Murray & Lanman, Druggists, New York, Florida Water

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water has been sold as a toilet water or perfume for almost two centuries. This 1885 advertisement called it the “universal perfume,” advertising it “for the handkerchief, the toilet and the bath.”

According to one advertisement, printed in the February 6, 1880 edition of the Oakland Tribune:

The pleasure of bathing is greatly increased by mixing in the tub half or even a quarter of a bottle of Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water. Instantly the whole atmosphere of the bath-room is as fragrant as a blooming flower garden, the mind becomes buoyant, and the body emerges refreshed and strengthened.

Other advertisements from the same era add that it’s also:

delightful and healthful in the sick room, relieves weakness, fatigue, prostration, nervousness and headache.

Some say that it has “magical” properties as well and it’s commonly used in Hoodoo, Voodoo, Santeria and Wicca practices for ritual offerings and purification among other things.

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water is still made today by the firm of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, who was featured in a February 7, 1999 article in the New York Daily News. According to that article:

Despite it’s name, Florida Water was never made in Florida. In fact, Florida wasn’t even a state when the company began. The word simply means “of flowers.”

The article went on to touch on the start of the business.

“We go way back,” says Stephen Cooper, president of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, its makers. “Our company was founded in 1808 by Robert Murray. In the 1830’s, he got together with Lanman and that’s when they began our main product, which is Florida Water”

The earliest NYC directory I could find, Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory, published July 4, 1813, listed Robert J. Murray as a druggist located at 335 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan. The same directory also listed his brother, Lindley Murray, as a druggist at 313 Pearl Street. By 1826, and possibly earlier, they were listed together as Robert & Lindley Murray, druggists, located at 263 Pearl Street, corner of Fulton.

In 1835, it was Lindley Murray along with David Trumball Lanman, who established the partnership of Murray & Lanman. The business was first listed in the 1835 NYC Directory as druggists at 69 Water Street. Lindley Murray was also listed individually as a druggist at the same address. In the same directory Robert Murray was no longer listed, either individually or associated with the business.

Murray & Lanman was listed at 69 Water up through 1847. Then, in May of 1848, several legal notices printed in the Buffalo Courier named David T Lanman as the “surviving partner” of Murray & Lanaman, so Lindley Murray apparently passed away sometime in 1847 or early 1848.

Lanman remained listed individually as a druggist at 69 Water and apparently operated as a sole proprietor until 1853 when he formed a partnership with George Kemp called David T. Lanham & Co. The copartnership notice establishing the business was printed in the January 3, 1853 edition of the New York Times.

Five years later, another copartnership notice, this one printed in the January 1, 1858 edition of the New York Times, indicated that the name of the partnership was changed to D. T. Lanman & Kemp.

The company was listed in the NYC directories this way between 1858 and 1861, then in the 1862 directory they shortened the name to simply Lanman & Kemp. During this period, the business was apparently focused primarily on the foreign market. This advertisement, in the October 22, 1861 edition of the New York Times, called them “wholesale export druggists” further stating; “special attention paid to the execution of drug orders for the markets of Cuba, Mexico, West Indies and South Central America…”

It appears that by the early 1860’s, Lanman was no longer associated with the business. The 1862 NYC Directory no longer listed D.T. Lanman individually at the company’s Water Street address, and by 1865 the company listing in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory included the phrase “George Kemp only” as proprietor.

Lanman & Kemp remained listed at 69 Water Street until 1871 when they moved to 68-70 William Street. It was around this time that George’s brother, Edward, joined him in the management of the business and he continued to run the business after George Kemp’s death in 1893. According to Edward’s January 2, 1902 obituary he facilitated the construction of their long time headquarters at 135 Water Street.

In 1870 he became associated with his late brother George in the firm of Lanman & Kemp, his knowledge of commercial affairs and accurate judgement assisting greatly in making the business highly successful. It was he who built the fine building at No. 135 Water Street, in which the firm’s offices are now located.

The company was first listed at this location in the 1900 directory and they remained there through the mid to late 1950’s when they moved to New Jersey.  The 1957 NYC telephone book listed their general offices at 15 Grand Avenue, Palisades Park N.J., although it still included their 135 Water Street address as well. By 1959, the Water Street address was no longer listed.

