AR Winarick, New York

 

The AR stands for Arthur Winarick, the first of three generations of Winaricks associated with the cosmetics industry. A feature on his grandson, Tom Winarick, in the July 16, 2016 issue of Beauty Store Business Magazine tells Arthur’s story.

Arthur Winarick was a Russian immigrant who settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and became a barber who would go on to create one of the most iconic beauty products in America – Jeris Hair Tonic. Known for its neon green-formula, Jeris was formulated in the bathtub of Arthur Winarick’s apartment. He began selling it to local barbers within the Russian and Jewish communities, and eventually produced hair tonic and shaving lotions when he founded A R Winarick, Inc. Jeris is still produced today under Clubman. After World War II, (Arthur’s son) Jules Winarick became heavily involved in A R Winarick, Inc. and began expanding and acquiring several beauty brands.

Census records and NYC directories both support and add to the above story. According to 1930 census records, Arthur Winarick was born in Poland to Russian parents in 1890 and immigrated to the United States in 1911. The first listing I can find for him was in the 1917 NYC Directory as a perfumer located at 1 Willett Street. Then in the early to mid-1920’s he was listed at 19 Cannon Street with the occupation “barber supplies.” Both Willet Street and Cannon Street were located south of Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

It looks like he established AR Winarick, Inc., sometime around 1930. The 1933 NYC Directory listed them as a New York Corporation with capital of $1,000,000. Arthur Winarick was named both president and treasurer, Joseph A. Gallagher, vice president and Nathan Winarick secretary. Nathan was most likely Arthur’s brother. Four years younger, he was also born to Russian parents and immigrated to the United States in 1914. The corporate address was listed as 797 E 140th Street in the Port Morris section of the Bronx.

After World War II it appears that Arthur’s son Jules was named president and Arthur became chairman of the board. According to Arthur Winarick’s obituary, printed in the November 22, 1964 issue of the New York Times, he was still chairman at the time of his death. By then the New York office had moved to Park Avenue South and the company had opened another office in Los Angeles. They also had plants in Brunswick and Newark, New Jersey and Long Island City, Queens. Sometime in the mid 1970’s, the New York office relocated to New Jersey.

The trademark for Jeris, their signature product, was registered May 29, 1923 (Registration 0168573, Serial No 71167153). Registration information stated that it was first used on September 15, 1921.

I didn’t find many Jeris advertisements from the 1920’s and those that I did find were store related items like signs and mirrors. Interestingly, of the few early advertisements I’ve seen, several, including the one below, were focused on women.

At some point it looks like Jeris became exclusively a men’s product. An early 1950’s advertisement spells out the merits of the green colored hair tonic and leaves no doubt that their target audience was now male.

Especially formulated for men who dislike greasy, oil dressings. Jeris is recommended by 9 out of 10 barbers; is America’s largest selling, greaseless, antiseptic hair tonic.

Jeris never leaves hair with a plastered-down look: never stains hat bands, linen or furniture. Jeris and massage stimulate the scalp, help improve circulation, kill dandruff germs on contact.

Women admire its clean crisp, masculine fragrance.

Another advertisement I found appealed directly to the G.I. returning from World War II.

During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Jeris was seriously committed to magazine advertising. One of their advertising approaches had a number of Hollywood stars endorsing Jeris while also mentioning their latest movie project. The 1951 advertisement below, found in Life Magazine, combined Ronald Regan’s praise for Jeris with a mention of his latest movie “Bedtime for Bonzo”

Other stars participating in this campaign included Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole), Fred McMurray (Come Share My Love), John Garfield (Force of Evil) and Ray Milland (Circle of Danger).

Today Jeris can still be purchased from Pinaud Clubman. It’s still has its green color and the marketing message remains the same.

It refreshes and stimulates the scalp

The bottle I found is machine made. The sides are not embossed but embossing on the base states “Loaned By AR Winarick.” The spout on the bottle was till attached. Printed on the spout is AR Winarick, N.Y. It most likely dates to the earlier period of the business, probably the mid to late 1920’s, before they incorporated.

On a final note, Arthur and Jules Winarick were also intimately connected with the Concord Hotel in New York’s Catskill Mountains. According to Arthur Winnarick’s New York Times obituary he founded the Concord Hotel.

In the early nineteen thirties Mr Winarick visited the Catskills. He decided to become a host there and he acquired the Kiamesha Ideal Hotel, changed its name to the Concord and guided its growth and development.

The hotel, of which his son-in-law, Raymond Parker, is managing director, has a coliseum size nightclub, and a swimming pool, rink and other facilities on a mammoth scale. Mr. Winarick enjoyed mingling with his guests. His remarkable memory permitted him to greet a surprising number by name.

According to Jules Winarick’s obituary, he was also involved with the Concord.

He also dedicated part of his life to the development and growth of the Concord Resort Hotel in the Catskills. Under his guidance, the hotel went from being a summer getaway destination to a year round resort, which featured one of the largest nightclubs at the time and drew the most famous entertainers of the day.

 

Scott’s Emulsion of Cod Liver Oil with Lime & Soda

Scott’s Emulsion of Cod Liver was originally developed and manufactured by  the firm of Scott & Platt in the early 1870’s. Soon after, it’s manufacture was taken over by the firm of Scott & Bowne. The early history of the product was summarized in Samuel W. Bowne’s 1910 obituary.

Mr. Bowne was born at Walton, Orange County N.Y., and began his business career in Newburgh. In 1865 he came to New York, entering the employ of Scott & Platt as a traveling salesman. The firm was composed of Colonel Alfred M. Scott and Henry B. Platt. Their most successful preparations were an emulsion of cod liver oil and a disinfectant. Later on the business was divided, Mr. Platt taking the disinfectant and establishing an independent business in the manufacture and sale of Platt’s chlorides. The manufacture of the emulsion was continued by the firm of Scott & Bowne.

It looks like the break-up of Scott & Platt took place sometime in the mid 1870’s. From 1870 up until 1874, Scott, Platt & Co. was listed at 1211 Broadway. Then in the 1876-77 Directory, H.B. Platt & Co. was listed for the first time at the same 1211 Broadway address and  Scott and Bowne was listed for the first time at 124 Hudson Street.

Over the course of the next fifteen years Scott & Bowne was listed at 108 Wooster (1880-81 through 1884) and later at 132 S 5th Ave (1886 through 1892). Then in 1892 the company finished construction on their new 12-story building at 411 Pearl Street called the Scott & Bowne Building.

According to a 1917 interview with then president of the firm, P.H. Fowler, that appeared in the publication “Printers Ink,” around the time they moved to Pearl Street the business was producing 1.5 million bottles of Scott’s Emulsion each year and they had facilities in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. According to Bowne’s obituary, he ran the piece of the business located in the Americas from Pearl Street, while Scott lived in London and ran the balance of the business from there.

