Gowdy’s Medicated Beer, Manufactured 10 Ormond Place, Trademark L&S (Smith & Layton)

 

The L&S trademark embossed on the bottle represents the Brooklyn, N.Y. business of James E. Smith and Elbert (sometimes Albert) Layton. The roots of the business date back to 1875 when Smith was listed individually in the Brooklyn City Directory at 10 Ormond Place with the occupation of “root beer.”

Layton apparently joined Smith in business sometime in the early 1880’s and the partnership of Smith & Layton was first listed at the Ormond Place address in 1883. It remained listed in the Brooklyn directories up through 1911, always with the 10 Ormond Place address.

Their bottling notice was published in several February and March, 1889 editions of the Brooklyn Citizen.

The letters “L&S,” trademarked on July 24, 1890, and the pictorial representation of a five-pointed star highlighted in the notice are clearly visible, embossed on the subject bottle.

An August 7, 1892 story in the Brooklyn Citizen featured the business and their products.

It is often a question of a great many people during very warm weather such as we have been experiencing during the past two weeks, what it is best to drink…

While he is making his examination it would be well for him to remember that there is nothing more refreshing than a drink that is impregnated with carbonic acid gas. At the same time such a drink is quite healthful, and provided the flavoring extracts are not injurious, there is no reason why a carbonated beverage should not be the one chosen by the seeker after healthful, and at the same time refreshing drinks. Among the manufacturers of these carbonated beverages is the firm of Smith and Layton, whose establishment is at No. 10 Ormond Place. They have established a reputation that is more than local, because of the delightful flavor of the goods they turn out, and above all, because of the purity of the flavoring extracts with which they impart the palatable flavor that has helped to make their goods so popular. Then the water used by this firm is all filtered and distilled, and thereby is freed from the possibility of its being impure from organic matter or microbes. They manufacture lemon soda, ginger ale, sarsaparilla, root beer, and have recently placed a new drink on the market which they call Neopolitan cream.

Later that decade, a company advertisement in the February 13, 1898 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that their mineral waters had won an award at Brooklyn’s annual Food Show.

As early as the late 1880’s the company’s territory had expanded beyond Brooklyn, reaching east to parts of Long Island as evidenced by their inclusion in this July 1, 1889 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement for the Northport (Suffolk County) business of Green & Wheeler.

While the company could certainly have served as the bottler for a brewery (PABST was making a medicated beer in the 1890’s), there’s no mention that I can find for a Gowdy’s brewery. That, coupled with the fact that the business was always listed in the directories as a manufacturer of mineral water and soda, leads me to believe that their medicated beer was actually a root beer. A description of root beers in a July 2, 1875 Brooklyn Union Times Story seems to bear this out, referencing medicated beer as a class of root beer.

Of root beers there is an endless variety of names, but they are much the same in composition. Birch beer, spruce beer, root beer, Ottawa beer, medicated beer, Green Mountain beer, Otaki beer, Madoc beer, and scores of others are of about the same taste, chiefly compounded of essential oils of sarsaparilla, sassafras, birch, dandelion, dock, wintergreen and other healthful botanical substances. They are ready for use in a few days after brewing, as yeast which is the “working” principle operates very speedily upon the whole mass. Molasses and sugar are used for sweetening , and the compounds are either manufactured in the shops where they are sold, or exported from the factories in store bottles and kegs, and placed on draught. Root beers are generally healthful, but should, like all fermented drinks, be used moderately as they are liable to exercise a purgative influence.

Whether the name Gowdy’s was their brand or the brand of another business that they manufactured and bottled for is unclear.

The Smith & Layton business dissolved in July, 1911. The Dissolution Notice, published in the July 25, 1911 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle indicated that neither original partner was still associated with the business at that time.

As fas as I can tell, Wilson Smith was the younger brother of James E. Smith and William Marquart was a grocer whose store was listed within several blocks of Smith & Layton at 1165 Fulton Street.

Note: Elbert Layton was no longer listed in the Brooklyn directories by 1907 so its possible he retired, moved or passed away around that time with his place in the firm being taken by local businessman Marquart. Smith was still listed individually in 1910 but not in 1914 so his younger brother may have inherited the business in 1911 with no interest in continuing it. (All conjecture on my part.)

Ormond Place, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, was later renamed Claver Place. According to street easy.com, the current building at 10 Claver Place was built in 1930 so it doesn’t date back to the days of Smith & Layton.

The bottle I found is approximately 27 oz. with a tooled blob finish. It fits the time frame from 1890 (registration date embossed on the bottle) to 1911 (dissolution of the business).

