Dixon & Carson, 41 Walker St., N. Y.

James Dixon & John Carson were partners in a mid-19th Century New York City soda water manufacturing and bottling business located in the area now called Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street) in Lower Manhattan. .

According to 1870 census records John Carson was born in Ireland, circa 1814. At some point he immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City where directories first list him in 1852 with the occupation of “soda water,” and an address of 41 Barclay Street. Then sometime in the mid-1850’s he moved to 41 Walker Street and was joined by James Dixon, forming a partnership that initially appeared in the 1856 directory.

The business remained at 41 Walker Street until 1865 or 1866 at which time the company apparently relocated down the street to 28 Walker Street where they remained through 1869.

Census records in 1870 list Carson’s occupation as a  “Retired Dealer in Soda Water,” likely signaling the end of the business.

The bottle I found is a small mouth blown pony with an applied blob finish. Its embossing includes the 41 Walker Street address dating it between 1856 and 1866 when the business was located at that address.

ON A FINAL NOTE – The building located  at 41 Walker Street today does not date back to the time of the Dixon & Carson business. In fact it was likely construction of the present building there, in 1867, that forced Dixon & Carson’s 1866 move to 28 Walker Street. More on the history of 41 Walker Street can be found on the following web site.

http://tribecacitizen.com/the-history-of-tribeca-buildings/the-history-of-39-41-walker

 

F. Dieterich, Agt, Richmond Hill, L. I.

 

The first initial ” F.” stands for Frederick Dieterich who, according to 1910 census records, arrived in the United States from Germany in 1881. By the early 1900’s he was living in New York City’s Borough of Queens where the first directory listings I can find for him were in Trow’s  1903, 1906, 1907 and 1908 business directories. He appeared under the heading: “wines, liquor and lager beer saloons,” at two locations:

– Williamsburg Rd. ( now Metropolitan Ave.) corner of Hillside Avenue, Richmond Hill and

– Hillside Avenue c. Cottage (now 131st Street), Jamaica

Hillside Avenue serves as the border between Richmond Hill and Jamaica in this section of Queens, suggesting that these two locations were very close, maybe across the street from each other.

Later, New York State’s list of liquor tax certificate holders for years ending September 30, 1909, 1911, 1914, 1915 and 1917 all include Dieterich’s address as “Junction of Hillside Avenue, Williamsburg Road and Cottage Street.” At the same time, the Queens telephone book listed Fred Dieterich with the occupation “hotel” with an address of simply “Hillside Ave.”

All this suggests that Dieterich was the proprietor of a hotel that likely included a saloon located on the border of Richmond Hill and Jamaica, Queens in the early 1900’s.

In 1920, Dieterich is listed in the Queens telephone book without an occupation, likely a victim of National Prohibition.

The bottle I found is a champagne style beer with a blob finish. It likely dates on the earlier side of the 1903 to 1920 range.

 

 

 

 

 

Emil Schlicher, Farmingdale, L.I.

Emil Schlicher was the successor to the Farmingdale, Long Island  mineral water and bottling business of Schnaderbeck and Runge. A nephew of Richard Runge, Schlicher likely took over the business sometime in 1908. That year he’s included on a New York State listing of liquor tax certificate holders with an address of Fulton and Main, the former address of Schnaderbeck and Runge. More information on Schnaderbeck and Runge can be found in another post on this site.   Schnaderbeck & Runge

Referring to the business as the “Enterprise Bottling Works” during 1909 and much of 1910 Schlicher ran this advertisement on an almost weekly basis in Belmore, Long Island’s local newspaper, the”South Side Messenger.”

In 1920, census records continued to list Schlicher’s occupation as “soda water manufacturer,” so it’s reasonable to assume that he was still in business during the early 1920’s. Then, on January 16, 1925, a legal notice published in the “Farmingdale Post” announced that the business, now located on Elizabeth Street in Farmingdale, was up for sale.

This dates Schlicher’s proprietorship to the 17 year period from 1908 to 1925. That being said the Enterprise Bottling Company survived the sale and was still active in the Spring of 1928 when this advertisement appeared in several editions of the “Farmingdale Post.”

I haven’t  been able to find any record of the business in the 1930’s.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with a blob finish. It’s a shade under 11-inches tall and roughly  3-1/2 inches in diameter. It likely dates to the early Schlicher years, say 1908 to 1912.

I’ve also found the lower portion of a smaller bottle that would have been approximately 7 – 8 inches tall and likely had a crown finish.

Sammis & Hentz, Hempstead, L. I.

 

Sammis & Hentz was a Hempstead, Long Island sarsaparilla and soda manufacturer that was active under that name for much if not all of the 1860’s and early 1870’s. It appears that throughout its history the business was closely associated with the Sammis Tavern.

The name Sammis in Hempstead dates back to the mid-1600’s when the family arrived on Long Island from England. A history of “The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, Long Island, New York, 1609 to 1924” by Henry Isham Hazelton, published in 1925, made it clear that the Sammis family’s tavern had a long and rich history on Long Island.

The Sammis tavern at Hempstead was built in 1680 and at the time it closed its doors a few years ago it was the oldest inn in the United States. The first member of the Hempstead branch of the Sammis family came to this country from England in 1650, and bought land from the Indians. While his name is not known, his son, Nehemiah, built the inn…

Seven generations of the Sammis family were born in the place, and the very rafters spoke of Indians, of Dutch and English quarrels, of the days of British occupation of Long Island, of Washington as a guest; of the War of 1812, of the Mexican War and the day when Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers, and the boys of Hempstead went there to enlist. A. H. Sammis, the last owner of that name, was of the sixth generation. He was born in the room where his father and grandfather both first saw the light of day.

It stood laterally on Fulton Avenue near the railroad station. The original site was at Main Street and Fulton Avenue. The Avenue was the main coaching road between New York and the eastern end of Long Island.

The tavern, circa 1860, was the subject of this John Evers painting, a reproduction of which was found in the January 1, 2023 edition of Long Island’s “Newsday.”

Born in 1827, it was Lawrence Seaman Sammis who was the early proprietor and possibly founder of the sarsaparilla business. According to the “History of Long Island from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time,” published in 1903, it was Lawrence Seaman, who:

after attaining manhood was engaged for a number of years in the manufacture of mineral waters.

Census records suggest this occurred as early as 1850 when Lawrence Seaman, then 23 years old, listed his occupation as “merchant.” His younger brother, Charles Augustus, then 18, also listed his occupation as “merchant” suggesting that the brothers may have been in business together at that point.

The 1903 “History of Long Island” goes on to say that Lawrence Seaman subsequently moved to Jamaica for a short time and later Brooklyn, before ultimately settling in Mineola, Long Island in 1877. He’s listed in the Brooklyn directories as early as 1856, suggesting he had vacated Hempstead by the mid-1850’s.

This apparently left the sarsaparilla business in the hands of Charles Augustus, who in the 1859 Long Island directory (the earliest I can find) was listed as a “sarsaparilla manufacturer,” with an address in the same general location as the Sammis Tavern at “Main Street, opposite the R.R. Depot.”

Sometime in the early 1860’s, Charles Augustus, having been appointed as a sheriff in Queens County, apparently formed a partnership with Henry Hentz to manage the sarsaparilla business. Long Island directories from the 1860’s that I’ve been able to find (1864-65, 1865-66, 1867-68, 1868-69) all list Sammis & Hentz as a “sarsaparilla manufacturer” with an address of Main St., opposite the R.R. Depot. That being said, in 1860, Henry Hentz listed his occupation as “manufacturer” in census records, so it’s possible, even likely, that the Sammis & Hentz partnership began as early as 1860.

Sammis & Hentz was still listed on Main St., opposite the R.R. Depot in the 1871 -72 Long Island directory.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown pony. Sadly it’s broken off at the neck and the finish is missing. It dates to the Sammis/Hentz partnership, sometime in the 1860’s or early 1870’s.

One final note of interest; the bottle’s actual embossing misspelled the name “Hempstead” as “Hemstead.”

I’ve chosen to spell it correctly in the title of this post.

 

 

Pluto Water, America’s Physic

 

Pluto Water got its name from a naturally occurring mineral spring also named Pluto whose waters were thought to restore good health to those with a wide range of illnesses. Located in Orange County, Indiana, the Pluto spring was named for the Roman god of the underworld, a reference to the water’s subterranean source.  A resort called French Lick Springs grew up around the Pluto spring, and the water named after it was bottled and sold locally and later nationally from 1890 to 1973.

Over the years bottled Pluto Water was primarily advertised as a natural cure for constipation, with newspaper advertisements as early as 1904 referring to it as “America’s Physic.” Sometime around 1920 this iconic slogan began appearing in their advertising.

A tagline that sometimes drew the sarcastic response:

When Pluto Won’t, Make Your Will.

The story of Pluto Water and consequently French Lick Springs began in the early 1830’s when Dr. William H. Bowles, purchased the land where the mineral springs were located from the State of Indiana. According to the “History of Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties, Indiana,” published in 1884:

At this sale, Dr. William A. Bowles…either by himself or agent, succeeded in obtaining a considerable tract of this land upon which were situated the principal of these mineral springs now so widely known as the French Lick Springs. Soon after this, in partnership with John Hungate, he began a mercantile trade there…

A history of French Lick Springs, published in the July, 1902 editions of several Indiana newspapers, picks up the story from there.

Perhaps as early as 1839 Bowles erected a two-story frame building on the present site, but it had no occupant as it was not finished until 1845 or 46, when Dr. John A. Lane, a genuine “down-easter,” who at the time was traveling in the interest of Dr. Brandeth of “Brandeth Pill” notoriety, chanced to stop for the night with Mr. Hungate, who resided near the springs. Dr. Lane, who was a man of quick perception and foresight, coupled with indomitable energy, became enamored of the place and in 1846 leased the springs of Bowles for a period of five years, and in the spring of that year completed the house and at once opened it for the accommodation of the public.

