Whittemore, Boston, French Gloss

The Whittemore name was associated with shoes and blacking going back at least as far as 1850. That year, census records listed Daniel Whittemore as a shoemaker located at North Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachussets. Ten years later, in the 1860 census records, he listed himself as a blacking maker  still located in North Bridgewater.

Sometime in the late 1860’s or early 1870’s, Daniel Whittemore’s sons, John Q.A. and Charles Whittemore established the company of Whittemore Brothers & Co. That business was first listed in the 1873  Boston City Directory as manufacturers of leather dressings with an address of 100 Lincoln. The two Whittemore brothers along with a third partner, W. Augustus Paine, were named as proprietors.

The company was listed in Boston with a Lincoln Avenue address up through 1889; first at 100 Lincoln and later from 1874  to 1889 at 176 – 184 Lincoln. Then by 1891 they had moved to 237 Albany Street, also in Boston, where they remained until 1901.

In 1902 the company apparently moved across the Charles River to Cambridge Mass. The 1902 Boston directory included an advertisement that located them in Cambridgeport.

The following year, in 1903, the company was first listed in the Cambridge City Directory at 20 -26 Albany Street. (Apparently there are two Albany Streets; one in Boston and another in Cambridge.) The directory that year also included an advertisement that mentioned both an office and factory at that location.

The business remained listed on Albany Street in Cambridge up through at least 1947. Up until 1905, the business listed their address as 20 Albany Street, then 84 Albany Street and ultimately 68 -92 Albany Street changing their name to Whittemore Bros. Corp. sometime around 1915.

This December 1911 advertisement printed in the Pharmaceutical Era called Whittemore the “Oldest and Largest Manufacturers of Shoe Polishes in the World.”

It also named a wide array of brands, including “French Gloss” that were being sold under the Whittemore name and the purpose of each. They included:

“GILT EDGE” Oil Polish. Blacks and Polishes ladies’ and children’s boots and shoes. SHINES WITHOUT RUBBING; always ready for use.

“ELITE” combination for those who take pride in having their shoes look A-1. Restores color and lustre to all black shoes.

“BULLY SHINE.” A waterproof paste polish for all kinds of black shoes and rubbers. Blacks, polishes, softens and preserves. Contains oils and waxes to polish and preserve the leather, also Russet Bully Shine.

“DANDY” combination for cleaning and polishing all kinds of russet or tan boots and shoes.

“FRENCH GLOSS.” For blacking and polishing ladies’ and children’s boots and shoes. SHINES WITHOUT RUBBING.

“BOSTON.” A black liquid polish for men’s and boys’ shoes. Produces a patent leather polish without brushing. “BOSTON” is excellent for cleansing old rubbers.

“LIGHTNING DYE” instantly blacks all colored shoes.

“SUEDEDENE” for cleansing and recoloring all kinds and colors of suede and ooze leather footwear, also Black and Castor. In powder or liquid form. Powders in patent sifting top cans.

An advertisement from 1930, specific to the “French Gloss” brand stressed that it “Shines Without Brushing” and  focused on children’s shoes.

It is very easily applied, dries quickly, covers those annoying scuffs which children have in footwear and can be used also on rubbers.

It’s not clear when “French Gloss,” was first introduced as a Whittemore brand. An item called “French Gloss for Ladies’ Shoes” was included in an advertisement for a store named Jewett’s in the November 30, 1869 edition of the Buffalo (N.Y.) Daily Courier so its possible that the brand dates back to the origins of the business. That being said, I can’t positively associate the brand with the Whittemore name until the 1890’s. It continued to be advertised into the 1940’s.

The bottle I found is machine made and contains 3 ounces. It’s embossed “Whittemore Boston” on one side and “French Gloss” on the other. It was most likely manufactured in the latter part of the company history, probably 1920’s or 1930’s

 

 

Booth’s Distillery, London England, High & Dry Gin

According to “Difford’s Guide,” the relationship between the Booth family and gin can be traced back to the establishment of their London distillery in 1740.

