Mike’s Collection

Drs F. E. & J. A. Greene, New York, Chicago, Boston – “Nervura”

Drs. Frank Eugene Greene and Jared Alfonzo Greene partnered together manufacturing a so called nerve tonic called “Nervura,” between 1887 and 1901. The origins of the product however date back much further, to their father, Reuben Greene, sometime in the mid-1850’s.

Reuben Green was first listed in the Boston directories in 1856 under the heading “Botanic Medicine.,” with an address of 36 Bromfield Street in Boston. Around that time he established what he called the Indian Medical Institute. One of his first advertisements, printed in the October 18, 1856 edition of the “New England Farmer,” described his operation.

Established by Dr. R Greene and his Associates, for the successful and scientific treatment of Cancers, Scrofulous Humors, and all kinds of Diseases upon the Natural or Indian system of medicine.

The Institution now has a large MEDICAL OFFICE and LABORATORY at 36 Bromfield Street, and several boarding houses for the accommodation of patients from abroad. A newspaper has also been established, advocating this system of practice. It is entitled “Nature’s Arcana,” or the “Scientific Indian Physician.” It is published monthly, for fifty cents a year.

There is also connected with the Institution Bathing Rooms, where the patients can have the benefit of ELECTRO-CHEMICAL BATHS.

Another early newspaper advertisement, this one from the March 20, 1857 edition of the “Vermont Watchman and State Journal,” presented the Institute’s sales pitch.

Indian Remedies

The sick, and all interested in the “Natural” or Indian system of medicine, should remember that the only place where the genuine scientific Indian treatment can be obtained, is at the

INDIAN MEDICAL INSTITUTE

No. 36 Bromfield Street, Boston

Dr. Green, Superintendent, is a Scientific Physician, and has traveled much, and has spent much time among the Indians themselves, and therefore knows by actual experience their true mode of practice. The great success which has attended his practice for the last twenty years, has induced others to style themselves “Indian Doctors,” saying they gave recipes which come from the Indians, etc., but the sick should not be thus cheated, for the Indian System of Medicine and its peculiarities can only be learned by actual experience with the Indians themselves, and its full value can only be brought out and APPLIED by the scientific attainments of appropriate study to adapt this system to the wants of civilized society.

This advertisement went on to provide a menu of the Indian remedies, with prices, prepared by Dr. Green at his establishment. The long list included a preparation called “Indian Nerve Tonic,” which may well have been the forerunner of “Nervura”

Reuben Greene’s Indian Institute remained at 36 Bromfield Street until 1864, at which time, newspaper advertisements began to list him at Temple Place. The advertisements originally located him at 18 Temple Place (1864 to 1866), then 10 Temple Place (1867 to 1868) and finally at 34 Temple Place where the business remained through the early 1900’s.

The Boston City directories show that one son, Frank E. Greene, joined his father in business around 1876. That year both were listed as physicians at the 34 Temple Place address.

Meanwhile at about the same time, another son, J. Alonzo Greene, was in business for himself in St. Louis Missouri where between 1880 and 1882 he was listed in the St. Louis directories as a physician with an address of 816 Pine Street. This advertisement, printed in the December 16, 1880 edition of the “Fort Scott (Kansas) Weekly,” shows that he was also involved with the so called Indian style of medicine.

By 1883, the Boston directories placed him with his father and brother, listing them all as physicians at 34 Temple Place.

When Reuben retired the two sons purchased the business.  A feature on J. Alonzo Greene in the January 22, 1896 edition of “Printers Ink,” described what appears to be the beginning of the partnership between the two brothers.

Dr. Reuben Greene, the father of Drs. J. Alonzo and F. E. Greene, treated many nervous diseases and used one particular prescription with wonderful success. When the young men purchased the interest of their father in the business, he told them that this prescription was a great nerve and brain invigorate, in fact the best and most effectual remedy that he had ever known for nervous diseases. It was included in the sale, and from that very same prescription the far-famed panacea, Green’s Nervura, the great blood and nerve remedy, the superior merits of which are now so universally recognized, is made.

Reuben Green’s obituary, printed in the February 25,1900 edition of the “Boston Globe,” reported that “during the last fifteen years he had been retired.” This would put his retirement and, most likely, the sale of the business sometime around 1885.

Shortly after Reuben’s retirement, the business established a second office location in New York City. Beginning in 1887, and running through 1901, the partnership of F. E. & J. A. Greene was listed in the New York City Copartnership and Corporation Directory with an address of 35 West 14th Street.

Though they were partners, it appears that Frank was the one who actively managed the day to day business operations during this time. Through most of the 1890’s, J. Alonzo was living in New Hampshire where he was involved in several businesses and where, in 1896, he even made a run for Governor.

Later, and for only a short time, a third office was established as well. Between 1897 and 1899, Illinois newspaper advertisements referenced a Chicago office at 148 State Street. The Chicago directories listed Frank A Green, J Alonzo’s son, as a physician at that address during the same period so it appears that he had joined the fold and was responsible for that location.

Although it looks like the nerve tonic, or at least some version of it, dated back to the 1850’s, it wasn’t until after Frank E. and J. Alonzo acquired the business that it appeared in advertisements under the name “Nervura.”

This early advertisement, printed in the June 16, 1887 edition of the Boston Globe, heralded it as a cure for ALL diseases of the nervous system, calling it the “Great Medical Discovery of the Century.” The advertisement went on to name 20 conditions curable with Nervura.

Another early advertisement, this one printed in New York’s “Evening World” on November 19, 1887, painted this rosy picture:

Under the use of this wonderful restorative, which is purely vegetable and therefore harmless, the dull eyes regain their brilliancy, the lines in the face disappear, the pale look and hollow cheeks show renewed health and vitality, the weak and exhausted feelings give place to strength and vigor, the brain becomes clear, the nerves strong and steady, the gloom and depression are lifted from the mind, and perfect and permanent health is restored.

The company couldn’t advertise Nervura enough. A quick non-scientific study of newspapers.com revealed that between 1887 and 1904, they ran newspaper advertisements in 43 of the 48 states, neglecting only Washington State, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado. They weren’t small advertisements either, many taking up half a page and more than a few encompassing an entire page.

Like many patent medicines of the time, their advertisements were loaded with testimonials. People from every walk of life, including local politicians,  judges, preachers, were successfully cured after taking Nervura. Many of these testimonials were presented to look like actual news articles. This advertisement, that highlighted an endorsement from Clara Barton, actually appeared on the front page of the March 14, 1897 edition of “The Boston Globe.”

In 1901, the business was still located at both 34 Temple Place in Boston and 35 West 14th Street in N.Y.C., but around that time the business was sold. The 1902 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed it as the “Greene Nervura Company, located at 101 Fifth Avenue.” W. J. Dillaway and Elbert K. Pettingil were named president and secretary respectfully.

A  March 31, 1904 story in the Boston Post explained the reasoning behind the sale.

Many years ago “Old” Dr. Greene established his Greene’s Nervura business, and it proved financially successful. Under the management of his son it grew enormously profitable, and remained so until a few years ago when the field of patent medicine became enormously crowded. In the throes of competitive struggle it was disposed of to two Boston men, Ubert K. Pettingill of the Pettingill (advertising) agency and W. E. L. Dillaway, president of the Mechanics’ National Bank. Mr. Pettingill was one of the bank directors.

Mr. Pettingill endeavored to resuscitate the Nervura business by a campaign of vigorous advertising in which his firm was the prime mover, but the effort proved unsuccessful.

The unsuccessful advertising campaign generated debt that was well out of line with company profits and ultimately, in the Spring of 1904, resulted in the bankruptcy of both the Pettingill Company and the Dr. Greene Nervura Company.

The New York and Boston offices of the Greene Nervura Company remained open during bankruptcy proceedings and the business was conducted by the receiver until June, 1904. At that point it was sold back to Dr. J. A. Greene, for $25,000 cash as a going concern.

The following year in 1905, J. Alonzo Greene was listed in the Boston Directory as a physician at 34 Temple Place and a  medicine manufacturer with an address of 597 Albany Street.  It appears that the Temple Place location served as the office, while the laboratory was located on Albany Street. At this point his brother, Frank E. Greene, was retired and no longer involved.

In 1908 he apparently partnered with his son Frank A. Greene and  changed the name of the business in the Boston directories to “F. A. & J. A. Greene.” After J Alonzo’s death in 1917, Frank A. continued the business until 1931, always at 597 Albany Street.

The revived business continued to maintain their New York office until approximately 1915, initially remaining at 101 Fifth Avenue until 1908 when they moved to 9 West 14th Street.

After buying the business back in June, 1904, it didn’t take long for Greene to get back into advertising. An item in a publication aimed at publishers and advertisers called “The Fourth Estate” stated that by September of 1904 he had already contracted a new advertising agency.

GREEN’S NERVURA AGAIN

Dr. Greene, of Boston, who bought back the Dr. Greene’s Medicine from the defunct Pettingill & Co. Agency, of Boston, has given the advertising of it to the J. T. Wetherald Agency, Boston. The advertising will start this fall along the same lines hitherto followed by Dr. Greene.

The last newspaper advertisements that I can find for Nervura occur in 1927. By then they no longer use the word cure and have been toned down quite a bit: “natural herb remedies that quiet the nerves and strengthen the system”

I’ve seen Green’s Nervura included in drug store price lists during the 1930’s but it’s extremely rare.

Thirty-Four Temple Place in Boston certainly doesn’t date back to the 1860’s. According to streeteasy.com, the current buildings in New York, at 35 West 14th Street and 101 Fifth Avenue were built in 1915 and 1908 respectively, so they don’t date back to the business. Likewise, 9 West 14th Street is part of a modern apartment building.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown medicine similar to the labeled one recently pictured on the Internet.

It’s embossed Drs. F. E. & J. A. Greene on one side and is embossed with three locations; New York, Chicago and Boston, on the other side. If I’m right, and the Chicago office was only in existence from 1897 to 1899, this dates the bottle to that time period.

V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co., New York

Valentine Loewer was the founder and initial proprietor of V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co. He named the brewery after Gambrinus, who, according to the old Encyclopedia Britannica was:

“A mythical Flemish King who is credited with the first brewing of beer in 1261. His portrait had the place of honor in the Brewers Guild Hall in Brussels.”

Valentine Loewer’s obituary, in the November 1, 1904 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review,” provided some general information about him and his business.

He was born in Leiselheim, near Worms, Germany, and came to this country in 1860. In 1868 he established a weiss beer brewery in New York, which in 1879 was converted into a larger beer brewery, growing rapidly in output until the present annual production of 250,000 barrels was reached. Loewer’s sons, Jacob and George, were associated in business with him, the former being secretary and the latter treasurer of the company.

