeder sold a series of photographic postcards of Cedarhurst and the surrounding environment. I’ve seen several different examples of them on the Internet. One of them, published by the American News Company for Raeder’s Pharmacy depicts a rural lane in Cedarhurst. The actual post card was used/postmarked in 1909.

Raeder is also listed as a liquor tax certificate holder for the years ending September 30, 1913, 1914 and 1915 so I assume the business must have stocked a much wider variety of items other than just pharmacy related merchandise.

It looks like Raeder removed himself from the business sometime in the early 1920’s. In November of 1921, the Drug and Chemical Market publication carried an item indicating that Raeder’s Pharmacy in Cedarhurst L.I. had incorporated with a capital of $50,000. and J. Andooschec, A.H.Plack and J. Kanarek were listed as the principals. Then, on January 27, 1922, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a story stating:

It is said that Edward M Raeder, village treasurer, will refuse a renomination on account of illness. Mr. Raeder is now in Roxbury N.Y., where he is expected to remain several months.

To the best of my knowledge, he never returned to Cedarhurst.

One of the new principals in the incorporated business, Dr. Alvin H. Plack ran Raeder’s as well as  Colonial Pharmacy in Woodmere until his death in December, 1929. After that, it looks like the business continued into the late 1930’s but I’m not sure how long it lasts after that.

Today, three of the four corners on Cedarhurst and Central contain buildings that appear to date back as far as the business.

The bottle I found is mouth blown, approximately four ounces, and probably dates back to the first decade of the business.

Sharp & Dohme, Baltimore

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In 1860 Alpheus P. Sharp established a retail pharmacy at the southwest corner of Howard and Pratt Streets in Baltimore. He teamed with Louis Dohme and later his brother Charles Dohme and they gradually developed a list of pharmaceuticals for which they experienced more than a local demand. Their proucts included medicinal fluids, solid and powdered extracts, gelatin and sugar coated pills, effervescent salts, hypodermic and compressed tablets, elixers, cordials, syrups and pepsins.

On December 31, 1885, Sharp retired, and Louis and Charles Dome, along with Ernst Stoffregen continued the business. The notice announcing this change was printed in the January, 6, 1886 edition of the Baltimore Sun.

The business subsequently incorporated in 1892.

In 1889 they established a branch in NYC. According to the NYC Directories, their first location was 16 Cedar Street. In 1891 they were located at 112 William Street and in 1892 they relocated to 41 John Street where they remained through at least 1919. Today, none of these addresses appear to date back to the business.

According to a December 31, 1896 article in the Phamaceutical Era, in 1893 Sharp and Dohme transferred it’s general offices including, the advertising, bookkeeping and billing departments from Baltimore to New York. The New York location was under the direction of Ernst Stroffregen and it fed the company’s growth in the eastern and middle states that naturally looked to New York for supplies. The west and northwest was served from a Chicago location. Laboratories were located in Baltimore and that location included the bottling and wrapping department. In 1896 the Baltimore facility included two buildings; one six stories the other seven stories.

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The 1896 article credits Sharp & Dohme as the first to demonstrate the superiority of porous over compressed hypodermic tablets. It goes on to state that:

Their list of hypodermics is the largest and most complete made in the country. Their hypodermics are remarkably soluble even in cold water and this feature, which is an unvarying one, together with the quality of drug and accuracy of manufacture easily wins the confidence of the doctor.

Sharp & Dohme merged with H K Mulford & Co in 1929. The announcement was printed in the August 9, 1929 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Sharp & Dohme, Inc., announced that it will make an offer to the stockholders of the H.K. Mulford Company of Philadelphia for an exchange of stock that will consolidate the activities of these two nationally known concerns…

The H.K. Mulford Company has the leading biological laboratories in this country and is one of the oldest and best-known organizations in this line of business. Sharp & Dohme is one of the oldest and largest pharmaceutical houses in the country having been founded 69 years ago, manufacturing standard pharmaceutical products and certain controlled medicinal specialties.

The deal, one of the most important mergers in the medical industry at the time, closed two months later. At that time, Sharp & Dohme’s New York operation was listed at 78 Varick Street. H.K. Mulford had offices at 119-121 Varick Street.

In 1953 Sharp & Dome merged with Merck & Co.

The bottle I found is a small brown pill bottle. I’ve seen the exact bottle on E-Bay with a label that reads Lapactic Pills. According to the Pharmaceutical Era:

Lapactic Pills are prescribed in all parts of the civilized world for chronic constipation and atomic dyspepsia. A soluble aloin is made by Sharp & Dohme for use in this pill.

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C T Hurlburt & Co

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C T Hurlburt stands for Charles T Hurlburt. The company, established in 1852 was primarily engaged in the preparation of homoeopathic remedies. The company was also known as the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy.

Charles Hurlburt was the sole proprietor until 1893 when he formed a partnership with his son. The partnership was announced in the Society and News section of the 1893 issue of the “North American Journal of Homoeopathy”as follows:

We notice that the old established house of C T Hurlburt, the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy, which has been under his sole management since 1852 has been changed to a partnership under the firm name of C T Hurlburt & Co. The firm consists of Mr C T Hurlburt and his son, Mr Chas F Hurlburt, who has a long experience in homoeopathic pharmacy under his father’s direction and who is now associated with him as a partner.