The Booth family, who moved to London from north-east England, were established wine merchants as early as 1569. By 1740 they had added distilling to their already established brewing and wine interests and built a distillery at 55 Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell, London…

During the 19th century Sir Felix Booth set up another distillery at Brentford and grew the business into the largest distilling company in England…

After the death of the last male Booth family member in 1826, the firm became an independent limited company. In 1937, Booth’s joined the Distiller’s Company Ltd, the interests of which would evolve into part of the conglomerate we know today as Diageo.

Booth’s gin is not currently listed as a brand on Diageo’s web site, apparently having gone out of production just recently.

It’s not clear when Booth’s gin first began appearing in the United States. The earliest U. S. newspaper reference for Booth’s gin that I could find is in a December 4, 1871 story in the Buffalo Daily Courier highlighting a local business called P.J. Hanour’s. It mentioned that “Holland” gin and Booth’s “Old Tom” gin were both available by the case at Hanour’s. Based on this story, its safe to say that Booth’s “Old Tom” gin was certainly available in the U.S. by the early 1870’s.

The December, 1887 edition of Bonfort’s Wine and Spirit Circular listed the firm of Purdy & Nicholas as the U.S. agent for Booth & Co.’s “Old Tom” gin.

An import company, the business was a partnership of John F. Purdy and George Stevenson Nicholas. According to Purdy’s obituary the company was established in 1857, so while it’s not clear when their relationship with Booth’s began, it’s possible that Booth’s U. S. presence dates back that far.

Always located at 42 Beaver Street in lower Manhattan, Purdy & Nicholas was listed in the New York City directories from 1862 up until 1888. According to an item in the September 12, 1894 issue of the New York Times, the partnership was dissolved on September 1, 1888. Subsequently, Nicholas continued to run the business, first as a sole proprietor, then, sometime around 1908, as G. S. Nicholas & Co. and finally in 1919 as G.S. Nicholas & Son. Throughout this time the business remained listed at the Beaver Street address.

By the early 1900’s, in addition to “Old Tom” their Booth & Co. imports also included Booth’s “Dry” gin. A 1902 advertisement in Life Magazine named G. S. Nicholas as the sole agent for Booth’s Dry Gin.

And the brand was included in the company listing under gin, printed in the January 1, 1903 edition of the Wine & Spirit Bulletin.

By 1908 the brand name “High and Dry” gin began to appear in the U. S. as a Booth & Co. product. That year, the June 17 edition of “Printers Ink” announced that the firm of H.B. Humphrey  had been hired to place advertisements for the brand.

A year later G. S. Nicholas & Co. included the Booth’s “High and Dry” brand along with Booth’s “Old Tom”in an advertisement published in the June 22, 1909 edition of the New York Times.

In 1919, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory named G. S. Nicholas & Son as the agent for Booth Distillery, Ltd., confirming that their relationship remained intact right up to the start of National Prohibition.

Booth’s High & Dry gin continued to be available in the U. S. during Prohibition albeit illegally. One story in the (Wilmington Delaware) Evening Journal described a shipment that originated in Canada.

Eighteen days ago a fourteen ton, two-masted schooner cleared from the little port of St Pierre Miquelon, a French possession near Newfoundland, with a crew of seven and assorted choice liquors valued at upwards of $200,000 aboard.

Search of the schooner was made during the night. Bottles, cases and kegs of liquor were found in two hatches covered with bags of coal.

The small schooner is (now) berthed at a Delaware River pier in Philadelphia, heavily guarded. The cargo of liquor lies in concrete vaults of the U. S. Customs Department.

A list of the illegal cargo was provided in the story and it included “28 gallons of Booth’s High and Dry gin” and “62 cases of Booth’s High and Dry gin.”

Apparently Booth’s “High & Dry,” in addition to being smuggled in, was also being counterfeited in this country. A story in the April 7, 1928 edition of the Decatur (Illinois) Herald referred to one illegal operation as the “Decatur Branch” of the Booth Distillery, complete with a still, bottles and labels.

Police Friday raided the “local branch” of a London, England, distillery: makers of Booth’s “High and Dry” Gin, and other fine imported liquors. A new 50-gallon still was confiscated.

