Prof Callan’s World Renowned Brazillian Gum

Prof Callan’s Brazilian Gum was, as far as I can tell, a rubber cement sold around the turn of the century. Advertising stamped on the cover of one of their wooden shipping crates touted it for:

Repairing Rubber Boots And Shoes And For Putting Rubber Soles On Leather Boots & Shoes.

Their trade mark, also stamped on the crate, consisted of what appears to be a bespectacled old man carrying a boot and top hat.

A labeled bottle, recently offered for sale on the internet, also included the  bespectacled old man.

The back label of the bottle included these directions for use:

Have the boot or shoe thoroughly clean; scrape with a knife or file to make it rough around the part where the patch is to be put and apply the gum; put the gum on the patch also; let them each dry separately from 10 to 20 minutes after which put the patch on the hole, press firmly together and then hammer lightly. Two coats may be necessary. This will make old boots and shoes as good as new.

I haven’t been able to identify a company associated with the product or a an exact time frame, but I’ve seen it mentioned in publications as early as 1892 and as late as 1908, so that is certainly a safe time frame.

In the 1878 New York City Directory, there was a Thomas A. Callan listed at 180 South Street with the occupation “gum,” and he was listed with the occupation “rubber” dating back to 1875. As a result, it’s possible that Prof Callan’s Brazilian Gum dates back to that time and place but I haven’t been able to make a definite connection.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with a roughly one inch square cross section and an elongated neck. It fits with a turn of the century manufacture date.

Colgate & Company, New York

  

Originally a candle and laundry soap manufacturer, Colgate & Company was founded by William Colgate around the turn of the nineteenth century. The business ultimately grew into today’s Colgate-Palmolive, a global household and consumer product corporation with over 38,000 employees.

William Colgate was the son of Robert Colgate, an English farmer who was forced to leave England as a result of his political sentiments that favored the democracies of France and America.

According to William Colgate’s obituary, in the March 26, 1857 edition of the New York Tribune, in March, 1795 the family sailed for America on the ship “Eliza,” arriving in Baltimore after passage of 70 days. As a young boy, Colgate lived with his father in Baltimore before moving to New York City. The obituary picks up the story from there.

In 1804, William Colgate, at the age of 21, left his father’;s house and came, a comparative stranger, to the City of New York. He had scarcely a cent that he could call his own. His purpose. however, was fixed; and in his pursuit, he entered the counting-room of John Slidel & Co., then the largest tallow chandlers in the city, located at No. 50 Broadway…The salary proposed was small. But it was not the salary, it was the business that he wished; and in a very short time he accomplished his purpose. He was soon transferred from the manufacturing to the sales department; and at the end of three years, when the firm dissolved, Mr. Colgate was its principal business manager.

At the age of 23, in the year 1806 Mr. Colgate commenced the soap and candle business for himself in Dutch Street…

It appears that the business was originally organized as a partnership between Colgate and Francis Smith. The company was first listed in the 1807 Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory as “Smith and Colgate, tallow chandlers,” with an address of 6 Dutch Street. A rendering of the original Dutch Street location was included in a profile of Colgate’s business published in the July 1921 edition of Printers Ink Monthly.

The Printer’s Ink story went on to reveal why Colgate chose the Dutch Street location for his business.

In meeting the first problem that confronted him – the selection of a location for his business – the young soap and candle maker exhibited good judgement for the Mayor of New York lived on Dutch Street, and in the immediate vicinity of his little factory were the homes of many other prominent men of the day. Thus it followed that the influential citizens of the city must of necessity become familiar with his business by passing it every day. And the out-of-town friends who visited the Mayor and his neighbors must need see the Colgate factory and carry back home with them that impression of metropolitan prestige for which even today businesses spend fabulous sums in erecting towering buildings and great sky signs in New York and other large cities.

The partnership of Smith & Colgate was listed until 1815 when it apparently dissolved. Subsequently William Colgate was listed individually as a tallow chandler at 6 Dutch Street until 1820 when the listing changed to William Colgate & Company. Colgate would add the manufacture of toilet soaps to the business in 1847, continuing  to mange the company until his death in 1857. At that point, his son Samuel Colgate and nephew Charles C. Colgate took over and the company name listed in the directories was shortened to simply Colgate & Company.

According to the Printer’s Ink story, the two younger Colgate’s continued to add the manufacture of new products to the business.

Still studying the trend of the market as had the elder Colgate, and ever on the alert to add new products that might appropriately be made and sold by a soap manufacturer, the two young Colgates decided to add perfumes to the Colgate line, and in the early 60’s this was done with great success.

Then in line with the demand for a perfumed toilet soap, in 1869 or 187o the first kettle of the now famous Cashmere Bouquet was made.

During this period, advertisements for their perfumed toilet soaps began to appear in the newspapers. The first ones I could find referenced brands named “Honey Toilet Soap” and “Aromatic Vegetable Soap.”  The advertisements below appeared in 1867 (Hartford Conn Courant) and 1869 (Rutland Vt. Daily Herald) respectively.

 

By the early 1870’s, their famous Cashmere Bouquet toilet soap had been added to what had become a long list of toilet soap brands. That list of at least 17 different brands appeared in  several August/September 1872 editions of the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press.

According to this November 5, 1873 advertisement in the Buffalo Commercial, a Cashmere Bouquet perfume soon followed.

This delightful perfume will be appreciated by all who have enjoyed the lasting fragrance of Colgate & Co.’s Cashmere Bouquet Soap, which is so universally popular.

It was around the same time that, according to the Colgate-Palmolive web site, Colgate introduced their “antiseptic dental powder” sold in a jar. As evidenced by this November 17, 1895 Frank Brothers Department Store advertisement in the Chicago Tribune, by the mid-1890’s they were selling toothpaste in a tube as well.

This 1911 advertisement, for the Paine Drug Company in Rochester New York, provided a listing of the Colgate products they carried at the time. It provides a feel for how much Colgate’s product line had expanded in their first century.

This expanded product line required expansion of both their office and manufacturing facilities as well.

A story in the January 21, 1906 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle dedicated to Colgate’s 100th anniversary celebration described the expansion of the company’s physical plant over their first 100 years stating that in 1847 the company added a Jersey City factory and in 1865 they expanded their New York facilities extending their Dutch Street offices through into John Street.

Around this time their New York City directory listings for Colgate began to include addresses on both ends of their block; 6 Dutch Street and 55 John Street. Their Jersey City factory was situated along the Hudson River waterfront. Initially located on the corner of York and Greene Streets, according to a July 17, 1988 New York Times article, by the 1890’s it encompassed the full block bounded by York, Greene, Hudson and Grand Streets.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 100th anniversary story went on to provide this description of the company facilities as they existed in 1906.

