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

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

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

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

Bites cured free at 249 Fulton Street

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

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

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

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

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

No Skeeters Last Night Mama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 in 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.

The Forbes Diastase Company, Cincinnati, Ohio

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

A digestive aid, Forbes Diastase was described as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advertisement went on to say that:

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

An 1880 advertisement goes even further, stating:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1915 the AMA summed it up this way:

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

W. H. Miner, Chazy, N. Y.

   

The W stands for William H. Miner. An inventor, businessman and philanthropist, in 1903 he established the “Heart’s Delight Farm” in Chazy New York, a small hamlet about 50 miles south of Montreal, Canada, where he spent much of his childhood. His obituary, printed in the April 5, 1930 edition of the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, described the start of the farm.

Mr. Miner was reputed to have amassed a fortune of $90,000,000 through the invention and manufacture of freight car couplings and other freight car equipment. He left Chazy 45 years ago to seek his fortune with $22 in his pocket.

He lived in Chicago until 28 years ago when, with Mrs. Miner he moved (back) to Chazy and established a residence there on a 40-acre farm. The following year he purchased 400 acres adjoining, and continued to add to his estate year by year until the entire property, known as “Heart’s Delight Farm” now consists of about 10,000 acres. On this farm is one of the show places of the “north country,” a large game reserve filled with herds of buffalo, elk and deer.

A September 22, 1912 story about Miner appeared in the Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier Journal. It contained a sketch that I presume represented the farm buildings around that time.

Excerpts from that story provide a description of the farm in 1912.

On his estate he employs 400 men. Three beautiful streams flow through the farm. There are hundreds of charming cottages and artistic farm structures. He has built miles of macadamized road through the property, and made the 11,000 acres, not only a paradise for man but a paradise for animals. There are herds of buffalo and herds of elk. Deer wander over the land, gentle and free. He has homes for the birds, wild and tame. There are flocks of golden pheasants and multitudes of partridges…

Black bass and trout abound in his lakes and brooks. He has five lakes on his estate. The largest, Lake Alice, is named in honor of his wife.

To get water power for generating electricity he has built a dam 5,700 feet long – the largest private dam in the world. Every mechanical appliance that can be employed on the farm to advantage he uses. He lights his roads and he lights all the buildings on his great estate by electricity. Not only that, but he furnishes light and power to the people of the little village of Chazy free…

He raises many thousands of bushels of corn, of wheat, of oats, of rye, of barley, of buckwheat and thousands of tons of alfalfa. All his grain is ground in his own grist mill and fed to the farm animals. He has perhaps the finest herd of Holstein cattle in the world. He has the champion bull and the champion butter cow of the universe. He has the champion Percheron stallion too. His Chesire White and his Yorkshire hogs have made a wide reputation…

The story also touches on Miner’s human side, describing how his employees were treated.

To those of his employees who are married he furnishes cottages rent free. His unmarried male employees live in clubs of fifteen. Each one of these clubs has a library, a reading room, a billiard table and a music room. He is a great believer in the virtue of water. There are lots of bathtubs in every dwelling house on his estate, and every house has plumbing that is high grade and sanitary. Every house, from his own down to that of the farm hand, has hot water, cold water and spring water taps.

According to the Miner Institute’s web site, by 1918 the farm had grown to 12,000 acres – 4,000 acres of tillable land, 2,000 acres of pasture, and 6,000 acres of woodland –  and the farm:

had it’s own dairy, box factory, ice house, natatorium, greenhouses and grist mill. There was a 20 – bedroom guest house and an entertainment center called Harmony Hall, which included an auditorium complete with a stage that could accommodate 300 persons.

After his death in 1930, Miner’s will provided for the establishment of the Miner Institute, a school and farm devoted to teaching scientific and environmentally sound agricultural practices to the farmers and youth of northern New York. Today, the Miners Institute offers educational programs in dairy and equine management and environmental science.  It also operates revenue producing dairy and equine farms.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with external threads and the cap is still mostly intact. It most likely dates to the first decade or two of the farm. I just can’t figure out what it might have contained.