Scott died in 1908 and Bowne in 1910. Shortly thereafter, the company moved from New York to Bloomfield New Jersey. The 1910 Montclair N.J. Directory listed them as “patent and proprietary medicine mfr’s” located on Orange Street near the D L & W Railroad. Later directories list them at 60 Orange Street. According to the Fowler interview, by 1917 the business had 63,400 distributors in the U.S. alone. Most (more than 2/3’s) were druggists, but the number also included general stores, corner grocery stores and department stores.

I have found Scott & Bowne listed in Montclair Directories up through 1941 after which I lose track.

Cod liver oil in general had a reputation as an effective treatment for consumption or “wasting diseases” that included bronchitis, scopula, tuberculosis, etc. The problem was its highly disagreeable taste and smell. According to Fowler’s interview they solved this problem through the emulsifying process that broke up the large fat particles of the oil into smaller units more readily absorbed by the system and coating them in a solution of glycerine. According to this 1889 advertisement, this made their cod liver oil “Palatable as Milk”

One early advertisement that’s shown below actually printed the emulsion’s formula: 50 percent pure cod liver oil, 6 grams of the hypophosphite of lime and 3 grams of the hypophosphite of soda to the fluid ounce.

In the 1917 Printer’s Ink interview the merits of Scott’s Emulsion were described like this:

They have plugged steadily at the theme that their product is really a prophylaxis (not in these words, though), a builder of body resistance to the ills coincident with exposure and bad weather and a general tonic under all conditions.

Advertisements from 1897 and 1917 document this approach.

 

In the 1920’s with the discovery of vitamins it was learned that cod liver oil was especially rich in Vitamins A and D. It didn’t take long for Scott & Bowne to capitalize on this discovery and build it into their advertising.

Now made by the global health care giant GlaxoSmithKline, Scott’s Emulsion is still available today and interestingly their message has remained consistent. One hundred years later, the GlaxoSmithKline web site still calls it Scott’s and states:

The emulsion helps build up the body’s natural resistance to infections and develop strong bones and teeth.

I couldn’t end this post without touching on the company’s famous trade mark of a Norwegian fisherman with a huge cod hanging from his shoulders. The trademark’s registration date was May 27, 1890. The registration documents state that it was first used on March 28, 1890 however I found it in a Bloomingdale Brothers’ Price List dating back to 1886.

Fowler’s interview talked of how the idea was born.

The idea for this figure originated with Mr. Scott. He was on a visit of inspection of the cod fisheries of Norway when he saw a fisherman coming up the beach with a leviathan cod flung over his back, just as the figure looks. The fish weighed some 137 pounds. The successful advertising mind saw in the episode material for a figure to impress the fact that the basis of his commodity is cod liver oil. Had he been casting about deliberately for a symbol of his business, he could hardly have chosen more happily.

The public began thinking of Scott’s Emulsion in terms of this fisherman and his fish, similar to GEICO’s gecko today.

At any rate, it has served to gain for the company that most priceless and elusive of desiderata – spontaneous and natural public association and acceptance of the figure as a symbol of its sponsors.

The company even had an eighty four foot high painting of the fisherman on the side of the Scott & Bowne building and later they illuminated the entire area so that it could be seen both day and night.

I’ve found two machine made Scott’s Emulsion bottles with the famous fisherman embossed on them. Embossing on the base indicates that both were made by the Owens Bottle Co. at their Glassboro N.J. plant; one in 1923 and the other in 1924.

 

 

 

Griffin Manufacturing Co., New York

      

The Griffin Manufacturing Company, makers of shoe polish, was started by Anthony (Tony) Aste in the mid 1880’s. Nick-named the “King of Bootblacks,” he turned a single shoe shine stand into the world’s largest maker of shoe polish. Also a well known thoroughbred race horse owner, his story was summarized in his December 8, 1954 obituary printed in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Anthony L. Aste, 88, of 29 Prospect Park West, who rose from roving boot black to millionaire and president of the Griffin Manufacturing Company, makers of Griffin shoe polish, died after a heart attack in Long Island College Hospital, where he had been under treatment for the past two and one-half years.

In 1885 Mr. Aste rented space in the produce exchange building in Manhattan and installed the first high chairs for shoe shining. He branched out into other buildings in the financial district.

He hired a chemist to develop a superior polish for his stands. The polish was so successful that it was bottled and sold to other bootblacks. From that beginning he formed the Griffin Company, which for many years has been at 410 Willoughby Avenue.

In the late 1890’s he began racing horses and recently received a plaque from the Belmont Park track citing him as the oldest living racer of horses in America. He counted as one of the most memorable days in his life the occasion in 1901 when he sold a horse which cost him $4,300 to William C. Whitney, the millionaire, for $50,000 at the Sheepshead Bay track.

Born in Manhattan’s lower East Side, he lived in Brooklyn for over 50 Years.

The obituary mentioned that Aste opened a shoe shine stand in the Produce Exchange Building which was located at the foot of Broadway in lower Manhattan. At the time, it was the custom to have shoes shined by someone on the street while you stood on one foot and then the other, so this was a relatively new concept.

He paid $660 a year to operate the stand, or “throne” as it was known back then, at the Produce Exchange. A photograph of a large and extremely crowded main hall of the exchange taken in 1886 confirms that Aste had made a shrewd investment.

 

Neither Aste or the Griffin Manufacturing Company were mentioned in the NYC directories until the mid-1890’s. Aste was first listed in 1896 as a blacking maker located at 82 Cortlandt Street and the Griffin Manufacturing Company ( Anthony L. Aste, proprietor) first appeared in 1900 at the same location. Sometime in 1907 or 1908 they moved to 69 Murray Street and around 1914, the company incorporated in New York State. Both the 1914 and 1919 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed Antony and his son Robert as the company’s president and secretary respectively.

The business remained listed at 69 Murray Street until the early 1930’s when they bought a building on Willoughby Avenue in Brooklyn. The purchase was announced in the December 31, 1933 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The factory at 410 to 424 Willoughby Ave. has been sold for the Ahlecy Corporation to the Griffin Shoe Polish Company for its new plant.

By the 1930’s their products were sold under a wide range of trade names including: “Griffin Allwite,” “Griffin Kidine,” “Griffin Lotion Cream,” “Griffin Sterling” and “Griffin A,B,C.”

  

Apparently his formula was so good that a competitor, the Two-in-One Shinola Bixby Corporation  was actually convicted of stealing it. According to a March 31, 1936 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

The formula for shoe polish that made a millionaire of Anthony Aste, who began life as a roving boot black, was stolen by the Two-in-One Shinola Bixby Corporation with the aid of Dr. Raymond Warburton, a chemist formerly employed by Aste, Justice James C. Cropsey ruled today in Equity Term of Supreme Court. He gave an injunction in favor of the Griffin Manufacturing Company, Aste’s corporation, and said the defendants must pay damages which may amount to $250,000.