By 1851, Lane was advertising his resort in nearby Louisville, Kentucky, as evidenced by an announcement of his seasonal opening that appeared in the July 5th and July 14th editions of the “Louisville Courier-Journal.” The announcement suggested that 1850, not 1846, may have been French Lick Springs inaugural year as a formal resort, so suffice to say, the resort was certainly up and running by 1850.

FRENCH LICK SPRINGS

These Springs, located in Orange County, Indiana, ten miles west of Paoli, were offered to the public as a place of resort and the means of the cure of disease last summer for the first time we believe. For the present season the proprietor opened his doors for the reception of visitors on the first of the present month, June.

There are a number of springs affording almost every variety of sulphur and chalybeate water, which scientific men pronounce of great value to the sick and afflicted. The country around is wild and romantic, and abounds in various kinds of game, such as deer, turkeys, pheasants, quails, squirrels, etc. The man of business, tired of the cares and turmoils of city life, can here find a place of retreat and amusement. If fond of hunting, he can take his gun along with him, and after arriving at the springs and partaking, if he chooses, of the healing waters which they afford, head to the surrounding hills and hunt to his heart’s content. If the visitor be an angler, and takes pleasure in catching the “finny tribe” with the “baited hook,” Lost River is nearby, and he too can enjoy his favorite sport. And those fond of fancy amusements can also be accommodated to their liking on the grounds about the springs… 

This rendering of the initial hotel appeared in a feature on French Lick Springs that appeared in the October 18, 1902 edition of the “Boston Home Journal.”

In case you’re interested, a letter published in the  August 19,1851 edition of the “Louisville Daily Courier” made it clear that the 80 mile trip from Louisville to French Lick Springs could be accomplished in one day.

You can leave Louisville at 5 o’clock in the morning in one of Mr. Eastham’s fine daily coaches, with good horses, and very prudent and accommodating drivers, and arrive at New Prospect by 4-1/2 in the afternoon. This is two miles from the Springs, where the traveler falls into the hands of our very worthy and obliging friend, the Postmaster of New Prospect, Mr. Techemacher. He is a Polander and his history is full of interest, and he, together with his learned dog, attracts a great share of the attention of the visitors. You pass over a beautifully romantic country for two miles, crossing the celebrated Lost River, and reach the Springs, where I hope many of your readers may arrive safely, and realize the same amount of benefit which the writer has received for the last few weeks from use of the water.

Lane was still managing the resort for Bowles as late as 1853, as evidenced by this June 28th “Louisville Courier-Journal” advertisement announcing the resort’s seasonal opening that year.

Then, sometime in the mid-1850’s, Lane left French Lick Springs and established another resort nearby, calling it “West Baden Springs.” A story announcing what appears to be West Baden’s grand opening appeared in the July 20, 1857 edition of the “Louisville Daily Courier.”

Dr. J. A. Lane, formerly of the French Lick Springs, Orange County, Indiana, but now the owner and proprietor of the “West Baden Springs,” which are situated about a mile from French Lick, was in the city Saturday last, and informs us that he is putting up good improvements for the accommodation of his old friends, and will be ready and glad to see them on or about the 15th of August next. The mineral water, in that section of Indiana, cannot be excelled in the Union.

This July 8, 1859 item in the “Louisville Daily Courier” makes it clear that by then, stages from Louisville were servicing both French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs. The two resorts would remain competitors well into the next century.

Meanwhile, back at French Lick Springs, Bowles, now apparently managing the resort himself, added a “Bathing Establishment to the resort. His August 4, 1859 advertisement in the “Louisville Daily Courier”read in part:

…To the former accommodations and advantages of this place, there has been added an extensive “BATHING ESTABLISHMENT, where every variety of Bath can be had that are usual at Watering places, and some that cannot be had elsewhere…

According to the 1902 History of the Springs, in 1864 Bowles turned management of the Springs over to Dr. Samuel Ryan who went on to manage it for the next 15 years. This change in management was reflected in a July 14, 1865 item published in the “Louisville Courier-Journal,”

The reasoning for this change is quite evident considering this notice that appeared in the Evansville (Indiana) “Daily Journal.”

General Order No. 27 Headquarters District of Indiana, Indianapolis, May 9, 1865

In accordance with General Court Martial Orders No. 214 dated War Department, Adjunct General’s Office, Washington, May 2, 1865, to wit:

William A. Bowles, citizen of the State of Indiana, will be hanged by the neck until he is dead, on Friday, the 19th day of May, 1865, between the hours of twelve o’clock P.M. and three o’clock P.M., on the parade ground between Camp Morton and Burnside Barracks, near the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Brevet Brigadier General A. A. Stevens, commanding Camp Morgan and Burnside Barracks, is charged with the execution of this order, and will make report thereof to the Commanding General.

Bowles’ troubles were summarized in a story published years later in the April 2, 1873 edition of Bloomington Illinois’ “The Pantagraph.”

When the rebellion broke out Bowles was suspected of being in secret communication with the Confederates, and…had organized and armed a large number of men belonging to the secret order of the Sons of Liberty, and had planned an attack upon the Government arsenal at Indianapolis, and upon Camp Morton near that city, where 7,000 Confederate prisoners of war were confined under guard. The plot also involved the assassination of Governor Morton, the release and arming of the prisoners, and the inauguration of an insurrection in aid of the Confederates throughout the Northwest.

The story went on to say:

President Johnson stayed the execution of sentence until the Supreme Court should pass upon the validity of the judgement pronounced by the military commission. The Supreme Court decided, after a full hearing, that the sentence of the commission was void; that the defendants should have been tried in the United States Court at Indianapolis, and there was no emergency justifying a resort to military law…

This meant that Bowles, along with two coconspirators, had not been convicted by any legal authority and so they were released from prison in April, 1866.  A follow-up story in the January 11, 1867 edition of the “Evansville Daily Journal,” announced that the United States Court at Indianapolis would not prosecute the case, effectively putting the issue to bed. Bowles lived out the rest of his life at French Lick Springs, passing away in March, 1873.

Ryan managed French Lick Springs for Bowles, and later, for his estate up through the late 1870’s. Throughout most of the late 1860’s it was managed under the partnership of “Ryan & Adams” when, according to their opening day announcement in 1868 you could stay for:

$12 per week, $45 per month; children under 12 years of age and servants half price…

In 1869 Adams was replaced by E. Tucker, with the announcement appearing in the January 7, 1869 edition of the Evansville “Daily Journal.”

By 1871, according to their June 26th Evansville “Daily Journal” advertisement, the hotel was open year round with amusements that now included billiards, bowling, pigeons and croquet as well as a “good string band.”

After Ryan’s lease expired in the late 1870’s, the Bowles estate managed the Springs until 1881 when they sold it to Ryan and two others, Hiram Elwood Wells and James Madison Andrews. The sale was reported in the March 10, 1881 edition of the “Mitchell (Indiana) Commercial.”

The French Lick Springs property, including 320 acres of land…was permanently sold Saturday to J. M. Andrews and H. E. Wells, of Paoli, Orange, County, and Dr. S. Ryan, former lessee of the springs. The 320 acres, including the springs and hotel, cost about $30,000. They take immediate possession, and contemplate extensive improvements the coming season.

In 1888, Ryan was no longer involved and the business began operating as the French Lick Springs Company, with Wells serving as president. By then, according to a September 1, 1888 story in the “Boonville (Indiana) Enquirer,” access to the resort had significantly improved with the addition of a rail branch to the Springs.

…Of the wonderful improvements made in and about the springs is in the way of reaching here, was manifested by the enterprise of the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago, Railroad Co. (Monan Route) in building a branch of their splendidly equipped railroad from Orleans through Paoli to the springs, enabling passengers to reach here with comfort and pleasure and at reduced rates making three trips per day in close connection with the main line and to all points south, north, east and west.

That same year, the French Lick Springs Company invested upwards of $100,000 for improvements to the resort itself.

Subsequently, the upgraded resort was described like this in an August 13, 1891 story in “The Evansville Journal.”

It may not be generally known that there are three large hotel buildings here with a capacity for 400 guests. They are arranged in a section of a circle of which the principal spring is the center. These buildings are all the property of the French Lick Springs Company of whom Mr. W. S. Miller, Jr., is manager. The center one, “Windsor,” contains the office, dining-hall, bathrooms and many lodging rooms; the east one, “Pavilion,” a large well-lighted and well-ventilated music and dancing hall on ground floor and lodging rooms in two stories above; the west building, “Clifton,” is connected with the “Windsor” by a covered, latticed promenade, and has three stories with lodgings for guests. The grounds, 300 acres in extent, are composed of hilly and level ground with abundant shade from grand old forest trees. There are pleasant paths here and covered galleries at the houses for rest and exercise. A fourth, smaller building, the “Arno,” can be used for lodgings when necessary.

At a convenient distance are buildings for the help, for laundry, electric lighting and bottling the water for shipment away. In the hotel there is a resident physician, news and cigar stand, telegraph office, annunciator connecting with electric bells, barber shop and other conveniences so that guests can enjoy the conveniences of life as well as in the city.

Just before the turn of the century, the Windsor suffered a devastating fire that completely destroyed the Springs’ main hotel building. The fire was reported in the October 12, 1897 edition of the “Muncie (Indiana) Morning News.”

At 1 o’clock this morning, an alarm of fire was sounded at French Lick, and in less than two hours time the Windsor, the largest hotel and principal building there was a mass of smoldering ruins. The fire originated at or near the bakery, and made such rapid headway that the origin and cause can only be conjectured. In the burned building were located the hotel office, cigar and newsstand, telegraph office, dining room, kitchen, cold storage, bakery, bath rooms and store rooms. No casualties are reported among the guests or employees.