They were first listed as Lanman & Kemp- Barclay & Co. in 1933. Today the company is located on Woodland Avenue in Westwood N.J.

Despite the many company name changes over the years, their florida water was always sold under the Murray & Lanman name and in fact, it’s still sold under that name today.  According to Lanman & Kemp-Barclay & Co.’s web site, the product was available in the United States as early as 1808.

Murray & Lanman Florida Water was introduced into the United States market on February 14, 1808. Immediately it gained popularity and approval from the consumer and became a woldwide, well-known cologne, not only because of it’s delightful fragrance, but also because of the more than twenty uses attributed to it.

Although the Murray’s may have been selling their florida water locally in the early 1800’s, a series of D. T. Lanman & Kemp advertisements from the late 1850’s indicate that the product wasn’t widely available in the United States until around that time. This advertisement which appeared in several Ohio newspapers between April 1857 and July 1858 stated under the heading “What Are Its Antecedents” that it was being sold in the Latin American countries for twenty years before being introduced in the United States.

For twenty years it has maintained its ascendency over all other perfumes throughout Cuba, South America and the West Indies. It has been introduced into the United States in response to the earnest demand growing out of its southern reputation.

Another advertisement from the same era stated:

Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water from its great celebrity in the South America and West Indian markets, for which for twenty years it was exclusively manufactured has been extensively imitated in the United States. Now however, the original article has been introduced throughout the Union, and as it bears the distinctive trade-mark of the proprietors, may be readily distinguished by its externals from the simulated preparations.

So, if you believe their own advertising, Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water was being exported to the West Indies and South America as early as the mid to late 1830’s, around the time the company was first established in 1835 and introduced in the United States sometime in the mid to late 1850’s. Recognizing the company’s focus on foreign markets this seems to make a lot of sense.

Like most successful patent medicines of the day, much of their popularity can be attributed to advertising.  Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water along with several of the company’s other products were advertised in their own publication called “Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac.” According to the 1999 Daily News feature:

…these products have been advertised for almost eight generations in Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac, the free booklets Lanman & Kemp give out each year. “Up until a short time before the Second World War, I think, it was published in Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and English,” says Cooper. The 1999 version marks 167 years of continuous publishing.”

And what publishing it is! Interspersed with page after page of shameless product endorsements are poems, recipes, weather predictions and jokes older than Florida water itself. “How to raise beets,” begins one seemingly serious entry in a turn of the century almanac. “Take hold of the tops and pull.”

What strikes me most about this product and the various companies that produced it over the years is the consistency of the image they have portrayed. The cover of their almanac hasn’t changed in over 100 years. Likewise, their bottle and its label have changed little, if at all.  Advertisements from 1887 and 1946 bear this out.

             

Finally, here’s today’s version.

On a final note, while it has the word “water” in its name, Florida Water has more alcohol than water in its formula. In 2004, after a woman, performing a Santeria cleansing ritual involving florida water and candles died tragically  in an apartment fire, the Daily News performed a test comparing the flammability of florida water to rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, nail polish remover and lighter fluid. According to the story, published in their February 26 edition:

In an indoor, controlled setting, Daily News reporters timed how long it took each product to turn a large cotton sweatshirt into a ball of flames.

About 4 ounces of each product was sprinkled on identical sweatshirts suspended on a wire coat hanger and ignited with a candle.

The sweatshirt doused in Murray & Lanman Florida Water was engulfed in flames in 10 seconds.

At 15 seconds, flames were shooting up 2 feet from the shoulders and by 40 seconds the sweatshirt was completely burned off the hanger.

The complete results of the experiment were published in the story.

The bottle I found is the typical florida water shape and is mouth blown. It’s embossed “Florida Water/Murray & Lanman/ Druggists/New York.” I’ve seen examples on the internet that also include the  69 Water Street address so it was most likely manufactured at the William Street location or right after the move to 135 Water Street.

Sloan’s Liniment, Kills Pain

Sloan’s Liniment was originally a veterinary product developed by Andrew Sloan to topically treat sore and lame horses. Andrew’s son, Earl S. Sloan, is credited with initially putting it on the market as a remedy for human ills and developing it into a world wide product that is still available today. Earl’s likeness has been included prominently on Sloan’s Liniment labels from the very beginnings of the business.