Swooping down on the cottage in 2129 North Church Street, they found John Alexander and his wife Sadie, in charge of the premises with 80 gallons of raw alcohol ready to be converted into choice imported liquors.

Bottles, labels, corks and seals were ready. Recipes for mixing a widely assorted list of liquors were found.

Booth’s London distillery, as described by the labels for use on the “imported” dry gin, made in Decatur, was established in 1740. The British lion appears on the label as a trade mark. The label is a work of art, printed in four colors.

Another label found is intended to give the information that the liquor manufactured in Decatur’s branch of Booth’s English distillery is imported by the “Henry Hollander Co., Inc.” under a special permit. Caution is given that it has been permitted in this country for medicinal purposes only and that “sale for use for other purposes will cause heavy penalties to be inflicted.”

The still was in the basement. It gave appearance of being recently installed. Under order of Chief Ed Wills, it was wrecked.

After Prohibition ended, Booth’s “High & Dry” gin began to be produced in the U.S. by Park & Tillford Distiller’s of New York City. The “High & Dry” label from the 1930’s included the following:

product of U.S.A. distilled and bottled by Park & Tillford Distillers, Inc. at New York, N.Y., under the supervision of Booth Distillers, Ld, London.

Other 1930’s advertisements explained that reducing the price by eliminating the import tax was the reasoning behind the change.

This is the same gin when imported retails $3.50 to $4.00 per fifth bottle. But it is now being distilled by the Park and Tillford distillers in New York City by the Booth’s distillers of London, England, same formula, same gin, but eliminating import tax, thereby bringing the price down compared to ordinary gin.

This advertisement from 1935 bore this out, listing the price of a fifth at $1.45.

By the mid-1950’s, Booth’s “High & Dry” gin was being produced in Linden New Jersey by the Distillers Co., Ltd.; W. A. Taylor & Co., was named as their sole distributor in the U.S and the bottle design had completely changed but this 1959 advertisement showed that their marketing strategy had remained pretty consistent.

They still stressed their English heritage.

It is good to know that when you buy Booth’s “High & Dry” Gin in the United States you are getting gin made according to the same formula as the Booth’s “High & Dry” purveyed in Britain. It is the only gin distilled in U.S.A. under the supervision of famous Booth Distilleries, Ltd., in London, England. Give Booth’s a try.

And price was still a major factor.

The bottle I found is square-shaped, machine made and includes “High & Dry Gin,” the British lion trademark, “Booth’s Distillery London England” all embossed on one face. It doesn’t include the typical post-prohibition embossed phrase (federal law forbids the sale or reuse of this bottle).

As a result the bottle was most likely manufactured after 1908 when the brand “High & Dry” began to appear in the U.S and before the end of National Prohibition.

This is further supported by the embossing: “B & CO.LD.,” found on the base of the bottle.

Originally I thought that this stood for Booth & Co., however, I now think it represents “Bagley & Co., Ltd.,” an English glass house, that was in business from 1898 to 1962. According to the U.S. Society of Historical Architecture they were one of the first users of automated bottle machinery in England and probably had the capability of making machine-made narrow-mouthed bottles as early as 1907. The company manufactured bottles from 1898 to the late 1920’s or early 1930’s after which they ceased bottle production and focused on tableware.

The range of production between 1908 and the early 1930’s means that the bottle could have been legally imported by G.S. Nicholas or it could have entered the country illegally during Prohibition.

Peter Dawson Ltd., Distillers

Peter Dawson was third generation of a family of Scottish distillers that began with his grandfather sometime in the first decade of the 1800’s. According to Whisky.Com, he established Peter Dawson Ltd., in Glasgow in 1892. A distilling and blending company, between 1893 and 1924 they were associated at various times with a number of Scottish distilleries including Convolmore, Towiemore and Balmenach.