The original brewery was first listed in the 1867/1868 NYC Directory as Loewer & Josy, with an address of 605 West 51st Street in Manhattan. Loewer was listed as a partner along with Jacob Josy. Their partnership was short-lived and in 1870/1871 Loewer was listed individually as a brewer at the same location. The next year, in the 1871/1872 directory, he was listed at 529 West 41st Street, where the business remained well into the 1940’s.

It’s not clear what changes were made to the brewery in 1879 but the obituary specifically used the word “converted.” This leads me to believe that the brewery was converted to include production of the bottom fermented lager beer, which was gaining popularity in the U. S. at the time. Prior to that, the brewery was producing weiss beer, which is top fermented.  This is supported, at least in my mind, by this May 16, 1915 advertisement in the (New York) Sun for their lager beer which states “Loewer’s has been in business since 1879.”

It wasn’t until 1887 or 1888 that the business began using the “V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co.,” name in the directories. In 1889, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Valentine Loewer, president; his son, George Loewer, secretary and Charles J. G. Hall, treasurer. By 1900 George had become treasurer and Jacob Loewer, was secretary. Throughout this entire period their address continued to be listed as 529 West 41st Street.

Around the turn of the century, the brewery apparently implemented significant upgrades and additions. An item in the May 20, 1901 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review” described the changes that were taking place.

The V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewing Co. of New York, has built a boiler and engine room, 50 x 30 feet; a new office 20 x 60 feet, three stories high, all brick and iron, equipped with all modern improvements. Four new boilers, 200 horse power each, and two ice machines of 215 and 70 tons respectively, have been put in. A new brew-house and a malt storage house have been contracted for. The brew-house will be 50 x 60, all brick and iron, equipped with all modern machinery and apparatus. The malt storage house will have a capacity of 20,000 bushels.

By the time the dust settled, their office, brewery and cold storage facility were all located adjacent to each other in the block from Tenth to Eleventh Avenues, between 41st and 42nd Street; the office at 528 – 532 West 42nd Street and the brewery and cold storage facility at 521-533 West 41st Street. Their bottling plant was on the other side of 41st Street at 536-538 West 41st street.

This advertisement, included in the Commemorative Book of the 11th Convention of the U. S. Brewmasters Association in 1899, appears to be a rendering that showed the future 1901 improvements in 41st Street looking west toward the Hudson River. The Brewery is on the right (north) side of 41st Street.

Later, on February 3, 1911, The brewery gained permission from the City of New York to “install, maintain and use a 15 – inch pipe “under and across” 41st Street connecting the brewery and the bottling department.

the said pipe to be used to contain a small pipe for the transmission of beer, ale and other malt liquors between the said premises for bottling purposes.

After Valentine Loewer’s death on October 10, 1904 his son George was listed in the directories as president until his death on January 30, 1915. At that point, the younger son, Jacob took over.

During Prohibition it appears that the V Loewer Gambrius Brewery Co. stayed in business making non-alcoholic beverages for which they registered a number of trademarks. Three that caught my eye, filed and published in 1919, were for a brand name called T.N.T.

Around the same time, Jacob Loewer also established a second corporation called the Loewer Cold Storage Corporation to take advantage of his refrigeration facilities. The notice of incorporation was published in the February, 1920 edition of “Ice and “Refrigeration.”

The Loewer Cold Storage Corporation, Manhattan N. Y., capital stock $30,000. Incorporators: J. Loewer, H. D. Muller and H. D. Muller, Jr.

Both the brewery and cold storage company listed their address as the brewery office address of 528 West 42nd Street during the Prohibition years.

As Prohibition ended Loewer’s was back in the business of brewing beer. An article in the March 24, 1933 edition of the (New York) “Daily News” entitled “Orders Deluge Brewers and Hundreds Get Jobs” mentioned several breweries including Loewer’s, stating:

Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewing Co., 528 W. 42nd St., has put all its men back on full time and expects to increase the force.

The optimism expressed in this article was apparently short-lived. After Prohibition was repealed the brewery continuously operated at a deficit. At the annual meeting of the company, held on March 28, 1941, it was reported that the loss for that year alone was in excess of $70,000 and the latest report of Dun Bradstreet read:

Comparative fiscal statements for a like period have reflected an unbalanced financial condition, a growing current debt and a substantial deficit.

On January 8, 1943 an involuntary petition of bankruptcy was filed against V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co., and subsequently, on April 22, 1943, the court approved a sale of the brewery by the trustee to Brewery Management Corporation at a price of $100,000. The brewery closed five years later in 1948.

Today, there’s no sign of the brewery buildings.

I found a machine made export beer bottle embossed, “V Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co. New York” in small letters around the shoulder. The bottle is similar in shape and size to this labeled example that recently appeared for sale on the Internet.

     

The numbers “1918” is embossed in large letters on the base of the bottle. Other examples of this bottle that I’ve seen exhibit similar numbers in the 1930’s range.  This leads me to believe that it most likely indicates the year the bottle was produced.

F. Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

The original manufacturer of F. Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger was Frederick Brown, whose business, for most of its history, was located in Philadelphia, at the northeast corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets. Over the course of almost 100 years it was run by three generations of the Brown family.

It all started when Frederick Brown opened what he called a Drug and Chemical Store sometime in 1822. That year, during early December, an item announcing the opening of the new store was printed in several editions of Philadelphia’s “National Gazette.”

A photograph of what appears to be his original store appeared in a commemorative book entitled ” The First Century of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy,” published in 1921.

As early as 1823 Brown was running newspaper ads for several store items including Rose Leaves, Sulphate of Quinine and Swaim’s Panaccea. This advertisement for Rose Leaves was one of his earliest, printed in several June, 1823 editions of the “National Gazette.”

Based on Brown’s own newspaper advertisements from the 1880’s, Brown began making his Essence of Jamaica Ginger in 1828.

That being said, it wasn’t until 1849 that advertisements for it began to appear in the newspapers.

The first newspaper advertisement that I can find for Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger was dated June 2, 1849 and it appeared in several newspapers that year including the August 11, 1849 edition of the Sunbury (Pennsylvania) American.

The advertisement said, in part:

Prepared and sold only, at FREDERICK BROWN’s DRUG and CHEMICAL Store, N. E. corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. The Essence is warranted to possess in a concentrated form, all the valuable properties of Jamaica Ginger and will be found on trial an excellent Family Medicine…

Interestingly, according to the last sentence of the ad, it was available in Sunbury, not from a drug store or sales agent, but at the newspaper office itself.

Another early item, which appeared in the Louisville (Kentucky) Daily Courier on November 29, 1849, appeared to be introductory in nature.

Mr. Frederick Brown, the well known Philadelphia druggist and chemist, has prepared a medicine he calls “Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger,” which, on account of its great virtues and utility, is bound soon to acquire a wide reputation and popularity. It is an excellent tonic, possessed of all the stimulating qualities of brandy without any of the debilitating effects produced by liquor, and it is strongly recommended to inebriates who wish to reform. The medicine is for sale by T. H. McAllister, Pearl Street between Market and Jefferson.

These advertisements lead me to believe that between 1828 and the mid to late 1840’s, his Essence of Jamaica Ginger was manufactured in his drug store, in small quantities, and sold locally. This apparently changed in 1851 when his original shop was replaced with a large multi-story building. In addition to expanding his manufacturing facilities, this new building also continued to house Brown’s corner drug store as well. Called the Frederick Brown Building, it continued to list “Fifth and Chestnut” as its address in the Philadelphia directories.

The founding Brown continued to run the operation until he passed away in 1864. At that point, his son, Frederick Brown, Jr., inherited the business. Prior to that he had been managing his own Philadelphia drug store on the southeast corner of 9th and Chestnut, under the Continental Hotel.

Brown Jr. continued to grow the business. By the mid to late 1800’s they were advertising in most of the east coast states and as far west as Kansas. In addition, this advertisement, printed in the June 1, 1871 edition of Philadelphia’s “The Nation,” included both both London and Paris locations as well.

According to his obituary printed in the October 15,1894 edition of “The Pharmaceutical Era,” Frederick Brown Jr. discontinued the retail store in 1889 in order to focus on manufacturing.

In 1864 his father died, and he secured full possession of the business. The store at Fifth and Chestnut was somewhat improved and he remained there until August, 1889, when he moved to 127 South Fourth Street. This store was right in the financial heart of the city, and the business soon began to assume large proportions. But, notwithstanding, Mr. Brown was not contented. Since his father’s death the drug portion was attended to by his manager, Charles G. Dodson, who in 1890, bought out the store. Mr. Brown was then free to devote himself to the manufacture of the Essence of Jamaica Ginger, which he had been doing for some time, and with which his name has since been identified.

Around the same time, on September 4, 1890, he incorporated the business as the Frederick Brown Company. Their early corporate information was included in a publication called Philadelphia Securities, published in 1892.

It named Frederick Brown Jr. as president and long-time employee Henry E. Robertson as treasurer. According to Robertson’s obituary in the September 1, 1919 edition of the Carlisle (Pennsylvania) Sentinel:

He entered the employ of the Brown firm in 1860, when only fourteen years old, and remained with them until his death….Everyone knew “Ned” Robertson, or “Doc” as he was called by patrons of the drug store.

After Frederick Brown Jr.’s death on September 25, 1894, the third generation of the Brown family, Frederick Zerban Brown, assumed the presidency. In 1898, he re-established the retail store/pharmacy in the Frederick Brown Building. An item in the September, 1898 edition of the National Druggist described the new store.

The company has recently determined to re-establish the pharmacy on the ancient corner, where, for so many years – upwards of three quarters of a century – the Browns, father, son and grandson, held forth.

The new shop has been fitted up in antique oak, and among the many beautiful accessories is an onyx fountain, from the old and well-known house of Robert Green & Son, fitted up with sliding door syrup tanks, and other improvements of that maker. In a prominent place in the shop is a life-size bust of the founder, the original Frederick Brown. Presiding over the establishment, as general manager, is Mr. Henry E. Robertson…

The company remained in the Frederick Brown Building on Chestnut and Fifth until 1907 when it was torn down to make way for construction of a new building called the Lafayette Building that is still there today. This necessitated a move to 17 N. 6th Street, where the business was listed through 1919.

Throughout the years the company was associated with a wide range of proprietary medicines. This 1885 advertisement alone included 15 different products with the Brown name attached.

Without a doubt though, their signature product and largest revenue producer was Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger. Sold as a curative for the stomach and bowels, their advertisements typically touted it as the “Standard Family Medicine.” This advertisement, printed in more than a few 1861 editions of the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” was typical.

Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger – Frederick Brown, Chemist and Druggist, N. E. corner of Chestnut and Fifth Streets, Philadelphia, sole manufacturer of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger which is recognized and prescribed by the medical faculty, and has become the standard family medicine of the United States.