The contents of the building was almost a total loss, but little of the furniture or fixtures being saved. The buildings left standing are the Clifton and the dancing and amusement pavilions, which escaped owing to the fact that they are detached, and located some little distance from the Windsor. The amount of insurance on the property could not be ascertained. The loss is estimated at $40,000…

The next year, an August 14, 1898 story in the Courier-Journal made it clear that the fire had negatively impacted business.

The policy of the management of this popular resort has been to keep as quiet as possible this season as the buildings destroyed last winter by fire have not yet been replaced..

The fortunes of the resort changed three years later when the French Lick Springs Company sold the Springs to a newly formed company called the French Lick Springs Hotel Company. Headed by Indianapolis mayor (and later Senator from Indiana), Thomas Taggert,  the company’s incorporation notice was published in the June 25, 1901 ” edition of “The Indianapolis News.”

The French Lick Springs Hotel Company, in which Mayor Taggert is interested, incorporated today with a capital stock of $600,000. Mayor Taggert and his associates in the company have gone to Louisville to make arrangements incidental to the final closing of the deal by which they become owners of the French Lick property.

Two days later the new corporation owned French Lick Springs. The closing of the deal was described like this in the June 27th edition of Bedford Indiana’s “Daily Mail.”

Mayor Thomas Taggert, of Indianapolis, came to Louisville about 7 o’clock yesterday morning with certified checks for over $400,000 in his pocket. When Mr. Taggert and his companions left for French Lick at 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon $294,150 of these checks had become property of Louisville businessmen and Mr. Taggert carried the deed to all the property of the French Lick Springs Company. The Columbia Finance and Trust Company has $86,000 more of Mr. Taggert’s money which will be used to redeem the bonds of the old company on July 1. The payment of this money opens a new era for French Lick Springs…

The property which changed hands yesterday consists of 320 acres, three hotels, the famous Pluto Spring and a number of minor springs, bath houses, bottling works and a number of other buildings. Work on the new 300 room stone hotel will begin at once. The old hotels will be remodeled and numerous other improvements will be made.

Within a year, this June 22, 1902 “Chicago Tribune” advertisement announced that the new brick (not stone) hotel was now completed and open for business.

A feature on French Lick Springs published in the October 18, 1902 edition of the “Boston Home Journal” announced that the  upgraded resort now afforded accommodations for no less than seven hundred guests. The 1902 feature went on to provide this panoramic view of the resort.

The hotel office and dining room were also pictured in the feature.

By 1902 Taggert had also added a nine hole golf course.

Under Taggert’s ownership the resort continued to grow, with an August, 1916 story in the “National Drug Clerk” describing it like this:

French Lick Springs Hotel is a city within itself. The power plant not only furnishes the hotel light and power, but supplies the city of French Lick with light and power. The street car service between French Lick and West Baden is operated on the power generated at the Hotel Power House.

An 18-hole golf course and tennis courts serve as diversion, and the horseback riding is made a delightful exercise.

Three hot houses furnish the flowers for the interior decoration of the hotel and the pleasure of the guests.

A modern dairy is operated and comprises a fine herd of cows, which produce cream and milk under the most up-to-date and sanitary methods, and the butter is also made. All the dairy products on the dining room table are therefore of the best.

A modern up-to-date laundry is also run in conjunction with the hotel and the service is perfect.

The baths under the careful direction of the experienced attendants have a rejuvenating effect on the human system. As high as 175 baths a day are given in the men’s section, and 90 per day in the ladies’ section.

According to another feature on French Lick Springs, this one found in the June, 1923 edition of the “Practical Druggist,” sometime in the early 1920’s Taggert turned management of the business over to his son, Thomas D. Taggert, Jr. The family would remain in control of the property for another 20 plus years.

Sometime in the early 1890’s, prior to Taggert purchasing the Springs, the French Lick Springs Company began bottling their Pluto Water for sale outside the limits of the resort. The afore mentioned August 13, 1891 description of the resort in “The Evansville Journal,” included mention of a building for

bottling the water for shipment away

That building was likely the one pictured on this postcard that was recently offered for sale on the internet.

That same year, June, 1891 advertisements in the “Louisville Courier-Journal” announced the company had opened a sales office in downtown Louisville.

So they were certainly bottling and distributing their water locally by then. That being said, there’s no evidence that suggests that its distribution extended much beyond the Louisville city limits. That situation began to change in the late 1890’s when the Henry Pharmacal Co., of Louisville was named the sales agent for “Pluto Water.”

The announcement was initially published in the August, 1899 issue of the “Louisville Medical Monthly,” a reprint of which I found in the September 22, 1899 issue of the “Virginia Medical Semi-Monthly.”

The French Lick Springs of Indiana, according to the Louisville Medical Monthly, August, 1899, have passed under the control of Mr. Frank A. Henry, of the Henry Pharmacal Co., of Louisville, who intends to bring the strong saline sulphur water, “Pluto,” to the attention of the medical profession. Too often, the therapeutic value of American mineral springs has been lost under the guise of fashion or summer recreation. The French Lick Springs have always maintained their medical reputation parallel with their celebrity over the United States. It is Mr. Henry’s intention to bring the merits of Pluto Springs to the attention of the medical profession through the medical press, and to show that the resort compares most favorably with the most famous of similar establishments abroad.

Also called the Henry Drug Co., of Louisville, around the turn of the century the company registered two labels with the United States Patent Office, one for “Pluto Natural” the other for “Pluto Concentrated.”

No. 7232 ” Pluto Concentrated” for bottled mineral waters on Dec. 12, 1899

No. 7560 “Pluto” for natural spring water on May 26, 1900

The very bottom of this early label for “Pluto Concentrated clearly identifies the Henry Drug Co., Louisville Ky. as the product’s “Sole Agents for the U.S.A.”

The need for  “Pluto Concentrated,” as explained years later in the June, 1923 edition of the “Practical Druggist,” was one of economics.

…guests who came from many states to drink the water suggested that it be bottled so that they could get it at their own homes. This at first proved a costly venture until it was suggested by some learned chemist that it could be boiled down and concentrated.

That being said, both natural and concentrated versions were mentioned in this advertisement that appeared in several 1903 editions of “The Indianapolis Star.”

The Henry company’s relationship with French Lick Springs and Pluto Water continued throughout most of the first decade of the 1900’s. According to the 1923 “Practical Druggist” story

The product was marketed to the medical and drug trade through the selling agents of the Henry Drug Company of Louisville until the company retired from business; then the distribution was attended to direct from headquarters…

The Henry company was last listed in Louisville’s 1909 city directory, suggesting that this transition had occurred prior to 1910.

By this time, Taggert had pretty much abandoned the distribution of “Pluto Natural” in favor of “Pluto Concentrated.” According to the March 29, 1913 edition of the “American Medical Journal:”

To the average person the composition of the “natural” Pluto Water is largely a matter of academic interest, for practically it is only the so-called “concentrated” Pluto Water that is found on the market.

…While it is doubtless possible to purchase the “natural” Pluto Water by ordering it specially, we believe that not one drug store in a hundred carries anything but the so-called “Concentrated” Pluto Water.

The A.M.A went on to point out that the concentration process resulted in a beverage whose chemical make-up bore little resemblance to the natural water produced by the spring.

The public and the medical profession are led to believe that “concentrated” Pluto Water is identical with “natural” Pluto Water except that the former has been boiled down until it is ten times as strong. With this in mind, study the following analysis which the company issues as representing the composition (parts per thousand) of the “concentrated” Pluto Water: Sodium sulphate (Glauber’s Salt)…50; Magnesium sulphate…30.97 (Epsom Salt); Calcium sulphate…2.81; Sodium chloride (salt) and Magnesium carbonate…0.35.

From this, it will be seen that, even according to the company’s own figures “concentrated” Pluto differs from “natural” Pluto in that it has more than eighty times as much Glauber’s Salt; nearly 100 times as much Epsom Salt; less than twice as much calcium sulphate, only a trifle more sodium chloride and less magnesium carbonate than is found in the “natural.”

What does this mean? it means that “concentrated” Pluto bears but a slight relation to “natural” Pluto, and it means that, for all practical purposes, “concentrated” Pluto Water is essentially a solution of Epsom Salt and Grauber’s Salt in the proportion of three of the former to five of the latter.

Taggert neglected to mention any of this in his labeling and advertising. In fact, reading this excerpt from a December 31, 1917 advertisement found in the “Indianapolis Star” you’d have to think that the natural spring water and the bottled water were one and the same.

The A.M.A. summed up the issue like this:

One wonders whether the contempt which the label of Pluto Concentrated Spring Water shows for “Food Inspection Decision 94” bears any relation to the fact that the French Lick Springs Hotel Company has for its president – Thomas Taggart – a politician whose influence at Washington is such as to make it unnecessary for the company to worry about such trivial things as mislabeling.

Mislabeling not withstanding, the sale of Pluto Water grew exponentially during the teens, much of it fueled by advertising, a fact Taggert made clear to retail druggists in the May, 1918 edition of a publication called “The Spatula.”

The French Lick Springs Hotel Company are conducting a campaign in which they utilize the biggest newspapers, nationally circulated magazines, leading medical journals, street cars and subway trains to send customers around to their drug stores for Pluto Water. A tremendous demand has already been created as indicated by the millions of bottles sold last year, and the druggists who are reaping the richest harvests from this publicity and sales promotion work, are the druggists who link up with the campaign and let their customers know they carry Pluto Water in stock, through window and counter displays.

The druggist who feels he should be getting more of this business can get all the cooperation he wants providing he shows a willingness to do his part. Attractive window display material, show cards and interesting literature for distribution will be promptly supplied on request to the French Lick Springs Hotel Co., French Lick, Ind.