Curtice Brothers Co., Preserves, Rochester N.Y.

 

Curtice Brothers, founded in 1868, by Simeon and Edgar Curtice, was one of the pioneers in the canning and preserving of food products.

The infancy of the company is described in the biography of Simeon Curtice contained in the “History of Rochester and Monroe County, New York, from the Earliest Historic Times to 1907, Vol. II”

In 1862 he concluded his studies and then established himself in the grocery business in Rochester in the old flat iron building at Main, North and Franklin Streets. In 1865 he was joined by his younger brother, Edgar, and they adopted the firm name of Curtice Brothers. They began a business association which continued until his death. It was in a room above their store that they commenced the canning of fruit in a small way, experimenting with the preserving of various fruits. In the autumn of 1868 they sold their grocery business, and purchased the property at the corner of Water and Mortimer Streets and devoted themselves entirely to the canning and preserving of fruits and vegetables. The rapidity with which their products found favor on the market led to the demand for increased space, causing them to purchase land and build on North Water Street between Andrews and River Streets.

They began operating at this North Water Street location on or about April 1, 1871. A description of this facility was found in the June 30, 1871 edition of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Yesterday we were surprised to find a four story building including basement, on North Water Street, below Andrews, devoted entirely to the business of canning and preserving fruits and vegetables…The Curtice Brothers commenced the business some three years ago, and they managed it so judiciously that they have met with unusual success. They have been encouraged to erect a building for this special business, and last March operations were commenced. An excellent cellar was built with a view of providing accommodations for this kind of trade. The structure is forty feet wide by 130 feet long, built of brick. About April 1st, the Curtice Brothers entered the building and began making cans for use the present season. They are now employing sixty-five hands in the various departments.

The Rochester city directories listed the Curtice Brothers at this location from 1871 through 1878.

According to Simeon’s biography, in 1880, the business was forced to move again due to the demand for still further increased space. This led to another location in Rochester on Livingston Street near St Paul Street where they built a plant that would remain operational until 1947.

An indication of the company’s size and importance to Rochester can be inferred by the fact that Livingston Street was apparently renamed Curtice Street. The company started using the new street name in the 1900 directory.

According to Simeon Curtice’s obituary in the February 16, 1905 edition of the Democrat and Chronicle, the business incorporated in 1889.

The Curtice Brothers copartnership continued until 1889, when the business was turned over to a corporation, organized for that purpose, under the name of Curtice Brothers Company, which continued until 1901, when it was consolidated with the Curtice Brothers Canning Company, of Vernon N.Y. to form the present company.

Simeone Curtice served as president until his death in 1905. At that point. Edgar succeeded him as president and ran the company until 1920, when he also passed away. By this time, in addition to Rochester, the company maintained plants in Indiana, Woodstown, N.J. and Vernon, N.Y.

According to a story marking the firm’s 90th anniversary in the November 23, 1958 issue of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, after Edgar’s death the controlling stock of the company was in the hands of the Security Trust Co.,until 1923 when Douglas Townson bought the stock and took control. Townson served as president and later as a director, and was still serving as a director of the company when the story was written.

By this time, according to the 90th anniversary story:

The company had about 150 permanent employees, and as many as 3,000 during the packing season, when factories operate in two shifts.

According to a story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the business was dissolved in 1961. According to an April 2nd story:

A purchase price of $3 million has dissolved the 93 year old Curtice Brothers Co., of Rochester and the Burns-Alton Corp. of Alton and turned ownership of the firms’ assets to a growers organization.

Transfer of the food processing companies’ facilities to the Pro-Fac Cooperative , Inc., made up of about 5oo Western New York fruit and vegetable growers, took place here Friday. Payment will be made over a 10-year period.

It’s apparent that as far back as 1871, the Curtice Brothers operation was quite significant. The June 30, 1871 story in the Democrat and Chronicle goes on to say:

The firm is now engaged in canning cherries which are put up in two and three pound packages. After the cherry season is over, will come in their order, lima beans, string beans, green peas, tomatos, corn, plums, pears, and quinces.