The essence is a preparation of unusual excellence for ordinary diarrhea, incipient cholera, in short, in all cases cases of prostration of the digestive functions, it is of inestimable value. During the prevalence of epidemic cholera and summer complaints of children, it is peculiarly efficacious; no family, individual or traveler should be without it.

Another advertisement, disguised as a news item in the May, 18, 1861 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested that it was an indispensable item for the soldier heading off to fight in the civil war.

Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger – An Indispensable Medicine for the Soldiers – As it is impracticable for soldiers individually to carry a medicine chest, it has been deemed advisable by eminent physicians for every volunteer to be provided with a bottle of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger…

In ordinary diarrhea, incipient cholera, and in all cases of prostration of the digestive organs, the medicine has been found a sovereign remedy, and we therefore feel it to be a humane suggestion to the multitudes who are now about exchanging the comforts of home for the exposure of the camp, to recommend them to supply themselves with this invaluable medicine. Let all our readers interest themselves in carrying out this suggestion, by seeing that every soldier who leaves our city is provided with this simple, but effectual safeguard against sickness and suffering.

Like many patent medicines of the time, Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger contained a high percentage of alcohol. Nonetheless, their label provided dosage recommendations for children as young as two years old.

    

Prepared by Frederick Brown, successor to and devisee under the will of Frederick Brown deceased.

Dose – For a grown person one teaspoonful, for a child 10 to 12 years old, half a teaspoonful and for a child 2 to 5 years old 15 to 20 drops. To be given in sugar and water.

Just as incredibly, their June 2, 1849 advertisement brazenly called Brown’s Jamaica Ginger “a great agent in the cause of temperance,” and even marketed it to “those who wish to reform”

It is particularly recommended as a tonic, to persons recovering from fever or other diseases, a few drops imparting to the stomach a glow and vigor, equal to a wine glass of brandy or other stimulant, without any of the debilitating effects, which are sure to follow the use of liquor of any kind; and it is therefore serviceable to children and females. To the aged it will prove a great comfort; to the dyspeptic, and to those who are predisposed to gout or rheumatic affections, it gives great relief; and to the inebriate who wishes to reform, but whose stomach is constantly craving the noxious liquor, it is invaluable – giving tone to the digestive organs, and strength to resist temptation; and is consequently a great agent in the cause of temperance.

It appears that it was their alcohol content that ultimately lead to the liquidation of the business. The company’s demise was reported in the March, 1920 edition of the “Meyer Druggist” in a column called “Trade Notes.”

The Passing of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

With the coming of national legislation affecting alcoholic medicinal preparations , the Frederick Brown Company, of Philadelphia, has decided to terminate a prosperous business which is now in its ninety-ninth year. Frederick Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger has always been made the same way as in 1832 and of the very highest quality of ingredients. It contained less alcohol and more ginger than the U. S. P. IX article.

It’s certainly possible that Henry Robertson’s death in 1919  may have also contributed to the closing of the business.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown oval shaped flask, probably four or five ounces with a flat, finish. It was probably made sometime in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Earlier versions of the same bottle utilized a tapered finish.

I couldn’t end this post without sharing an advertisement printed in the December 6, 1882 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal. It’s an acrostic that spells out “F BROWNS GINGER”

 

Christo Bottling Co., Washington D.C.

      

The Christo Bottling Company was in operation from 1917 to 1927. It’s primary founder was Herbert Guggenheim, who, according to 1920 census records, was born in 1886 and a native of Washington D.C.

Beginning in 1907 and up through 1911 he was listed in the Washington D.C. directories as a “wholesale liquor” dealer with an address of 1636 9th Street, nw. The directory listings did not associate him with a specific company but a newspaper advertisement printed in the January 1, 1910 edition of the Washington Times called his business the Phoenix Liquor Company.

Between 1912 and 1917 Guggenheim was listed as a “salesman” or sometimes “solicitor,” and then, sometime in 1917, he partnered with Sydney E. Gunst and established the Christo Bottling Company. The 1918 and 1919 Washington D.C directories listed their business address as 931 C Street, nw, with both Gunst and Guggenheim named as proprietors. In 1920 Gunst was no longer included in the listing, apparently retired.

The business remained at the C Street location until 1924 at which time it was listed at 209-11 11th Street, nw., where it remained through 1927.

Primarily operated during the prohibition years, the business dealt in non-alcoholic beverages. They apparently served as a local agent for the Richmond, Virginia based Christo Manufacturing Company, bottling and distributing Cristo-Cola and Cristo Ginger Ale. In addition, they must have held contracts with other beverage companies as well. This advertisement, printed in the November 20, 1917 edition of the (Washington D.C.) Evening Star, named the Christo Bottling Co. as a distributor for “Moer-Lo,” a beverage manufactured by a company named Moerlein of Cincinnati, Ohio.

 An invigorating and non-intoxicating beverage with sparkle, tang and individuality.

In addition to selling Christo Ginger Ale, by 1918 or 1919 the company was also selling another brand of ginger ale as well called “G & G.” Using the “G & G” trade name got Guggenheim into a legal battle with long time ginger ale manufacturer Cantrell & Cochrane who sold their ginger ale under the brand name “C & C” and claimed copyright infringement. According to the appellate court records:

At first defendant conducted his ginger ale business exclusively under the name of Christo Bottling Company. He testified that “the prominent name of his business in 1917 and 1918 was the Christo Bottling Company”; that “he began to use the G & G bottle about 1918 or 1919.” From that time he manufactured and sold both Christo ginger ale and the G & G brand. He widely advertised the G & G brand, or caused it to be advertised, but under the name of the G & G Bottling Company, and never under the name of Guggenheim & Gunst. Although all other witnesses were familiar with the C & C brand, defendant disclaimed any knowledge of it at the time he adopted G & G as his mark. He was asked why he could not sell the G & G ginger ale under the name of the Christo Bottling Company, and replied: “Well, we prefer to have a distinctive name for it.”

There’s no record of the G & G Bottling Company that I can find in either the Washington D. C. general or business directories so it appears that the company existed in name only. This is supported by an advertisement for G & G Ginger Ale in the April 21, 1921 edition of the Washington Times in which the G & G Bottling Company used the Christo Bottling Company’s C Street address.

Not surprisingly, in a decision dated January 4, 1926, the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals found in favor of Cantrell & Cochrane.

G & G more nearly approximates C & C both in appearance and sound, than any other two letters, and their continued use inevitably would result in the reaping by the defendant of the benefits incident to the long established and widely advertised business of the plaintiff. The decree is affirmed, with costs.

The Christo Bottling Company was not listed in the 1928 directory but Guggenheim was; as the proprietor of the Guggenheim Company, a bottling business located at 3301 K Street, nw. Whether or not this change in company name was related to the court case is not clear. The Guggenheim Company remained listed through 1934, always at the K Street address.

The bottle I found is a 7 1/2 ounce machine made bottle that dates to the 1917 to 1927 time frame of the company. It’s a good guess that it either contained Christo-Cola or Ginger Ale. How and why it ended up on Long Island…who knows?

Westchester County Brewing Co., Mount Vernon and Pelham, New York

      

The Westchester County Brewing Company, sometimes referred to as the Westchester Brewing Co. or the Westchester County Brewery,  was established in late 1909 and maintained facilities in both Mount Vernon, New York and across the Hutchinson River in Pelham, New York. The company founders were William H. Ebling, Jr. and William Hobby. According to his December 10, 1910 obituary, Ebling came from a family of New York City brewers.

Mr. Ebling was the son of William Ebling, who with Phillip Ebling, established the brewery at 156th Street and St.Ann’s Avenue, The Bronx, years ago. He was associated with his father and uncle until the brewery was sold. Two years ago he and William Hobby organized the Westchester County Brewing Company.

Ebling’s partner, William Hobby, was the proprietor of the Hobby Bottling Company located in Mount Vernon, N.Y., a business that, according to a notice printed in the March 15, 1898 edition of the New York Times, incorporated around that time. The advertisement below, from the 1902 Mount Vernon Directory, listed their address as 21-25 Prospect Avenue, an address they maintained from 1899 up through 1912.

Ebling and Hobby established the Westchester County Brewing Company sometime in late 1909. The January 1, 1910 edition of the “New Rochelle Pioneer” reported the formation of the new corporation.

BIG BREWERY NEAR HERE

Will Be Located at Pelham and Employ One Hundred and Fifty Men

The Westchester County Brewery has just been incorporated with a capital of $400,000 to take over the defunct Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant at Pelham and the bottling business of William Hobby of Mount Vernon. The company will install a brewing plant to have a capacity of from 50,000 to 60,000 barrels of beer a year and an artificial ice plant with an output of 100 tons a day.

In the prospectus it is interesting to note the statement that Westchester County consumed more than 500,000 barrels of beer per annum of which it produces less than 10 percent. The only beer brewed in the county at present is in Yonkers.

The company will operate under what is known as a co-operative plan; that is the retailers will be interested financially in the venture.

The Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant had been listed in the Pelham directories dating back to 1902. Early maps show that it was located adjacent to the Hutchinson River near Sparks Avenue. This advertisement was included in the 1907 Pelham Directory.

The first directory reference for the Westchester County Brewing Co. was in 1910 and it indicated that the new business continued to use the properties of the combined companies.. That year they listed their office (and bottling department) address as 21-23 Prospect Avenue, the address of the Hobby Bottling Company  and they listed two locations for their brewery and ice plant; one at  Sparks Ave, Pelham, the former location of the Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant and the other at Pelhamdale and Riverside Aves and E 4th, Mt Vernon. Ebling was named president and Hobby, secretary/treasurer. After Ebling’s death, the 1911 directory named Hobby, president and Sydney A. Syme, secretary treasurer.

The future brewing plant mentioned in the February 1, New Rochelle Pioneer story was ultimately constructed on the property of the former Pelham Hygia Ice Plant. The May 1, 1911 edition of the Brewer’s Review announced that it was fully operational.

The Westchester County Brewery in Pelham, N.Y., is now in full operation, with an annual capacity of 80,000 barrels. The refrigeration plant has a capacity of 120 tons daily The value of the building, land and outfit is estimated at $500,000.

The formal opening was announced in the June 15,1911 edition of the “American Bottler.”

The Westchester County Brewery, North Pelham, New York, was formally opened on June 2nd, when about 500 visitors were shown through the buildings and entertained with an old-fashioned New England clam bake, served on the lawn.

The new plant is up to the minute in its equipment and President William Hobby, who is also proprietor of the Hobby Bottling Works, Mount Vernon, N.Y., says that its products will be the finest that skill, experience and high-grade  materials can manufacture.

This image, taken from one of their advertising signs, depicts the new brewery as well as the Mount Vernon office and bottling department shown in the upper right hand corner.

Apparently, Ebling and Hobby had financially overextended themselves building the new brewery and not long after its formal opening the business was in financial trouble. In his September 9, 2018 blog, the Town Historian of Pelham, Blake Bell, detailed their financial difficulties. Portions of his blog are presented below and the entire write-up can be found at www. pelhamplus.com.