Taggert also employed some less conventional methods of advertising as well. According to the 1923 “Practical Druggist” feature:

He catered to commercial men to come to French Lick for the weekend and not more than fifteen years ago these people were put up over Sunday for $2 and $2.50 a day including room and three meals; then they went out covering many states and talked and boomed the French Lick Springs and Pluto Water. It was advertising that could not be purchased…

A story in the Aug-Sept, 1915 edition of a publication called “Square Deal,” mentioned that even World War I contributed to the growth of Pluto Water.

One rather unexpected increase in business due to the conflict is in the bottling and sale of Pluto Water, obtained at French Lick, Ind. The amount of business is double this year what it was last year. That is due to cutting off much of the foreign water.

The demand associated with this growth was addressed with the opening of a new $185,000  bottling plant at French Lick Springs in 1914.

It was described like this in the January, 1914 edition of the “American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record”

The outside is finished with buff brick and the entire inside is white. The water is pumped from the Pluto Spring to the fifth floor of the building, where it begins a process of filtration and condensation and is finally delivered sparkling and clear to a glass receptacle in the main bottling room, whence it is piped to the bottling machines. The bottling process is on the continuous operation plan and the latest types of machinery are used throughout. Empty bottles are taken from the cars, subjected to a thorough sterilizing and taken to the main bottling room. This room is finished in white enamel brick and is provided with a gallery for visitors. After the bottles are filled they are sealed and taken by automatic conveyors to the cars for shipment. The new plant has a daily capacity of 1,000 cases. A complete printing plant is run in connection with the bottling house.

A January, 1916 “National Drug Clerk” story added:

There are facilities for loading three cars at a time. Pluto Water is shipped in special Pluto cars; twenty of these cars are used exclusively for transportation of Pluto Water.

By the 1920’s, in addition to their headquarters at French Lick Springs, the company maintained branch offices in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco and according to the 1923 “Practical Druggist” feature:

The distribution of this famous water is now so complete that the writer saw it in Colorado Springs, Yellowstone Park, all large cities on the coast, at Victoria, Vancouver, Banff, Montreal and Quebec.

This claim is further supported by advertisements for Pluto Water found in small “off the beaten path”places like Twin Falls, Idaho where this advertisement appeared in the June 27, 1918 edition of that city’s “Times-News.”

The Practical Druggist feature went on to say

There is perhaps no drug store of any size in the United States that does not have in stock this famous water. The company has a large foreign business in Cuba and in many large companies in South America. Last year the writer saw it in Paris, Lucerne, Lake Como and Milan. There is also an agency in Japan that looks after its distribution in the Oriental countries.

In 1920 their famous slogan “When Nature Won’t Pluto Will” began appearing in newspaper advertisements. One of the earliest I can find appeared in the January 13, 1920 edition of the “Pittsburgh Press.”.

In 1930 the company began advertising a crystalized version of Pluto water called French Lick Salts. According to this 1933 advertisement:

The same essential minerals contained in the famous Pluto Water have now been concentrated into pleasant tasting effervescent laxative crystals known as FRENCH LICK SALTS.

Other advertisements, like one published in the July 1, 1931 edition of “The Indianapolis Times,” touted it for weight loss.

Why allow yourself to be overweight and unsightly? You can so easily have slim ankles, graceful hips, a stylishly slender form. French Lick Salts works wonders.

French Lick Salts gets right at the causes – clears out stagnant body wastes that impair health and cause unhealthy fat…Take a little French Lick Salts every morning. Watch your weight go down and your health improve. Dropped in cool water, French Lick Salts effervesces delightfully, is as pleasant to drink as a fountain beverage! A generous bottle is only 50 cents at any drug store.

Short-lived, as far as I can tell ads for French Lick Salts disappear by the early 1940’s.

In 1946 a hotelier and business man named John B. Cabot bought the hotel along with the bottling works and began operating them under two newly established corporations called the French Lick Springs Hotel Company, Inc., and the  Pluto Corporation. The sale was reported in the November 30, 1946 edition of the “Louisville Courier-Journal.”

A New York hotel syndicate tonight purchased French Lick Springs Hotel, nationally famous spa in southern Indiana.

The purchasers were the French Lick Springs Hotel Company, Inc., and the Pluto Corporation of Delaware, headed by John B. Cabot of New York…

The hotel was part of the estate of the late Thomas D. Taggert, Sr., former United States Senator and former Mayor of Indianapolis. The heirs included Thomas D. Taggert Jr., a son, and four sisters…

Although the consideration was not announced, it was reported to exceed $4,000,000.

The story went on to describe the property at the time which had certainly continued to grow under the Taggerts.

The sale includes the 600-room hotel, 1,800 acres, three swimming pools, two golf courses, an airport, a riding stable, three mineral springs and the Pluto Water Bottling Works, and a large dairy and two herds of Jersey and Holstein cattle.

This photograph of the hotel accompanied an “Indianapolis News” story regarding the sale.

Six years later, Massachusetts Mutual Insurance Company, who helped underwrite the sale and held a $1,550,000 mortgage on the hotel took over sole possession of the property. The take-over story appeared in the October 29, 1952 edition of Munster Indiana’s “The Hammond Times:”

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company today announced that it will continue to operate the French Lick Springs Hotel as a resort and convention site.

The insurance firm assumed possession of the famous Southern Indiana hotel when New York – Florida hotel man John B. Cabot was unable to exercise an option to pay indebtedness and buy off the firm’s $1,550,000 mortgage.

Insurance company Vice President J. Truman Strange said present French Lick policies will be continued and improved service will be offered. He also said the company is willing to negotiate for sale of the 600-room hotel and 2,000 acres of land but that no negotiations are under way.

Negotiations must have started shortly after the above story was written because within a year Mass Mutuel sold the hotel and bottling works to separate entities. A story in the October 15, 1953 edition of the “Indianapolis Star” reported both transactions.

Purchase of French Lick Springs Hotel by a New York City corporation was announced yesterday. The reported price was approximately $2,000,000.

The nationally-known southern Indiana convention center and health resort was purchased by Tishman Realty and Construction Company Inc. from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The story went on to say:

Sale of the Pluto Corporation, bottlers of water from mineral springs on the spa property, to an Illinois businessman, also was disclosed yesterday.

New owner of the 50-year-old Pluto Corporation is Maxwell R. Hott, Monticello (Ill.) patent medicine tycoon. The price was reported to have been between $100,000 and $200,000.

Shortly after purchasing the hotel Tischman closed it for three months during which time they remodeled it to the tune of $1,000,000. The hotel reopened in March, 1955 and was ultimately sold to the Sheraton Corporation in September of that year.

Hott’s plans for the Pluto Corporation were outlined in a  March 7, 1954 “Terre Haute (Ind.) Tribune” story.

Pluto Water under the ownership and direction of Maxwell R. Hott, is pointing for a bigger share of the laxative market with a test campaign in selected markets including Terre Haute. The revitalized company is testing a series of 80-100 line newspaper ads with frequent insertions to establish a national pattern.

Mr. Hott purchased the rights to Pluto Water which was formerly owned by the French Lick springs Hotel. One of their prime reasons of buying was the discovery of the fact that although the product has not been actively promoted for almost 20 years, there has been a continued steady demand for Pluto Water and evidence of a loyal market for the product nationwide. A pilot study revealed a tremendous sales potential, particularly among middle-aged persons many of whom were introduced to Pluto Water through visits to the mineral springs in French Lick, Ind.

Hott apparently liked the results of the test campaign and followed it up with a series of long winded newspaper advertisements. One, found in the February 27, 1955 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer opened with this clear reference to the hotel and its mineral springs.

The Pluto Corporation was sold again in 1963. The transaction was reported in an April 25, 1963 story in the “Indianapolis Star:”

Purchase of the Pluto Corporation of French Lick, Ind., for an undisclosed price was announced yesterday by a group of Cincinnati businessmen.

Arthur H. Friedman, head of the Cincinnati group, said the firm would continue to bottle and sell spring water from its six-story plant…

Over the next ten years the Pluto Corporation reinvented itself, ultimately discontinuing the production of Pluto Water in favor of cleaning products. What might serve as Pluto Water’s obituary can be found in the September 28, 1994 edition of Bedford, Indiana’s “Times-Mail.”

The once worldwide market for Pluto Water diminished over the years, and sales declined to the point that in 1973 production ceased…

Pluto Water may be a thing of the past, but the Pluto Corporation here is going strong in the production of household cleaning products.

On a final note, according to a book called “Sanitariums, Hospitals, and the Belladonna Cure,” by Kenneth Anderson, published in 2022:

The myth that Pluto Water was taken off the market because it contained lithium is nothing more than an urban legend; the trace amounts of lithium found in Pluto Water were too small to be meaningful. Moreover, Lithia Springs Water, which has a much higher quantity of lithium salts, is still sold today.

Over the years, I’ve found several Pluto Water bottles, all machine made with the same embossing on the base.

One is quart size with no additional embossing on its sides. It exhibits a finish that suggests it was sealed with a cork. The others all exhibit a crown finish and are embossed Pluto Water America’s Physic” on the side.

The cork closure  was still being utilized for Pluto Water in August, 1916 when this description of the bottling and labeling process appeared in a publication called the “National Drug Clerk.”

Each individual bottle is sterilized under pressure of steam and thoroughly rinsed, placed on the filling table, which works automatically, moving forward until the bottles are directly under the filling tank, which then descends, filling twenty-four bottled with one operation…

In the workings conveyors are timed to move according to the capacity of the cooling machines, which is fifty bottles a minute. On account of the rapidity of motion and the strain, these operators are relieved every 30 minutes. In a storage room above, the corks are washed, trundled in revolving machines, and passed in front of powerful blowers to remove dust and particles from crevices of the corks. They then descend to the machines through an inverted U shaped arched chute.

After corking, and before the labels are attached, the bottles pass under a plate glass hood. Here they are subject to a needle spray bath of scalding water and steam, under pressure of one hundred and ten pounds, which cleanses the exterior and prepares the bottle for labeling. The neck and body labels are attached in one operation. The operator of these machines, like those of the corking machines, are relieved every thirty minutes.