…by now offices and perfume manufactory have overflowed until they cover very nearly a third of the New York block, and the Jersey City factory, just equipped with new buildings, fills out the entire block and portions of other blocks in the neighborhood. Here are the greatest soap kettles or “pans” in the world, four stories high (five of the largest hold 700,000 pounds each), also the original pan of 1847, which was considered a giant in those days. William Colgate was told that it was folly to build such a big “pan,” that he could never use it. That “pan” is, however, a pigmy beside those of today. Only soap is not made now by building a fire underneath as in the old days. Coils of steam pipes run inside the monster kettles.

Samuel’s Colgate’s biography contained in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol XIII, published in 1906, adds to the picture by describing the extent of Colgate’s perfume operation in that centennial year.

As a producer of perfumery the firm is the most extensive in the United States, and stands second or third in the entire world. In the valley of the Var, France, bounded by the towns of Grasse, Nice and Cannes, many acres of flowers are cultivated for the manufacture of perfumery, and Colgate & Co. take the total output of a factory in which the essence of fragrancy is extracted. Over 100 tons of rose leaves are thus used annually, besides large quantities of other flowers.

The company continued to occupy their Dutch Street/John Street location in New York City until 1910. At that point it appears that most of the operation had moved to New Jersey although they did continue to list a New York location at 199 Fulton Street from 1911 to 1922 and later 403 Broadway in 1925.

The Colgate Company ultimately merged with the Palmolive Peet Company in July, 1928. A well established company in their own right, the Palmolive Company was formed in 1864, and on January 1, 1927, they had acquired the Peet Brothers Company, which had been established in 1872. A July 11, 1928 UP story covered their merger with Colgate:

PALMOLIVE, COLGATE MERGER IS PLANNED

Directors of the Palmolive-Peet Company and Colgate and Company have agreed to a plan of consolidation of the two firms, subject to action of stockholders. The merger would be effective as of July 1, 1928, if approved, it was announced today.

The name of the new company would be the Colgate Palmolive Peet Company.

The new organization will have large manufacturing units at Jersey City,  N.  J., Milwaukee, Chicago, Jeffersonville, Ind., Kansas City, Kan., Berkeley Calif., and Portland, Ore.

The executive offices will be located at Chicago. No public financing is contemplated at present.

The following officers were reported as probable selections: Sidney M. Colgate, chairman of the board; Charles S. Pearce, president and general manager, and A. W. Peet, chairman of the executive committee.

Later, in 1953, the company would shorten its name to Colgate-Palmolive.

The story mentioned that Colgate’s Jersey City plant would continue to operate as one of Colgate Palmolive’s manufacturing units, which it did for another 50 plus years, ultimately expanding to a footprint of six city blocks.  Finally, in 1985 the company announced its closing. The announcement was covered in the January 15, 1985 edition of The (Paterson N.J.) News.

Colgate – Palmolive Plant in N. J. to Close

The Colgate-Palmolive Co. plant on the Jersey City waterfront, whose 54-foot high clock is a landmark, will close in three years, the company said yesterday.

The company is closing the plant because its products can be made more cheaply at factories in the Midwest, a company spokesman said. Colgate-Palmolive expects the plant closing to result in a savings of $20 million per year.

Today, the initial Jersey City block occupied by the Colgate factory is home to the tallest building in New Jersey, a 79 story luxury condominium, however, another Jersey City  building in the area, located at 81 Greene Street, provides a reminder of it’s former use.

According to the “Library of Congress” this building served as the principal manufacturing facility for the company’s personal care products from 1915 to 1987.

I’ve found two Colgate & Co. bottles over the years. The first is machine made and is embossed with the Colgate & Co. trademark (C & Co enclosed within a double circle). It most likely contained one of their toilet water brands. It matches a Colgate bottle recently offered for sale on the internet labeled “Dactyus Toilet Water.”

   

The Dractylis brand was included in the 1911 Paine Drug Store advertisement presented previously in this post. Machine made, it likely doesn’t date much earlier than the 1911 advertisement and certainly no later than the 1928 Colgate-Palmolive merger.

The other is a mouth blown jar embossed Colgate & Co./ Perfumers / New York. In spite of the embossing it looks more like this labeled tooth powder jar to me…who knows???

I couldn’t end this post without at least touching on the iconic Colgate Clock  that has overlooked the Hudson River and served as an identifying symbol of the company since 1908. Designed and built in connection with Colgates centennial anniversary, according to a New Jersey City University Internet Post entitled “Jersey City Past and Present,” it sat atop the roof of an eight-story Colgate warehouse at the southeast corner of York and Hudson Streets.

It was officially set running on May 25, 1908. A special dispatch to the San Francisco Chronicle covered the start-up.

The largest clock in the world was set going today on top of Colgate & Co.’s eight-story factory building on the river front in Jersey City. It is visible for miles along the Hudson River and can be clearly seen from the New York skyscrapers.

Mayor Wittpen of Jersey City pressed the button which started the mechanism of the giant timekeeper, and when the immense minute hand began moving the boats on the river joined in a chorus of whistles.

The dial is thirty-eight feet in diameter, with an area of 1,134 square feet. The next largest clock – that on the Philadelphia City Hall, has a diameter of twenty-five  feet and a face area of 490 feet. The diameter of the Westminster clock in London is twenty-two and one-half feet and its dial area is 393 feet. The minute hand of the Colgate clock is twenty feet long and weighs nearly a third of a ton. The clock’s weight is approximately six tons. At night red electric bulbs mark the hours and white electric bulbs show the minute spaces.

The above story attempts to convey the size of the clock but, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the following photographs put the clock’s size in perspective. The first found in the November, 1908 issue of a publication called “Wood Craft” compares the clock to a worker (to the right of the clock) standing on a support beam. The next two, found in the May 23, 1908 issue of “Scientific American” appear to be construction photos that show the clock’s hands in relation to construction workers.

   

A lot of publicity was generated around the design and construction of the clock of which Colgate took full advantage. This advertisement in the June 20, 1908 edition of “Collier’s” linked the clock to a number of their products.

A July 17, 1988 story in the New York Times suggested that the clock was worth more than simply advertising to the Colgate Company.

The Colgate sign and clock was a sophisticated piece of advertising, comparable to the landmark headquarters buildings of the Metropolitan Life Insurance and Woolworth Companies of the same period. It was seen by the thousands aboard ships trafficking New York Harbor. In 1910, Colgate moved its executive offices to the Jersey City complex and the clock, and sign, became for the public the very symbol of the company’s corporate identity.