Evidence before Justice Cropsey showed that for a long time the defendant concern tried to obtain the secret of the high quality of Aste’s invention. They made hundreds of analyses and tried to buy up the Aste concern and consolidate all the shoe polish manufacturers.

Failing to do that, it was charged that they hired Dr. Warburton, who had been employed by Aste as confidential chemist from 1916 to 1919 and knew all the secrets.

“Upon payment of $1,000 they obtained from him both the plaintiff’s process and formula.” said Justice Cropsey in his decision. The attempt by the corporate defendant to prove that it did not obtain plaintiff’s process from the former employee is clearly shown to be untrue.

The pastes and polishes were not the only interests of the company. According to an article in the August 24, 1922 issue of “Printer’s Ink,” Griffin owned patents to a number of shoe-shine related appurtenances and designs as well.

They own the patents on the rubber tipped shoe rest that makes it easier for the customer to keep his foot steady under the shining cloth of the operator. Another feature looking to the comfort of the patron has been the armchairs with a bit of space between them allowing the use of both arm rests for comfort. Another patented design is the half step at one side that makes it easier for women to reach the chairs without danger of damage to skirts and with greater comfort and less embarrassment.

All told, this enabled Griffin to supply everything that was needed in the trade under one concern, increasing their appeal to the operators of parlors and stands, as well as individual bootblacks. The firm even provided assistance in locating new stands to prospective owners. Aste summed up this business approach himself in the “Printer’s Ink’ article:

In a visit with Mr. Aste where he was supervising the opening of a new parlor he laid special stress on these service features and the real quality of the polish manufactured by the concern. He felt a pride in the accomplishment of his plans and did not hesitate to say that any stand that would install his features and use his materials correctly would make a success, provided the location was right.

The company was still listed on Willoughby Avenue in the 1955 Brooklyn Telephone Directory, but by 1959 I can no longer find them. Sadly, the Willoughby Avenue location is now a parking lot for Home Depot.

It appears that the business (or at least the name?) was purchased in 2013 and is now called the Griffin Shoe Care Company, located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. So, if you want, you can still buy Griffin Shoe Polish today!

The history of the business between the late 1950’s and 2013 is not clear.

The bottle I found is a small (2 to 3 oz.) machine made bottle probably made in the 1920’s, prior to their move to Willoughby Avenue. It has the name “Griffin” and a picture of a griffen, the company’s trademark, embossed on the base. The griffin was an antique monster with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle.

According to a Counsular Report to the House Of Representatives dated 1901, the company registered and was using the trademark in the United States for several years. This dates its use back to the late 1890’s. The Report went on to say that they did not have rights to the trademark on products shipped to Germany.

 

D.D.D Company, Chicago, Ill.

The D.D.D. Company was apparently started by Decatur D. Dennis who sold a patent medicine called the D.D.D. prescription that was purported to cure the entire spectrum of skin disorders. A 1923 D.D.D. advertisement mentions “twenty-five years of success,” which puts the start date of the company in the late 1890’s.

An advertisement, presented to look like a newspaper article in the June 23, 1907 Sacramento Union, provides a general description of the company and it’s product.

Scientists have at last found how to conquer skin diseases. For generations medical men have been experimenting with internal treatment to cure eczema, but the progress in the germ theory has shown that the old fashioned medical schools were on the wrong track.

As it is now known that eczema, psoriasis, salt rheum, ringworm and all kinds of rashes are caused by germs which lodge in the skin, the best skin specialists have come to believe that the skin can be cured only through the skin. The application externally of oil of wintergreen, mixed with soothing ingredients, strikes right at the germs and destroys them effectually. Properly mixed this makes a powerful wash, yet so mild and harmless that it can be used as a gargle. The mixture is prepared according to the prescription of a well-known skin specialist, Dr. Decatur D. Dennis. It is compounded in Chicago and has been sold for years by druggists under the label of D.D.D. Prescription.

According to census records and various city directories, Dr. Decatur D Dennis did actually exist. Born in Texas in 1867, he was listed as the president of the D.D.D. Company in the 1899 Galveston, Texas Directory. In 1900, he was still listed as president of the D.D.D. Company but by then the company address was listed in Chicago at 70 Dearborn Street. According to 1900 census records, during the same time period, Dennis was living at a nearby hotel.

In 1901, The D.D.D. Company was still listed at 70 Dearborn with John W. Baker and Benjamin E. Page named as president and secretary respectively. Meanwhile, Dennis was back in Texas and listed as a physician on East Lamar Street in Dennison. So it looks like Dennis’s brief visit to Chicago resulted in a successful effort to sell the business.

The D.D.D. Company remained listed at 70 Dearborn with Baker as president in 1902. Then, sometime between 1903 and 1905, the business moved to 118 Michigan Street where it was listed in 1906 with Page named as president. By 1911, the company had moved again, this time to 3843-45 East Ravenswood Park Avenue. The company remained there through the mid-1920’s with Page as president, after which, I lose track.

The company must have grown quite quickly into a national and international presence. By 1913, they were advertising in most if not all parts of the country with local druggists acting as their agents. I’ve found newspaper advertisements for D.D.D. in Kingston, N.Y. (1903), Sacramento, California (1907) and Denver, Colorado (1913). In 1924, I even found an overseas advertisement for them in a New Zealand publication called the New Zealand Truth.

The company’s end date is not clear. The company was not listed in the 1930 Chicago directory but continued to advertise the D.D.D. Prescription (without an address)  well into the 1950’s. I’ve seen advertisements in Life Magazine as late as 1952.

In regard to the product itself, an early advertisement in 1903 boldly claimed that each of these skin afflictions is parasitic in nature and all of them have yielded to D.D.D.

Acne, Barber’s Itch, Carbuncles, Acne Rosacea, Dermatitis, Eczema in all its forms: Eczema in Infants and Young Children, Erythema, Impetigo, Contagious, Lupus, Lichen Planus, Herpes, Erysipelas, Ichthyosis, Pityriasis, Itching Piles, Lichen Ruber, Psoriasis in all its forms: Scrofula, Seborrhea, Mycosis, Scabies, Tinea Favosa, Tinea Circinata, Tinea Trichophytina Barbae, Lupus Serpiginous, Elephantiasis.

It goes on to say that it will clear off any parasitic break in the skin in from 3 to 60 days time. According to the directions on a labeled bottle that was recently listed on E-Bay, application was simple:

Apply the remedy with a piece of absorbent cotton or an atomizer to the parts affected two or three times daily. After a few treatments the disease will begin to dry up and form more scales and scabs than appeared at its natural stage. The patient should not remove them but let nature throw them off.