The business was active until approximately 1915 occupying several locations over it’s life span. The original location was 437 Broome Street and later, in 1868, the business moved to 898 Broadway between 18th and 19th Street. Advertisements during this period mentioned medicines, vials, cases, books and toilet and fancy goods.

During the late 1870’s they moved to East 19th Street. Here they were first listed at 15 East 19th Street in 1880/81 and by 1886 were listed at 3 East 19th Street where they remained until 1901. Between the mid 1880’s and early 1900’s the business also maintained a 125th Street location. 52, 59,61 and 108 W 125th Street were all listed during this period.

An article in an 1896 issue of the Phamaceutical Era described the business and it’s products during this period:

This firm also known as the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy is one of the oldest houses engaged in preparing alcoholic tinctures of green plants and other supplies used by the Homoeopathic School of Medicine. They are the proprietors of a number of special preparations well known to the general drug trade as “Hurlburts” which have secured a large sale through their own merits, curative qualities and the established reputation and long experience of the manufacturers. These medicines are the result of scientific skill and medical knowledge. One of the oldest and most celebrated is their remedy for Croup coughs and Bronchial troubles, called Hurlburt’s Trachial Drops, prepared both in syrup and tablets – a remedy unqualified for the household in providing safety against that dread of mothers – the croup. Hurlburt’s Rubini Camphor Pills for Colds, Grippe and Dirreha were originated by this firm as the most convenient and desirable way of taking an efficient yet pleasant dose of camphor. They have many imitators, but to secure the genuine buyers should see that the label bears the trademark of the firm. Circulars and prices of these and other valuable remedies can be obtained by addressing Messrs Hurlburt and Co. who offer the trade very advantageous terms.

An advertisement printed in the October 2, 1892 issue of the New York Sun referenced the Tracheal Drops and Rubini Camphor Pills as well as several other products.

 

In 1902 the business was listed at 575 Madison Avenue and by 1906 they were at 7 Barclay, where they stayed until 1911.

In 1912 they were first listed as a NY Corporation with Charles F Hurlburt as President, and an address of 45 Lafayette. They were listed again in1913/14 but in 1915 Hurlburt’s Pharmacal Co was listed with Theo Stemmler as President. I’m not sure whether this is a continuation of the original company or not.

The business apparently sold their products outside of the New York area as well. “Midland Druggist” a publication located in Columbus, Ohio, announced in their December 15, 1899 issue:

C T Hurlburt & Co of New York City issued a new price list reducing the trade prices of their goods to the rates which prevailed before the war tax was imposed (I assume the was a tax associated with the Spanish American War that occurred in 1898).

The 7 Barclay Street address is located in the current footprint of the Woolworth Building. The site for the building was acquired in 1911 and the building was built and opened by 1913. Hurlburt’s move to Lafayette Street in 1911 was certainly necessitated by the acquisition process for the new skyscraper.

The bottle I found is a small (1-2 ounce), square medicine bottle with a tooled finish (maybe Hurlburt’s Trachial Drops??). It’s embossed: C T Hurlburt & Co., so it was made after the partnership with Charles was formed in 1893. The maker’s mark TCW & Co is embossed on the base of the bottle indicating it was made by the T C Wheaton Glass Co. According to various Internet web sites, this specific mark was used between 1888 and 1901. This dates the bottle between 1893 and 1901 and ties it to the E 19th Street location.

Fred’K S Steinmann, Apothecary, 92nd St & Lexington Ave, New York

 

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NYC Directories and the ERA Druggist Directories of the US, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Manila and the Hawaiian Islands indicate that Steinmann operated a pharmacy at 1402 Lexington Avenue (at 92nd Street) from 1907 to approximately 1917 -1920. He also operated a pharmacy in Bronxville NY from 1913 to 1925.

Frederick Steinmann’s story is best told in a letter he wrote to his friends and customers announcing that he was selling his pharmacy business. The letter was printed in the May 8, 1925 issue of the Bronxville Press. I’ve summarized parts of it below.

  • Frederick Steinmann was a graduate of the 1899 class of the New York College of Pharmacy and was manager of drug stores until 1907 when he entered business for himself at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Several years later he established a branch at 152nd Street and Convent Avenue, New York City, and in 1913 he opened a Bronxville branch in the Colonial Building.
  • He talked about how early on the Bronxville store was a losing proposition and how the opening of the rail line and station and movie theatre improved things. During this period, he sold the NY stores (A 1917 directory in the Druggist Circular still lists both the Lexington Avenue and Bronxville locations) and moved from Long Island to Bronxville to devote his energies to building the Bronxville business.
  • Ultimately, on May 1, 1925, he sold out to I Bernitz, a successful pharmacist of New York City who had sold his NYC store several weeks prior. Steinmann announced he was leaving pharmacy and entering the real estate brokerage field.
  • In a reflective piece of the letter he talked about serving the community during the influenza period and during the strain of the weeks of constant call to duty when compounding of prescriptions and medical supplies were in most urgent demand. Digalen, thermometers and caffeine benzoate were unobtainable in New York or in other places but we were fortunate enough to have brought our surplus stock to this store. It seemed a matter of fate to have helped save many lives. Then again, the pleasant duties of serving the healthy as well as the sick recompensed one for all the effort and strife and cares of a business.