The 1988 New York Times story went on to say that:

In 1924 the Colgate clock was replaced with a new larger one, 50 feet in diameter of practically identical design – including the trademark octagon dial shape. Mayor Frank Hague turned on the new clock on December 1…

In 1983, Colgate, long out of the perfume business took down the “Soaps-Perfumes” lettering on the sign, replacing it with an inartistically drawn toothpaste tube representing one of its most identifiable products.

The original 38 foot clock was relocated to Colgate’s newly opened Clarksville Indiana plant where according to Images of America – Clarksville Indiana, by Jane Sarles, it was lit for the first time on November 17, 1924.

“Secret Louisville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure,”By Jill Halpern, completes the story.

An enduring vision in downtown Louisville for as long as locals can remember, the bright red clock (when lit) usually shows the correct time, or at least close, 100 years later, despite the fact that Colgate-Palmolive moved its operations out of town in 2008. The clock’s continued operation is likely because the facility was placed on Indiana Landmarks list of 10 Most Endangered Landmarks.

The nomination to place on the Clarksville plant, including the clock, on the National Register of Historic Places was announced in the December 13, 2013 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal December 14, 2013.

The newer 50 foot version of the clock still resides on the Jersey City waterfront next to the Goldman Sachs Tower and his maintained by Goldman Sachs.

Milliken’s Parlor Pride Stove Enamel, Milliken & Co., Boston & N.Y.

Parlor Pride Stove Enamel was closely associated with Benjamin D. Milliken who was listed as a peddler in the 1878 Boston City Directory. It’s likely that he was making and selling the product locally by that time.

Around 1880 he began to formally manufacture it in Boston under a partnership with I. C. Stuart. That year, “Milliken & Stuart, stove blacking,” was listed for the first time in the Boston City directories with an address of 21 Commercial Street. Over the next several years Milliken & Stuart was listed at several different Boston addresses including 5 India (1882), 52 South Market (1883) and 85 Fulton (1885).

Sometime in 1885 the partnership was apparently dissolved and Milliken continued as sole proprietor. The 1886 Boston Directory listed the business as the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co., B. D. Milliken & Co., proprietors. That first year, the business remained listed at 85 Fulton Street.

Around that time the first newspaper advertisements for “Parlor Pride” began to appear. This advertisement appeared in the January 23, 1886 edition of the Burlington (Vt) Free Press.

The 1885 edition of “Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of the City of Boston” featured the company and mentioned that in addition to Milliken’s Parlor Pride Stove Enamel the company was also manufacturing Milliken’s Parlor Pride Paste Polish and Milliken’s Cold Iron Enamel. The feature went on to describe the business at the time.

This company does a large business in the trade by reason of the superior excellence of its goods and the immense popularity they have achieved throughout the entire United States and Canada. The factory is located at No. 85 Fulton Street, occupying three entire floors for manufacturing purposes, each being 30 x 80 feet in dimensions. Here are all the necessary apparatus for the manufacture of the beautiful enamels and polishes for which the concern is so well and favorably known in the trade and among the community in general, and the demand is so large and continued that a force of twenty-five hands is constantly employed to assist in the compounding and preparation of the goods…So popular are the goods that Mr. B. D. Milliken, the sole proprietor, has been obliged to open a branch establishment at Nos. 188 and 190 McGill Street, Montreal. Mr. Milliken also imports and grinds all kinds of Ceylon and lubricating lead and the finest quality of plumbago, much of which he uses in the manufacture of his unequalled goods, and the remainder he sells to the trade.

In 1887, the company moved to 140 Commercial Street. It was around this time that the design of their bottle (as least as depicted in their ads) changed as well. This February 28, 1887 advertisement from the (New Haven Conn.) Morning Journal Courier depicted the new design.

It was at the 140 Commercial Street address that Milliken developed and patented a device that supported the manufacture of his Parlor Pride Stove Enamel. The patented device was described in an article printed in the April 5, 1889 edition of the Tunkhannick (Pa.) Republican.

A patent has just been granted on an ingenious contrivance, made by Mr. Benjamin D. Milliken of Sommerville Mass., for the purpose of mixing liquid and powdered substances where the latter cannot be held in solution. This will be a great convenience to manufacturers of sauces, liquid polishes and the like, where a given quantity of each ingredient must enter every package. The machine is so constructed that an “agitator,” revolving in the tank, keeps the contents in perpetual “boiling spring motion,”and at the same time straining the liquid. An additional device measures the quantity required for each bottle, filling the same at the rapid rate of 48 bottles per minute, or 200 gross a day. One of these machines has been in constant use since April of last year, at 140 Commercial Street, Boston, where it can be seen by anyone interested, pumping Parlor Pride Stove Enamel.

Although evidently a skilled inventor, Milliken was apparently not a strong businessman. An item in the June 27, 1889 edition of the Boston Globe announced that his business had failed.

Business Troubles

Benjamin D. Milliken & Co. (Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company), manufacturers of stove enamel, 140 and 142 Commercial Street, Boston, have failed. The liabilities are about $25,000, and assets $15,000. The creditors are offered 50 cents on a dollar.

Two days later, a follow-up  item in the Globe announced that the business would continue under the direction of three trustees.

The creditors of Benjamin D. Milliken & Co., manufacturers of stove enamel, 142 Commercial Street, Boston, held a meeting yesterday. The statement presented showed the liabilities to be $24,445 and the assets as far looked into $11,000. It was unanimously agreed that the failure be settled through three trustees; they to hire Mr. Milliken at a fair salary and go on with the business; the intention being that 100 cents on the dollar be worked out and then the assets remaining be returned to Mr. Milliken. Nathaniel F. Ryder and L. H. Wiley of Boston and Milton Yetter of East Stroudsburgh, Penn., were chosen trustees.

Milliken’s continued association with the business did not last very long and by 1892 he was only listed at his residence in Sommerville Mass., with no reference to the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co., or stove polish.

Around the same time, on February 10, 1893, the business reorganized under the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company name. One of the trustees, Nathaniel F. Ryder, served as the company’s treasurer. Ryder was also principal in a varnish manufacturing company called Burbank and Ryder and over the next several years the two businesses were closely related if not one and the same. In fact between 1893 and 1904 the two companies shared the same addresses in the Boston directories. Likely retail stores and/or offices the addresses were: 8 Oliver (1892 -1893), 149A Milk (1894 – 1899), 18 Central (1900) and 8 Exchange Place (1901).

During this period Burbank & Ryder operated manufacturing facilities in both Middleborough Massachusetts and Charleston Massachusetts and its likely that Charleston was where Milliken’s Parlor Pride Stove Polish was made during this time. In fact, between 1902 and 1904 the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company listed Burbank & Ryder’s manufacturing facility at 62 Alford Street in Charleston as their address.

In 1905 the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company was no longer listed at the same address as Burbank & Ryder so its not clear whether the companies were still associated at this time. Parlor Pride was listed in Boston at 64 Federal Street and 60 State Street in 1905 and 1906 respectively.