The crown  closure had certainly replaced the cork by 1923 when this description of Pluto’s apparently updated bottling process appeared in the January edition of a publication called the “Glass Container.” It specifically references a “crowner.”

…Rotary filling machines are capable of filling and delivering bottles to the crowner at the rate of 125 per minute with the half pint size, and 80 per minute with the quarts. Separate machines are utilized for each size. Before being labeled the bottles are conveyed beneath a needle spray bath of steam under pressure of 120 lb. which completely rinses the exterior. Only one operation is necessary in order to put two labels on each bottle, and from the labeling machine they are conveyed to the packing and shipping room.

This dates the transition from cork to crown sometime between the 1916 “National Drug Story” and the 1923 “Glass Container “story. An unscientific review of their newspaper advertising serves to narrow the range further. Using the “Kansas City Times” as an example,  this  March 25, 1918 ad exhibits the cork closure…

…while a little over a year later, the December 19, 1919 edition of the same newspaper ran an ad exhibiting a crown closure.

That likely puts the transition from cork closure to crown sometime in 1918 or 1919. The crown closure was still being used as late as 1940, as evidenced by this advertisement that appeared in the June 23, 1940 edition of the “Tampa Bay Times.”

At some point in the 1940’s Pluto Water transitioned to a screw top container as evidenced by this March 5,1947 advertisement in the “Buffalo Evening News.”

Another screw top version can be found in a January 29, 1956 “Pittsburgh Press” advertisement.

 

Chas Mau, 561 E. 156th St., N.Y.

       

Born in 1860, Charles Mau was the proprietor of a New York City bottling business that was active in The Bronx during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

N.Y.C. directories first listed Mau in 1895 as a bottler of lager beer with an address of 561 East 156th Street. That address puts the business near the corner of St Ann’s Avenue and 156th Street, which was within or adjacent to  the confines of the Ebling Brewery. This suggests, though I can’t confirm, that Mau may have started in business serving as a local bottler of the Ebling product.

In 1898 Mau moved to 687 East 159th Street but his relationship with Ebling may well have continued. Now located near the intersection of Eagle Avenue and 159th Street, it appears that the business was still within the same overall block as the brewery.

In 1907, things may have changed when the business moved again, this time several blocks away, to 429 East 159th Street. Around the same time directory references to beer were being replaced with “mineral waters.”

Thirteen years later, the 1920 “White-Orr Reference Register” continued to list Mau as a mineral water manufacturer with an address of 429 East 159th Street, however, census records that same year describe Mau as retired. This points to 1920 as the likely end date of the business.

The bottle I found is mouth blown,  with a blob finish. It’s embossed with Mau’s initial address of 561 East 156th Street, dating the bottle sometime between 1895 and 1898 when he listed that address in the directories. It likely contained an Ebling brew.

 

Whistle, Orange Whistle Bottling Co.

Whistle is an orange soda that hit the U. S. market in the Spring of 1916. Still sold today, it’s height of popularity occurred in the 1920’s when, according to one newspaper source, it out-sold Coca Cola in New York. Early on, it’s advertising slogan was:

Thirsty?  Just WHISTLE

The Whistle story begins with a native Texan named Vess (Sylvester) Jones. According to a feature on Jones published in the July 20, 1922 edition of an advertising publication called “Printer’s Ink,” his business career began, not in the soda business, but in the garment industry.

He had been in the clothing specialty line and had built up a profitable trade, but he finally went broke as a result of a prolonged garment strike.

As early as 1912, he had become engaged in the syrup/soft drink business in Oklahoma City where several local newspaper accounts indicate he was serving as the Oklahoma representative for a Texas firm called the Jersey Cream Company of Fort Worth. By 1914, he had moved to St. Louis, Missouri where the 1914 city directory listed him as the vice president of the Orange Julep Company.

The 1922 “Printers Ink” feature picks up the story from there.

In 1916 Vess Jones thought of an idea for a new soft drink…

Having observed that the orange is an unusually popular fruit, Jones figured that a good beverage with orange juice as its chief ingredient should be almost equally as popular. Now Jones wasn’t the first person to hit upon the orange as the nucleus of a palatable beverage, and he knew it, but his formula called for something different from anything he had ever tasted. He aimed to mix a beverage that would make the majority of persons imbibe several drinks at a single sitting.

So, with an idea and $5,000 in savings Jones established the Orange Whistle Company, setting up shop (the “Printers Ink” story referred to it as a shack) at 315 North Main Street in St. Louis where he was initially listed in the 1916 directory. The company’s incorporation notice was published that February in the “Southern Pharmaceutical Journal.”

Though he settled in St. Louis, according to the “Printer’s Ink” feature, his first client was located in Illinois, not Missouri.

When his first batch of syrup was ready for marketing he hired a horse and wagon and started out to make the people of St. Louis acquainted with, as well as cultivate a liking for his new beverage. The bottlers of that city, however, didn’t display any particular interest in Whistle, even when Jones promised to create a demand for it, for at the start it meant no more to them than a hundred and one other soft drinks that have come and gone. Disappointed but not discouraged, Jones shifted his activities to Illinois, just across from St. Louis.

“I’ve got the best soft drink you ever drank.” Jones informed the first bottler he interviewed in Illinois, “and if you will bottle some of my syrup according to my formula and send it out to your dealers, I’ll spend my own money to move it from the counters.”

The proposition appealed to the dealer and he purchased some of the syrup, promising to bottle it immediately. By the time Whistle was ready for the public, Jones had made a tour of the city with his horse and wagon and put up signs and tacked posters around the stand or store served by that particular bottler. He supplemented his outdoor advertising with copy in the newspapers. Two weeks later the bottler, realizing that he had a valuable commodity, asked for and obtained the exclusive bottling rights to the city.

At first glance the above story appears to be nothing more than a fictional tale pumped out years later by an advertising agency, however, recognizing that the earliest newspaper advertisements for “Orange Whistle” appeared in Mattoon and Bloomington, Illinois, two cities located just north of St. Louis, lends credence to the story.

In Bloomington, this April 22, 1916 advertisement in their local newspaper called “The Pantograph” associated Orange Whistle with the H. Quosick Bottling Company.

In Mattoon, it was the Union Bottling Works, whose similar ad was published in the  April 25, 1916 edition of Mattoon’s “Journal Gazette.” In fact, in Mattoon, according to this April 18th advertisement in the “Journal Gazette,” Orange Whistle was already being dispensed at the soda fountain in Frank J. Ritter’s Drug Store.

The following month, Orange Whistle newspaper ads were appearing in nine nearby states and by year end that number had increased to 15 states, all in the south and midwest. This rapid growth required the geographical expansion of Whistle’s manufacturing capabilities as evidenced by this story announcing the opening of a new plant in Greenville N.C. It was published in the January 21, 1917 edition of the “Greenville News.”

The Orange Whistle Company…has completed its plant on South Main Street and is now shipping its product to the bottlers of the Carolinas. The concern is one of five in the United States in which the Orange Whistle syrup is made..

Orange Whistle is a comparatively new drink, having been placed on the market only in the last year or so. It originated in St Louis and until the first of the present year, all of the syrup was made there. The demand for the new drink, however, was so great that it became necessary to establish additional factories in various parts of the country.

The story went on to say that Greenville, apparently like Jones’s other newly established plants, was supported by local capital and management.

When the city was selected local capital was invited to take stock in the enterprise. As soon as the fact became known that the company in St. Louis had determined upon Greenville as the logical place for supplying the Carolinas, a number of local business men made a hasty trip to St. Louis with the result that the Greenville Orange Whistle Company was formed.

A similar company, called the Orange Whistle Company of Indiana, was formed later that year around a newly established plant in Evansville Indiana. The pitch to local investors there was included in the July 6, 1917 edition of the Evansville “Courier and Press.”

By mid-1917, less than two years after being established, the company operated a total of seven factory locations,  Six were located in the southern and midwestern U.S. cities of St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Chattanooga, Tennessee, Greenville, South Carolina; and Evansville, Indiana, the seventh in Havana, Cuba.

By 1918, in addition to manufacturing Orange Whistle, Jones had begun to establish companies  to bottle and distribute it as well. According to a September 15, 1918 story in the St. Louis “Globe Democrat:”

Organized in January, 1916, its operations for the first two years were limited to furnishing syrup to bottling concerns. Last January it embarked in the bottling business on its own account, and has plants in several other cities, principally in the South.

Meanwhile, back at their St Louis headquarters, the company was also expanding. Their original “shack” on North Main Street had been replaced with a factory located at 1035 North Grand Avenue and offices at 1418 Pine Street. In addition, the September 15th “Globe Democrat” story announced that a new, upgraded bottling plant was also in the works. Located in what was called the Cadillac Building, at 2920-22 Locust Street, it was described like this:

Equipment that will surpass that of any bottling concern in the United States, it is declared by Jones, will begin to arrive not later than October 15, under terms of the contract, and the cost will aggregate $80,000. Much of the machinery is being constructed under specifications furnished by the head of the Orange Whistle Company, to give it national leadership and also to effect an increase in capacity over the present plant of 500 percent, while lowering the labor force by 50 percent.

The new plant will have a capacity of 144,000 bottles a day. It is what is known as a low-pressure system. Empty bottles are cleaned, sterilized, given a double rinsing, filled, labeled and capped by machinery, without once being touched by human hands.

Early in 1918, the company was also expanding into the northeast and in February they established the Orange Whistle Company of N.Y. The incorporation notice was published in the February 20th edition of the “New York Times.”

The following year, the Whistle Bottling Company of Manhattan was established.

The above incorporation notice, published in the June 5, 1919 edition of the “New York Tribune,” located the bottling company’s offices at 111 Broadway in lower Manhattan. A week later the company leased a building on East 19th Street to serve as their new bottling plant and by August 12th, advertisements in the Tribune announced  that “Whistle was now on sale in New York,” and invited the public to inspect their new plant.