The Fred’k S Steinmann name carried on into the 1990’s. In October 1968 the Fred’k S Steinmann Apothecary ltd of Ossining New York filed for incorporation in New York State and on July 1, 1997 the company was dissolved.

Today, 1402 Lexington Avenue is a five-story walk-up with a street level commercial store. According to apartments.com it was built in 1920 (it looks older to me) so it doesn’t date back to the business.

The bottle I found is a small (4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish that has the Amsterdam Avenue and 92nd Street address embossed on it. Embossing on the base indicates it was made by Whitehall Tatum Company (W.T. Co). The fact that there’s no ampersand (between the T and Co) indicates it was made after that business incorporated in 1901. A web site article on Whitehall Tatum puts the specific embossing in the 1901 to 1924 time frame. This confirms that the bottle fits within the 1907 to late teen’s time period that the business was at the Lexington Avenue address.

J S Seabury

 

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The J stands for John S Seabury. Born in 1811, he was a druggist and patent medicine proprietor from the 1830’s to at least 1882. He died in 1888. His obituary, printed in the November 1, 1888 issue of the ‘Pharmaceutical Record” states” John S Seabury, a well known druggist of Jamaica, New York and also in former years of this City, (NY) died at his home a few days ago. He began in business at New Rochelle, was later at Jamaica, and at one time was a member of the firm of Pinchot, Bruen & Seabury of this City (located on Fulton Street). He had an excellent reputation as a druggist and a citizen. He was 77 years of age.

It’s not clear when Seabury moved from New Rochelle to Jamaica, but J. S. Seabury & Co. of Jamaica was listed as an authorized agent for “Brandreth’s Pills” in the August 20, 1839 issue of the Long Island Star so he was doing business in Jamaica by then.

Around this time he was involved with at least two different proprietary products. One was for “Vestamental Soap” advertised in a July 1840 issue of the Long Island Farmer. It stated:

For removing grease spots, paint, etc. from woolen cloths. This is a new article lately invented by Mr. John S Seabury, Druggist, New Rochelle. The proprietor contents himself with merely stating in the label upon each bottle, the purpose of which it is intended, and the method of application; leaving those who choose to give it a trial to judge of its merits. We can say that we have never seen anything half so well adapted to removing spots from woolen garments as the Vestamental Soap. Price 25 cents a bottle. For sale at the New Drug and Book Store, by C. S. Watrous.

The other was called Hawkshurst’s Opodeldoc or Rheumatic Embrocation. The 1841 advertisement in the Long Island Farmer stated:

an effectual and speedy remedy for rheumatism, cramps, sprains, bruises, wounds, stiff joints, sore throat, pains in the chest, side back, etc. prepared for many years by the late John Hawkshurst of Newtown Long Island. The subscriber having procured the original recipe for preparing this embrocation, the genuine article will in future bear his written signature on the directions accompanying each bottle…Certificates of the most respectable character to the efficiency of the above medicine might be procured but the subscriber deems it unnecessary, as he authorizes every vendor of the article to refund the money for any part of a bottle of the embrocation which may be returned, should it not prove as represented.

By 1849 he owned a drug store in Jamaica called “Seabury’s Hall of Pharmacy”. According to an advertisement in the L I Farmer in the early 1850’s it was advertised as a general store as much as a pharmacy, selling an assortment of products such as paints, books, stationary, window glass and lamps in addition to drugs and medicines.

 

Over the years, this store was turned over to an employee named George Peck, first operating under a partnership of Seabury and Peck. Ultimately around 1865 Peck became sole proprietor and changed the name to the “Hall of Pharmacy”

Seabury apparently continued in business on Long Island at other Jamaica locations until at least 1882. He was listed in Curtain’s Long Island Directory of 1868-1869 under patent medicines in Jamaica on Fulton St near Washington Ave and there’s an advertisement for Seabury’s Cough Balsam in an 1871 issue of the Long Island Farmer. The advertisement names Seabury as the sole proprietor in Jamaica.

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Finally, in 1882, Seabury is looking to retire. An 1882 issue of the “Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette” carried the following item headlined as a Rare Business Opportunity:

Desirous of retiring from active business, I offer for sale a first class drug store in the Village of Jamaica L I, also a well established fire insurance agency representing some of the best companies in the State. I would also sell one or all of my popular proprietary medicines. The above would be sold together or separately as desired. Address for particulars J S Seabury, Jamaica L I.

It’s not clear if and when he sold out.

The bottle I found is a small (approximately 2 oz) medicine with an applied finish and only the Seabury name embossed on it. It probably contained a proprietary medicine (maybe cough balsam?) from the Fulton St location.