Piecing together information from the NYC General Directories, the Trow Copartnership and Corporation Directories and the ERA Druggist Directories, this business was active from 1905 well into the 1930’s. Prior to 1911, I’ve seen the business referred to as both the Empire Hair Regenerator Co (as embossed on the bottle) and simply the Empire Regenerator Co. In 1911 and later, the company was referred to exclusively as the Empire Regenerator Co. The Directories typically associated the business with hair dyes and hair goods. The ERA Directories listed them as manufacturers of toilet preparations.
George Gyllstrom was the company president through 1911 and William Munson was the president from 1912 to at least 1920. During this period, Klas Gyllstrom was listed as a Director so it appears the Gyllstrom family remained active in the business. After 1920, the company leadership is unknown.
The company’s long time address from 1905 through 1928 was 242 6th Avenue. Located near the intersection of Houston Street and 6th Avenue, I assume they had to move in the early 1930’s when their building was acquired and demolished to accommodate the widening of Houston Street. By 1932 they were listed at 566 6th Avenue and in 1935 they moved again to 605 6th Avenue.
This “Empire Hair Regenerator” advertisement was included in a much larger advertisement for a department store called the “14th Street Store” printed in the May 15, 1907 edition of the “Evening World.” It included the same “eagle” trademark that is embossed on the bottle I found.
One application and your hair is immediately a natural shade. Clean, odorless and gives to the hair the healthy, natural appearance of youth.
A 1935 advertisement in the August 22 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle exhibited the shortened company name and the 605 6th Avenue address.
It appears that the company went out of business in the mid-1930’s after the Federal Trade Commission charged them with false and misleading advertising.. According to a news article in the November 9, 1936 edition of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:
The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday a New York City concern and a Buffalo firm have agreed to discontinue alleged “false and misleading” advertising in connection with sale of their products.
The Commission said the Empire Regenerator Company, Inc., New York City, agreed to cease representing a hair dye designated “the Empire Hair Regenerator” would remove gray hair, restore the original color to hair or prevent hair from turning gray…
The bottle I found is a small mouth-blown rectangular medicine bottle with their trade mark eagle embossed on the front panel. “The Empire Hair Regenerator” is embossed on one side and “New York” on the other side. The fact that it’s mouth blown and includes the word “Hair” in the company name leads me to believe it’s probably pre-1912.