Bottling plants in The Bronx and Brooklyn were added in the early 1920’s. According to a December 15, 1922 item in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle,” the Brooklyn plant was established on Clifton Place.

The industrial department of Bulkley & Horton Co. have leased to The Whistle Company of America the entire building at 197-199 Clifton Pl. to be used as their main distributing and bottling plant to handle Brooklyn and Queens territory.

In the Bronx, the plant was located at 1360 La Fountaine Avenue

What was happening in New York was also happening in other parts of the country and by 1922 the business had certainly achieved a national presence. Around this time the company formed a Delaware corporation called the Whistle Company of America to serve as a holding concern for the various  Whistle entities. The holding company’s incorporation notice was published in the April 14, 1922 edition of the “New York Times.”

The new parent corporation was headquartered on Washington Street in New York City , where it was listed in the 1922 N.Y.C. Directory along with both the Manhattan and Bronx bottling companies.

The 1922 “Printers Ink” story put some numbers to their exponential national expansion.

The old shack in St. Louis certainly enjoyed a rapid and healthy growth. Its only a memory now, but its offspring in the form of robust syrup plants are flourishing in sixteen large cities in this country and three in Canada. And these same plants furnish syrup to 1,200 bottlers, who, in 1921 sold 150,000,000 bottles of “Whistle.”

The story went on to credit much of their success to advertising, which at the time totaled $300,000 annually in signs, posters and newspapers. According to the “Printers Ink” feature:

For every gallon of syrup a bottler purchases the company agrees to spend at least ten cents advertising Whistle in that bottler’s territory. As a rule however, it invests from fifteen to twenty cents, and not infrequently it has spent three dollars a gallon at the start in order to create a demand for a new bottler.

It appears  the company also supplemented these locally targeted advertising dollars with some rather unique general campaigns as well. One, likely considered “state-of-the-art” at the time, caught my attention as well as the attention of the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch,” who described it in a November 30, 1919 story.

MOBILE BILLBOARD TO ADVERTISE SOFT DRINK

A novel motor truck with a specially built body to be used for advertising purposes by the Whistle Bottling Co. has made its appearance on the streets of St. Louis during the last few days.

Miniature billboards, the length of the truck and about three feet high, are built on either side of the truck and in the rear. Each of the boards is electrically illuminated for display at night and artistically decorated. Pictures of various Whistle plants throughout the country are painted on each side.

C. L. Griggs, national advertising manager of the Whistle Bottling Co., said the truck would be sent to Chicago to attend the National Automobile and Truck Show in January and later would make an ocean-to-ocean journey, calling on many of the plants of the concern throughout the country. Motion pictures during the summer will be shown on a curtain attached to the rear of the truck. The pictures will show how a soft drink is made.

And that wasn’t the company’s only tricked-out truck as evidenced by this undated photograph exhibiting one with a hand-held bottle of Whistle popping out the top.

Also contributing to the company’s success was the attention given to “quality control.” According to Vess Jones in his own words:

“It’s a simple matter to sell anything once,” Mr. Jones said. “But unless you have a standard and see that everyone connected with it lives up to the standard, you’re not likely to hold your market, for confidence that is once betrayed is rarely regained. We could hand out franchises and then forget about them, but we don’t. It’s our duty to see that every franchise is kept valuable, and we do this in various ways.

Before we grant a bottler a franchise we get his rating, learn how he stands with the retail trade, investigate his plant to discover his daily capacity, see how many trucks he operates, and what else he bottles. If he doesn’t own an up-to-date bottling machine we insist that he install one before we will give him a franchise.

Provided a bottler seeking a franchise meets certain prerequisites, we have him sign a contract in which he agrees to keep his plant fit at all times for visitors’ inspection, to buy all his syrup for Whistle from us, to manufacture Whistle strictly according to our formula, to use only bottles with the name ‘Whistle’ blown in, to use them for nothing but Whistle, to see that every bottle of the product carries a Whistle label before it leaves his plant, and to paint his trucks with Whistle colors – orange and blue.”

Sometime in 1927 or 1928 Jones began manufacturing other favored drinks in addition to Orange Whistle. Marketed under the brand name “Vess,” one of the earliest was a ginger ale called “Vess Dry.” An introductory advertisement that appeared in the April 3, 1928 edition of the “Scranton (Pa), Times Tribune,” described it as :

Containing the purest spices available-genuine JAMAICAN GINGER- Pure Cane Sugar and blended FRUIT Essences.

As far as I can tell, at this point the manufacturing arm of the business was now called the “Vess Beverage Company.”  At the same time, they continued to bottle and sell the Vess flavors and Orange Whistle utilizing the “Whistle Bottling Company” and its local franchises.

All that aside,  there’s little doubt that the success of the overall business was due primarily to Orange Whistle. That success continued until the late 1920’s when the fluctuating price of sugar served as the catalyst for a downturn that ultimately lead to Jones selling the business to long-time employee, Leroy O. Schneeberger. The circumstances that lead up to the sale were recounted by Schneeberger’s son, Donald, in an interview published years later, in the March 29, 1981 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch.”

“In those days, Whistle provided sugar for its bottlers,” Schneeberger said. “The price of sugar rose sharply. Went from 4 cents to 20 cents a pound, and kept going. Whistle negotiated a contract at 20 cents, but the sugar producers wouldn’t deliver at that price. They had buyers for 30 cents.

Whistle sued. The sugar companies delayed until sugar went down to 4 cents. Whistle won – and had to pay 16 cents more than the market rate.

That drained the company. When the crash came, well, it killed them. My father bought the company for $10,000. 

Schneeberger went on to say that only the midwest portion of the business survived.

Vess was never again anything more than a regional brand – the midwest region that the Schneebergers owned. The country was divided into four equal areas. The other three were not aggressive. They let it slip away. You can imagine what it was like trying to get four people to agree on advertising and marketing. That’s what really held it back…

The company operated under Leroy Schneeberger for the next 30 + years. As early as the mid-1930’s they introduced several new brands, one of which was Cleo Cola.

The Cola had a short but noteworthy history as told by Don Schneeberger in another interview, this one published in the June 27, 1994 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch.”

One name got its start from his father’s habit of smoking Cleopatra cigars, Schneeberger said. “He took the drawing of a girl in an abbreviated costume off the cigar label, put it on a drink bottle and called it Cleo Cola.”

The bottle looked good, Schneeberger said, but it brought protests that it would not be appropriate for a church picnic.

So his father took the girl off the bottle and substituted a shield. He fooled around, changing the bottle and script for the name.

That turned out to be a bad move, Don Schneeberger said. The company was hit by a suit from Coca-Cola, charging trademark infringement in the way the C’s were written. Coca-Cola won and Cleo had to pay a royalty on every case.

The name Cleo is clearly visible in the photograph of this 1935 Vess delivery truck, found in the June 28, 1970 edition of the “Kansas City Star.”

Another new 1930’s brand was a lemon-lime soda called “Bubble Up, advertised as “THE BILLION BUBBLE BEVERAGE.” Both Cleo Cola and Bubble Up made an appearance in this June 25, 1939 Vess advertisement published in the “Chillicothe (Mo.) Gazette.”

The company must have liked the “Billon Bubble” phrase because it wasn’t long before they were lumping the entire menu of Vess beverages under that phrase.

And…Orange Whistle had not been forgotten, as evidenced by this February 13, 1941 “St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times” advertisement that touted its “modern-styled BIG 12-ounce bottle.”

In late 1946 the company became one of, if not the first, to market a caffeine free soda. The December 10, 1946 edition of the St. Louis “Star and Times” announced it like this:

NO CAFFEIN IN NEW VESS COLA DRINK

A “First” has just been achieved by Vess Cola with the announcement by company officials that they are now featuring an entirely “caffein-free” cola drink. Distribution of the new Vess Cola, with no caffein, has now been completed in this area.

The removal of caffein from Vess Cola adds to the appeal of this popular drink. With all the true cola flavor, sparkle and refreshment quality in, and the caffein out, its the wholesome drink for children as well as adults

A known stimulant, caffein is capable of hindering sleep and of aggravating caffein sensitive nervous systems. Normally over-active children often react to caffein by becoming more jumpy and high-strung. With the caffein out, Vess Cola can be drunk early or late without risk of this over-stimulation.

Vess Cola with no caffein has now been distributed to retail outlets and is available throughout this area. Bottled under license of Vess Beverage Company by Vess Bottling Company,  St. Louis. Mo.

In the late 1940’s ads like this were appearing in several midwest states.

Many ads went on to include this little jingle:

So whether you drink it early or drink it late,

Vess Cola doesn’t over-stimulate.

No wonder mothers say “Yes” to Vess Cola

The favors keen with no caffein,

According to Donald Schneeberger’s 1994 interview, their caffeine-free soda turned out to be an innovation that appeared well before its time.

Caffeine-free drinks got popular in the 1980’s. But in the 1940’s Vess didn’t have enough money to advertise the no-caffeine drink fully. It passed on without a lot of notice – no big deal.

Still headquartered in St. Louis, throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s it appears the company, now called Whistle & Vess Beverages, Inc., continued to utilize the facilities of the former Whistle company.  Then in late 1949 they began construction of a new St Louis facility, a rendering of which was included in the December 25, 1949 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch”

According to the story that accompanied the rendering

Work has started at the southwest corner of Hereford Avenue and Arsenal Street on a new building to house the offices of Whistle & Vess Beverages, Inc. and the company’s locally franchised bottling agency, the Vess Bottling Co.

The parent concern…now has its office in the Arcade Building and the local bottling agency at 2925 Locust Street

At this point, according to another item in the story, the company was once again branching out geographically with “150 franchised bottlers, all located west of Indiana to the Pacific and south to the border.” That being said, the bulk of their newspaper advertising continued to be focused on Missouri and the surrounding states.