The Curtice Brothers have exhibited much enterprise in thus building up a business that was entirely new to Rochester. They expect to can fifteen hundred bushels of cherries, and in all fruits and vegetables they will can very little, if any, short of  half a million bushels this season

Their earliest newspaper advertisements from November/December of 1889 mentioned their canned fruits and vegetables as well as Red Current Jelly, Plum Pudding, “Pleasant Dreams” Mince Meat and “Blue Label” Ketchup.

In 1893, Curtice Brothers was a major food supplier for the Chicago World’s Fair. Under the heading “Hungry Folks at Chicago Will Never Forget the Name of Rochester, N.Y.,” the April 14, 1893 issue of the Democrat and Chronicle reported:

Upon investigation as to the the truth of a rumored large sale of food products, we find that with their usual enterprise, Curtice Brothers Co. have succeeded in making a contract with the Wellington Catering Company, which has the privileges of all the cafes and restaurants in the World’s Fair grounds at Chicago, to supply them to the exclusion of all other brands, with canned apples, squash and pumpkin (for pies); green corn and peas; preserved fruits; plum puddings, and “blue label” tomato ketchup, and when it is known that in the several cafes and restaurants there are lunch counters that aggregate over one and one-half miles in length and more than twelve hundred tables, at which can be seated at any one time to exceed fifteen thousand people (it is moderately estimated that more than one hundred thousand people will be fed during each day of the exposition), the magnitude of this contract can be easily imagined – better, perhaps when it is known that the estimate of wants already given is sufficient to make sixty-eight carloads.

The company marketed a number of items under their “Blue Label” brand including a line of “Blue Label” soups, but their most famous and recognizeable one was their ketchup.

It’s not clear when the company started making ketchup but advertisements referencing their “Imperial Tomato Ketchup” date back to at least 1879 and by 1889 advertisements referenced the “Blue Label” brand.

Immensely popular, the “Blue Label” brand lost market share to Heinz when the company refused to remove the preservative, benzoate of soda, from their ketchup recipe. In the early 1900’s there was a general trend away from food preservatives in the United States which sparked a great debate over the use of benzoate of soda. After a referee board appointed by President Roosevelt supported the use of benzoate of soda as a preservative, Curtice Brothers launched an advertising campaign in the spring of 1909 stating that “Blue Label Ketchup contained only those ingredients recognized and endorsed by the U.S. Government.”The advertisement below, from the May 20, 1909 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle is typical of the campaign.

Although it was never banned in small quantities, scientific advancements and the court of public opinion had caused most companies to stop using benzoate of soda by 1915. Curtice Brothers however, refused. According to “Pure Ketchup: A History of America’s National Condiment with Recipes”

Curtice Brothers was the clear loser in the benzoate war. At the turn of the century their “Blue Label Tomato Ketchup” was among the most respected and well-liked condiments in America. By 1915 its prestige and popularity had fallen. W. Stanley Maclem, later the president of Curtice Brothers, disclosed that they had “received a great deal of unfavorable publicity from the benzoate issue,” and he believed that “this could have been one of the factors in explaining the decline of the company’s product in the catsup market.”

Nonetheless the “Blue Label” Ketchup brand appears to have outlasted the Curtice Brothers business. I’ve seen it referenced in advertisements as late as 1972, more than 10 years after the Curtis Brothers business was dissolved.

I found two bottles, both mouth blown with external threads and an improved tooled finish. One bottle is about 10 1/2 inches tall and the size of a typical ketchup bottle today. The other bottle is identical, only smaller, just eight inches tall.  The lower half of each bottle is ribbed except for a flat square space where the label would have gone. This type of bottle began appearing in their advertisements around 1890. The earliest one I could find was from a series advertisements in the Pittsburgh Dispatch in November/December of 1890.

It wasn’t until 1929 that the company unveiled a new bottle type, the wide mouth.

Recognizing that the bottles I found are mouth blown, they most likely fall in the early to mid-range of the bottle type’s 1890 to 1929 time frame.