 

Throughout their history, their marketing strategy included the offer of a trial bottle. The bottle was free or simply required a nominal amount for postage and packaging. They also used testimonials quite a bit to get their message across. Here’s a typical testimonial from 1923:

I suffered for the last ten years. Every effort that I tried-most of them doctor’s prescriptions- and even injections given in my arms; and in the army, injections in my back failed to do me a bit of good.

Today I am proud to say after using a few bottles of D.D.D. I am almost cured of that hated disease.

The other day a friend of mine who was suffering from eczema came over to thank me because I told him to use D.D.D.

M Kaspar, 55 Grove St., Chelsea Mass.

D.D.D’s miraculous claims concerning the theraputic effects of their product caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture who alleged they were misbranding the product in violation of the Food and Drug Act. In the late teens and early 1920’s, there were at least three instances where shipments of their products, circulars and booklets from Illinois to other states were seized for this reason. In two instances, D.D.D. chose not to appear for the property and it was destroyed. In one case, where they did appear, they were fined $2,000 and in addition had to pay for the cost of the proceedings.

As you can guess, as time went on D.D.D. advertisements began to focus on itch relief and no longer mentioned elimination of the root cause. This 1937 advertisement from Popular Mechanics was a good example.

The bottle I found is a square shaped medicine that contained approximately five ounces. It’s machine made and the makers mark embossed on the bottom is an “I” within a diamond, indicating it was made by the Illinois Glass Company. There are no date or factory numbers included with the mark so according to various web sites it was probably made between 1914 and 1929.

The following two advertisements serve to narrow down that range. The first is from 1923 and shows their bottle with a cork finish. The other is from 1925 and shows a screw top finish. This leads me to believe that the company switched from cork to screw top around 1924, making this the end range for the bottle’s manufacture.

 

 

Atlantic Dairy, Bedell Bros., Freeport, L.I.

Bedell is a long time Freeport area family name that dates back to some of the original settlers of the village and its surrounding area on the south shore of Long Island.

The Atlantic Dairy apparently had it’s roots in the Long Island farm of Charles Bedell and the Bedell Brothers named on the bottle were likely two of his three sons, Treadwell and Archer (sometimes referred to as Archie).

According to his obituary in the November 27, 1908 issue of the Nassau County Review, Charles Bedell was a lifetime resident and farmer on the south shore of Long Island. He was born in the neighboring village of Baldwin and moved to Freeport in the late 1880’s.

The funeral services of Charles Bedell, an old and well respected resident of this place, were held Monday afternoon at his late  home, where he died on Saturday from paralysis. He resided in Freeport twenty years, was a farmer by occupation, was born at Baldwin and lived at that place and Freeport all his life. He was eighty years of age. Deceased was survived by five children: Henry Bedell, of Merrick; Mrs. Thomas Baldwin, of Baldwin, Catherine, Treadwell and Archie Bedell, of this place.

As best I can tell, the Freeport farm, where he spent the last 20 years of his life was located along what is now Atlantic Avenue between Bayview Avenue to the east and Milburn Creek to the west.

Charles’s three sons, Henry, Treadwell, and Archer all worked on the farm at one time or another. The 1900 census records and the 1901-1902 Freeport directory listed the oldest, Henry, with the occupation milkman living on Bayview Avenue. The 1900 census listed both Treadwell and Archer as farm laborers, also living on Bayview Avenue. There’s no mention of Bedell Brothers or Atlantic Dairy in the 1901-1902 directory.

According to an article in the December 18, 1908 issue of the Long Island Farmer, when Charles died on November 21, 1908, his two younger sons, Treadwell and Archer, were allowed use of the estate, which I assume included the farm, for the next five years.

The will of Charles Henry Bedell, of Freeport, leaving an estate of $38,000 was offered for probate on Tuesday. Treadwell and Archer Bedell, sons, were given the use of the estate for five years. At the expiration of that time the estate is to be divided equally among five children.

The 1910 census records confirmed the above story. Both lived at the same location on Atlantic Avenue and both listed their occupation as milk dealers. Around this time, Bedell Brothers also appeared in the limited directory information I can find. The Freeport section of the 1913 Montauk Business Directory of Long Island listed Bedell Brothers as milk dealers located on Atlantic Avenue and the 1914-1915 Freeport Directory listed both Treadwell and Archie Bedell individually as dairymen. Their address was given as Atlantic Avenue near (Millburn) creek. By 1910, Henry had moved to Merrick and did not list milk or dairy as an occupation in the census records.

So it looks like the dairy farm was in operation beginning in the 1880’s and that sons, Treadwell and Archer became more involved in the early 1900’s, as Charles got older. It makes sense that the name Bedell Brothers started around this time.

The dairy probably lasted into the early 1920’s. Treadwell is still listed at the Atlantic Avenue location in 1920 census records along with Henry’s son, Edgar. Treadwell listed his occupation as a truck farmer while Edgar listed his as a milkman. By 1930 I can’t find any Bedell’s on Atlantic Avenue in Freeport.

The bottle I found is a machine-made quart. It exhibits some sun-purple coloring indicating the presence of manganese dioxide which was predominantly used as a decolorizing agent prior to 1920. This supports a manufacture date right around the mid-teens when Treadwell and Archer were both located on Atlantic Avenue following their father’s death.

 

 

 

Robinson Brothers, New York, Buffalo Ammonia

Buffalo Ammonia was manufactured by the Robinson Brothers Chemical Works of Brooklyn New York..  The application for their trademark buffalo, registered on May 30, 1913, stated that it had been continually used in the business since 1896.

Advertisements for their ammonia published in the late 1940’s use the phrase “since 1893.” Based on this I think it’s safe to assume that the product hit the market sometime in the mid 1890’s

The first listing I can find for the Robinson Brothers Chemical Works was in the 1897 Brooklyn City Directory, located on Montrose Avenue, corner of Seneca Avenue. (They are not in the 1889 directory and I don’t have access to directories in-between.) The business remained listed at that location through the late 1940’s. By 1949, the business address had changed to 235 Randolph Street, also in Brooklyn, where it was still listed in the mid-1960’s. The 1913/1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn listed the brothers’ names as Edward S. and David Robinson. In the same directory in 1922, only David was listed.

Buffalo Ammonia was advertised with a wide variety of uses both as a cleaning fluid and toilet article. An item in the August 25, 1923 issue of “Brooklyn Life,” while lengthy, paints a good overall picture of it’s “as advertised” qualities and benefits.

Doubtless few appreciate the many uses of ammonia and the importance for most purposes of it being pure.