According to the 1920 edition of “Harper’s Manual – The Standard Work of Reference for the Wine & Spirit Trade,” the business incorporated in 1911 with Peter Dawson and W. Campbell named as Managing Director and Secretary respectively. The Harper’s listing also mentioned three brands: “Dawson’s Extra Special,” “Dawson’s Old Curio,” and “Dawson’s Special.”

By 1925 they had been purchased and were operating as a subsidiary to the “Distillers Company, Ltd.” Guinness acquired the Distillers Co. in 1986, and they merged with Grand Metropolitan in 1997 to form Diageo. Today, Diageo’s web site does not list Peter Dawson as one of their scotch brands.

It appears that the Peter Dawson brands began appearing in the United States sometime in the early 1900’s. On June 16, 1903 they registered their label with the United States Patent Office (10,105) and their newspaper advertisements began appearing in 1909. The first one I could find was in the January 14, 1909 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

The Dawson taste for old scotch whisky is the cultivated taste. Peter Dawson Scotch Whisky is bottled in Scotland and has a flavor that will be a revelation to you. Kindly but firmly refuse substitutes at bars, hotels, cafes and on trains.

Like most European based whiskies, the Peter Dawson brands continued to make their way into the United States after the start of National Prohibition. An article printed in the March 10, 1925 edition of the Casper (Wyoming) Star Tribune described a confiscated shipment of Peter Dawson Scotch.

Ten quarts of Peter Dawson Scotch liquor, shipped out of New York City to F.J. Alder of Casper Wyoming, was yesterday seized by federal prohibition officers. No such man at the address has been found.

The liquor, shipped by express, was packed in a wooden shoe box which had been filled with sawdust and tin packing strips had been nailed around the box to reinforce it.

C.F. Peterson and Otto Plaga, federal agents, confiscated the shipment and sent it to headquarters of the department at Cheyenne.

Following the end of Prohibition, Julius Wile Sons & Co. was appointed as Dawson’s United States distributor. The following advertisement appeared in the December 11, 1933 edition of several U.S. newspapers.

Wile was still listed as their agent and/or distributor on advertisements as late as 1971.

Julius Wile Sons & Co. was a wine and spirits importing company that dated back to 1877, so it’s possible that they also served as Peter Dawson’s distributor prior to National Prohibition but I haven’t been able to verify (or refute) this.

The Peter Dawson Scotch bottle was a unique design that included “brambles” and  “dimples” on the shoulder and near the base but leaving a smooth area in between for the label. An April 10, 1924 advertisement in the The (London England) Guardian focused on their unique bottle design.

The Whisky bottle that gives you inside information.

Old masters, bank-notes, and the labels on valuable commercial commodities are so easily imitated nowadays that extra precautions are often necessary.

In the case of Peter Dawson, it has been found imperative to adopt, in addition to the label on the bottle, a distinguishing mark which will at once defy imitation and protect both the public and the blender.

That is the reason why “brambles” and “dimples” have been grown upon the “P.D.” bottles. It is strange but true that these “brambles” and “dimples” will only grow upon bottles containing whisky that’s genuinely old and mellowed in wood.

Seek out the “P.D.” bottle that “brambles” with pride and “dimples” with pleasure. It will give you reliable inside information of a “special” nature.

As far as I can tell, the “brambled” and “dimpled” bottle design began appearing in newspaper advertisements in the early 1920’s and the design remained relatively unchanged (other than the finish) well into the 1980’s and possibly longer.

The bottle I found is a machine made quart that exhibits the Peter Dawson “brambles” and “dimples” and matches the bottle in the 1924 advertisement, including the finish.  The base is embossed “Peter Dawson Ltd., Distillers.”  It doesn’t include the typical post-prohibition embossed phrase: “federal law forbids sale or reuse of this bottle.” As a result, the bottle was most likely manufactured overseas in the 1920’s and smuggled into the United States during Prohibition.

Henry C. Botjer Co., Long Island City, N.Y.

According to census records Henry C. Botjer was born in Germany in 1872 (1900 records) or 1873 (1910 records) and immigrated to the United States in 1888.