Franklin Brewing Company, Brooklyn N.Y.

 

The Franklin Brewing Company was established in 1903 but in fact has it’s roots in the brewing operation of George Malcom whose brewing business dates back to the mid-1860’s.

Malcom was first listed as a brewer located at the corner of Dean and Franklin Streets in Brooklyn. Around 1870 he moved to Flushing Avenue and established one of the largest breweries in Brooklyn at the time, occupying the entire block from Franklin Avenue to Skillman Street. Also referred to as the Wallabout Brewery, it was described in a September 19, 1871 item in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Wallabout Brewery, one of the largest establishments of the kind in the county, and said to be capable of turning out 500 barrels per diem. It occupies a fine brick building, 150 x 75 feet, and four stories in height. It is an immense concern, in every way well ordered, fitted with all the latest improvements and most modern inventions; employs a large number of men, and has involved an investment of not less, probably, than half a million of dollars of capital.

George Malcom was listed as a brewer at the Flushing/Franklin/Skillman location up through 1891. The expanded listing in the 1885 directory was typical.

Then in 1892, the company name in the listing changed to the “Malcom Brewing Company.

By the early 1900’s the business was running into financial difficulties. According to the April 14, 1903 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Some months ago the brewing company applied for a voluntary dissolution, on the ground of insolvency, and the referee reports that the company is undoubtedly insolvent and was insolvent on July 28 last.

By this time George Malcom is apparently no longer involved. The April 14, 1903 story goes on to say:

…the capital stock of the company is $400,000 and there is outstanding of this sum $359,000. The stock was issued to George Malcom for the plant and the present holders secured their holdings from him or his assigns.

A receivers’ sale that included the entire plant and property was held on June 30, 1903.

Notices for the sale listed the property holdings at that time which included brewery, malt house and stables.

The description of the brewery machinery provides an idea of the size of the operation at the time.

ALL BREWERY MACHINRY AND EQUIPMENT, sufficient for an annual output of about 150,000 barrels of ale and lager, including ice plant of about 40 tons capacity daily, and Milwaukee grain drying machine; malt house machinery of about 600 bushels capacity daily; also bottling machinery and office furniture..

STABLE CONTENTS, viz.: 36 horses, 27 delivery trucks and carts with harnesses, blankets, covers, feed and other stable supplies

The brewery was purchased by Claus (Charles) Doscher who, within 30 days of the sale, organized the Franklin Brewing Company. His brother and his sons were the officers, directors and holders of all the issued stock. The incorporation was announced in the July 31, 1903 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Articles incorporating the Franklin Brewing Company of Brooklyn have been filed with the Secretary of State. The capital stock is placed at $500,000 and the directors for the first year are Charles Doscher and Henry F. Cochrane of Brooklyn and Henry Doscher, John Doscher and Herman Doscher of New York City.

Claus Doscher  passed away in 1910. Afterwards there were many failed attempts by the family to sell the company which was in financial trouble. The brewery eventually shut down in 1917 or 1918. According to an August 11, 1918 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle the brewery building had been sold and was being converted to a cold and dry storage plant around that time.

The former building of the Franklin Brewing Company, at Flushing and Franklin Avenues, is being converted into a cold and dry storage plant. Food merchants of the Walkabout Market for whom the lack of storage space for their products is a serious problem, will benefit materially by the new plant.

The building which faces on Flushing Avenue and has a frontage of 200 feet, extends to Skillman Street. The wings of the structure are five stories high and the interior eight.

The plant is already partially equipped and insulated and is ideally adapted for storage purposes. It will afford 430,000 cubic feet of cold storage space and about 620,000 cubic feet for dry storage.

The building was purchased at auction on July 9 by George Dressler, president of the Wallabout Market Merchants’ Association and head of the Walabout Basin Storage Company.

The plant is expected to begin operations about the first of September.

The building described in the above article is still located on Flushing Avenue.

The bottle I found is an export style beer bottle with a tooled crown. It fits the 1903 to 1917 time frame of the business. Being mouth blown, it probably skews toward the earlier end.

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.