Most of the cheaper brands of ammonia sold in bottles consist for the most part of water softened by the addition of caustic soda, or soda ash, and containing only enough ammonia to impart to the solution the odor of the chemical.

When used for washing clothes, ammonia solutions containing caustic soda are very injurious as the soda will cause the fabric to rot or disintegrate.

Impure brands of ammonia, therefore should never be used for laundry purposes, while for other household uses, such as cleaning nickel work on gas stove ranges and other appliances, and removing stains, a pure ammonia is incomparably more effective.

Its purity, coupled with its low price, is the chief distinction of Buffalo Ammonia, manufactured by the Robinson Brothers Kings County Chemical Works at Montrose and Seneca Avenues, Brooklyn.

This ammonia is perfectly pure and clear and wholly free from caustic soda or soda ash, so that it can be used with perfect safety on the most delicate fabrics and employed with equal confidence for all household purposes. Not only that, but it is equally good for toilet purposes.

Added to the bath, especially in hot sultry weather it will make the water feel smooth and soft and without the use of soap, leave the skin equally smooth and soft as well as odorless and clean and impart to the body a delightful sensation of coolness. For shampooing the hair it is equally good. A teaspoonful should be put into the water with the soap. This will produce an abundant lather when rubbed into the scalp with the fingers and, having washed the hair with clean water and rubbed dry with a towel, it will be left soft and fluffy. The use of the ammonia will also tend to prevent dandruff.

A little Buffalo Ammonia placed in the water will also make shaving much easier and smoother by softening the beard. Incidentally it is a perfect substitute for smelling salts, the reviving effects of which are due wholly to the ammonia they contain. A whiff of Buffalo Ammonia will produce the same revivifying effect.

Buffalo Ammonia is sold by all grocers.

The bottle and labeling of Buffalo Ammonia was described in a “Special Notice” printed in the January 4, 1912 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

This description of the bottle “Engraved or blown on its upper parts near neck on opposite sides words BUFFALO AMMONIA” fits the bottle I found exactly. Both the bottle and label, as described, are shown in a 1932 advertisement. In a 1949 advertisement, other than a screw-top finish, the bottle didn’t change much.

   

Today Montrose and Seneca Avenues do not intersect. Seneca (north-south) terminates at a railroad corridor and Montrose (east-west) terminates west of Seneca. I guess it’s possible that at one time Montrose continued east adjacent to the railroad. 235 Randolph is currently part of a yard that stores/services aerial lift vehicles. It is located directly adjacent to the same rail corridor. It’s possible that both locations are actually one and the same and that the address simply changed as the neighborhood developed around the Robinson facility.

On a final note, a business called the American Bluing Company, located in Buffalo New York also manufactured a product called Buffalo Ammonia. Advertisements for their product say that the company was established in 1873 and they used a different image of the Buffalo on their packaging so the two companies don’t appear to be related.

I guess it’s possible that the Brooklyn company was a knock-off or copy cat of the Buffalo company?

 

 

Horlick’s Malted Milk, Racine, Wis., U.S.A., London, Eng.

Horlick’s Malted Milk began manufacture in the late 1800’s and is still produced today by the GlaxoSmithKline plc, a British company headquartered in Brentford, London. According to the Horlicks web site:

Horlick’s was invented by two British-born men, William Horlick (1846-1936) and his brother James (1844-1921) from Gloucestershire, England. James was a chemist, working for a company that made dried baby food. William, the younger brother, had immigrated to America in 1869 and James decided to join him in Chicago in 1873. That same year, they started their own company (J&W Horlicks) to make a malted milk drink. They called their product “Diastoid” and their advertising slogan read: Horlick’s Infant and Invalid Food”

In 1875 the business moved to the outskirts of Racine Wisconsin, and up until 1883 they continued to use the name J&W Horlick. The 1882 Racine City Directory lists them as:

J&W Horlick (James and William Horlick) manufacturers of Horlick’s Food and Dry Extract of Malt. Rapids Road.

In 1883, the business incorporated under the name Horlick’s Food Company. They established a factory on Northwestern Avenue and around this time began using the factory location as their address. Early directories that I was able to find (1888, 1890, 1897, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1910, 1914 and 1916)  listed their address as simply “Northwestern Avenue near the city line.” All of these directories, list James as president and William as secretary/treasurer. Sometime between 1905 and 1910, the business changed it’s name to the Horlick’s Malted Milk Co.

After James’s death in 1921, William became president. The 1929 directory lists William as president and his sons William Horlick Jr and A.J. Horlick as vice presidents.

These early years of the business were featured in a history of Racine Wisconsin called “Racine Belle City of the Lakes and Racine County, Wisconsin, Volume II, published in 1916. It’s a little long and some facts, as presented, differ from the information found in the city directories, but all in all it paints a vivid picture of the company at the time including it’s product development, facilities, relationship with it’s employees and economic importance to Racine.

The name of no productive industry of the United States is perhaps more widely known than that of the Horlick Malted Milk Company, the business of which has developed until it reaches all parts of the civilized world. The company was organized in 1875 and was incorporated in 1878 as the Horlick Food Company by William and James Horlick, brothers, who established their plant in the outskirts of Racine, in Mount Pleasant Township. They began to manufacture a product known as Horlick’s Food, which was a prepared food for infants, invalids and the aged, to be added to milk to modify and enrich it. Their sales at the time covered only Chicago and vicinity. William Horlick, however, realized the great disadvantage of all foods for infants that required the addition of fresh milk, owing to the difficulty of obtaining fresh milk and keeping it so. He therefore began experimenting with the purpose of producing a pure food product containing adequate proportion of pure, rich milk – a food that would complete in itself, that would keep indefinitely in any climate and would be free from all the dangers arising from the use of milk that is impure, adulterated, laden with disease germs or in any way rendered unfit for use. Moreover, he desired that this food should be not only absolutely safe but very nourishing and easily digested by the most delicate infant or invalid, while it should contain at the same time all the elements of nutrition. In carrying on the work of experimentation Mr. Horlick met with many disappointments and leading chemists claimed that it was both a chemical and mechanical impossibility to perfect such a food, advising him to abandon the idea. He never faltered in his purpose, however, notwithstanding his heavy losses of time and expense, and at the end of six years, or in 1887, he produced for the first time in the world’s history a food product in powder form containing clean, rich milk combined with extract of malted barley and wheat that would keep indefinitely. The value of such a product was at once apparent and the business grew by leaps and bounds, so that it was difficult to make the supply meet the demand. A program of building was instituted. New buildings were added from time to time of reinforced concrete construction and the plant today covers an area of fifteen acres. In 1902 plant No. 2 was built, being a duplicate of plant No. 1, and in 1905 plant No. 3 came into existence, a triplicate of the others, but subject to enlargement. Since then the old buildings have all been rebuilt in concrete and steel. All rooms are large and well lighted and there is a perfect fire protection. Sanitation and cleanliness are among the basic elements of the business. There is a forced system of ventilation through the plant, the air being washed by sprays of water.