In the months leading up to the completion of the main facility and its opening, the pair touted the new business as a sure “bonanza” and sold stock in the venture to investors throughout Westchester County and New York City.

Although the United States economy was healthy in 1910, Ebling and Hobby over-extended themselves and their new business with debt at precisely the time the U.S. Economy moved from a twenty year period of rapid growth to a twenty year period of modest growth…

In less than a year the new business was in trouble. On September 12, 1911, bankruptcy proceedings were commenced as a voluntary petition for dissolution of the business was filed. In reality, the bankruptcy was merely a move to fend off creditors. There were more than twenty lawsuits pending against the company at the time of filing with some nearing judgement.

As the proceedings dragged along, the brewery continued to operate under receivers including William O. Hobby (the remaining living founder). Hobby’s own financial situation, however, grew increasingly bleak. In March, 1915, Hobby filed for personal bankruptcy.

The company continued to be listed in the directories up through 1918, at which time their financial difficulties combined with looming prohibition forced the sale of the brewery. The planned sale, to the Knickerbocker Ice Company was announced under the heading “Icy Items” in the January 1919 edition of “Ice and Refrigeration.”

It is reported that negotiations for the purchase of the Westchester Brewing Co.’s plant in North Pelham, N.Y., by the Knickerbocker Ice Co., are pending and that a deal will likely be consummated within a short time. The Knickerbocker Ice Co. has been furnishing considerable natural ice to the residents of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and their environs, but it is stated there has become a profound preference for artificial ice, and the company being desirous of conforming with the consumers’ wants, the ice manufacturing equipment in the brewing company’s plant will enable them to manufacture sufficient ice for this section.

The 1920 directory listed the Knickerbocker Ice Company at the Sparks Avenue location so apparently the sale closed sometime in 1919. Ultimately, the old brewery building was razed in the early 1950’s.

The bottle I found is a machine made, export style, bottle with the company name embossed in a logo on the shoulder. Mount Vernon, N.Y. is embossed at the base of the bottle in small letters. The bottle certainly dates to the operational period of the business; say 1911 to 1918.

The Scotch Oats Essence Co., N.Y.

 

Established by Henry H. Kane, the Scotch Oaks Essence Co. was a short-lived patent medicine business located in New York City. It’s signature preparation, Dr. Buckland’s Scotch Oats Essence, was exposed as a fraud by the medical community in the late 1880’s

Henry H. Kane, patent medicines, was listed in the NYC directories between 1886 and 1888 at 174 Fulton Street. Newspaper advertisements for the Scotch Oats Essence Company that also use that address, date back to the fall of 1885. The only directory listing specifically for the Scotch Oats Essence Company that I can find is in the 1889 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with an address of 160 Fulton Street. By January, 1889, the company was out of business. The January 11, 1889 edition of the Burlington (Vermont) Independent summed it up rather succinctly.

Scotch Oaks Essence

It is gratifying to learn that this pernicious fraud has proved a losing business, in consequence of its exposure by the medical and sanitary authorities, and the concern has failed.

The rise and fall of Scotch Oats Essence begins with the purported benefits of the preparation. Even in the unrestrained patent medicine era their claims were extravagant. One of their advertising pamphlets was summarized in a July 1889 edition of the Boston Journal of Health.

The praises of this (Dr. Buckland’s Scotch Oats) occupy the body of the pamphlet. It was to cure paralysis, epilepsy, dyspepsia, alcoholism, premature decay, headache, sterility, and, note this, the opium and morphine habits. It is declared to be “adapted to infants and octogenarians” alike, and that it destroys the craving for opium, morphine, alcohol and chloral.

This advertisement from the October 31, 1885 edition of the (New York) Sun covers a lot of the same territory and adds:

It builds up, restores and reinvigorates without falsely stimulating. wholly free from all Narcotics

Another advertisement  claimed that their remedy contained “three of the most beneficial, yet harmless, medical agents known.”

Avenesca – a white amorphous powder that has a direct and distinct nerve tonic, heating and anti-spasmodic action;

Soluable Oats Phosphoids – the most perfect and in fact the only nerve food known to medical science and

Boskine – a principle found in oatmeal husk that keeps the blood pure, digestion perfect and the brain and mind clear

The company advertised extensively, much of it preying on the fear and lack of knowledge of the general public at the time. Many of their advertisements linked minor, everyday ailments endured by just about everyone with serious deadly consequences. In these newspaper advertisements from 1886, they linked common occurrences like headaches and sleeplessness with insanity, paralysis and brain softening. The cure? Scotch Oats Essence, of course.

  

This “Four Little Pigs” advertisement that I found in the November 10, 1887 edition of the New York Times outrageously pushed this concept even further.

This little pig went to the drug store

This little pig stayed home

This little pig got Scotch Oats Essence

This little pig got none

With the little pig who got none depicted in a coffin!

Motivated by the outlandish claims, outlandish advertising and resultant  popularity of the preparation, in the first few months of 1888, a publication called “The Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette” performed an independent analysis of it’s contents. The results of the analysis, printed in their April, 1888 issue, revealed that the preparation contained a combination of alcohol and morphine. The rather lengthy “Druggist Circle”  story was summarized quite nicely in an April 20, 1888 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Patent Medicine Frauds

The exposures which have been recently made of the contents entering into the composition of the proprietary tonic known as Scotch Oats Essence serve to call attention to a great and growing danger. This patent medicine has been freely advertised as a “tired brain and tired nerve recuperator,” a cure for the morphine or opium habit, and a medicine that the aged and infants alike could take with safety and benefit.As most persons are more or less tired in brain or nerves in this busy, driving world it is natural that the stuff should have a large sale. The qualities claimed for it, as well as its wide sale and use, have led to analyses of it by prominent chemists, with the result that they find it contains 40 per cent of alcohol, which is a pretty considerable quantity of liquor when large doses are taken. Worse than this, every four ounce bottle of the fluid contains from one-third to one-half a grain of morphine, which both chemists and doctors say is sufficient to create an appetite for the poison instead of curing the habit, as it claimed for the medicine. Dr. Edson of the New York Board of Health says of it: “The sale of the nostrum cannot be stopped too quickly. The feeding of children on morphine is a thing that cannot be stopped too soon, to say nothing of innocent adults being given the morphine without knowing it.” Dr Eccles, Dean of the Long Island College Hospital, who has analyzed it, also says:

“Without a shadow of a doubt, then, Scotch Oats Essence contains morphine. “Avenesca,” the fanciful title somebody has given the active agent of this proprietary preparation, is, then, a synonym for morphine, and the article that, like opium, will “quiet pain and produce sleep” is after all morphine. It is this thing, too, that is pledged to destroy the morphine craving and “free the victim from this terrible bondage.” To sat that “the infant and octogenarian may alike use it without harm and much benefit” is calculated to mislead the unwary in a manner that is pitiable.

The Druggist Circular didn’t stop there but attempted to track down the Dr Buckland who’s name was associated with the product. A month later, their May, 1888 edition made it very clear that the good doctor never existed.

A representative of the Circular visited Milford Conn., the alleged birthplace of this “great benefactor of the human race,” and found that the oldest inhabitants had never heard of a Dr Buckland, had never even heard of such a family, and did not believe that any such person or family had ever lived in or near Milford within the last 90 years…The fame of this marvelous man has, through a liberal use of printer’s ink, spread over the whole United States, while the place of his alleged birth has never heard of him and even denies his very existence.

The story went on to compare a portrait of the supposed Dr Buckland taken from a Scotch Oats Essence advertising pamphlet with that of a German violinist and composer named Ludwig Spohr who died in 1859.

Their conclusion:

It is interesting to note the resemblance to the alleged Dr Buckland, in every little detail, and it would seem on the first glance that some unscrupulous person might have passed him off on the Scotch Oats Essence makers as a good looking figure-head to use as an inventor; one who would inspire and hold the confidence of the public, while they were being victimized.

The company attempted to fight back in the newspapers. In this May 13, 1888 advertisement in The (Philadelphia) Times they labeled the Druggist Circular’s analysis as a “Cowardly Attempt at Assassination”

The advertisement went on to say:

So many hopeless invalids, paralytics, dyspeptics, neuralgics have been wholly cured, so many pompous doctors have seen hearty and strong patients whom they have pronounced incurable, or given up to die; so many beds of labor have been robbed of the pangs and dangers of childbirth; so many times has the doors of the madhouse and the inebriate asylum been shut in the very faces of poor victims by the timely use of Scott’s Oats Essence, that a certain clique decided that it “must be put down,” “destroyed,” “wiped out” at any cost, and they proceeded to try and do it. But “truth will prevail,” for every case that Scotch Oats Essence has cured a hundred friends and defenders of the remedy have been raised up, and its reputation is so strong today, that no clique, no lying, no false outcry, no ridiculous accusations or false reports can encompass its ruin.

And their defense was quite predictable.

Doctored specimens of the remedy with which poisonous drugs had been stealthily injected through the cork or placed in the bottles were sent to certain chemists and several Boards of Health, and these innocent and honest men were made unjustly to take sides with the assassins and were used by them to defame the great remedy.

Nonetheless, rather quickly, the Druggist Circular articles were picked up by the newspapers and by the end of the year the sheriff’s office had closed it down. The December 1888 issue of the Western Druggist reported the company’s demise.

Another obituary notice is in order; the Scotch Oats Essence Company has departed this life, and its mortuary advertisement appears in the form of a notice under “Sheriff’s Sales,” thus constituting the liveliest and truest announcement the company ever had. The wind-up occurred in consequence of two judgements, for $8,131 and $31,479 respectively, and it is likely we have heard the last of this concern.

While that may have been the end of Scotch Oats Essence, Kane continued on as a scam artist until he ended up in prison. According to this July 1, 1906 story written at the time of his death:

Dr. Henry H. Kane whose career in this city was full of vicissitudes died on Thursday at Saranac Lake of tuberculosis. He was taken ill about a year ago, soon after his release from prison, where he had been sent for four months, after his plea of guilty to the charge of having defrauded John W. McCullum of Mount Vernon of $10,000 by means of an alleged “radium treatment.”

Dr Kane conducted a sanitarium at 136 West Thirty-fourth Street when he was arrested in 1905. The detectives who had been making an investigation of his methods said he had made a fortune through fraudulent practices.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown 3 to 4 ounce square medicine. It certainly dates to the 1885 to 1888 life span of the company. It resembles several labeled examples recently advertised for sale on the internet.

  

Dr. Peter Fahrney & Sons Co., Chicago, Ill., USA. “The Old Reliable Home Preparation for Home Use”

The founder and original proprietor of the business was Dr Peter Fahrney. He, along with his his four sons, named Ezra Camerer, William Henry, Josiah Harvey and Emery Homer all had significant roles in the growth and management of the business over the years.