 

Bay Shore Bottling Co., Bay Shore, L. I., N. Y.

This advertisement published in  several editions of Babylon’s South Side Signal between August and November, 1896 identified the Bayshore Bottling Company as a carbonated water manufacturer that produced mineral water, as well as soda, sarsaparilla, ginger ale and root beer.

They also bottled beer as evidenced by this July 7, 1907 advertisement published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that listed the company as a local bottler for Brooklyn’s S. Liebmann Sons brewery (3rd on the list).

A story published in the April 20, 1978 edition of the Islip Town Bulletin identified the proprietor as Lou Smith and listed the company’s location as the “northeast corner of Union Blvd and Fourth Avenue.” The story went on to describe the end of the business.

Lou Smith grew old, as we all do, and when his sons expressed no desire to continue the business, he sold it to Charles Mecklenberg along with the boarding house which went with the property. The year was 1919…

Upon purchasing the Bottling Plant a gas station was erected and a regular oil and kerosene depot emerged.

The story mentioned a boarding house associated with the property. Census records listed Lewis (sometimes Larvis, sometimes Louis) Smith’s  occupation as “hotel proprietor” in both 1900 and 1910. That being said, it’s almost certain that the hotel and bottling operations were connected (which was common back then) and operational from at least the mid 1890’s to 1919.

1870 Census records listed Lewis Smith’s mother, Caroline, with the occupation “selling liquors,” so it’s possible that the roots of the business date back much earlier than the 189o’s.

Courtesy of Google Earth, its evident that today the northeast corner of Union Boulevard and Fourth Avenue remains an operational gas station.

The bottle I found is the Hutchinson style with a tombstone slug plate that fits a late 1800’s to early 1900’s time frame.

Thanks to Howie Crawford, President of the Long Island Antique Bottle Association, for pointing me in the direction of the 1978 Islip Town Bulletin story.

Union Bottling Co., 240 & 242 East 20th St., New York

The Union Bottling Company story starts with Isaac A. Moran who, according to 1860 census records, operated a “public house” in Manhattan where he’s listed in the NYC directories as early as 1845 at East 17th St., corner of Third Avenue.

In 1868, he partnered with his brother Marcius (sometimes Marcus) and they established a soda/mineral water manufacturing and bottling business at 83 Third Avenue (later 91 Third Avenue) under the name Isaac A. Moran & Brother.

Sometime in 1873 they changed the name of the business to the Union Bottling Company and, around the same time, established factories at 240 East 20th Street and 119 East 124th Street. According to this item published in the August 1, 1875 edition of the Daily Herald, at the time the company bottled soda water, ginger ale and cider, as well as beer and ales.

Up through 1888 Marcius and Isaac Moran served as president and secretary of the company respectively, then in 1889 a second company was established with the Moran Brothers associated with both.

The Union Bottling Company continued to be listed in the 1890 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with Peter P. Krummeich now named as president and Marcius Moran, secretary. The company address was solely listed at the 240 East 20th Street location.

The new company, called the Moran Bottling Company, was listed at the 119 East 124th Street address with Issac A. Moran named as president. Initial directors of the company included New York City brewers William and Phillip Ebling, so its possible that the business had been established to serve as a bottler for the Ebling brewery but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

The Moran’s remained associated with both companies until 1894 when they apparently retired. According to an item published in the September 15, 1896 edition of the New York Times, on January 1, 1894 Krummeich partnered with Lorenz Geuken, and bought the Union Bottling Company plant and continued the business as a copartnership. Around the same time, they moved the company to 517 West 25th Street.

Within three years, the business, likely financed by a relative of Geuken’s, was in financial trouble. The New York Times item went on to say:

Lorenz Geulen and Peter P.Krummeich, doing business as the Union Bottling Company, bottlers of beer and beverages at 513 to 519 West Twenty-fifth Street, made an assignment yesterday to James Graham, giving a preference to Cornelia Geuken of Rotterdam Holland, for borrowed money…

They have suffered from hard times and the Raines law, and collections have been very slow. Their liabilities are said to be about $40,000 and nominal assets $54,000, a large part of which consists of the plant.

The Union Bottling Company was still listed in the 1901 Copartnership and Corporation Directory with Lorenz Geuken now named as the sole proprietor, so the business survived its financial difficulties, losing Krummeich along the way.

The next year a New York Corporation named the Manhattan Union Bottling Company, capital $15,000,  was listed at the 517 West 25th Street address with Charles A. Miller and Charles W. Hagemann, named as president and secretary, respectively. Gueken was no longer mentioned. Short-lived, the corporation was no longer listed in the 1906 directory.