             

Stories published in the August 4, 1910 edition of “Printers Ink” and the December, 1910 edition of another advertising publication called “The Poster,” both referenced an interview with Earl Sloan in which he talked about the origins of the liniment:

The formula for “Sloan’s Liniment,” said Dr. Sloan, was my fathers.

He was one of the chief surgeons and Inspectors of Stock during the Civil War, and it was in that work that he developed and made use of the liniment.

As a young man I was in the horse-trading business and made the liniment simply for my own use, but it became so popular with friends and neighbors that I resolved to go into the liniment business exclusively.

According to census records and limited city directory information, Earl’s father, Andrew, lived in Zanesfield Ohio (1840’s to 1860’s), where Earl was born in 1848 and later in St Louis Missouri (1870’s). By 1880, Earl had moved to Boston where his business took root. A publication entitled “Commercial and Financial New England Illustrated,” published by the “Boston Herald’ in 1906, described the early history of the business.

Whoever knows the ills of the horse, the noblest of beasts, knows the value of Dr. Earl S. Sloan’s Liniment and Veterinary Remedies, which, through extensive advertising and their own merit have become the leading remedies of their kind in the world since their introduction in 1885. When Dr. Sloan put Sloan’s Liniment and Veterinary Remedies on the market, he had only one small room on Portland Street. This room was used for an office, and the remedies, which were then strictly veterinary, were manufactured in a laboratory in the suburbs.

In 1888 increasing business obliged a removal to a larger building on Portland Street, which, being partly destroyed by fire in 1896, necessitated another removal to a still larger building on the corner of Canton and Albany Streets…

In 1901 he bought from Dr. Parker the right to sell and manufacture the Dr. Parker Family Remedies, a venture which from the inception has been crowned with success. Needing still larger and more commodious quarters for the conduct of the business, he bought in 1904, from the Reuben Green estate, the factory which he now occupies on the corner of Brookline and Albany Streets. The plant is more than twice the size of the old factory and has been fitted with all the most modern appliances…

The company was incorporated in 1904 with a capital of $50,000 and employs a force of sixty-four persons. The officers of the firm are Dr. Earl S. Sloan, president; Foreman Sloan, vice president; Andrew Sloan, treasurer; Mrs. Bertha P. Sloan, director, and Archie MacKiegan, clerk.

This history was well supported by the Boston City Directories. Sloan was first listed in the Boston directories in 1880 and by 1882 he was listed at his first Portland Street location, 166 – 175 Portland, where he remained until 1887. This advertisement in the March 6, 1886 edition of the Black Hills (South Dakota) Daily Times confirmed that by this time Sloan’s Liniment was not just being marketed as a veterinary remedy.

The man or woman that has rheumatism and fails to keep and use “Sloan’s Liniment” is like a drowning man refusing a rope.

He was subsequently listed at his second Portland Street location, 132 Portland, by 1889. His first Albany Street address was listed in 1897 at 597-599 Albany and later, by 1905, he was listed at 615 Albany.

The business was still located at 615 Albany in 1913 when Sloan sold the company to the Pfeiffer Chemical Company. The July 31, 1913 edition of “Printer’s Ink” reported the sale.

Dr. Earl S. Sloan has sold his entire interests in the Dr. Sloan’s Mfg. Company (Sloan’s Liniment), of Boston, a “close” corporation. The purchasers are Henry Pfeiffer and J. A. Pfeiffer, of the Pfeiffer Chemical Company of St. Louis Mo. The business will be continued in Boston for the present…

During most of Earl Sloan’s time heading the company, Sloan’s Liniment was advertised as both a farm and home remedy – “cures all pain in man or beast.” An advertisement included in several southern U.S. newspapers in 1898, makes the same point with a little more flair.

A beautiful woman and a handsome horse appeal to every southerner’s heart. Both are better for the use of, and may be kept free from illness, by Sloan’s Liniment!