To maintain such a plant necessitated the employment of a large force of people and in developing the plant the company has shown marked consideration for the welfare of the employees. They maintain an athletic association and there is a whist club and a cricket club for employees and also an employees’ beneficial association. On the pay roll are found three hundred and fifty names. The department of agriculture of the State University at Madison says that the standard of dairying in this part of Wisconsin has been raised very largely owing to the rules of the Horlick factory in regard to the production of good, clean milk and the example furnished therein. Nearly every city in the United States has asked for a copy of the rules of this plant for the production and care of pure milk and these rules have constituted the basis for much municipal legislation in regard to the milk supply of cities. William Horlick owns personally several farms upon which are several hundred head of cows and he also buys milk from one hundred and fifty farmers. In 1915 the company erected a new milk house which is one of the finest in the country.

The process employed in the manufacture of the food consists in boiling the milk in a vacuum, which enables them to boil it without heating above one hundred and forty degrees, for milk “cooks” at one hundred and fifty-six degrees. This results, therefore, in removing all water without cooking. The company has a plant in Slough, England, equal to the No. 2 plant of Racine, and supplies from that point Europe, Africa and a part of India. The trade today covers the entire world, shipments leaving for all parts of the world every week. Every Arctic explorer for the past twenty years has carried a supply of Horlick’s malted milk in powder and lunch tablet form, for it supplies more nutrition to the bulk than any other food and people have lived for many years with no other sustenance. It is standard with all the armies of the world and is regarded as an indispensable accessory on all exploration and camping trips.

In 1889 James Horlick went to New York, where he established a branch, and in 1890 opened the English branch and since that time has been in charge of the English plant. He is the president of the company. William Horlick has been managing director of the home plant and has always lived in Racine. He is secretary and treasurer of the company and his two sons are actively associated with him, the elder, A.J., being vice president of the company, with William Horlick, Jr. as secretary. In 1906 the name was changed to Horlick’s Malted Milk Company. There is no other enterprise that has made Racine as well known throughout the world as this product, today used in every civilized country on the face of the globe.

The story mentions that James went to New York in 1889 to start a branch and then moved on to England in 1890 but the NYC directories say otherwise. There’s no mention of James or the business in the 1889 or 1891 NYC directories but James is listed in the 1892 directory. In that directory, and that directory only, he’s listed at 230 Pearl with the title President. I can’t find any mention of Horlick’s in NYC again until 1904 so it doesn’t appear that James established a NY branch at that point though he may have laid the groundwork.

In 1904 A. J. Horlick, one of William’s sons, is listed as a director in a company called H.W. St John & Co. with an address of 239 South Street. Then between 1905 and 1925 Horlick’s Food Co., and later, Horlick’s Malted Milk Co. is listed and H.W. St John & Co. is included in the listing as their agent. Based on the directories I can find they were located at 239 South Street (1905), 37 Pearl Street (1909 – 1917) and 18 Pearl Street (1918 – 1932). In 1948, H.W. St John & Co. is still listed at 18 Pearl but there’s no mention of Horlick’s.

H.W. St John is still in business today. Their web site calls them freight forwarders and says they were founded in 1902. Based on the fact that A.J. Horlick was one of their early (and probably initial) directors, I have to think that the Horlick’s were instrumental in starting the company in NY as an instrument to distribute their products.

As described in the above feature, the secret to Horlick’s success was developing the process of drying milk into a powder. They obtained a patent (278967A) for the process entitled “Granulated food for infants and process of preparing the same” on June 5, 1883, not 1887 as stated in the story. Four years later, in 1887, they trademarked the name “malted milk. The 1883 date is confirmed in a Horlick advertisement entitled “A Discovery that Benefits Mankind” found in the June 25, 1919 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

A 1921 National Association of Retail Druggists price list demonstrated that by then they were not only selling malted milk in different size cans or jars including a “hospital” size but also selling what they called “malted milk lunch tablets.”

Originally intended for infants and invalids, Horlick’s malted milk was a perfect fit for the back packs of explorers and soldiers. According to the Horlick’s web site the drink has made it’s way to both the North and South poles and in fact, Richard Byrd named the Horlicks Mountains on the Ross Ice Shelf in honor of the company’s $30,000 sponsorship.

The 15 acre factory site, located on Northwestern Avenue must have been in a constant state of flux what with the constant building additions and modifications described in the story. The grounds however appeared to be kept perfectly manicured at all times. A February 1912 article in the Practical Druggist summed it up this way:

To gain an adequate idea of the extreme beauty of the surroundings of the Horlick plant, one must visit it during the summer, when the eye can feast on the vision of green turf, the abundant foliage and many-hued flowers and the lagoon.

A couple of Horlick postcards capture both the size of the operation and the impeccable landscaping.

According to a 2001 article in the “Journal Times” the Company shut down in 1975. Today, some of the Horlick building complex remains. Haban Manufacturing was utilizing a portion of it to manufacture snow blowers and related equipment but that company went out of business in 2000.

This photo appears to be the current view of the building to the right in the first Horlick Post Card above.

The jar I found is early machine made and embossed with both Racine and London locations. According to the Horlick’s current web site they established the London factory in 1908 so I assume it was manufactured after that. It was probably wrapped in paper as evidenced by this early 1920’s advertisement from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that pictures what they call “the old reliable round package”

Huyler’s, New York

According to the “History of Huyler’s Candy Company” by Jennifer Walkowski excerpted from the “Huyler’s Candy Company Building (in Buffalo NY) Nomination for Listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places:

Huyler’s chocolate and candy company was once the largest and most prominent chocolate maker in the United States. Headquartered in New York City, the Huyler’s company operated a large chain of Huyler’s branded stores across the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and their high-quality chocolate products were a part of daily life, given as holiday gifts, used as special indulgences and as treats for young girls and boys.

It is said that Milton Hershey worked at Huyler’s in the mid 1880’s before moving to Pennsylvania and starting the Hershey Co.

The company was founded by John S. Huyler.

His obituary in the October 1, 1910 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle describes the early days of the business

Mr. Hurley was born in Manhattan in 1846, his father being David Huyler. In 1875 he started the business which proved to be the foundation of his fortune, on Broadway near Eighteenth Street, Manhattan. There it was that he made the announcement of “Huyler’s Taffy. Fresh Every Hour.”

This proved a trademark that was on everyone’s tongue, while the candies were in so many mouths that the business speedily grew to immense proportions, and branches were established all over Manhattan Borough.