It appears that he ran his own business from 1906 until 1918, when he passed away. Between 1906 and 1910 his address was listed as 353 Broadway or sometimes Broadway, corner of Second Avenue in Long Island City, Queens. An advertisement in the February 4, 1907 edition of the Brooklyn Star called him a “Wholesale Dealer in Lager Beers, Ales and Porters  with a depot and office both located on Broadway, corner of Second Avenue. The advertisement went on to say that he was the sole agent for Miller’s “The Best” Milwaukee Beer and wholesale agent for imported beers.

Another advertisement, this one in the February 8, 1908 issue of “Harpers Weekly” focused on his association with “Miller”

The business incorporated in July, 1912. The incorporation notice appeared under the heading “New Queens Concern” in the July 30, 1912 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Henry C. Botjer Company of the Borough of Queens has been incorporated with the Secretary of State, to make and sell beverages, etc. with a capital of $10,000 and the following directors: Henry C. Botjer of Long Island City and James J. Sullivan and D. Walter Griffiths of New York City.

Around the same time, the business moved to 404 – 406 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, where it remained listed until 1918. During this period,the directory listings usually classified the business as wholesale beers.

Second Avenue in Queens was later renamed 31st Street. The intersection of 31st Street and Broadway is now technically located in Astoria and situated under the elevated subway. The buildings on each corner are all old and could date back to the business. It’s not clear exactly where the Jackson Avenue address was located.

The bottle I found is a machine made, 12 ounce, champagne style beer with a crown finish. It’s embossed “Henry C. Botjer Co. Long Island City” in small letters around the shoulder. The bottle looks exactly like the one in the 1908 advertisement (without the label) and no doubt contained a “Miller High Life.” Machine made, it most likely dates to the later years of the business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1915 the AMA summed it up this way:

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Tournades Kitchen Bouquet

 

Kitchen Bouquet has been available for well over 100 years and it can still be purchased today at among other places, Walmart and Target. A browning and seasoning sauce for soups, sauces, gravies, roasts and stews it was developed by Jules L. Tournade and originally manufactured by the Palisade Manufacturing Co. of West Hoboken New Jersey.

A story printed at the time of his death, in the July 17, 1891 issue of the N.Y.Times briefly mentioned his background and early history.

Mr. Tournade was of French birth, his native town being La Rochelle, France, where he was born in 1836. He came to this country in 1857 in company with his cousin, Jules G Tournade, who is engaged in the importing business at 25 South William Street, with the firm of Gourd & Tournade. Mr. Jules L Tournade was at first in business with his cousin and was a member with him of the firm J & J Tournade. This firm, however, dissolved in 1869, and since then Mr. Jules L. Tournade had been in business in New Jersey. He had been successful in business. He leaves a wife and one son who will probably succeed his father in the business of the company.

J&J Tournade was last listed in the 1868-69 NYC Directory confirming that the company did come to an end around that time. However, it appears that Jules L. Tournade remained in business in New York through much of the 1870’s where he was listed in the NYC directories as either a merchant or importer.

According to an early listing of New Jersey corporations, he started the Palisade Manufacturing Company on July 5, 1881 at 247 Clinton Avenue in West Hoboken. The first listing I can find for the company was in the 1883 Jersey City Directory with an address of Clinton Avenue near Chambers. Jules L Tournade and his son, Emil Tournade were also listed individually at the same address with the occupations of president and salesman respectively.

Jules L  Tounade died a sudden and tragic death in July of 1891. According to the July 17th N.Y. Times story:

Jules L. Tournde, proprietor of the Palisade Manufacturing Company, Clinton Avenue, West Hoboken,N.J., was fatally injured on the Paterson Plank Road, opposite Second Street, Hoboken, Wednesday afternoon, and died shortly afterward at his home. Mr Tournade had recently purchased a team of horses and had taken them out in company with Mr. Frank Davis of the Davis West Hoboken Express to accustom the horses to the railroad and elevated trains.