In fact, Sloan credited advertising for growing “Sloans Liniment” from a local veterinary  medicine to a product sold world wide by 1910. According to Earl Sloan’s interview in the December, 1910 edition of Printer’s Ink:

For years I put every dollar I could possibly take out of the business back into advertising. This meant, of course, an increasing expenditure each year until today we utilize practically all mediums, and even issue a magazine of our own, known as “Sloan’s Farm and Home Journal,” of which we send out millions of copies annually.

According to the “Printer’s Ink”story, the business depended on signs and billposting for every-day reminders and on newspapers and booklets for educational work. The words “Sloans Liniment” were always the most prominent feature in his newspaper and outdoor signage.

We believe that in that way we teach the public to unconsciously connect the two in their mind. Whenever they think of liniment they think of Sloan’s.

He went on to describe the world-wide recognition the product was receiving in 1910.

The far-reaching effect of our advertising has been surprising. I do not believe there is a spot in the world, reasonably civilized, where “Sloan’s Liniment” is not for sale. A man once wanted to make a wager with me that he knew one place where there was no “Sloan’s Liniment,” and he gave the Isle of Malta, which he said is the hottest place in the world. I looked up our records and found we had two druggists there who were selling large quantities of the liniment to the natives and to sailors on ships that use the Isle of Malta as a coaling station…

Yes, we advertise in foreign countries, as much proportionately as in the United States, using mostly newspapers, outdoor advertising and some street car advertising. Our business in England, Germany, South America and the West Indies is increasing so rapidly that it is hard for us to keep up with it.

The long history of “Sloan’s Liniment” suggests that it’s value as a liniment also contributed to it’s success but the company’s advertisements marketed it as much more than just a liniment. One 1905 advertisement called it “a complete medicine chest” and another, this one from 1920, listed 26 human conditions for which the liniment offered relief.

   

Advertisements in 1905 even advertised it as a preventative for yellow fever and malaria.

Avoid Yellow Fever

Use the great antiseptic preventative Sloan’s Liniment. Six drops of Sloan’s Liniment on a teaspoonful of sugar will kill yellow fever and malaria germs.

Farmers were also in luck. This 1908 advertisement announced it brought relief for various ailments associated with horses, cattle and sheep, hogs and poultry.

After Sloan sold the business it continued to operate under the name Dr. Earl S. Sloan, Inc., and they continued to list Boston as their home office on the “Sloan’s Liniment” label through 1916. The label also listed locations of Philadelphia and St. Louis in the U.S.; Toronto, Canada, and London, England.

         

Then in 1917, the label was revised, dropping the Boston location and adding New York.

The company address in New York was 113 West 18th Street. In the 1933 NYC Directory, Henry Pfeiffer was listed as president, and G.A. Pfeiffer as vice president and treasurer. During this period their advertisements continued to focus on the relief of joint and muscle pain but they were no longer using phrases like “cures rheumatism” and “destroys all germ life.”

According to an article in the October 15, 1945 edition of the Atlanta Constitution, around that time 14 companies, including the Pfeiffer Chemical Co., and  Dr. Earl S. Sloan, Inc. were consolidated under the name Standard Laboratories, Inc. The 1948 NYC Directory listed Standard Lab’s Inc. at the 113 West 18th Street address. In fact, Standard Lab’s was listed at that address as far back as the early 1920’s so it appears that the relationship between Sloan, Pfeiffer and Standard Lab’s probably dated back much further than the consolidation.

Built in 1913, the building utilized by the business at 113 West 18th Street still remains today.

By the early 1950’s Standard Laboratories, Inc. was located in Morris Plains N.J. According to bestbusinessny.com the company has been inactive since the mid 1980’s.

Sloan’s Liniment continues to be made today by Lee Pharmaceuticals and according to drugs.com, it’s still used for temporary relief of muscle or joint pain caused by strains, sprains, arthritis, bruising or backaches.

Over 130 years later, the packaging still includes Earl Sloan’s likeness on the label.

I’ve found two “Sloan’s Liniment” bottles, both three ounces in size. One is mouth blown and Embossed “Sloan’s Liniment / Kills Pain” that was probably made prior to Earl selling the business in 1913. The other is machine made, only embossed “Sloan’s Liniment” and most likely dates to the period following the sale.