A section featuring Dr. Peter Fahrney was included in a publication entitled “Notables of the West – Being the Portraits and Biographies of Progressive Men of the West Who Have Helped in the Development and History Making of this Wonderful Country, Vol. 2” published in 1915. The following information from this feature provided some facts and insight into his early life and the beginnings of his company.

Dr. Peter Fahrney, Proprietary Medicines, Chicago, Illinois, was born near the village of Quincy, in Cumberland Valley, Maryland, February 2, 1840.

His grandfather, (also named) Peter Fahrney, over a century ago acquired fame as a noted herb practitioner, who wandered afoot over Pennsylvania and into Maryland and Virginia in the practice of his profession. He was familiarly known as the ‘Little Dutch Doctor,” and one of his special preparations which he devised as a blood cleanser became eminently successful as far as it became known…His son, Jacob, the father of Dr. Peter Fahrney…devoted most of his time to the dispensing of the herbs his father had perfected and upon which he also improved and made advancements.

Determined to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Peter Fahrney entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, after which he took a course in chemical and pharmaceutical training at the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy.

This step is explained by the statement that he had made up his mind that a capable pharmacist, grounded in all the details of apothecary craft, would be enabled to present the world in convenient form the remedies that made “old” Dr. Peter his reputation.

The younger Fahrney began his practice at Morrison’s Cove, in Blair County Pennsylvania and later moved to Franklin County, Maryland, where he took over the practice of his cousin, Dr. John Burkholder, who had become ill and incapacitated. By this time he had begun to manufacture patent medicines and had achieved some success when the Civil War forced his move to Illinois.

Dr. Fahrney had achieved notable success when the rebellion broke out. In the sweep of armies through the Cumberland, his native city was put to the torch and his fortunes broken. He then removed to Ogle County, Illinois, where he enjoyed a reasonable share of prosperity. In 1869 he arrived in Chicago. He located at what is known as the North Side, securing a site for a laboratory in the section of Chicago just north of the river, his plant one of the first to be located on North Dearborn Street. He was well on his way to notable success when the fire of 1871 came and laid the building in ashes. With indomitable spirit he resumed operations within a few days and was soon again supplying his remedies to all parts of the country. A new location was found on South Hoyne Avenue, on the West Side and within a few years the business had reached the proportions of a national enterprise.

The Chicago directories confirm and add to this information. The address given for P Fahrney in the Edwards Chicago Directory (containing names and locations up through Dec 12, 1871) was 431 W. Lake, late 30 N. Dearborn. So based on this listing it looks like he resumed business on Lake Street after the fire destroyed the location on Dearborn .

Subsequently, the directories between 1872 and 1885 that I can find listed Peter Fahrney as “patent medicines” but only provided a residential address for him. This leads me to believe that the Panic of 1873 and resultant depression impacted the growth of the business in all or part of this time frame but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

Between 1887 and 1890, Peter Fahrney was listed again with a business address at 393 Ogden Avenue and in July, 1889, the business incorporated as Dr. Peter Fahrney & Sons. The incorporation notice was printed in the July 31, 1889 edition of the “Paint, Oil & Drug Review.”

Around the same time, the business relocated to 112-118 Hoyne Avenue. By then, three of his four sons were involved in the business. In addition to naming Peter Fahrney as the president, the 1891 Chicago Directory named Ezra as the vice president, William as treasurer and Josiah as a buyer. By 1899, Emery was also included in the business listings.

Upon Peter Fahrney’s death on March 5, 1905, his oldest son,Ezra, was named president of the company. This photo of him is from the 1910 edition of ‘Notable Men of Chicago and Their City.”

According to Ezra’s biography, also included in the 1915 printing of “Notables of the West,” he had been involved in the business from a very young age and had a significant role with the company well prior to the time of Peter’s death.

Shortly after leaving college Ezra Camerer Fahrney organized the advertising branch of the business and conducted it to an extent that brought quick success. Several years later he was made general manager, and when, in 1889 the business was incorporated, he was elected Vice President and given a one-tenth stock control. A few years thereafter he virtually became the guiding hand of the company, making and marketing its remedies and shipping them throughout the country. The business grew under his management to vast extent, the laboratory on Hoyne Avenue being today one of the most perfectly equipped plants in the United States.

Following Peter’s death, in addition to listing Ezra as president, the 1906 Chicago Directory named Josiah as vice president, William as treasurer and Emery as secretary.

The company remained on Hoyne Avenue until the late teens. Around 1910 their address changed to 19 to 25 S Hoyne Avenue but this was apparently caused by the renumbering of Chicago’s street system and not the result of a physical relocation. By 1920, they had moved to 2501 West Washington Boulevard. At some point, they also established a factory in Winnipeg, Canada.

Ezra remained president until his death in 1930 after which Emery assumed the presidency until 1935 when he also passed away.

William (1920) and Josiah (1922) had previously passed away so at this point, according to a story in the October 8, 1935 edition of the Ironwood (Michigan) Daily Globe, the business passed in trust to Emery’s family.

Emery Homer Fahrney, of Oak Park, who died last night at his summer home near Oshkosh, Wis., was president of the Peter Fahrney Drug Company, founded by his father, who left an estate estimated at $2,000,000.

The patent medicine fortune founded by Peter Fahrney will go now, it is reported, to his granddaughters, Merry and Myrtle, under the terms of a trust.

Ultimately his widow, Mrs. Marion Fahrney Hardeen also shared in the estate.

Management of the company after Emery’s death is not clear to me but apparently the company remained in Chicago well into the 1960’s. In 1952 they purchased a building on N. Ravenswood Avenue. The purchase was reported in the June 22, 1952 edition of the (Chicago) Suburbanite Economist.

Dr. Peter Fahrney and Sons Company, 2501 Washington, has purchased a building fronting on N. Ravenswood Ave., near Wilson Ave. The firm is a producer of proprietary medicines.

Advertisements as late as 1964, this one printed in the October 4, 1964 edition of the Palm Beach (Florida) Post, included their address as 4543 N. Ravenswood, Chicago.

Whether or not they also retained the Washington Blvd location after 1952 is not clear.

The business produced several products over the years including “Forni’s Magolo” and a liniment called “Heil-Oel” but the one they advertised as dating back to Peter’s grandfather, the “Little Dutch Doctor,” was “Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer.”  A  March 1, 1894 advertisement in the (Washington D.C.) National Tribune stated:

…Thus does the discovery of Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer by old Dr. Peter Fahrney date back into the past century.

During its existence, hundreds of so called medical discoveries have sprung up, only to be cast aside and forgotten, because they could not stand the test of time, but the Blood Vitalizer has held its well-earned place in the field of medicine, and is today without a rival as a family medicine.

Another advertisement, this one from the March 14,1901 edition of the National Tribune provides a list of diseases supposedly cured by Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer.

Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer seldom fails to cure rheumatism, kidney and liver troubles, indigestion, constipation, stomach and bowel troubles and all diseases caused by impure or impoverished blood or by disordered stomach.

Around this time, the product was also being marketed in German newspapers as Forni’s Alpenkrauter (sometimes Alpenkraeuter) Blut Beleber (Translated: alpine herbs blood animator). The following two advertisements are from German newspapers; one from the November 21, 1890 edition of the (Hermann Missouri) “Hermanner Volksblatt” and the other from the May 20, 1897 edition of the (Topeka) Kansas Stats-Anzeiger.” The Dr. Peter Fahrney name and address are clearly visible at the bottom of each advertisement.

                      

According to a publication entitled “A Mile Square of Chicago,” in addition to Forni’s Alpenkrauter,  the product also appeared under several other names according to the nationalities to which it was advertised. The names mentioned in the publication are: Hoboko, Novoro, Zokoro, Kuriko and Gomozo. Newspaper advertisements from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s appear to bear this out. I’ve seen advertisements  in that era for Novoro, Zokoro and Gomozo.  The advertisements appear to be in French, Dutch and Polish respectively. The Dutch (March 28, 1900 Sioux Center Iowa News) and Polish (July 3, 1901 Chicago Telegraf) advertisements are shown below.

     

Regardless of the name presented, advertising from that time typically stressed its natural ingredients.

Composed exclusively of herbs, roots, leaves, barks, etc., it is nature’s true medicine, unaltered, as nature does not change. The human constitution is the same today as it was one hundred years ago. It is subject to the same troubles and ailments, and the Blood Vitalizer demonstrates to the living generation its effectiveness, as well as it did to those of the past.

What the advertising failed to mention was the fact that it contained 14% alcohol. In fact, this advertisement from an 1893 issue of the Farmers’ Review, would have you believe that your “glow of vitality” was not intoxication but the result of a cleansed and revivified system.

“A Spades a Spade” – The saying is a true one. Yet there never was a greater tendency to call things by their wrong names then now.

Whisky by any other name is just the same – it isn’t any more invigorating to the blood if you call it “bitters” than if you call it whisky.

Intoxication may be easily mistaken for the glow of vitality – but it’s not.

Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer is an herb root remedy for all blood troubles – it cleanses and revivifies the entire system. You couldn’t get drunk if you drank a barrel of it.

It has successfully stood the test of more than one hundred years of popular use.

Don’t ask your druggist. It can be had of local retail agents only. Write Dr. Peter Fahrney, Chicago.

This marketing approach however did not escape the scrutiny of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose North Dakota Experiment Station analyzed its contents. In their September, 1913 Special Bulletin they concluded:

$1.25 per pint for a mild laxative and alcoholic stimulant, made palatable by the presence of a little sugar, ought to furnish a pretty good profit for the manufacturers, with very little likelihood  of any great permanent benefit to the users of the preparation.

With the advent of National Prohibition, “an alcoholic stimulant made palatable by the presence of a little sugar,” was certainly in great demand. Apparently available during the prohibition years as a medicinal product, it was advertised in the newspapers throughout that period. This item, promoting an establishment called George Tuch’s Place in the September 12, 1924 edition of the (Riverdale, Illinois) Pointer, looks like a rather thinly veiled advertisement for a club serving alcohol in the form of Fahrney’s Alpenkruter.

By the late 1940’s, most of their advertisements continued to promote Peter Fahrney’s reputation as a doctor and to mention that the product was composed of medicinal roots and herbs, but the description of expected results had been toned down quite a bit.  This advertisement from a  February 13, 1949 edition of the New York Daily News, which actually contained a picture of Peter Fahrney, was pretty typical.

…get Fahrney’s Alpenkrauter – the time-proved laxative and stomach tonic medicine. Contains 18 of Nature’s own medicinal roots, herbs and botanicals. Use as directed. Gently and smoothly Alpenkrauter puts sluggish bowels to work and aids them to eliminate clogging waste; helps expel constipation’s gas, gives the stomach that comforting feeling of warmth.