As late as 1906 “Parlor Pride Stove Polish” advertisements were still appearing in some northeastern United States newspapers. This advertisement, one of the last I could find, appeared in several Vermont newspapers in 1905 and 1906.

In 1907 the company was no longer listed in the Boston directories and it appears they moved to North Andover Massachusetts around that time. The 1913 Directory of Massachusetts Manufacturers listed the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co. in North Andover and identified the proprietors as James W. and William J. Leitch. While the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company was not listed in the North Andover directories between 1907 and 1926, the plumbing and heating business of J. W. Leith & Son was listed at 136 Main Street. There’s a good possibility the the two companies were actually one and the same or at least associated during this time. While I don’t see newspaper advertisements for Parlor Pride Stove Enamel during this period, the product was included sporadically in advertised department/hardware store price lists.

In 1930, the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co. was still located in North Andover and was now included in that town’s directory at an address of 90 Saunders Street. It was listed this way through 1949 with Robert P. Miller named as proprietor. In 1951 it was no longer listed and I lose track of them.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and square in shape. It includes the Milliken company name likely dating it no later than January, 1893, when the business reorganized. It matches the bottle type that began appearing in advertisements in 1887 so the bottle most likely dates between 1887 and 1892.

The embossing on the bottle is not sharp but at the bottom it seems to name both Boston and N.Y. as locations. That being said, I can’t locate any reference to the company in the New York directories. I couldn’t find any additional information on their Montreal location either. It’s possible the company was just indicating they had agents in those locations but I really don’t know?

S. S. Stafford, Inc.

   

Primarily known as an ink manufacturer, S. S. Stafford, Inc. was founded by Samuel Spencer Stafford. His February 16, 1895 obituary in the New York Times mentioned his early years as well as his entrance into the ink business sometime in 1858.

He was a graduate of Union College, and also of the Albany Medical College, but he did not practice medicine. When Dr. Stafford received his medical diploma, in 1849, the California gold fever was at its height, and Dr. Stafford went to San Francisco, where he remained until 1854. In that year he returned to New York, and four years later he engaged in the manufacture of  ink.

In the four year period between 1854 and 1858 the NYC Directories listed him as an accountant at 188 Pearl (1855-56) and an engineer at 54 William (1856-57). Then, according to an 1888 feature in “The American Stationer”

In 1858 S. S. Stafford bought the trade mark and stock of Conger & Field, who were the first to make a writing fluid in this country. Their business had dwindled to small proportions and it was not long before Stafford’s inks were better known than those of his predecessors.

Conger & Field was listed in the New York directories as “ink,”  and located at 212 Broadway (1856-57) and 52 William (1857-58 and 1858-59). The proprietors were Genet Conger and George W. Field. I have to believe that they became acquainted with Stafford sometime around 1857 when they were neighbors or possibly shared a building at 52 and 54 William.

After purchasing Conger & Field, the NYC directories, listed Stafford as a “stationer,” located at 42 Cedar St (1859 -60) and later as “ink” at 84 Cedar St.  (1860-61.) By 1861-62 he was listed at 11 (sometimes 10) Cedar St. where he remained until 1870.

During this time I’ve seen advertisements for “Stafford’s Combined Writing and Copying Fluid” as well as “Stafford’s Perfumed Violet Ink” but the company did not restrict itself to the manufacture of inks alone. Other products included an adhesive called “Stickwell & Co.’s Mucilage” and a leather preservative called “Caoutchoucin.”

Sometime in early 1870 the business moved to 218 Pearl Street where it remained until 1886. At that time, according to the 1888 “American Stationer” feature, he built a factory at 601 – 609 Washington Street.

The present manufactory, of which an illustration is given, was erected by Mr. Stafford in the Spring of 1887 upon land which he purchased.

It is a plain brick structure, five stories high, 75 feet wide and 80 feet deep. Including the basement there are six floors, all of which are used in the manufacture of Stafford’s inks and Stickwell’s mucilage. The establishment is fitted with the best machinery and appliances for turning out perfect and uniform goods.

After Samuel Spencer Stafford’s death in 1895, his son, William A.H. Stafford, took over leadership of the company. According to his obituary in the January 17, 1911 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, he had entered the business in 1872 at the age of 16.

The company apparently incorporated in New York sometime in 1903. The company was listed as a New York corporation in the 1904 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with a capital of $250,000. William A H Stafford was named president, William B Montgomery, secretary and Robert Bachia, treasurer. Following William A H Stafford’s death in January of 1911, his son, William S Stafford assumed the presidency.

The company eventually outgrew their NYC building on Washington Street and by 1906 was leasing storage space in nearby buildings. Then in 1914 they moved the carbon paper and typewriter portion of the business to leased space at 129 – 135 Charlton St. According to an item in the March 28, 1914 edition of the “American Stationer:”

Owing to a great increase in its carbon paper and typewriter business S.S. Stafford, Inc. has moved that department to 129-135 Charlton Street. The quarters which the company has occupied for many years at 601-609 Washington Street are now devoted entirely to the making of writing inks and other well known specialties made by the concern.

Six years later, according to an April 1920 item in “Walden’s Stationer & Printer,” the company purchased three buildings adjacent to their Washington Street building effectively consolidating the business at that location. This provided them an address on both Washington Street and 622 Greenwich Street.

S.S. Stafford, Inc., manufacturers of writing inks and adhesives, located at 609 Washington Street, New York City, have recently purchased three buildings in the rear of their present premises. The additional space will be combined and connected with their present home, giving them 33,000 square feet of floor space and making the line covered by their buildings 94 x 184 feet.

The carbon paper plant operated by the company at 129 Charlton Street will be removed to the new building and also outside storage space which is being used will be relinquished as fast as the leases on the same expire.

“The new arrangements will greatly economize the handling of raw materials and enable us to take care of the enormous increase in our business,” the company said.

In addition to their New York location, this 1914 advertisement also mentioned a Toronto, Canada location. Other advertisements around this time included the Toronto address as 9 Davenport Road. Later, by the early 1920’s they also added a Chicago location at 62 West Kinzie.

Through the 1920’s their menu of products continued to expand. As evidenced by this advertising item in the June 10, 1928 edition of the “Austin (Texas) American Statesman,” much of the growth was fueled by the proliferation of the automobile.

The comprehensiveness of the Stafford output is witnessed by the following enumeration of their various lines, which include writing and copying inks, paste, mucilage, glue, indelible ink, show card colors, stamping inks, stamp pads, typewriter ribbons and carbon papers, furniture and automobile body polish, and 15 other chemical automobile products including radiator stop leak, penetrating graphite oil, cushion dressing rapid repair and engine enamel, gasket shellac, gasket cement, etc.