The Moran Bottling Company continued to be listed at 119 East 124th Street up through 1904 with several different proprietors including James A. McKain (1901), Charles Polansky (1902) and Julius Goldberg (1903). The last listing I can find for the company was in 1906, with an address of 502 East 118th Street.

The bottle I found is mouth blown. Oddly, it’s not exactly a hutchinson or a pony, but shaped more like a can with abrupt shoulders and a blob finish. It’s embossed with the 240 & 242 East 20th Street address which dates it no later than 1894 when the Union Bottling Company moved to West 25th Street.

 

Henry N. Clark, Southampton, L. I.

Henry N. Clark ran a bottling business and later a grocery store in Southampton, Long Island around the turn of the century.

Born in Connecticut, upon moving across the Sound to Long Island he first lived in nearby Bridgehampton where, according to his obituary, he operated a plumbing business. His move to nearby Southampton was announced in a September 30, 1896 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Henry C. Clark has bought the property and bottling works of Harvey C. Halsey at Southampton and will shortly locate in that village.

That following summer, he was certainly up and running as evidenced by this advertisement published in the July 8, 1897 edition of Southampton’s  Sea-Side Times.

A May 5, 1898 story in the Sea-Side Times, described the business as being entirely focused on non-alcoholic beverages.

Every few weeks he introduces a new specialty which usually hits the mark and has a good run. The latest he has introduced is champagne cider, a delightfully refreshing drink, which notwithstanding its suspicious name is a thoroughly temperance drink, containing neither champagne nor cider nor any trace of alcohol. In fact all Mr. Clark’s beverages are temperance drinks.

It appears that it wasn’t long before Clark was well established in Southampton.The May 5, 1898 story mentioned that in addition to many small scale customers Clark had contracts to furnish all the soft drinks for the Golf Club as well as several nearby hotels. It went on to say that the business was in the process of expanding.

Mr. Henry N. Clark, manufacturer of carbonated beverages is building a large addition to his bottling works. The addition is 44×14 feet extending from the original building almost to the Main Street front, more than trebling his former space.

The enlargement of his quarters is made necessary by his rapidly increasing business. He is to be joined by his brother Mr. Orrin A. Clark, now of Amagansett, as a partner in business, on June 1.

Two new bottling machines have been added to the outfit which will give a capacity of many hundreds of bottles per day. The new machines use the crown seal, a new device for sealing bottles which is far superior to any of the older methods.

After these improvements are complete Mr. Clark will have one of the largest bottling works in the county.

In March, 1901 Clark bought a bicycle business, also in Southampton. The purchase was reported in the March 8, 1901 edition of the Sea-Side Times.

Grundy & Co. have sold their bicycle business to Henry N. Clark. It is said that Mr. Clark will form a partnership with Merton L. Packard, who recently bought Grundy & Co.’s repair department.

That summer Clark apparently maintained both businesses as evidenced by these two August 1901 advertisements from the Sea-Side Times. The advertisements, one for the bicycle business and the other for the bottling business appeared in the August 1 and August 8 editions of the  Sea-Side Times respectively.

   

Sometime in late 1901 or early 1902 Clark apparently sold the bottling business to James Allen Smith whose advertisements began appearing in the Sea-Side Times in April of 1902. The advertisements specifically mentioned that they were “Successors to Henry N. Clark.”

By 1904 Smith was advertising the business as the Southampton Bottling Works.

Recently a bottle from that era (with a crown finish) embossed “Southhampton Bottling Works” that included the embossed name of “James Allen Smith” recently appeared for sale on the internet.

   

Meanwhile Clark continued advertising his bicycle business until 1904 when a March 26 item in The (Sag Harbor) Corrector announced that he was back in the bottling business albeit in Mystic Connecticut.

Henry N Clark, the Southampton bottler, has purchased a bottling business in Mystic, Conn. He will move to that place about April 1.

Its not clear if he actually established the Mystic Connecticut business because, as reported in the October 26, 1905 edition of the Sea-Side Times,  within a year and a half Clark was back living on Long Island.

Mr. Henry N. Clark and family returned to this village last week from Mystic Conn., where he has been for the last year and is at his house on North Main Street where he expects to reside hereafter.

Subsequently the April 11, 1907 edition of the Sea-Side Times announced that Clark had purchased a local grocery business.

Mr. Henry Clark has bought the stock of goods which Mr. William Henry had in his store on North Main Street and will continue the grocery business at the old stand.