On the way home along the plank road the reins became entangled and the horses began to back. In attempting to get out of the wagon Mr. Tournade slipped and his foot was firmly wedged between the shaft and the axle. The horses continued backing, and forced the wagon near the end of the road. A moment later it went over, followed by the horses, and all struck on the jagged rocks, fifteen feet below. Mr. Davis in the meantime had succeeded in getting out of the wagon, but Mr. Tournade suffered fractures of the ribs and skull. He was taken to his home, but all efforts to save his life were without avail.

His son apparently continued on in the business but for how long is unknown. The 1900 census records listed Emile Tournade’s occupation as “syrup maker” but he’s nowhere to be found in the 1910 or 1920 census records. I guess it’s possible he went back to live with family in France?

In any event, the Palisade Manufacturing Company was still listed at 247-249 Clinton Avenue in the 1918 Industrial Directory of New Jersey.  Located near the intersection of Clinton Avenue and Chambers Street, certain advertisements during this period include 18 Chambers Street as their address.

In 1923 they became part of the newly formed Foulds Company. According to a collection entitled the “Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929” assembled by the Library of Congress:

In 1923 the Foulds Company was formed by the consolidation of the following companies: The Foulds Milling Co., Chicago and Libertyville; Warner Macaroni Co., Syracuse N.Y.; Woodcock Macaroni Co., Rochester N.Y.; Palisade Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of Kitchen Bouquet, Hoboken N.J., and just recently the acquisition of the Cone Company of America, making the well-known Havacone ice cream cone, which gives another product closely allied with the macaroni industry.

According to the January, 1924 issue of the Wholesale Grocery Review, a year later the business was still operating under the control of the Foulds Company but was then called Kitchen Bouquet Co.

C S Foulds has succeeded his father, who died recently, as president of the Foulds Co. Mr. Foulds was formerly secretary and sales manger of the Foulds Milling Co.

The Foulds Co., with executive offices at 522 Fifth Ave., New York City, controls The Foulds Milling Co., Warner Macaroni Co., Woodcock Macaroni Co. and Kitchen Bouquet Co.

The officers are C.S. Foulds, president; G.E. Warner, 1st vice-president; H.H. Mills, vice-president; R.M. McMullen, treasurer; A.H. Wheatmore, secretary.

During this period Kitchen Bouquet advertisements utilized the Foulds Manhattan executive office address of 522 Fifth Avenue.

In 1929 Kitchen Bouquet was acquired by Grocery Store Products, Inc. The August 23, 1929 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported the transaction.

The formation of Grocery Store Products, Inc. which will immediately acquire four operating food companies and is contemplating the acquisition of additional companies, was announced today…The four special food companies, practically all of the stock of which will be held by Grocery Store Products, Inc., are the Toddy Corporation, manufacturer of a chocolate flavored malt food drink; Would Milling Co., a leader in the production of quality macaroni products; Kitchen Bouquet, Inc., manufacturer of liquid flavoring products, and Edward H Jacob, a company which produces the major portion of the canned mushrooms produced in the United States.

Grocery Store Products continued to make Kitchen Bouquet for the next four decades until the Clorox Company acquired the Kitchen Bouquet brand in April 1971. According to their web site, this marked the company’s entrance into specialty food products.

It’s not clear when the Kitchen Bouquet brand first hit the market. A series of advertisements from the early 1900’s say “30 years a favorite.”

This would put the product’s start back in the early 1870’s, but that’s  probably a stretch, recognizing that Jules L Tournade was working in New York as an importer/merchant at the time. It was certainly in existence by 1889 because it was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition that year.

I’m guessing it was developed in the early to mid-1880’s after the Palisade Manufacturing Company was formed. Originally listed as a candy manufacturer and confectioner, they would have been familiar with some of the ingredients that ultimately were included in the sauce, such as caramel. Today, the original recipe is one of the oldest items, and the only confidential asset, in the Clorox archive.

The Clorox Company web site shows several of the Kitchen Bouquet containers utilized over the course of their history. The bottle I found is machine made and matches the labeled bottle dated 1919.

It’s embossed Tournades Kitchen Bouquet on the base. The 1919 time period puts it’s manufacture with the Palisade Manufacturing Co. which agrees with the label on the pictured bottle.

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 still 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.