This menu of products not withstanding, there’s no doubt that the head of the product family was always ink and they made many different types. The “Stationary and Printing” section of the 1890 edition of “Seeger and Guernsey’s Cyclopaedia of the Manufacturers of the United States,”named them as manufacturers in the following subsections: Writing Inks, Carmine Ink, Colored Inks, Copying Inks, Indelible Inks, Rubber Stamp Inks, Safety Inks and Stylographic Inks.

In the teens and early 1920’s, the product that Stafford’s primarily advertised was called Stafford’s Commercial Writing Fluid. A March 15, 1919 advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post called it “The Ink That Absorbs Moisture From The Air” and was typical of their advertisements around that time.

Do you just buy “ink” – pallid liquids which write a sickly color – which soon corrode your pens – and which, worst of all dry up in your inkwell quickly, leaving a thick, clotted residue and caked particles on the side of the well?

Or do you insist on Stafford’s Commercial Writing Fluid – the ink that absorbs moisture from the air?

This peculiar property of Stafford’s Commercial is the reason why it is so slow to evaporate in the inkwell, why it continues to flow smoothly after ordinary inks have become thick and unfit to write with. This is one of the most important discoveries in the history of ink making. It means a real savings for you.

There’s another reason for using Stafford’s Commercial. It has a strength of color which inks have lacked since the dye situation became so involved. American color makers have at last solved the problem. For Stafford’s is brilliant blue when you write and turns permanent black in a few hours.

The following item regarding Stafford’s Commercial Ink appeared in the June 16, 1917 edition of the “American Stationer and Office Outfitter.” I was attracted by the historical perspective it provides of the World War I era and will let you decide whether or not it’s true or just advertising in disguise.

Romantic Journey of Torpedoed Letter

The following letter was recently received by W.S. Stafford, President of S.S. Stafford, Inc., manufacturer of Stafford’s inks, etc., of 103 Washington Street, New York. The original letter is now at the New York office and establishes the fact that the permanent characteristics of Stafford’s ink have not been affected by the exigencies of the war.

Dear Sir: – It may interest you to know that I sent a letter to my daughter in England, bearing date, February 25, 1917. The letter with the rest of the mail went down on the “Laconia” which was torpedoed. Some of the mail bags were washed ashore with the wreckage. The letters then, which had legible addresses were forwarded on their journeys, mine reaching my daughter. The writing in the letter is blurred but readable – the envelope which she returned to me to see shows the address perfectly clear, the ink not even dimmed, although it had a bath in sea water.

The ink I used was Stafford’s Commercial Fluid which I bought at the White House, S.F.

I was so pleased to see the address looking perfectly good after such a test, that I thought I would let you know about it.

(The date given the letter mentioned in the story is actually the date that the Laconia was torpedoed and in 2008 the wreck of the Laconia was found 160 nautical miles off the coast of Ireland, so I’m leaning toward advertising in disguise.)

In the early 1920’s the company added stamp pads to their menu of inks. An introductory item appeared in the September, 1921 edition of “Walden’s Stationer and Printer”

The S.S. Stafford Company has recently started the manufacture of stamp pads on a strictly quality basis. Only the finest quality of felt blotting paper and nainsook enter into the manufacture of these pads, while the inks with which they are saturated are made with the finest dyes obtainable in a glycerine solution insuring the longest life possible.

As the use of fountain pens decreased, it was probably the addition of stamp pads that kept the company in business. They’re still listed  at their long time location (Office: 622 Greenwich and Factory: 609 Washington) in the 1960 Manhattan telephone directory.

According to his obituary, William S Stafford was still president of the corporation at the time of his death on November 6,1943. It’s not clear who ran the company after he passed away. One internet source mentions that Stafford’s was acquired by the R.T. French Company in the late 1970’s but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

Today 603 Washington Street appears to be the original building constructed by Stafford in 1887 (although streeteasy.com states it was built in 1880) . It’s now a residential cooperative.

   

Currently 622 Greenwich Street is also a residential cooperative called “The Stafford.”

According to city realty.com it was built in 1881. It’s likely one of the three buildings purchased by Stafford when they consolidated in 1920.

The bottle I found is machine made with 8 oz. embossed on the shoulder. Most likely a bulk ink bottle, it resembles a labeled Stafford bottle for sale on the internet.

    

Rawleigh’s

Headquartered in Freeport, Illinois, The W.T. Rawleigh Company was a pioneer in the direct from factory to home sales model. The company’s founder and long-time president was William T. Rawleigh.

According to a story in the January 23, 1951 edition of the Dixon (Illinois) Evening Telegraph, printed at the time of his death:

He was the founder and president of the W.T. Rawleigh Company which manufactures and sells medicines and household products on worldwide scale. During his long active career he served as mayor of Freeport, as a member of the Illinois General Assembly, and as editor and publisher of the old Freeport Standard.

Another story printed around the same time, this one in the Chicago Tribune, summed up his general approach to business like this:

 William T Rawleigh who made millions by sending his wagons loaded with extracts and spices over the rural routes of the nation died today…

Before the automobile brought the farm wife within easy reach of the crossroads general store, Rawleigh wagons came to her door with vanilla extracts, patent medicines and other packaged products. His idea was the development of one he had as a schoolboy, in Mineral Point, Wis., selling books to his classmates, then later making and selling them ink.

A 1920 advertisement that appeared in the May 11th edition of Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s Leader Telegraph expanded on this concept.

Those who are familiar with Rawleigh’s Good Health Service are familiar with its economy, convenience and efficiency. It means bringing directly to your home the best products of laboratory and factory at low, direct-to-home prices. The W.T. Rawleigh Company manufactures all it’s own Household Remedies, Extracts and Flavors, Spices and other Products in it’s own immense factories at Freeport and Memphis and sells direct to consumers. This method of manufacturing and selling means the elimination of unnecessary middlemen’s profits, thus giving to the users of Rawleigh’s Good Health Products better qualities and greater values. If you have never used any Rawleigh Good health Products, we urge you for economy’s sake and for your own satisfaction to give the Rawleigh Service Man at least a trial order when he calls.

The advertisement went on to describe a wide range of products available from your Rawleigh Service Man. They included:

Pure Extracts and Flavors in Bottles, Pure Food Flavors in Tubes, Pure Spices and Rawleigh’s Baking Powder.

Rawleigh’s Medicines including Alcoholic Liniment, Non-Alcoholic Liniment, Medicated Ointment, Healing Salve, Mustard Ointment, Catarrhal Relief, Cough Syrup, Wine of Cod Liver Oil Extract, Laxative Tablets, Laxative Syrup, Antiseptic Solution

KREO, a scientific disinfectant for general household use.