 

Wm Jay Barker, New York, Hirsutus

Wm Jay Barker was listed in the New York City directories for over 100 years from 1847 until sometime in the mid-1950’s. During this time the business was listed with a wide range of classifications including hairdresser, barber, wigs, wigs and human hair, human hair merchant, patent meds and toilet goods. Many of the listings also included the name of the hair tonic that the business manufactured called “Hirsutus.” My daughter, who has a minor in Latin, tells me “Hirsutus” is a Latin adjective and can mean “hairy” or “shaggy”

Barker was first listed in the 1847 NYC Directory at 349 1/2 Broadway. The business remained on or near Broadway for almost 50 years utilizing many different addresses. In 1851 they were located at 459 Broadway and by 1857-58 they had moved to 565 Broadway. In the 1859-60 directory their address was listed as 622 Broadway where they remained through 1871. The 1867-68 NYC Directory included an expanded listing for the business.

In 1870 they opened a second location at 1275 Broadway. The opening of this location was announced in the June 22, 1870 edition of the New York Herald.

They maintained both addresses for just a year or so, dropping 622 Broadway in the 1871-72 Directory. In 1876-77 they moved again, this time to a location four doors off Broadway at 36 West 29th Street.

After leaving Broadway they were located at 112 Fulton Street (1895 to 1903); 106 6th Avenue (1903 to approx. 1930) and 1826 Park Avenue (approx. 1930 to the mid-1940’s). By 1948 they had moved to 160 East 127th Street where they remained listed through 1953. They were no longer listed in 1957.

The business was run by William Jay Barker until his death sometime prior to 1894 after which it appears that the business remained in the family. NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories between 1901 and 1919 listed  the business as “William Jay Barker (Mary Barker Fareira, only)” and a February 7, 1918 New York Times article,  named his son, also William Jay Barker, as president of the company until his tragic death, at the time of the article, in a Connecticut house fire.

Management of the company after Mary Fareira’s death sometime in the 1920’s is not clear.

Company advertisements stated that their hair tonic “Hirsutus” dated back to the start of the business in 1847, however the first mention of it that I can find was in an April 12, 1869 advertisement in the New York Herald.

This advertisement from 1902 claims that dandruff, thin failing hair, baldness, scrub, scalp humors and itching scalp were all relieved with one application of “Barker’s Hirsutus.”

Another 1902 advertisement went further, stating:

Thousands of persons are today scratching their heads and saying they would give anything in the world if they could only get some kind of a remedy that would relieve or cure them of dandruff and other scalp diseases, a large number not knowing of a wonderful remedy which has been in existence over half a century, called Barker’s Hirsutus, which is a positive and well known cure used by the most fashionable people of the world, and if they would use it would never be troubled by these diseases.

Hirsutus is a vegetable preparation, free from grease and poisonous chemicals. Positively cures dandruff, failing hair and all scalp diseases. Grows hair on any bald head if directions are faithfully carried out.

Hisutus is indispensable to ladies and children. By its use they can keep the scalp free from scruff and dandruff, thereby creating a healthy condition of the scalp , and promoting a soft, pliant and luxurious growth of hair. This preparation costs more than most other remedies of this nature, but IT DOES MORE. Anyone troubled with scalp diseases, takes no chances in using HIRSUTUS. It positively does all that is claimed for it.

It’s not clear how long the Hirsutus hair tonic was actually on the market. NYC phone books included the word “Hirsutus” with company listings right up through the 1950’s but I don’t see it advertised or included in drug store listings after 1936.

As far as I can tell, none of the buildings occupied by the business still exist today.

The bottle I found is mouth blown (maybe 8 to 10 oz) with a tooled finish. It’s sun-purpled indicating the presence of manganese dioxide which was predominantly used as a decolorizing agent prior to 1920. It’s shape and embossing are similar to a labeled example recently advertised on e-bay that exhibits the 6th Avenue address utilized by the company between 1903 and 1930.

  

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.

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.

G. W. Cole Co., “Three In One”

 

 

The “G” stands for George W. Cole who is credited with the invention of Three-In-One Oil.