Based on newspaper advertisements, the preparation was still being marketed up through the 1950’s and early 1960’s. By then the advertisements were predominately, if not entirely, published in english but the various names under which it was sold survived. This series of advertisements appearing between 1954 – 1955 used the same advertising copy to promote the product under several of its various names.

      

   

According to Yelp.com, today 2501 W Washington Blvd is a five story, 68,000 square foot building built in 1920. Peter Fahrney & Sons began listing it as their address around the same time, making them the original tenant.   As far as I can tell, a catering business called the “Revere Loft” currently occupies the top floor with the remaining floors vacant and for rent.

Building information for 4541 N Ravenswood Ave. presented on realtytrac.com states that it was built in 1927, so it is certainly the building Peter Fahrney & Sons purchased in 1952.

The bottle I found is a machine made, square, roughly pint sized medicine embossed on one side: “Prepared By Peter Fahrney & Sons Co. Chicago, U.S.A.” The other side is embossed: “The Reliable Old Time Preparation for Home Use.” This leads me to believe it contained “Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer.” Under what name? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

S. S. Stafford, Inc.

   

Primarily known as an ink manufacturer, S. S. Stafford, Inc. was founded by Samuel Spencer Stafford. His February 16, 1895 obituary in the New York Times mentioned his early years as well as his entrance into the ink business sometime in 1858.

He was a graduate of Union College, and also of the Albany Medical College, but he did not practice medicine. When Dr. Stafford received his medical diploma, in 1849, the California gold fever was at its height, and Dr. Stafford went to San Francisco, where he remained until 1854. In that year he returned to New York, and four years later he engaged in the manufacture of  ink.

In the four year period between 1854 and 1858 the NYC Directories listed him as an accountant at 188 Pearl (1855-56) and an engineer at 54 William (1856-57). Then, according to an 1888 feature in “The American Stationer”

In 1858 S. S. Stafford bought the trade mark and stock of Conger & Field, who were the first to make a writing fluid in this country. Their business had dwindled to small proportions and it was not long before Stafford’s inks were better known than those of his predecessors.

Conger & Field was listed in the New York directories as “ink,”  and located at 212 Broadway (1856-57) and 52 William (1857-58 and 1858-59). The proprietors were Genet Conger and George W. Field. I have to believe that they became acquainted with Stafford sometime around 1857 when they were neighbors or possibly shared a building at 52 and 54 William.

After purchasing Conger & Field, the NYC directories, listed Stafford as a “stationer,” located at 42 Cedar St (1859 -60) and later as “ink” at 84 Cedar St.  (1860-61.) By 1861-62 he was listed at 11 (sometimes 10) Cedar St. where he remained until 1870.

During this time I’ve seen advertisements for “Stafford’s Combined Writing and Copying Fluid” as well as “Stafford’s Perfumed Violet Ink” but the company did not restrict itself to the manufacture of inks alone. Other products included an adhesive called “Stickwell & Co.’s Mucilage” and a leather preservative called “Caoutchoucin.”

Sometime in early 1870 the business moved to 218 Pearl Street where it remained until 1886. At that time, according to the 1888 “American Stationer” feature, he built a factory at 601 – 609 Washington Street.

The present manufactory, of which an illustration is given, was erected by Mr. Stafford in the Spring of 1887 upon land which he purchased.

It is a plain brick structure, five stories high, 75 feet wide and 80 feet deep. Including the basement there are six floors, all of which are used in the manufacture of Stafford’s inks and Stickwell’s mucilage. The establishment is fitted with the best machinery and appliances for turning out perfect and uniform goods.

After Samuel Spencer Stafford’s death in 1895, his son, William A.H. Stafford, took over leadership of the company. According to his obituary in the January 17, 1911 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, he had entered the business in 1872 at the age of 16.

The company apparently incorporated in New York sometime in 1903. The company was listed as a New York corporation in the 1904 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with a capital of $250,000. William A H Stafford was named president, William B Montgomery, secretary and Robert Bachia, treasurer. Following William A H Stafford’s death in January of 1911, his son, William S Stafford assumed the presidency.

The company eventually outgrew their NYC building on Washington Street and by 1906 was leasing storage space in nearby buildings. Then in 1914 they moved the carbon paper and typewriter portion of the business to leased space at 129 – 135 Charlton St. According to an item in the March 28, 1914 edition of the “American Stationer:”

Owing to a great increase in its carbon paper and typewriter business S.S. Stafford, Inc. has moved that department to 129-135 Charlton Street. The quarters which the company has occupied for many years at 601-609 Washington Street are now devoted entirely to the making of writing inks and other well known specialties made by the concern.

Six years later, according to an April 1920 item in “Walden’s Stationer & Printer,” the company purchased three buildings adjacent to their Washington Street building effectively consolidating the business at that location. This provided them an address on both Washington Street and 622 Greenwich Street.

S.S. Stafford, Inc., manufacturers of writing inks and adhesives, located at 609 Washington Street, New York City, have recently purchased three buildings in the rear of their present premises. The additional space will be combined and connected with their present home, giving them 33,000 square feet of floor space and making the line covered by their buildings 94 x 184 feet.

The carbon paper plant operated by the company at 129 Charlton Street will be removed to the new building and also outside storage space which is being used will be relinquished as fast as the leases on the same expire.

“The new arrangements will greatly economize the handling of raw materials and enable us to take care of the enormous increase in our business,” the company said.

In addition to their New York location, this 1914 advertisement also mentioned a Toronto, Canada location. Other advertisements around this time included the Toronto address as 9 Davenport Road. Later, by the early 1920’s they also added a Chicago location at 62 West Kinzie.

Through the 1920’s their menu of products continued to expand. As evidenced by this advertising item in the June 10, 1928 edition of the “Austin (Texas) American Statesman,” much of the growth was fueled by the proliferation of the automobile.

The comprehensiveness of the Stafford output is witnessed by the following enumeration of their various lines, which include writing and copying inks, paste, mucilage, glue, indelible ink, show card colors, stamping inks, stamp pads, typewriter ribbons and carbon papers, furniture and automobile body polish, and 15 other chemical automobile products including radiator stop leak, penetrating graphite oil, cushion dressing rapid repair and engine enamel, gasket shellac, gasket cement, etc.

This menu of products not withstanding, there’s no doubt that the head of the product family was always ink and they made many different types. The “Stationary and Printing” section of the 1890 edition of “Seeger and Guernsey’s Cyclopaedia of the Manufacturers of the United States,”named them as manufacturers in the following subsections: Writing Inks, Carmine Ink, Colored Inks, Copying Inks, Indelible Inks, Rubber Stamp Inks, Safety Inks and Stylographic Inks.

In the teens and early 1920’s, the product that Stafford’s primarily advertised was called Stafford’s Commercial Writing Fluid. A March 15, 1919 advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post called it “The Ink That Absorbs Moisture From The Air” and was typical of their advertisements around that time.

Do you just buy “ink” – pallid liquids which write a sickly color – which soon corrode your pens – and which, worst of all dry up in your inkwell quickly, leaving a thick, clotted residue and caked particles on the side of the well?

Or do you insist on Stafford’s Commercial Writing Fluid – the ink that absorbs moisture from the air?

This peculiar property of Stafford’s Commercial is the reason why it is so slow to evaporate in the inkwell, why it continues to flow smoothly after ordinary inks have become thick and unfit to write with. This is one of the most important discoveries in the history of ink making. It means a real savings for you.

There’s another reason for using Stafford’s Commercial. It has a strength of color which inks have lacked since the dye situation became so involved. American color makers have at last solved the problem. For Stafford’s is brilliant blue when you write and turns permanent black in a few hours.

The following item regarding Stafford’s Commercial Ink appeared in the June 16, 1917 edition of the “American Stationer and Office Outfitter.” I was attracted by the historical perspective it provides of the World War I era and will let you decide whether or not it’s true or just advertising in disguise.

Romantic Journey of Torpedoed Letter

The following letter was recently received by W.S. Stafford, President of S.S. Stafford, Inc., manufacturer of Stafford’s inks, etc., of 103 Washington Street, New York. The original letter is now at the New York office and establishes the fact that the permanent characteristics of Stafford’s ink have not been affected by the exigencies of the war.

Dear Sir: – It may interest you to know that I sent a letter to my daughter in England, bearing date, February 25, 1917. The letter with the rest of the mail went down on the “Laconia” which was torpedoed. Some of the mail bags were washed ashore with the wreckage. The letters then, which had legible addresses were forwarded on their journeys, mine reaching my daughter. The writing in the letter is blurred but readable – the envelope which she returned to me to see shows the address perfectly clear, the ink not even dimmed, although it had a bath in sea water.

The ink I used was Stafford’s Commercial Fluid which I bought at the White House, S.F.

I was so pleased to see the address looking perfectly good after such a test, that I thought I would let you know about it.

(The date given the letter mentioned in the story is actually the date that the Laconia was torpedoed and in 2008 the wreck of the Laconia was found 160 nautical miles off the coast of Ireland, so I’m leaning toward advertising in disguise.)

In the early 1920’s the company added stamp pads to their menu of inks. An introductory item appeared in the September, 1921 edition of “Walden’s Stationer and Printer”

The S.S. Stafford Company has recently started the manufacture of stamp pads on a strictly quality basis. Only the finest quality of felt blotting paper and nainsook enter into the manufacture of these pads, while the inks with which they are saturated are made with the finest dyes obtainable in a glycerine solution insuring the longest life possible.

As the use of fountain pens decreased, it was probably the addition of stamp pads that kept the company in business. They’re still listed  at their long time location (Office: 622 Greenwich and Factory: 609 Washington) in the 1960 Manhattan telephone directory.

According to his obituary, William S Stafford was still president of the corporation at the time of his death on November 6,1943. It’s not clear who ran the company after he passed away. One internet source mentions that Stafford’s was acquired by the R.T. French Company in the late 1970’s but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

Today 603 Washington Street appears to be the original building constructed by Stafford in 1887 (although streeteasy.com states it was built in 1880) . It’s now a residential cooperative.

   

Currently 622 Greenwich Street is also a residential cooperative called “The Stafford.”

According to city realty.com it was built in 1881. It’s likely one of the three buildings purchased by Stafford when they consolidated in 1920.

The bottle I found is machine made with 8 oz. embossed on the shoulder. Most likely a bulk ink bottle, it resembles a labeled Stafford bottle for sale on the internet.

    

Rawleigh’s

Headquartered in Freeport, Illinois, The W.T. Rawleigh Company was a pioneer in the direct from factory to home sales model. The company’s founder and long-time president was William T. Rawleigh.

According to a story in the January 23, 1951 edition of the Dixon (Illinois) Evening Telegraph, printed at the time of his death:

He was the founder and president of the W.T. Rawleigh Company which manufactures and sells medicines and household products on worldwide scale. During his long active career he served as mayor of Freeport, as a member of the Illinois General Assembly, and as editor and publisher of the old Freeport Standard.