This menu however appears to only be the tip of the iceberg. Three years earlier, in 1917, the company’s annual publication, “Rawleigh’s Almanac, Cook Book and Medical Guide,” advertised that they were selling 140 different products that year.

The company’s early history and growth was highlighted in a September 21, 1932 feature in the Freeport Journal Standard. Several excerpts from this feature are presented in quotations below.

Many older residents of Stephenson County remember when W.T. Rawleigh began calling at their homes with a one horse rig, leaving with them a few medicines, extracts spices, etc. That was in the spring of 1889. Soon he had built up a large business, and about 1891 he began manufacturing. By this time he was also selling at wholesale…

The first little factory was on the ground floor of a store building at 123 East Exchange Street. There were only three employees (Rawleigh’s now have 1300) and but 25 Rawleigh dealers as contrasted with over 8500 at this time. In a year’s time more space was needed, and the store room adjoining the first factory was added.

It was around this time that Rawleigh incorporated the business, calling it the Dr. Blair Medical Company. The incorporation notice, dated December 29, 1894, was printed in the Chicago Tribune on the following day.

The 1932 Freeport Journal Standard Feature continued the history:

The next two years continued the rapid growth, and in 1898 a new factory with two stories and basement was built at West Douglas and Powell Streets. Three years later an addition was built which increased the floor space over three times.

On May 24,1902 the business applied for the Rawleigh’s (in script) trademark (No.39768) and it was registered on February 10, 1903.

Shortly thereafter, the company name was changed to the W.T. Rawleigh Medical Co. and they continued to grow.

So the story of progress continues. The next move of this rapidly expanding company was toward railroad facilities and was made in 1904 when the company left the residence district and built its first factory at the present site – a building still used, partly for manufacturing and partly for some of the general offices.

An invitation to the opening day reception for the new factory, printed in the February 24, 1905 edition of the Freeport Journal Standard, indicated that, at the time, the new factory included the Printing, Milling, Manufacturing, Bottling, Packing, Power House and Wagon Factory Departments all operational under one roof.

A picture of the new plant appeared in the July 11, 1905 edition of the Freeport Journal Standard.

The 1905 Freeport Illinois Directory (the earliest one I can find) included the factory location as Spring, corner of Liberty. Now listed as the W.T. Rawleigh Medical Co., W.T. Rawleigh was named as president and treasurer, J.R. Jackson as secretary and D.C. Rawleigh as superintendent.

After 1905, the Freeport headquarters continued to expand as entire buildings were added.

Since then many other buildings have been added at Freeport: The large 8 story factory at the corner of Main and Liberty; the dip and disinfectant factory on Washington Street; the impressive power plant and printing and manufacturing building across the street from the 1904 factory and the glass factory in East Freeport.

Sometime between 1913 and 1916, the company name was shortened from the W.T. Rawleigh Medical Co., to simply the W.T. Rawleigh Co.

The company added branch factories in Memphis and Winnipeg in 1912 and by the early 1930’s they were operating world-wide with additional factories in Montreal, Canada, Melbourne, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand.

The business secured raw materials from producers at their source, importing them from all over the world to their factory locations. This necessitated them to operate branches in areas where they obtained their raw materials. These foreign branch locations included places like Madagascar, where they secured vanilla, cloves and oil of geranium; Marseille, France, vanilla and perfume related oils, roots and herbs; and Kobe, Japan, pyrethrum flowers used in making insecticides.

Their distribution network included facilities at Chester Pa., Richmond, Va., Minneapolis, Minn., Denver, Colo., Oakland, Calif. and Albany, N.Y. Each distribution branch had a full sales office and shipping staffs serving dealers in several states.

The 1932 feature offered a glimpse into the size of the operation at that time. :

Last year Rawleigh’s produced and sold the astonishing total of over 43 million packages of finished products. Over 123 million pounds of freight (2256 carloads) were received at the various United States and Canadian factories and about 2500 carloads were forwarded from factories and branches.

W.T. Rawleigh served as president of the company up until his death in 1951 and J.R. Jackson, his brother-in-law, continued as secretary until the mid-1950’s.

The business remained tightly held by the Rawleigh family until 1973 when it was sold to a holding company. The March 3, 1973 edition of the Freeport Journal Standard reported the sale.

The holding company of W.T.R., Inc. organized by the New York investment banking partnership of Gibbons, Green and Rice is purchasing the W.T. Rawleigh Co., of Freeport.

The new owner is paying approximately $5.5 million for the American Rawleigh company and has an option to buy the Canadian Rawleigh company for $2.5 million, according to Edward Gibbons, one of the partners…

The majority of the Rawleigh stock has been held by the estate of Mr. Rawleigh’s daughter, Mrs. Lucille Rawleigh and her two sons.

As far as I can tell, the company remained headquartered in Freeport, Illinois until sometime in the 1980’s. After Rawleigh left Freeport, some of their buildings were leased for warehousing for a short period of time before the property was completely abandoned in 1988.

Five buildings of the Rawleigh complex still exist today. This building, now abandoned, is located on Spring Street and was most likely the power plant, printing and manufacturing building mentioned in the 1932 Freeport Journal Standard feature as being built across the street from the original 1904 factory.

Master planning for reuse of the Rawleigh property and buildings began in 2000 and the redevelopment is in progress. According to the City of Freeport’s web site:

…the City has been actively removing environmental hazards and facilitating reuse of the Rawleigh (property) into a dynamic mixed-use development planned to include a new Amtrak station, light industrial and flexible business space and restaurant and housing

Now headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, the W.T. Rawleigh company still exists today, selling a wide range of products over the internet. According to an August 10, 2000 article in the Palm Beach Post:

The company would have likely disappeared a decade ago had it not been bought by West Palm Beach businessman and big-game hunter Harry Hersey III, a cigar smoking Vietnam veteran who champions multilevel marketing and chairs the industry’s trade group in Washington, the Direct Selling Association.

Today (as of 2000) Rawleigh is part of Hersey’s other multilevel marketing operation, Golden Pride International, a 17-year old outfit that sells nutritional supplements. Together, the companies sold about $11 million in products to some 15,000 distributors last year, netting a profit of $2.5 million, Hersey said.

Recognizing that this website is centered around bottles, I couldn’t end the post without including a description of the Rawleigh bottle factory that was included in the 1932 Freeport Journal Standard feature.

One of the most fascinating of the industries within the Rawleigh  industries is the bottle factory, where flames leap and writhe in the terrific heat of 2650 to 2675 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature which must be maintained day and night for many months at a time to manufacture the bottles Rawleigh’s use. The annual capacity of the factory, first started in 1926 and since enlarged several times, is close to 100 million bottles. A huge bottle warehouse completed last year will house 12 million bottles at one time. New equipment includes a cooling system superior to any existing system and the first of its kind to be used; new bottle-forming machines which make bottles with almost incredible swiftness and perfection; new reversing valves to add to the efficiency of furnace heat; new batch equipment; a new annealing oven or lehr; improved air compressors, etc.