Together, with J. Noah H. Slee, they developed and marketed this one single mixture to accomplish three things with respect to the maintenance  of a bicycle, namely, a rust preventative, lubricant and cleaner. Hence the name “Three-In-One.”  Some of their advertisements also stated that the product is a blend of three oils, animal, mineral and vegetable, which may also have contributed to its name.

According to a story in the Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader entitled “Industry and Commerce” published on May 23, 1908, the business of G.W. Cole & Company was established in 1894 and incorporated in 1899.

A September 16, 1966 story entitled: Three-In-One Oil Birth Traced to Jersey Shore” outlined the early days of the business.

Mr. Slee, along with George W. Cole, developed Three-In-One Oil, a household staple, now manufactured by Boyle Midway Inc., a subsidiary of American Home Products, New York.

Mr. Slee and Mr.Cole, partners in G.W. Cole and Co., “conducted business in New York and West Park, Monmouth County” according to yellowed documents unearthed in the legal department of American Home last week. West Park was part of Neptune Township.

Three-In-One Oil was first sold as early as 1890 in the Shore area, and the name “Three-In-One” was first used Sept. 14, 1894. The name as a trademark was registered Oct. 17, 1905.

According to the records, Mr. Slee bought out Mr. Cole sometime before 1903, but retained his former partner as a salesman at a salary of $2,400 annually.

A factory was subsequently built in Rahaway (N.J.) and in May, 1903, manufacture of Three-In-One moved there from the shore.

What became of T.W. Cole & Co. appears to be somewhat of a mystery, and officials at American Home Products were at a loss to explain how the firm came to be in possession of Three-In-One.

One official was willing to hazard a guess that the product had been purchased by American Home or one of it’s subsidies sometime during the 30’s.

In New York, G.W. Cole & Co., was first listed in City Directories between 1896 and 1898  as “bicycles” with an address of 111 Broadway.

In the 1900 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory the business was listed as a New Jersey corporation. At that time, the “&” in the company name was dropped, changing it to the G.W. Cole Co. George W. Cole was listed as president and J. Noah H. Slee as secretary. The business remained listed this way through 1904.

According to a June 17, 1909 letter from Slee to a publication called “Printers Ink,” Cole resigned from the company in 1904. In 1906 (I don’t have access to the 1905 Directory), Slee was listed as president and Henry Hedenberg as secretary.  Slee’s obituary states that he remained president of the company until 1937 when he moved to Tuscon, Arizona for his wife’s health reasons.

In the 1909 Copartnership and Corporation Directory the name of the company was changed again, this time to the Three-In-One Oil Company. Slee and Hedenberg remained named as president and secretary.

The company utilized several New York addresses over the years:

  • 1896 to 1898 – 111 Broadway
  • 1900 to 1906 – 141 Broadway
  • 1908 to 1916 – 42 (34 – 52) Broadway
  • 1918 to 1922 – 165 East Broadway

The current Three-In-One website completes the company history and solves the mystery mentioned in the 1966 story above, as to how American Home Products came into possession of Three-In-One. The guess provided by the company official in the story wasn’t too far off. In 1933 the capital stock of the Three-In-One Oil Company was acquired by Drug Incorporated. That year, Three-In-One Oil Company was still listed in the Manhattan Telephone Book at 171 Varick Street. Drug Incorporated later dissolved, at which time the Three-In-One Oil Company became part of Sterling Products Inc. Then in 1936, A.S. Boyle Company, a subsidiary of American Home Products, purchased the brand from Sterling.

The Jersey Shore factory location was apparently established in the late 1800’s in Asbury Park. The G.W. Cole Co., was listed in the 1901 Asbury Park Directory as “bicycle sundries,” with an address of Third Avenue, corner of Railroad Ave., West Park. Cole is listed individually at that address as far back as 1899. Prior to 1899 he was only listed with a residential address of 704 Fourth Avenue. According to one account, at that time, he was operating out of a shed that covered 234 square feet.

The factory in Rahway N.J. that opened in 1903 was located along the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, just east of Scott Avenue. The factory and its early growth were documented in the 1908 Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader story on “Industry and Commerce.”