Leroy Schneeberger continued to run the business until 1968 when, according to a March 29, 1981 St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, he sold Vess to a conglomerate. In an effort to continue the “truck’ theme, here’s the conglomerate’s 1970’s version of their delivery truck.

The 1981 St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” feature went on to say that under the conglomerate:

Vess went flat- lost 70 percent of its St. Louis business, 90 percent of its out-of-town trade.

The above statement is bolstered by the fact that in the two years between 1974 and 1975, at least two of their bottling franchises, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Kansas City, Missouri, filed for bankruptcy.

In 1975, Donald Schneeberger, who had been working at Vess with his father until the mid-1960’s when he left to form another bottling/canning operation called Custom Packaging Corp., bought the company back. He promptly published this notice in the December 3rd edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch.”

The younger Schneeberger served as president of Vess from 1975 until 1994.

During his term as president the business apparently made a comeback as evidenced by this item that appeared in a June 27, 1994 “St Lois Post-Dispatch” feature on the company.

In 1975, when he bought the company, it was turning out about 650,000 cases of soft drinks a year. In the last year it has turned out almost 18 million cases and had revenue of $50 million.

By then, according to a June 1, 1994 St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” story the company was still turning out its Orange Whistle along with 13 other sugar-sweetened flavors, eight varieties of diet soda and spring waters.

It was around the same time, in June, 1994, that Schneeberger sold both Vess and the Custom Packing Corporation to the Cott Corp. of Toronto. The June 27th St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” feature went on to say:

In buying Vess for $27 million, Cott gets a 235,000 square-foot plant here in the Westport area, plus a 130,000 square-foot warehouse and the 154,000 square-foot  (Custom Packing) plant in Sikeston.

Donald Schneeberger passed away on December 27, 2019. His St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” obituary stated, in part:

Today his iconic flavors; Whistle Orange, Cream, Grape and Strawberry as well as many others are family favorites to this day.

Here’s an advertisement depicting today’s version of Orange Whistle’s packaging.

At least two St. Louis buildings occupied by the various Whistle/Vess companies over the years remain to this day. One is the Cadillac Building, leased by the Orange Whistle Company in 1918 to house their bottling plant. Located at 2020-22 Locust Street, here’s its present look, courtesy of Google Maps.

The other is the one built in 1949-50 at Hereford Avenue and Arsenal Street to house Vess. Again, here it is courtesy of Google Maps.

The bottle I found is machine made and contains 6-1/2 ounces. In addition to “WHISTLE,” embossed prominently on the shoulder, the words “WHISTLE BOTTLING CO., GLENWOOD LANDING, N.Y.” are embossed in small lettering along the heel of the bottle.

The Glenwood Landing reference almost certainly associates the bottle with the bottling company of a man named George Sessler. Sessler operated a bottling business in Glenwood Landing on Long Island, N.Y.’s north shore from 1907 until sometime in the 1930’s and possibly longer. The 1925 “Beverage Blue Book” specifically identified his business as a “Whistle” franchise.

In addition to his Glenwood Landing plant, Sessler also operated one on Long Island’s south shore in Baldwin, N.Y., as evidenced by this introductory advertisement that appeared in the May 10, 1923 edition of Rockville Centre (L. I.)’s “Long Island News and Owl”

More on George Sessler can be found in another post on this site.

George Sessler

Why Sessler was supplied with syrup from the Whistle Company of Pennsylvania as opposed to New York is unknown.

Our bottle exactly matches the Orange Whistle bottles depicted in advertisements that date from the late teens up through the mid to late 1920’s.

 

Ads like this one found in the May 7, 1931 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” suggest that by the early 1930’s the company had transitioned to a different bottle design.

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John J. Kane, Far Rockaway & Arverne, L. I.

John J. Kane was a bottler in New York’s Far Rockaway during the first two decades of the 1900’s. During much of the same time he was also associated with hotels located in both Far Rockaway and nearby Arverne, Queens.

Kane’s bottling operation was first listed under the heading “Wine, Liquor and Lager Beer,” in the 1904 Trow Business Directory for the Borough of Queens. He was not listed in the 1903 directory, suggesting that the business was established at around that time. Up through 1907 he just bottled beer then, according to an item in the April 15, 1907 edition of the “American Bottler, he expanded his operation to include soda water as well.

John J. Kane, a beer bottler at Far Rockaway, is going to engage in the soda water and siphon trade as well.

Queens directories and New York State liquor tax records always listed the business with a White Street (now Beach 21st Street) address in Far Rockaway; typically  “White Street 200 feet south of Mott.” Likely a saloon as well as a bottling operation, Queens telephone books between 1910 and 1920 described the business as both a “cafe” and bottling establishment.  No longer listed in the early 1920’s, the business was likely a victim of prohibition.

New York State liquor tax records also name Kane’s wife, Minnie, the certificate holder for a Far Rockaway Hotel located at Remson and McNeil (now Redfern and McNeil) from 1911 to 1914.

In addition to his Far Rockaway business endeavors, a 1910 report prepared by the New York State Superintendent of Elections, named Kane as the proprietor of a hotel in nearby Arverne, located at the northwest corner of Bouker Place (now Beach 64th Street) and the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

Back in the day many hotels included a bottling operation so it wouldn’t surprise me if Kane was bottling beer in Arverne as part of his hotel operation there. At the very least, he was certainly supplying that location from Far Rockaway.

It’s possible (but I haven’t been able to confirm) that both the bottling and hotel businesses involved other members of the Kane family besides his wife. A bottle, similar in style to Kane’s, but embossed “Kane Brothers, Far Rockaway,” can be found in the collection of Mike AKA Chinchillaman1 at http://mikesbottleroom.weebly.com (no relation to this web site).

 

In further support of this supposition, liquor tax records for the Arverne hotel list other Kane’s as the certificate holders; namely James P. Kane in 1907 and later, Andrew Kane in 1913 through 1917.

It’s not clear exactly how long the Kane’s continued in the hotel business. Census records in 1920 named John J. Kane’s occupation as the: “Proprietor of Hotel,” but by 1930, census records indicate that he and his wife Minnie, were living in Miami Florida.

I’ve found two identical bottles, each with a blob finish and embossed with both a Far Rockaway and Arverne location. They could date as early as 1903 (when the bottling business began) but likely closer to 1907 (the date of the earliest liquor tax certificate I can find for the Arverne location). Anything much later and I would expect a crown finish.

Kissingen Water, Hanbury Smith

 

The town of Bad Kissingen, located in the heart of Germany, has a reputation for its mineral waters that dates back to the mid-16th century. Over 170 years ago, the 1850 edition of the “Handbook for Travelers in Southern Germany” described Kissingen like this:

Kissingen is a town of about 1,500 inhabitants pleasantly situated on the Franconian Saale. It possesses 3 mineral springs. The Rackoczy and Pandur Brunnen furnish saline and chalybeate waters, which are tonic and aperient without flying to the head; the Rakoczy is used for drinking, the Pandur for baths: they are highly recommended as a remedy for chronic diseases, gout and complaints of the stomach; 40,000 bottles of Rakoczy are exported annually.

Around the same time that the above description was written, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Samuel Smith, who referred to himself by his middle name Hanbury, began to artificially reproduce the water from Kissingen’s Radoczy Spring. He would go on to artificially manufacture a host of other natural spring waters as well including the well known Vichy and Congress waters that, according to his advertisements, were:

Identical with the natural in composition and effects, more effervescent, and less liable to change.

The motivation for Smith’s endeavor was the medicinal properties that these waters were thought to possess. In a paper authored by Smith, published in the January, 1856 edition of the “Cincinnati Medical Observer” he explained:

Whenever a novelty is pressed upon his notice, the Anglo-Saxon instinctively puts the question, “Cui bono?” “What is the use and the value of the thing?” The question I will endeavor to answer in the following lines…

That there is a large series of chronic diseases, and anomalous disordered conditions, best cured by the use of mineral waters, and a similar series often incurable by any other known means is a postulate which will undoubtedly be granted by every practitioner of reputation throughout the whole continent of Europe . That, moreover, in another series of cases, mineral waters efficiently aid ordinary therapeutic measures, and that in a fourth the effects produced by their employment afford a valuable source of diagnosis, will be readily granted. The well established facts, the long catalogue of observations recorded by competent observers, leave no room for dispute or cavil about the truth of these propositions…

An April, 1858 editorial in the Cincinnati Lancet and Observer credited Smith with introducing this thinking, which was prevalent in Europe at the time, into the United States. Written several years after Smith established his business, the Lancet editorial opined:

Carlsbad. Spa – We take pleasure in calling the attention of our readers to the effort which has been persistently made for nearly two years, by Dr. S. Hanbury Smith, to introduce to the notice of the profession and the public the factitious Mineral Waters. We have always thought it strange that an art so important to the development of the therapeutics of chronic diseases, should have so long remained a terra incognita on this side of the Atlantic, awaiting the advent of some adventurous pioneer…

…At the “Carlsbad Spa,” as Dr. Smith has christened his establishment, the waters of the most celebrated springs of Continental Europe are reproduced with wonderful exactness. Many of our physicians have already prescribed them quite extensively, and they are on sale by most respectable apothecaries in this city, especially Kissingen, a water resembling Congress – tonic, alterative, aperient and depurative, but very much stronger.

One of Smith’s early advertisements listed several disorders that his mineral waters were specifically prescribed to address.

So, with that as background, here’s Hanbury Smith’s story which according to his obituary found in the September 15, 1894 edition of the “Brooklyn Citizen,” began “across the pond” in 1810.