The bottle I found is machine made with the Rawleigh’s (in script) trade mark on the front. “Bottle Made In “USA” is embossed in extremely small letters near the base. The makers mark on the base, a “P” located within a circle, indicates that it was most likely made by the Pierce Glass Co. This suggests that it was made prior to Rawleigh’s establishing their new bottle factory in 1926. Pierce started business in 1905 so this likely puts the manufacture of the bottle sometime between 1905 and 1926. It actually looks a lot like the Cod Liver Oil bottle pictured in the 1917 Almanac, Cook Book and Medical Guide pictured above.

CN Disinfectant, West Disinfecting Company, New York

  

The West Disinfecting Company was an early manufacturer of disinfectants and a pioneer in bathroom/restroom cleanliness. The company held patents for a wide range of disinfectants as well as for items still seen universally in restrooms today such as liquid soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers. This 1909 advertisement showed an early version of their liquid soap dispenser.

Their signature cleaning fluid and disinfectant was called Chloro-Naptholeum, or CN for short.

It appears that the business had its roots with Robert S. West in the late 1880’s in Cleveland, Ohio. An item in the July, 1888 edition of “Carpentry and Building” indicated that West had introduced Chloro-Naptholeum  into the United States at around that time.

A disinfecting fluid called chloro-naptholeum said to possess thorough effectiveness as an antiseptic and disinfectant, besides being cheap and having an agreeable smell is being put upon the market by Robert S. West, corner of Elm and Winslow Streets, Cleveland Ohio. From a circular before us we learn that this preparation is already largely used in England and a number of testimonials from those who have used the material abroad are presented. Its power as a germ destroyer is said to exceed that of carbolic acid and other similar antiseptics that are soluble in water. It does not dissolve in water but mixes with it, forming an emulsion like milk.

The 1900 census records indicated that Robert S.West was born in England and immigrated to the United States in 1870 at the age of thirteen. He’s listed in the Cleveland directories as early as 1874. Beginning in 1891 and lasting through 1899, the directories listed him as a disinfectant manufacturer with an address of 48 and 50 Long. During this period, the New York City firm of E. Taussig & Co. served as West’s representative and general agents on the east coast, using the trade name “West Disinfecting Co.” NYC directories listed E Taussig & Co. at 894 First Avenue (1892 to 1894) and later at 206 East 57th Street (1896 to 1899).

As early as the mid 1890’s, E. Taussig & Co., using the West Disinfecting Company trade name, was advertising Chloro-Naptholeum in connection with a ventilator and disinfector which was apparently one of, if not the first, automated toilet sanitizer.

An advertisement, disguised as a news item, in the November 24, 1895 edition of the Atlanta Constitution described how the system worked.

WEST CHLORO NAPTHOLEUM

West Disinfecting Company, 206 East 57th Street, New York – E. Taussig & Co., Proprietors – Leo Fresh, Manager, Atlanta Ga.

Taussig’s Ventilator and Disinfectors are in use in all the public buildings at the exposition grounds as well as in Atlanta and all the largest exposition houses in New York City, and such as Edison Electric Illuminating Company, all branches, E.S. Jaffray & Co., Cotton Exchange, Masonic Temple, Mount Louis Hospital and many others. Over 35,000 now in use in the United States.

Chloro Naptholeum refined is clear as a crystal. Is used in the machines and will drip automatically for twenty-five days with one filling, one minute and twenty seconds between drops. One gallon of the fluid will last 100 days.

It contains the very best compounds of disinfectants in existence and is endorsed by the very best physicians in the country. The analysis of Chloro Naptholeum are tar and tarry products, phenols, creosote, pyrohgucous acid, naphthol, eucalyptol, carbolic acid, and the disinfectants of complex origin…

The machines are put in gratis, and all you have to buy is the fluid, and the inspector will be there every twenty-five days and fill them, thus saving you the trouble.

The machines are placed as the cut will show, and are the property of the company. The fluid is $2 in single cans and $1.75 in five and ten gallons, and $1.50 in half-barrel lots.

By the late 1890’s Taussig & Co. had assumed control of the entire business. In accordance with an agreement dated August 4, 1898, E Taussig & Co. purchased from Robert West all interest, including patents and trademarks, in both his automatic disinfectors and chloro-naptholeum. Approximately one year later, the West Disinfecting Co., Inc. was established and on July 18, 1899, the Taussig business was transferred to the new corporation. Emil Taussig, served as the first president of the newly formed corporation.

It was at the same time that the CN trademark was introduced as well. Trademark records indicate that it was first used in commerce in July, 1899.

The new corporation was listed in the 1900 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with offices at 26 East 59th Street in Manhattan. Around this time, the company also established a factory/laboratory across the East River in Queens. The 1903 Trow Business Directory for Brooklyn and Queens listed the factory address as 25 Orchard in Long Island City.

A profile of the company printed in the March 20, 1904 edition of the Pittsburgh Daily Post described the business at that time.

Starting from a small beginning thirteen years ago, it has grown and grown, until today it is the largest concern of its kind in America, and perhaps in the world. The main offices are in New York, and it has branches in every prominent city in the country. The Pittsburgh branch is located at 1611 Penn Avenue.

Throughout its life the West Disinfecting Company have given their attention entirely to the subject of disinfectants and disinfecting appliances, and its $50,000 chemical laboratory and works are the only works operated by such a concern in this country, and according to all the information secured the largest works in the world given over exclusively to the manufacture of such products.

Every appliance made by the company is after their own design and is patented in the United States and other countries while their disinfectants and fumigants  with their registered names, protected in this country and abroad, find a sale in every civilized corner of the globe.

Emil Taussig served as president of the corporation until his untimely death aboard the Titanic in 1912. The following notice appeared in the April 20, 1912 edition of the New York Times.

According to an April 16, 1912 story in the Boston Globe, Taussig was on board the ship with both his wife and daughter.

They sailed for Europe Feb 5. He was going on a mixed business and pleasure trip on the advice of his friends, who felt he needed a rest. Although his headquarters was at Long Island City, NY, he knew every employee of the store who had been employed for a few years and would shake hands with them and call them by name when he called…He was very popular.

According to the Titanic’s records, Taussig’s wife and daughter both survived.

After Taussig’s death it appears that management and possibly ownership of the company transferred to Moses and Alexander J Marcuse. The 1914 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed them as president and vice president respectively. The Marcuse family remained active in the management of the company well into the 1950’s and possibly longer.