Advertisements for his grocery store ran in the Sea-Side Times from April, 1907 through December, 1908. The advertisements specifically mentioned soda water so it’s likely that he was manufacturing and bottling it as part of  grocery business.

   

Advertisements for the grocery store disappear from the local newspapers in December of 1908, and around the same time a November 19, 1908 news item in the Sea-Side Times announced that Clark was going to spend the winter in Florida.

Mr. Henry Clark has decided to go to Florida for the winter. He will leave here within a few weeks and go to Lake Wier, near Sanford, where many Long Island and New England people are located, and if he finds a favorable opportunity he expects to purchase a tract of land there with a view to spending future winters in the south hoping that his health will be benefitted by the change..

Over the next several years local newspaper items indicated that Clark spent the winter months in Florida, however, he continued to list his occupation as “proprietor – grocery store” in 1910 census records. Based on this it’s not clear how long the grocery remained active under his ownership.

He ultimately moved to Florida full time and passed away there on September 3, 1923. His obituary was published in the September 6, 1923 edition of the Southampton Press.

The bottle I found is a Hutchinson soda. Based on the May 5, 1898 newspaper story quoted above he was converting to crown finish bottles at that time so the bottle likely dates back to the first year or so of the business in late 1896 or 1897.

In closing….a little bit of American History.

The following news item regarding Henry Clark’s nephew, Orrin (I’ve also seen it spelled Orin and Oren) Clark’s son –  appeared in the July 23, 1909 edition of the (Sayville L. I.) Suffolk County News.

President Taft has appointed Walter Eli Clark, son of Orin A. Clark, formerly of Bridgehampton and Amagansett, and a nephew of Henry N. Clark of Southampton, to be governor of the territory of Alaska. Mr Clark was born in Ashford, Conn. in 1869.

In fact, he was the First governor of the Alaskan territory.

R. Robinson, 402 Atlantic Av., Brooklyn, N.Y., Patent

Robert Robinson was born in Yorkshire, England in 1821 and arrived in the United States in 1841. His obituary, printed in the August 5, 1890 edition of the New York Sun stated that he:

established what was probably the first manufactory of bottled mineral water in America.

Another obituary, this one in the August 4, 1890 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, mentioned that upon arriving in this country he spent several years in Philadelphia before moving north to New York. McElroy’s City Directory of Philadelphia listed a Robert Robinson as a tavern owner (Maiden near Stone Bridge and later 233 S 6th St.) from 1841 to 1846. While I can’t confirm that this was in fact our Robert Robinson, the timing is certainly correct.

He’s first listed in New York City’s Borough of Manhattan in 1849 with an address of 7 Elm St. (now Lafayette St.) and the occupation “mineral waters.” By 1851 the business had moved to 376 Bowery where it remained through the mid-1860’s. A March 22, 1862 advertisement in the New York Times makes it clear that by then, in addition to his mineral water, Robinson was also selling bottles of both Champagne Cider and Crab-Apple Cider.

In early 1865 Robinson apparently shut down his Manhattan operation and sold its entire contents at auction on March 16th. The auction notice was printed in the February 25, 1865 edition of the New York Daily Herald.

The sale included “1500 gross (over 200,000!) of mineral water bottles, most of them with Putnam’s patent wire fasteners on.” One of the survivors of this lot was recently offered for sale on the Internet.

            

Soon after Robinson was up and running again. Now located in Brooklyn, his business was listed between  1867 and 1871 at 402-404 Atlantic Avenue and later, between 1873 and 1886, at 432-434 Atlantic Avenue.

On August 13, 1878, he filed an application to trademark what he called in his application, “the fanciful word ‘Queer'” in connection with his temperance beer.

Less than a year later, a May 29, 1879 Brooklyn Daily Eagle item advertised “Queer” with this little jingle:

According to his Brooklyn Daily Eagle obituary Robinson discontinued the business and retired  to private life sometime around 1885.

The bottle I found is small, maybe six ounces, and mouth blown with an applied blob finish. Embossing that includes the 402 Atlantic Avenue address likely dates it to the period between 1867 and 1871 when the company listed that address in the Brooklyn directories.

On a final note, Robinson’s obituaries also note that he holds a place in the early sporting history of both Brooklyn and the Nation.

Mr. Robinson may be called the father of pigeon shooting in America and was known as such throughout this country. He was a peculiar example of the English sportsman. His gun and dog were his boon companions, and he shot snipe from northern New York all the way south to New Orleans, and west, through Ohio and other states to Iowa. Snipe was his hobby, but when snipe could not be had he shot pigeons. He originated the rules of pigeon shooting in this country and organized the first shooting club in this country – the old Long Island Club – which after forty years’ successful existence, was dissolved last year.