He was born in England in 1810 and studied medicine in a London college, from which he graduated in 1831. He continued to study in a college in Stockholm, Sweden, and during the cholera epidemic in 1834 was senior physician of the cholera hospital in that city. He came to America in 1847…

In the United States he settled in the State of Ohio where he remained for the next 13 years. His time there included stays in Columbus, Hamilton and Cincinnati were, among other things he served as editor of the “Ohio Medical and Surgical Journal,” and superintendent of the Ohio State Lunatic Asylum. It was also in Ohio where Smith began to manufacture his artificial mineral waters

According to later advertisements, it was in 1855 that Smith established what he called the “Carlsbad Spa,” in Cincinnati. An introductory story on the business appeared in the July, 1856 edition of the Western Lancet.

CARLSBAD SPA

We deem it an agreeable duty to call the attention of our readers to the establishment which, under this name, Dr. Hanbury Smith has opened at the N. E. corner of Walnut and Seventh Streets, in this city. Here, by ingenious processes, are reproduced in the laboratory exact imitations of the more active and valuable medicinal mineral waters of the known world; and thus an opportunity is afforded to the large class of sufferers in whose cases mineral waters are especially indicated, to avail themselves of them at comparatively very small cost of money, time or labor, – and to the physicians of the country to make themselves practically acquainted with a series of remedies heretofore out of their reach.

The story went on to present the spa’s varied menu of mineral waters.

The waters are drank at the Spa, as a rule, early in the morning, say between five o’clock and eight, directly out of the apparatus in which they are prepared and preserved. Among those to be procured are Carlsbad, Eurs, Marienbad, Pyrmont, Vichy, Ergs, Spa, Kissingen, Heilbrunn, Hombourg, Fachingen, Geilnau, Selters, Seydschutz, Pullna, etc. Some of these are purgative, others deobstruent, some tonic, others alterative; and yet others are possessed of two, three or more of these properties in a large series of varied combinations, thus affording advantages of choice and change unknown at any one watering place, and an inexhaustible store of therapeutic resources.

This initial story did not mention bottling so it’s not clear if Smith bottled his waters from the start. That being said, by the following year he was certainly bottling and distributing Kissingen Water locally, as evidenced by this August 16, 1857 advertisement in the Cincinnati Enquirer that listed several Cincinnati drugstores and one, across the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky, where Hanbury Smith’s “Kissingen Water” was available.

Sometime in the late 1850’s the business moved from their original 7th Street location to the Burnet House on Third Street where they were listed in the 1858 Cincinnati directory. In late 1858 an item in the October edition of the Lancet announced that they moved again, this time to 128 West Fourth Street.

Dr. Hanbury Smith. – The Carlsbad Spa of Dr. Smith is removed from the Burnet House basement, on Third Street to rooms in Neaves’ building, corner 4th and Race. This is quite an improvement, giving our friend, Dr. Smith, the advantages of a much better location, and more pleasant rooms.

An advertisement featuring this new location appeared in the 1860 edition of Cincinnati’s city directory.

These physical moves implemented over a short period of time were likely necessitated by the growth in popularity of both their spa and bottling business; a fact made clear in the April, 1858 Lancet editorial.

We are agreeably surprised to learn that the quantity consumed last year, partly in bottles, and partly direct from the fountains, considerably exceeded 30,000 pints.

The editorial then went on to say:

This seems a large quantity, but at the low rate at which it is sold, and in view of the very heavy expense attending the enterprise a much larger consumption will be required to prove remunerative. Fifty thousand bottles per annum is a common sale at quite insignificant European establishments , exclusive of the quantity drank out of the apparatus, and we should not be so sorry to learn that the “Carlsbad Spa” rivals these already the coming year.

Sometime in 1859 the growth and economic realities mentioned in the editorial forced Smith to establish an operation in New York City. He apparently left Cincinnati’s “Carlsbad Spa” in the charge of a man named  Alex M. Berger; a fact confirmed in this May 11, 1860 item found in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Who actually owned the Cincinnati spa at this point is unclear, however, what  is clear is that Berger continued to advertise the Hanbury Smith mineral waters up through the end of the decade, as evidenced by this September 18, 1869 Cincinnati Enquirer advertisement.

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Meanwhile, Smith was up and running in New York City in the summer of 1859; a fact confirmed in this August, 1859 announcement published in the “New York Monthly Review and Buffalo Medical Journal.”

The Spa. – Under this name, Dr. S. Hanbury Smith has established at 833 Broadway, near 13th Street, fountains of artificial mineral waters, several of the most valuable of the German springs being reproduced as regards chemical composition and temperature. Four springs, models of different classes, have been selected by Dr. Smith, and the waters exactly imitated. They are, first, the Carlsbad Spring, which is hot and alkaline, the sulphate of soda being the largest medicinal ingredient; second, the Manerbad, which is cold, and resembles closely, in other respects the Carlsbad; third, the Kissingen, in which the muriate of soda is the most prominent ingredient, resembling in this respect, the Saratoga waters; and fourth, the Pyrmont, a chalybeate spring.

Advertisements in the medical journals soon followed.

Not long after Smith had settled at 833 Broadway, he opened what he called a “Branch Spa” in Caswell, Mack & Co.’s Drug Store located in the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

At the time, the hotel was located on Broadway between 23rd and 24th Streets.

Not long at 833 Broadway, sometime in 1862 Smith moved his primary location to 808 Broadway where it remained listed through 1866.

A description of 808 Broadway, included in an 1860’s “tourist” publication called “American Travel,” revealed that it was as much a “destination” as it was a manufacturing facility.

To the citizens of New York, not less than to those visiting it during the spring and early summer months, mineral waters and baths have become a necessity. Dr. Hanbury Smith’s famous mineral water establishment, “The Spa,” is pleasantly and centrally located at 808 Broadway, near its intersection with Eleventh Street. Its health-giving waters, agreeable shade, and proximity to other objects of interest, combine to make it one of the pleasantest lounging-places of the metropolis.

During this time, Smith continued to operate branch locations as well. The 1867 N. Y. C. directory listed two; one at 32 Pine Street and the other at 83 Wall Street. Smith’s waters were also available, on draught or in bottles, at local drug stores around town. A May 9, 1865 Brooklyn Daily Eagle item highlighted a Williamsburg, Brooklyn drug store named Jenson’s as one such location.

By the late 1860’s and early 1870’s, its apparent that Smith’s distribution network had grown well beyond the New York metropolitan area with mention of his mineral waters now appearing in drug store advertisements  of other major U. S. cities including Baltimore, Md., Washington D. C., Hartford Conn., Richmond Va., and even New Orleans, La.

In May, 1868 an item in the New York Medical Journal announced the business had moved again, this time to 35 Union Square.

Not long after he moved, Smith partnered with William S. Hazard changing the company name to Hanbury Smith & Hazard. The name change was reflected in both N. Y. C.’s 1870 directory and this early 1870’s advertisement that appeared in the The Pharmacist and Chemical Record.

The business operated as Hanbury Smith & Hazard for 15 years adding a second location at 309 Broadway in the early 1870’s and a third at 39 West 4th Street in 1882. It was during this time, they introduced the manufacture of their “granular effervescing salts to compliment the mineral water business. An advertisement announcing this addition appeared in the 1877 Vermont Medical Register.

Sometime in 1883 or 1884, the partnership with Hazard was apparently dissolved and the business was once again listed in the directories as simply Hanbury Smith. With Smith in his 80’s, the business was last listed in 1892 with only one address; 39 West 4th Street. At that point, Smith was living in Brooklyn, where he passed away in September, 1894.

The history of the business during the rest of the 1890’s is sketchy. According to a classified item appearing in the January 26, 1899 edition of The (New York) Sun, a man named John Morgan claimed to have acquired the rights to Smith’s formulas.

Then, less than two years later, in 1901, Moody’s reported that Hanbury Smith was one of several firms consolidated under the name John Matthews, Inc. The Mathews business was a long established soda water operation that dated back to 1832.

The consolidation was likely the end of “Hanbury Smith” as a company name but not as a brand name. Hanbury Smith’s mineral salts appear in a Fuller & Fuller Co. price list as late as 1906/1907. Both Matthews Inc. and John Morgan were still in business at that time but who actually had rights to the brand at that point is not clear, at least to me.

The subject bottle is mouth blown with a crudely applied finish. It’s embossed with both the “Hanbury Smith” name and the words “Kissingen Water.” It’s doesn’t have a pontil mark so I suspect it dates from the late 1860’s to the mid 1880’s, likely from the Hanbury Smith & Hazard era. (I’ve never seen an example that included the Hazard name in the embossing, so that’s no help.)

Typically supplied in two bottle sizes; half-pint and pint….

…this is certainly the half-pint size.

In addition to “Kissingen Water,” recent examples of Smith’s bottles, similar in shape and size, that are  are embossed “Vichy Water” and the generic “Mineral Water,” have recently appeared for sale on the internet.

 

Finally, if I’m to believe this advertisement found in the August, 1868 edition of the Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette, he also sold “Soda Water in a “torpedo” shaped bottle.

 

 

 

Marshall & Co., 1866

Although there’s no location embossed on the bottle, I’m quite sure Marshall & Co. was a short-lived New York City soda water manufacturer. In fact, the year 1866 embossed on the bottle could be the only year that the business was in existence.

There are only two directory listings that I can find for the business. The first was found in the 1866/1867 N.Y.C. Copartnership and Corporation Directory; the other in the 1867 New York State Business Directory (likely compiled in 1866). Both listings include the same address in lower Manhattan, 182 Thompson Street.

In further support of this supposition, the only advertisements I’ve been able to find for the business were all published in the New York City newspapers during July, 1866. One ad, found in the July 20, 1866 edition of the New York Daily Herald, was a collection of three adjacent items, each touting their Sarsaparilla as well as something called Mingo Beer.

Another, published in the July 12, 1866 edition of the Herald, identified hotels, saloons, fruit stores and the family trade as their targeted market.

Similar July, 1866 advertisements also appeared in the New York Times and New York Tribune.

The subject bottle is a pony with an applied blob finish that almost certainly dates to 1866.