In 1881 Mr. Huyler formed a corporation under the name of “John S. Huyler” of which his father, David, was made the president. It is a family corporation. Mr. Huyler’s father dying in 1885, John S. became the president in his stead. There are about sixty Huyler stores all over the country. Nineteen are in Manhattan, four are in Brooklyn, and there are branch stores in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Newark, Atlantic City, Long Branch, Newport and other cities. The factory is in Manhattan.

The growth referred to in the obituary is documented in the New York City Directories.

  • The 1876/1877 Directory listed John S. Huyler at his first location at 863 Broadway. His occupation is listed as “candy and old fashioned molasses candy”
  • By 1886, the factory and offices had been established at 64 Irving Place and were listed along with what appear to be three Manhattan retail locations; the original store at 863 Broadway as well as 150 Broadway and 17 W. 42nd Street.
  • By 1905, two additional Manhattan retail locations were added; 508 Fifth Avenue (pictured below) and 469 Broadway.
  • Then four years later in 1909, in addition to the Irving Place factory and offices, the number of Manhattan retail locations had soared to 21 (as opposed to 19 mentioned in the obituary).

Most of the NYC store openings were announced in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The announcements provide some insight into the store decor and products. The following is from the June 14, 1906 issue of the Brookyn Daily Eagle announcing the opening of the store at 81 Nassau Street.

Another Huyler store has opened at 81 Nassau Street, Manhattan, where the well-known Huyler candies and chocolates will be on sale to relieve the rush of their other downtown stores. The new store makes eleven opened by Huyler in greater New York, and the twenty-sixth in the chain of stores operated directly by the Huyler Corporation in various parts of the States and Canada. The store is handsomely appointed, finished in mahogany and with a tasty color scheme carried out on walls, ceiling and decorations; it cannot fail to satisfy those who come in to enjoy their famous fountain drinks, which will be served to perfection. The store will have a soda counter fifty-five feet in length, able to accommodate the crowds that will flock there for their celebrated ice cream soda, phosphates, etc. It is located handier to the Wall Street and jewelers district than any other in their chain.

Another, this one in the May 14, 1908 issue announced a new store in Hudson Terminal (now the World Trade Center PATH Station) with a sales approach aimed at daily commuters. It describes a process that still thrives today in commuter terminals.

The opening of the latest Huyler store today in the Hudson Terminal Building at Cortlandt and Church Streets just west of Broadway is an instance of the up-to-dateness of the big company, which aims to keep its advance line of stores abreast of the shifting lines of demand. For customers in a hurry to catch ferries or elevated trains they will make a special feature of carrying in stock a full supply of freshly packed boxes ready to carry without a moments delay…

John Huyler was a man who apparently appreciated those who worked for him as evidenced by this paragraph that was included in his obituary:

He was in the habit of giving his employees in Manhattan an annual outing, hiring a steamboat for the day. It was also his policy to look after the welfare of old employees, providing them with a home. He purchased ground on the Hudson for that purpose. He was also a generous contributor to Syracuse University, a Methodist institution, of which he was a trustee. He recently made a gift of $20,000 to that institution.

After his death, the business remained in the Huyler family. The 1915 NYC Directory listed Frank DeKlyn Huyler, his oldest son, as president, B. F. DeKlyn, a relative by marriage, as Vice president, and two other sons, David and Coulter as treasurer and secretary respectively. By this time the retail store count had reached 23 Manhattan locations and another 5 in Brooklyn.

In the early 1920’s, Huyler’s began expanding outside of the candy world, opening restaurants. An announcement in the December 13, 1924 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for a new store in Brooklyn described both the restaurant and the target audience.

Huyler’s are opening a new store at 529 Fulton Street, between Duffield and Gold Streets, Brooklyn, in the heart of the theatre and shopping district. Distinguished in the candy world for 50 successful years, they need no introduction to the Brooklyn public. Huyler’s candy has maintained its superiority for years and has become a standard of excellence today. The soda fountain should be mentioned also for it’s cleanliness and order, its efficient and tasteful service, and its delicious fresh fruit syrups.

The distinctive feature of the new store is a fine restaurant equipped with all the modern conveniences to meet the demands of the busy shopper as well as a more leisure tete-a-tete. You will find there all the refinement and good taste which characterizes all the Huyler’s restaurants.

A men’s grill in early American style will be opened very soon to serve the business man who insists on pleasant surroundings, as well as a well cooked, substantial meal at moderate prices.

A comfortable waiting room has been provided so that there need be no waiting in line during the rush hours.

The many friends and patrons of the Huyler’s store, located for years at 458 Fulton street, will be glad to know that this new store is opening almost directly across the street, and that it will be managed by Miss Godsil, well known and liked by a highly esteemed clientele.

Finally, after 50 years, the family sold the business in 1925. Subsequently owned by several different entities, I don’t find any advertisements for them after the early 1950’s. The original store location was still in business as late as 1944 as evidenced by a June 28 classified ad that used the 863 Broadway address.

The jar I found is a small (4 1/2 inches high), early machine made jar. A 1905 advertisement for Frederick Loeser & Co. listed Huyler jars that contained “assorted fruit balls, lemon balls and horehound sticks.”

It also could have contained powdered chocolate or cocoa which were also Huyler products.

Richard Hudnut, New York

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Omega Chemical Company, New York, Omega Oil

 

Omega Oil first entered the market in late 1898 or early 1899. Their first newspaper advertisements which began appearing in 1899, were presented to look more like news items and told a version of the product’s origin that they’d have you believe. This advertisement from the January 6, 1901 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was typical of these early advertisements.

As the story goes, a Boston businessman was in Europe on vacation. While there, his wife fell from a carriage and broke her ankle. No doctor or remedy could cure her until, while in Switzerland, he met a young woman whose grandfather made a “queer green oil” that cured her within two hours. The “almost miraculous curative virtues” of the oil, and the reason for it’s green color came from a rare herb that grew only in a certain part of Switzerland. The man ultimately bought the recipe, returned to the United States, invested in the oil and organized a company to manufacture it.

The company, called the Omega Chemical Company, was originally located at 29 Central Street in Boston, Mass. Advertisements in 1899 and early 1900 referenced this address.

Sometime in the Spring of 1900, the Boston address vanished from the advertisements and the company apparently moved its operation to New York City. By the end of 1900, company advertisements referenced their address as 257 Broadway in New York City.

The first New York City listing I can find for the Omega Chemical Company is in the 1900 Trow Copartnership and Corporation Directory. A New York corporation with capital of $100,000 their address was listed as 41 Park Row.  Michael Wineburgh (spelled Winburn in later years) and Bert M Moses were named as president and secretary respectively. A year later, in 1901, the business was listed at the 257 Broadway address. In 1904 their address was listed as 452 Fifth Avenue and by 1908 it was 576 Fifth Avenue. In 1919 Winburn (no longer spelled Wineburgh)was still listed as president, with Clara Jerolemon and S.E. Sierack listed as treasurer and secretary, respectively. The business was still listed at 576 Fifth Avenue in the 1933 Manhattan telephone directory.