Another story printed around the same time, this one in the Chicago Tribune, summed up his general approach to business like this:

 William T Rawleigh who made millions by sending his wagons loaded with extracts and spices over the rural routes of the nation died today…

Before the automobile brought the farm wife within easy reach of the crossroads general store, Rawleigh wagons came to her door with vanilla extracts, patent medicines and other packaged products. His idea was the development of one he had as a schoolboy, in Mineral Point, Wis., selling books to his classmates, then later making and selling them ink.

A 1920 advertisement that appeared in the May 11th edition of Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s Leader Telegraph expanded on this concept.

Those who are familiar with Rawleigh’s Good Health Service are familiar with its economy, convenience and efficiency. It means bringing directly to your home the best products of laboratory and factory at low, direct-to-home prices. The W.T. Rawleigh Company manufactures all it’s own Household Remedies, Extracts and Flavors, Spices and other Products in it’s own immense factories at Freeport and Memphis and sells direct to consumers. This method of manufacturing and selling means the elimination of unnecessary middlemen’s profits, thus giving to the users of Rawleigh’s Good Health Products better qualities and greater values. If you have never used any Rawleigh Good health Products, we urge you for economy’s sake and for your own satisfaction to give the Rawleigh Service Man at least a trial order when he calls.

The advertisement went on to describe a wide range of products available from your Rawleigh Service Man. They included:

Pure Extracts and Flavors in Bottles, Pure Food Flavors in Tubes, Pure Spices and Rawleigh’s Baking Powder.

Rawleigh’s Medicines including Alcoholic Liniment, Non-Alcoholic Liniment, Medicated Ointment, Healing Salve, Mustard Ointment, Catarrhal Relief, Cough Syrup, Wine of Cod Liver Oil Extract, Laxative Tablets, Laxative Syrup, Antiseptic Solution

KREO, a scientific disinfectant for general household use.

This menu however appears to only be the tip of the iceberg. Three years earlier, in 1917, the company’s annual publication, “Rawleigh’s Almanac, Cook Book and Medical Guide,” advertised that they were selling 140 different products that year.

The company’s early history and growth was highlighted in a September 21, 1932 feature in the Freeport Journal Standard. Several excerpts from this feature are presented in quotations below.

Many older residents of Stephenson County remember when W.T. Rawleigh began calling at their homes with a one horse rig, leaving with them a few medicines, extracts spices, etc. That was in the spring of 1889. Soon he had built up a large business, and about 1891 he began manufacturing. By this time he was also selling at wholesale…

The first little factory was on the ground floor of a store building at 123 East Exchange Street. There were only three employees (Rawleigh’s now have 1300) and but 25 Rawleigh dealers as contrasted with over 8500 at this time. In a year’s time more space was needed, and the store room adjoining the first factory was added.

It was around this time that Rawleigh incorporated the business, calling it the Dr. Blair Medical Company. The incorporation notice, dated December 29, 1894, was printed in the Chicago Tribune on the following day.

The 1932 Freeport Journal Standard Feature continued the history:

The next two years continued the rapid growth, and in 1898 a new factory with two stories and basement was built at West Douglas and Powell Streets. Three years later an addition was built which increased the floor space over three times.

On May 24,1902 the business applied for the Rawleigh’s (in script) trademark (No.39768) and it was registered on February 10, 1903.

Shortly thereafter, the company name was changed to the W.T. Rawleigh Medical Co. and they continued to grow.

So the story of progress continues. The next move of this rapidly expanding company was toward railroad facilities and was made in 1904 when the company left the residence district and built its first factory at the present site – a building still used, partly for manufacturing and partly for some of the general offices.

An invitation to the opening day reception for the new factory, printed in the February 24, 1905 edition of the Freeport Journal Standard, indicated that, at the time, the new factory included the Printing, Milling, Manufacturing, Bottling, Packing, Power House and Wagon Factory Departments all operational under one roof.

A picture of the new plant appeared in the July 11, 1905 edition of the Freeport Journal Standard.

The 1905 Freeport Illinois Directory (the earliest one I can find) included the factory location as Spring, corner of Liberty. Now listed as the W.T. Rawleigh Medical Co., W.T. Rawleigh was named as president and treasurer, J.R. Jackson as secretary and D.C. Rawleigh as superintendent.

After 1905, the Freeport headquarters continued to expand as entire buildings were added.

Since then many other buildings have been added at Freeport: The large 8 story factory at the corner of Main and Liberty; the dip and disinfectant factory on Washington Street; the impressive power plant and printing and manufacturing building across the street from the 1904 factory and the glass factory in East Freeport.

Sometime between 1913 and 1916, the company name was shortened from the W.T. Rawleigh Medical Co., to simply the W.T. Rawleigh Co.

The company added branch factories in Memphis and Winnipeg in 1912 and by the early 1930’s they were operating world-wide with additional factories in Montreal, Canada, Melbourne, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand.

The business secured raw materials from producers at their source, importing them from all over the world to their factory locations. This necessitated them to operate branches in areas where they obtained their raw materials. These foreign branch locations included places like Madagascar, where they secured vanilla, cloves and oil of geranium; Marseille, France, vanilla and perfume related oils, roots and herbs; and Kobe, Japan, pyrethrum flowers used in making insecticides.

Their distribution network included facilities at Chester Pa., Richmond, Va., Minneapolis, Minn., Denver, Colo., Oakland, Calif. and Albany, N.Y. Each distribution branch had a full sales office and shipping staffs serving dealers in several states.

The 1932 feature offered a glimpse into the size of the operation at that time. :

Last year Rawleigh’s produced and sold the astonishing total of over 43 million packages of finished products. Over 123 million pounds of freight (2256 carloads) were received at the various United States and Canadian factories and about 2500 carloads were forwarded from factories and branches.

W.T. Rawleigh served as president of the company up until his death in 1951 and J.R. Jackson, his brother-in-law, continued as secretary until the mid-1950’s.

The business remained tightly held by the Rawleigh family until 1973 when it was sold to a holding company. The March 3, 1973 edition of the Freeport Journal Standard reported the sale.

The holding company of W.T.R., Inc. organized by the New York investment banking partnership of Gibbons, Green and Rice is purchasing the W.T. Rawleigh Co., of Freeport.

The new owner is paying approximately $5.5 million for the American Rawleigh company and has an option to buy the Canadian Rawleigh company for $2.5 million, according to Edward Gibbons, one of the partners…

The majority of the Rawleigh stock has been held by the estate of Mr. Rawleigh’s daughter, Mrs. Lucille Rawleigh and her two sons.

As far as I can tell, the company remained headquartered in Freeport, Illinois until sometime in the 1980’s. After Rawleigh left Freeport, some of their buildings were leased for warehousing for a short period of time before the property was completely abandoned in 1988.

Five buildings of the Rawleigh complex still exist today. This building, now abandoned, is located on Spring Street and was most likely the power plant, printing and manufacturing building mentioned in the 1932 Freeport Journal Standard feature as being built across the street from the original 1904 factory.

Master planning for reuse of the Rawleigh property and buildings began in 2000 and the redevelopment is in progress. According to the City of Freeport’s web site:

…the City has been actively removing environmental hazards and facilitating reuse of the Rawleigh (property) into a dynamic mixed-use development planned to include a new Amtrak station, light industrial and flexible business space and restaurant and housing

Now headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, the W.T. Rawleigh company still exists today, selling a wide range of products over the internet. According to an August 10, 2000 article in the Palm Beach Post:

The company would have likely disappeared a decade ago had it not been bought by West Palm Beach businessman and big-game hunter Harry Hersey III, a cigar smoking Vietnam veteran who champions multilevel marketing and chairs the industry’s trade group in Washington, the Direct Selling Association.

Today (as of 2000) Rawleigh is part of Hersey’s other multilevel marketing operation, Golden Pride International, a 17-year old outfit that sells nutritional supplements. Together, the companies sold about $11 million in products to some 15,000 distributors last year, netting a profit of $2.5 million, Hersey said.

Recognizing that this website is centered around bottles, I couldn’t end the post without including a description of the Rawleigh bottle factory that was included in the 1932 Freeport Journal Standard feature.

One of the most fascinating of the industries within the Rawleigh  industries is the bottle factory, where flames leap and writhe in the terrific heat of 2650 to 2675 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature which must be maintained day and night for many months at a time to manufacture the bottles Rawleigh’s use. The annual capacity of the factory, first started in 1926 and since enlarged several times, is close to 100 million bottles. A huge bottle warehouse completed last year will house 12 million bottles at one time. New equipment includes a cooling system superior to any existing system and the first of its kind to be used; new bottle-forming machines which make bottles with almost incredible swiftness and perfection; new reversing valves to add to the efficiency of furnace heat; new batch equipment; a new annealing oven or lehr; improved air compressors, etc.

The bottle I found is machine made with the Rawleigh’s (in script) trade mark on the front. “Bottle Made In “USA” is embossed in extremely small letters near the base. The makers mark on the base, a “P” located within a circle, indicates that it was most likely made by the Pierce Glass Co. This suggests that it was made prior to Rawleigh’s establishing their new bottle factory in 1926. Pierce started business in 1905 so this likely puts the manufacture of the bottle sometime between 1905 and 1926. It actually looks a lot like the Cod Liver Oil bottle pictured in the 1917 Almanac, Cook Book and Medical Guide pictured above.

CN Disinfectant, West Disinfecting Company, New York

  

The West Disinfecting Company was an early manufacturer of disinfectants and a pioneer in bathroom/restroom cleanliness. The company held patents for a wide range of disinfectants as well as for items still seen universally in restrooms today such as liquid soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers. This 1909 advertisement showed an early version of their liquid soap dispenser.

Their signature cleaning fluid and disinfectant was called Chloro-Naptholeum, or CN for short.

It appears that the business had its roots with Robert S. West in the late 1880’s in Cleveland, Ohio. An item in the July, 1888 edition of “Carpentry and Building” indicated that West had introduced Chloro-Naptholeum  into the United States at around that time.

A disinfecting fluid called chloro-naptholeum said to possess thorough effectiveness as an antiseptic and disinfectant, besides being cheap and having an agreeable smell is being put upon the market by Robert S. West, corner of Elm and Winslow Streets, Cleveland Ohio. From a circular before us we learn that this preparation is already largely used in England and a number of testimonials from those who have used the material abroad are presented. Its power as a germ destroyer is said to exceed that of carbolic acid and other similar antiseptics that are soluble in water. It does not dissolve in water but mixes with it, forming an emulsion like milk.