The company offices remained listed in Manhattan until the mid-1920’s; first at 26 East 59th St (1900 to 1905); then 9 East 59th St (1905 to 1910); 2 East 42nd St (1911 to 1912); 12 East 42nd St (1914 to 1917) and 411 Fifth Ave (1918 to 1925). Then in 1926, it appears that the entire operation was consolidated  in Queens. That year, the Brooklyn Queens Telephone Book listed both their office and factory at the Long Island City location. According to a story in the August 6, 1925 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, by this time, in addition to their New York facilities, the company maintained 38 branches in the United States and Canada.

The company remained in Long Island City until the late 1970’s. The business evolved into West Sanitation Services and ultimately, in 2014, as West Industries. West Industries is currently located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In addition to being used in connection with the company’s disinfecting appliances, Chloro-Naptholeum was also marketed for the household as well. The November 24, 1895 Atlanta Constitution article goes on to describe it’s suggested household uses.

We also have the Chloro Naptholeum in its crude state, which is used largely  for ridding your house of all kinds of vermin, such as roaches, bedbugs, ants, insect bites and stings, itching, fetid feet, ringworm, for sickroom, for flushing drains, sinks, kitchen utensils and all kinds of places where there is foul air or bad odor. One gallon of this crude Chloro Naptholeum can be dissolved by using fifty parts water to one part Chloro Naptholeum. The Savannah board of health use thirty-five barrels of the crude every year, and are furnishing the citizens with it gratis. Sample bottle given free on application.

An advertisement, in the July 11, 1911 edition of the (New York) Evening World described how to administer CN for various uses.

Household Use – To each pail of water taken for mopping, sprinkling, scrubbing or cleaning purposes, add three tablespoonfuls of CN. It makes the cleaning easier, kills germs, destroys all odors, purifies the air, destroys ants, roaches, vermin.

Bath and Toilet – Use one tablespoonful of CN for the bath on every occasion. CN is superior to ammonia, giving exquisite tonic and softening to the water.

Sick Rooms – Move the patient into a well-disinfected room when possible. Remove unnecessary curtains and hangings, wash down walls and floor with CN solution or spray the wall paper with CN in the solution of one teaspoonful to a quart of water.

Consumption

Every house where Tuberculosis exists CN should be used daily to prevent the spread of the disease. All personal articles, eating and other utensils touched by the patient, should be carefully washed in a solution of CN. CN should be poured in the cuspidors used by the patient and should be used in all cleaning water.

The advertisement also touted CN as an antiseptic for everything under the sun, including cuts, abrasions, sores, bruises, sprains, bruised hands or fingers, ulcers, abscesses, ringworm, insect bites and stings, ivy and dogwood poisoning, typhoid fever, head lice and dandruff, teeth and gum decay, sore mouth or throat, burns, scalds, sunburn, scurvy, prickly heat, chafing and catarrh.

An article in the September 15, 1909 edition of “Printers Ink” described how the company capitalized on people’s fear of death and disease. They focused their advertising efforts during periods of hot weather and particularly in areas where disease epidemics were present.

CN Disinfectant is not one of those products which “lay low” in summer time. It literally thrives on torrid weather, and keeps keen on the scent of epidemic and disease. With newspaper copy it is ready at short notice to jump into an infected district with a campaign to increase sales…

In the “Printer’s Ink’ article, West’s advertising manager, D. Maxwell Merry admits that:

You have to “scare” the consumer into realizing that a disinfectant is absolutely essential for the thorough cleansing of a house and the prevention of disease.

He goes on to describe their approach.

We are constantly on the lookout for any new epidemic or threatened outbreak of contagious disease anywhere in the United States,” states Mr. Merry. “Each of our eighteen branch offices scattered throughout the country is quick to inform the home office at the first signs of anything like an outbreak anywhere, and we lose no time in placing large newspaper space and concentrating a large part of our effort in that territory at once…

Just at present there is a serious outbreak of typhoid in New York’s great East Side and we are starting a campaign in several leading Jewish dailies to tell the masses in that section of the city how CN will minimize their danger.

This advertisement which appeared the following summer in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle “hits home” with all the points Merry made in the article.

The company didn’t stop with just advertising but followed it up with door to door sales.

Undoubtedly one reason for the success of our anti-epidemic campaign is our plan of following up of our advertising when we go into a new city with a large force of women canvassers. These women, who are well dressed and well paid, call upon householders and drive home the advantage of our product, while the advertising is still fresh in the consumers’ minds. The use of a disinfectant being primarily a woman’s matter, it follows that women make the best demonstrators

In addition to marketing CN for household use, West apparently had a Railroad and Steamship Department that marketed CN for the cleaning of public facilities. This advertisement which appeared in the April 1911 edition of “Railway and Locomotive Engineering” touted it for disinfecting and washing passenger cars and stations.

And if that wasn’t enough, they also marketed a Chloro-Naptholeum “Dip” to farmers and livestock owners. A January 27, 1905 advertisement in the Weekly Livestock Report stated:

If every livestock owner who has used Chloro-Naptholeum Dip would stand up and testify truly in dollars and cents how much Chloro-Naptholeum Dip has done for his stock, the total would be much larger than the figures which represent wheat crop. Chloro-Naptholeum is a money maker. It cures mange and scab. It kills lice, fleas, etc. It heals cuts, sores, wire scratches, wounds and bruises. It disinfects and destroys all unsanitary conditions in the animal quarters and the home.

The newspaper advertisements generally fade away in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s but I’ve seen CN Disinfectant listed in Department Store advertisements as late as the late 1970’s. This April 1, 1979 advertisement for McCrory-McLellan-H.L. Green-Newberry advertised a 7 oz bottle (upper right) as one of several cleaners you could buy @ 2 for a dollar.

The bottle I found is machine made and approximately one ounce in size. It must be what advertisements referred to as the “trial” size. This 1909 advertisement indicated that the trial size amount, when mixed with water, could make 2 gallons and at the time cost ten cents.

I also found a found a four ounce bottle that accommodated a screw top.

The base of this bottle is embossed with an “O” inside a box indicating it was made by the Owens Bottle Co. This most likely dates it between 1919 and 1929.

The earliest address I can find for West’s Long Island City Factory is 25 Orchard (now 42-25 Orchard?). Orchard Street in Long Island City consists of one block between Jackson Avenue and the Sunnyside Rail Yards. On the east side a new multi-story glass tower was recently built. An older building on the west side of the street may still date back to the business.

 

Whittemore, Boston, French Gloss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“LIGHTNING DYE” instantly blacks all colored shoes.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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 G.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.

      

Griffin Manufacturing Co., New York

      

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Robinson Brothers, New York, Buffalo Ammonia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buffalo Ammonia is sold by all grocers.

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

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

   

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

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

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