Beginning around 1904, they also maintained a factory at 243 Greenwich Street. The factory moved to Brooklyn around 1914 where it was listed in the telephone directories through the mid 1930’s (34th Street and later 36th Street).

Winburn passed away in November, 1930 and in May,1931 his estate sold the business to Colgate-Palmolive-Peet. The sale was reported in the May 15th editions of newspapers across the country. This Chicago Tribune story was typical.

The Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company yesterday announced the acquisition of the Omega Chemical Company of New York for approximately $3,000,000. Purchase was made from the estate of Michael Winburn. The Omega Chemical Company owns a controlling interest in Omega, Ltd., of London and in the Societe Cadum of France and Societe Cadum Belge of Brussels. Societe Cadum of Paris is one of the largest soap manufacturers in France.

It appears that the company left New York City sometime in the late 1930’s. The 1937 Brooklyn telephone directory indicated that the Omega Chemical Company factory had moved to Jersey City and according to a notice in the August 3, 1938 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the New York Corporation was dissolved in July of that year.

The business appears to have remained active in New Jersey well into the 1950’s.

Marketed as a liniment, an 1899 advertisement described Omega Oil’s benefits like this:

Omega Oil is a Summer as well as a Winter liniment. It is a godsend to old people whose joints get stiff as the years pile up. It takes out soreness caused by hard work or hard exercise or hard pleasure. It builds up the muscular tissues from the outside. There is no sense in swallowing nasty drugs and ruining your stomach to give you strength in your body. Rub in Omega Oil if you want to build up your muscles.

A 1901 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement went further and provided a menu of the ailments it supposedly cured:

Omega Oil cures Weak Backs. Lame Shoulders, Tired Arms and Legs. Stiff Elbows, Wrists, Fingers, Knees, Ankles and Joints. Rheumatism, Lumbago, Neuralgia, Sore Throat, Cold in the Chest, Sore Muscles. Aching, Itching, Sore, Swollen, Tired, Sweaty Feet. A godsend to old people. Freshens, invigorates and strengthens the muscular tissues after hard exercise, hard work or hard pleasure. Good for everything a hard liniment ought to be good for.

Another 1901 advertisement, this one marketed it as a cure for sprains, exhibited the same type of bottle as the one I found.

As you may have guessed, the company was focused on advertising as a key to their early growth. A story (or advertisement?) in the March 10, 1900 issue of the Burlington Free Press, discussed the early success of their advertising. It noted that Omega Oil spent $92,000 on advertising in New England and Pennsylvania within the past 12 months and goes on to say:

No salesman of any kind whatever was employed. There was not a bottle of Omega Oil in the drug stores when the advertising began. Its promoters began paying out hundreds of dollars a day to advertise in the newspapers, street cars and on sign boards, and distributed millions of books. The demand began instantly…This great demand has been created by two things, and only two – an unusually good article and unusually good advertising.

Their advertising employed a number of marketing strategies that continue to be successfully used today. One was that they were constantly stressing the product’s natural ingredients:

It will penetrate to your very bones, and soothe, soften and subdue the hurting. There is nothing in it except what grows out of the ground. It has the beautiful color of Nature – it is a sparkling emerald green. Rub it in freely. It will not blister or burn the skin. Rub it in and the hurting will stop.

Employing another one of today’s marketing strategies, Omega Oil was one of the first products I’ve found that used professional athletes as spokesmen. One of their newspaper advertisements printed endorsements from famous prize fighters of the time.

Famous Fighters. Real Secret of Their Endurance and Strength.

Jeffries, Ruhlin, Corbett, Fitzsimmons, Sullivan, Kid McCoy, Peter Maher, McGovern and Others Indorse the Same Method.

The successful athlete doesn’t take chances with his physical condition. His success depends upon his muscles, and he is mighty careful to keep them in good shape. He uses the very best things that he can find.

Every other man wants to be strong and vigorous too, no matter whether he is a laborer, a merchant, a professional man or a preacher. A manly man is just about the most pleasing sight the eye ever looked upon. That is why the whole public should learn a lesson from the professional athletes. Anything that makes an athlete strong will make you strong. And right here is the secret of it all, told by men who are known throughout the world:

This introduction was followed with quotes from each of the listed fighters. I’ve included John L Sullivan’s quote below:

Omega Oil was still being advertised well into the 1950’s. Advertisements during this time called it “new and improved” and no longer mentioned a “queer green” oil made from rare herbs. Instead they said:

This time honored medication is fortified for swift relief by two wonderful ingredients: one of the most powerful external pain killers known to modern science, plus a really remarkable deep-acting, heat-inducing ingredient.

In addition and not surprisingly, they no longer tout it as a cure. Instead they said “relief lasted as long as 8 hours”

Nonetheless, in 1957 they were accused of false advertising by the Federal Trade Commission. According to a story in the April 1, 1957 edition of the Baltimore Sun:

The Federal Trade Commission has been listening to commercials on radio and television and today it announced its first complaints.

The agency said complaints of false advertising have been issued against three distributors of arthritis and rheumatism medicines.

They were: Mentholatum Company, Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y., maker of Mentholatum Rub; Whitehall Pharmacy Company of New York, maker of Infra-Rub and Heet; and Omega Chemical Company, Inc.of Jersey City, N.J., distributor of Omega Oil…

Omega , it said, advertised on the radio: “You know how I suffered, could hardly move- well, I talked to my druggist and he told me to rub my aching back with Omega Oil…Next morning I felt like a boy again…”

The FTC statement said its complaints allege that none of the products is an “adequate, effective or reliable treatment for the aches and pains of arthritis, rheumatism and related diseases as claimed, and none of them would have “any beneficial effect in excess of affording temporary relief of the minor aches and pains of these ills.”

It’s not clear when the product was discontinued but I’ve seen it listed in drug store advertisements as late as 1979.

The company’s original NYC location, 41 Park Row, is also called the NY Times Building. Around the turn of the century, the building was rebuilt around it’s original core probably necessitating the move to Broadway. 576 Fifth Avenue was built in 1907 so the business was probably an original tenant there. It looks like 257 Broadway and 457 Fifth Avenue also date back to the business.

The bottle I found is a machine made vile similar to the one in the above advertisement. Assuming that the new factory location in Brooklyn was fitted with up-to-date equipment, including automated bottle machines, it was probably manufactured after the move there in 1914.

Up through the 1950’s the packaging of Omega Oil changed very little. This 1955 advertisement exhibits pretty much the same vial as the one pictured in advertisements from the early 1900’s, except that a screw top has replaced the cork top.