The 1900 census records indicated that Robert S.West was born in England and immigrated to the United States in 1870 at the age of thirteen. He’s listed in the Cleveland directories as early as 1874. Beginning in 1891 and lasting through 1899, the directories listed him as a disinfectant manufacturer with an address of 48 and 50 Long. During this period, the New York City firm of E. Taussig & Co. served as West’s representative and general agents on the east coast, using the trade name “West Disinfecting Co.” NYC directories listed E Taussig & Co. at 894 First Avenue (1892 to 1894) and later at 206 East 57th Street (1896 to 1899).

As early as the mid 1890’s, E. Taussig & Co., using the West Disinfecting Company trade name, was advertising Chloro-Naptholeum in connection with a ventilator and disinfector which was apparently one of, if not the first, automated toilet sanitizer.

An advertisement, disguised as a news item, in the November 24, 1895 edition of the Atlanta Constitution described how the system worked.

WEST CHLORO NAPTHOLEUM

West Disinfecting Company, 206 East 57th Street, New York – E. Taussig & Co., Proprietors – Leo Fresh, Manager, Atlanta Ga.

Taussig’s Ventilator and Disinfectors are in use in all the public buildings at the exposition grounds as well as in Atlanta and all the largest exposition houses in New York City, and such as Edison Electric Illuminating Company, all branches, E.S. Jaffray & Co., Cotton Exchange, Masonic Temple, Mount Louis Hospital and many others. Over 35,000 now in use in the United States.

Chloro Naptholeum refined is clear as a crystal. Is used in the machines and will drip automatically for twenty-five days with one filling, one minute and twenty seconds between drops. One gallon of the fluid will last 100 days.

It contains the very best compounds of disinfectants in existence and is endorsed by the very best physicians in the country. The analysis of Chloro Naptholeum are tar and tarry products, phenols, creosote, pyrohgucous acid, naphthol, eucalyptol, carbolic acid, and the disinfectants of complex origin…

The machines are put in gratis, and all you have to buy is the fluid, and the inspector will be there every twenty-five days and fill them, thus saving you the trouble.

The machines are placed as the cut will show, and are the property of the company. The fluid is $2 in single cans and $1.75 in five and ten gallons, and $1.50 in half-barrel lots.

By the late 1890’s Taussig & Co. had assumed control of the entire business. In accordance with an agreement dated August 4, 1898, E Taussig & Co. purchased from Robert West all interest, including patents and trademarks, in both his automatic disinfectors and chloro-naptholeum. Approximately one year later, the West Disinfecting Co., Inc. was established and on July 18, 1899, the Taussig business was transferred to the new corporation. Emil Taussig, served as the first president of the newly formed corporation.

It was at the same time that the CN trademark was introduced as well. Trademark records indicate that it was first used in commerce in July, 1899.

The new corporation was listed in the 1900 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with offices at 26 East 59th Street in Manhattan. Around this time, the company also established a factory/laboratory across the East River in Queens. The 1903 Trow Business Directory for Brooklyn and Queens listed the factory address as 25 Orchard in Long Island City.

A profile of the company printed in the March 20, 1904 edition of the Pittsburgh Daily Post described the business at that time.

Starting from a small beginning thirteen years ago, it has grown and grown, until today it is the largest concern of its kind in America, and perhaps in the world. The main offices are in New York, and it has branches in every prominent city in the country. The Pittsburgh branch is located at 1611 Penn Avenue.

Throughout its life the West Disinfecting Company have given their attention entirely to the subject of disinfectants and disinfecting appliances, and its $50,000 chemical laboratory and works are the only works operated by such a concern in this country, and according to all the information secured the largest works in the world given over exclusively to the manufacture of such products.

Every appliance made by the company is after their own design and is patented in the United States and other countries while their disinfectants and fumigants  with their registered names, protected in this country and abroad, find a sale in every civilized corner of the globe.

Emil Taussig served as president of the corporation until his untimely death aboard the Titanic in 1912. The following notice appeared in the April 20, 1912 edition of the New York Times.

According to an April 16, 1912 story in the Boston Globe, Taussig was on board the ship with both his wife and daughter.

They sailed for Europe Feb 5. He was going on a mixed business and pleasure trip on the advice of his friends, who felt he needed a rest. Although his headquarters was at Long Island City, NY, he knew every employee of the store who had been employed for a few years and would shake hands with them and call them by name when he called…He was very popular.

According to the Titanic’s records, Taussig’s wife and daughter both survived.

After Taussig’s death it appears that management and possibly ownership of the company transferred to Moses and Alexander J Marcuse. The 1914 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed them as president and vice president respectively. The Marcuse family remained active in the management of the company well into the 1950’s and possibly longer.

The company offices remained listed in Manhattan until the mid-1920’s; first at 26 East 59th St (1900 to 1905); then 9 East 59th St (1905 to 1910); 2 East 42nd St (1911 to 1912); 12 East 42nd St (1914 to 1917) and 411 Fifth Ave (1918 to 1925). Then in 1926, it appears that the entire operation was consolidated  in Queens. That year, the Brooklyn Queens Telephone Book listed both their office and factory at the Long Island City location. According to a story in the August 6, 1925 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, by this time, in addition to their New York facilities, the company maintained 38 branches in the United States and Canada.

The company remained in Long Island City until the late 1970’s. The business evolved into West Sanitation Services and ultimately, in 2014, as West Industries. West Industries is currently located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In addition to being used in connection with the company’s disinfecting appliances, Chloro-Naptholeum was also marketed for the household as well. The November 24, 1895 Atlanta Constitution article goes on to describe it’s suggested household uses.

We also have the Chloro Naptholeum in its crude state, which is used largely  for ridding your house of all kinds of vermin, such as roaches, bedbugs, ants, insect bites and stings, itching, fetid feet, ringworm, for sickroom, for flushing drains, sinks, kitchen utensils and all kinds of places where there is foul air or bad odor. One gallon of this crude Chloro Naptholeum can be dissolved by using fifty parts water to one part Chloro Naptholeum. The Savannah board of health use thirty-five barrels of the crude every year, and are furnishing the citizens with it gratis. Sample bottle given free on application.

An advertisement, in the July 11, 1911 edition of the (New York) Evening World described how to administer CN for various uses.

Household Use – To each pail of water taken for mopping, sprinkling, scrubbing or cleaning purposes, add three tablespoonfuls of CN. It makes the cleaning easier, kills germs, destroys all odors, purifies the air, destroys ants, roaches, vermin.

Bath and Toilet – Use one tablespoonful of CN for the bath on every occasion. CN is superior to ammonia, giving exquisite tonic and softening to the water.

Sick Rooms – Move the patient into a well-disinfected room when possible. Remove unnecessary curtains and hangings, wash down walls and floor with CN solution or spray the wall paper with CN in the solution of one teaspoonful to a quart of water.

Consumption

Every house where Tuberculosis exists CN should be used daily to prevent the spread of the disease. All personal articles, eating and other utensils touched by the patient, should be carefully washed in a solution of CN. CN should be poured in the cuspidors used by the patient and should be used in all cleaning water.

The advertisement also touted CN as an antiseptic for everything under the sun, including cuts, abrasions, sores, bruises, sprains, bruised hands or fingers, ulcers, abscesses, ringworm, insect bites and stings, ivy and dogwood poisoning, typhoid fever, head lice and dandruff, teeth and gum decay, sore mouth or throat, burns, scalds, sunburn, scurvy, prickly heat, chafing and catarrh.

An article in the September 15, 1909 edition of “Printers Ink” described how the company capitalized on people’s fear of death and disease. They focused their advertising efforts during periods of hot weather and particularly in areas where disease epidemics were present.

CN Disinfectant is not one of those products which “lay low” in summer time. It literally thrives on torrid weather, and keeps keen on the scent of epidemic and disease. With newspaper copy it is ready at short notice to jump into an infected district with a campaign to increase sales…

In the “Printer’s Ink’ article, West’s advertising manager, D. Maxwell Merry admits that:

You have to “scare” the consumer into realizing that a disinfectant is absolutely essential for the thorough cleansing of a house and the prevention of disease.

He goes on to describe their approach.

We are constantly on the lookout for any new epidemic or threatened outbreak of contagious disease anywhere in the United States,” states Mr. Merry. “Each of our eighteen branch offices scattered throughout the country is quick to inform the home office at the first signs of anything like an outbreak anywhere, and we lose no time in placing large newspaper space and concentrating a large part of our effort in that territory at once…

Just at present there is a serious outbreak of typhoid in New York’s great East Side and we are starting a campaign in several leading Jewish dailies to tell the masses in that section of the city how CN will minimize their danger.

This advertisement which appeared the following summer in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle “hits home” with all the points Merry made in the article.

The company didn’t stop with just advertising but followed it up with door to door sales.

Undoubtedly one reason for the success of our anti-epidemic campaign is our plan of following up of our advertising when we go into a new city with a large force of women canvassers. These women, who are well dressed and well paid, call upon householders and drive home the advantage of our product, while the advertising is still fresh in the consumers’ minds. The use of a disinfectant being primarily a woman’s matter, it follows that women make the best demonstrators

In addition to marketing CN for household use, West apparently had a Railroad and Steamship Department that marketed CN for the cleaning of public facilities. This advertisement which appeared in the April 1911 edition of “Railway and Locomotive Engineering” touted it for disinfecting and washing passenger cars and stations.

And if that wasn’t enough, they also marketed a Chloro-Naptholeum “Dip” to farmers and livestock owners. A January 27, 1905 advertisement in the Weekly Livestock Report stated:

If every livestock owner who has used Chloro-Naptholeum Dip would stand up and testify truly in dollars and cents how much Chloro-Naptholeum Dip has done for his stock, the total would be much larger than the figures which represent wheat crop. Chloro-Naptholeum is a money maker. It cures mange and scab. It kills lice, fleas, etc. It heals cuts, sores, wire scratches, wounds and bruises. It disinfects and destroys all unsanitary conditions in the animal quarters and the home.

The newspaper advertisements generally fade away in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s but I’ve seen CN Disinfectant listed in Department Store advertisements as late as the late 1970’s. This April 1, 1979 advertisement for McCrory-McLellan-H.L. Green-Newberry advertised a 7 oz bottle (upper right) as one of several cleaners you could buy @ 2 for a dollar.

The bottle I found is machine made and approximately one ounce in size. It must be what advertisements referred to as the “trial” size. This 1909 advertisement indicated that the trial size amount, when mixed with water, could make 2 gallons and at the time cost ten cents.

I also found a found a four ounce bottle that accommodated a screw top.

The base of this bottle is embossed with an “O” inside a box indicating it was made by the Owens Bottle Co. This most likely dates it between 1919 and 1929.

The earliest address I can find for West’s Long Island City Factory is 25 Orchard (now 42-25 Orchard?). Orchard Street in Long Island City consists of one block between Jackson Avenue and the Sunnyside Rail Yards. On the east side a new multi-story glass tower was recently built. An older building on the west side of the street may still date back to the business.