In 1905 the total area was 5,250 square feet and today the floor space of the factory is more than 8,000 square feet. The building itself is vine covered and is a prominent feature on the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

It’s not clear when the factory shut down, but today the location appears to be a relatively new city parking garage that’s located adjacent to the railroad tracks.

According to the 1900 census records Cole was originally a bicycle mechanic and the first advertisement I can find for Three-In-One Oil focused exclusively on bicycle maintenance. It was from an 1896 issue of the “L.A.W. Bulletin and Good Roads.”

By 1901, the uses for the product had significantly expanded.  A June 5, 1901 advertisement in the “Boston Post” provided this expanded description.

“3 In One” is the ideal lubricant for all delicate mechanisms. It will not gum, collect dust, turn rancid or dry out. For oiling bicycles, firearms, typewriters, sewing machines, hinges, locks, in fact, delicate mechanisms of any sort, it is better than any other preparation. It prevents rust and tarnish on metal surfaces in any climate, in any kind of weather.

Further it is a furniture polish par excellence. It removes scratches, spots, streaks, etc., and leaves no dampness or grease to rub off and injure the finest fabric. Fred W. Peabody, dealer in pianos, musical instruments, etc., of Amesbury Mass., recently said: “We have used “3 in 1″ for several years past with perfect satisfaction. We find it will do all you recommend it to do, and more. It is one of the best piano polishers I have ever used.”

While Cole may have been the actual inventor of the product, it was Slee as a businessman who made it a national brand. According to an article he wrote in 1912 for a publication called “Judicious Advertising”the company did not employ traveling salesmen, but relied totally on advertising to develop the business.

In an effort to create a demand among consumers he talked about two main methods: The first was advertising in publications of general circulation.

Our general publication advertising embraces some seventy or eighty papers, all of which have been selected for specific and definite reasons. For instance, we use every paper in the United States and Canada devoted to the interests of sportsmen and the outdoor life. We call them “gun papers.” Then we use all the leading women’s publications. We use the principal boys’ publications. We are great believers in educating the youth.

In other words, our advertising is based largely on class publications because we find by taking up a certain field and working it thoroughly we get better results. We prepare our ads to specifically interest the readers of each class of publication in exactly the thing for which he buys the publication.

Certainly either of these two 1908 advertisements could have been found in any number of “Field & Stream” type publications.

 

Likewise, in 1908,  this advertisement would appeal to the reader of a women’s magazine.

Another method he discussed was the distribution of samples and advertising matter by mail. Most of the earlier “3 in 1” advertisements included an offer for a free sample but he also spoke of another sampling method that put millions of samples in the hands of possible users right at the time they needed it.

We have arrangements with certain leading manufacturers in many various lines whereby they pack a sample bottle of 3-in-One oil with practically every good gun or revolver that is sold. The Columbia Phonograph Company places a sample of 3-in-One with every machine they make.

Our samples are devised for a striking advertising effect, having the label not on the outside of the bottle but floating in the oil – “a patented floating label.”

One approach that he didn’t mention in the article but caught my eye was providing a free oil can with your 3-In-One purchase. It’s a strategy that’s used quite often today at sports stadiums around the country when your beer comes in a free souvenir cup that’s yours to keep.

3-In-One Oil is still made today by the WD-40 Company and the trademark hasn’t changed much over the years.

   

I found a total of three bottles associated with Three-In-One Oil and possibly a fourth.  One is 5 1/2 inches tall. There’s no embossing on the front or back panels but both side panels are embossed. One side contains the company name, G.W. Cole Co., the other contains the words “Three In One” in quotation marks. Mouth blown, this bottle dates between 1899 when the company incorporated and dropped the “&” in its name and 1909 when they were renamed the Three-In-One Oil Co.

Two others I found are also mouth blown, but only 4 inches tall. One side panel is embossed “Three In One” in quotation marks and the other 3-In-One Oil Co. They date no earlier than 1909 when the company changed it’s name to the Three-In-One Oil Co. I’ve seen this same type of bottle, with a cork top, pictured in advertisements that date as late as 1929, but being mouth blown they probably were made no later than the mid-teens.

The possible fourth is an ounce or less and could be one of their free samples. Its similar to the one contained in the advertisement below and would have contained the patented label floating inside the oil.

      

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.