He was also involved in horse racing, serving, for a time, as president of the Brighton Beach Racing Association.

 

Albert D. Buschman, Coney Island, N.Y.

     

Albert D. Buschman was a German immigrant, who between the late 1880’s and early 1900’s was an influential business owner in Brooklyn, New York. His profile, included in a volume called “A History of Long Island from It’s Earliest Settlement to Modern Times,” published in 1902, called him a “shrewd, far-sighted business man who:

became convinced of the future development of Coney Island, and in 1890 invested largely in real estate, which property has made him one of the wealthiest men on the island.

His business activities, which included, mineral water manufacturer and bottler, brewery owner and hotel proprietor were cut short when according to his September 13, 1927 obituary in the (Brooklyn) Times Union:

In 1903 he suffered a paralytic stroke. Although unable to walk, his mental facilities remained unclouded, and he continued to conduct his business until he retired in 1908 and to advise his sons almost up to the time of his death. Bushman’s Walk, near Steeplechase, was named in his honor.

Buschman arrived in the United States in 1868, at the age of 10 and according to the History of Long Island between 1881 and 1886 he worked in partnership with Henry Sierichs. During this period, Sierichs was sometimes listed with the occupation of “waters” and other times “bottler” at two Manhattan addresses; 159 Elizabeth Street and 172 Orchard Street. Buschman was typically not listed during this period but did appear in the 1884 directory with the occupation of “bottler” at the Elizabeth Street location. So I suspect it was during this five year period with Sierichs that he got his start manufacturing and bottling mineral water.

In 1885 or 1886 Buschman and Sierichs dissolved their partnership and Buschman established his own business in Coney Island. Bushman’s obituary stated:

About 1885 he moved to a plant at Coney island. Four years later he bought out a large bottling factory.

I can’t find a directory listing for his initial Coney Island operation but the embossing on the back of the bottle I found, “Mineral Water,” and the date “1888,”makes it clear that the business was up and running in Coney Island by that time.

In 1890, the Lain’s Brooklyn and Long Island Business Directory included a Coney Island section that listed A. D. Buschman & Co. at what was presumably their newly purchased bottling factory, located on Surf Avenue (corner of Stillman Avenue). Apparently a partnership, the listing named Albert Buschman, along with Charles Buschman (likely Albert’s brother) and Frederick Von Wiegen as proprietors.

The 1892 edition of Lain’s included an advertisement that mentioned in addition to manufacturing and bottling mineral water, they were also bottling both local and out-of state beers.

A series of 1897 advertisements in a German magazine called “Puck,” identified one of their local clients as a Manhattan brewery called Schmitt & Schwanenfluegel for whom they served as the local Coney Island bottler.

Frederick Von Wiegen passed away sometime in the late 1890’s so by 1903, with Albert incapacitated, it appears that Charles was running the operation. Around that time, Frederick’s wife, Frieda, put the Von Wiegen share of the business up for sale. The announcement printed in the March 21, 1903 edition of the New York Times under the heading “Business Opportunities” provided a concise description of the company at the time, specifically mentioning that in addition to bottling mineral water and beer, they were also “wholesale dealers in wines, liquors and cigars.”

Around that time (actually 1888), a Report of the New York State Factory Inspector indicated that A. D. Buschman & Co. had 28 employees.

As far as I can tell, Frieda Von Wiegen never sold her share of the business. Charles Buschman was listed with the company until 1908 at which time it appears that Frieda’s son, also named Frederick W. Von Wiegen assumed control of the company. This August 28, 1908 advertisement in the Brooklyn Standard Union named him and Chas. W. Fehleisen as proprietors of the company, now called F. W. Von Wiegen & Co.

The business continued under that name for several years, but by 1913/1914 the Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens indicated that the business had dissolved.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with an applied blob finish. In my mind the embossed date of 1888 on the bottle could mean one of two things. It could be the actual manufacture date of the bottle or, more likely, it could be the year Buschman established his large factory on Surf Avenue. This would put the manufacture date between 1888 and the 1908 name change to F. W. Von Wiegen & Co.

In addition to his mineral water business, for a time Buschman served as president of a corporation that owned the Apfel Klueg Golden Rod Brewery in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. It’s not clear exactly when Buschman acquired the brewery but newspaper articles in 1901 indicate that he was certainly the owner by then. A story in the May 25, 1927 edition of a Brooklyn publication called “Home Talk and Item Historical and Real Estate Review” mentioned that the brewery was demolished in 1907, which was about the time of Buschman’s retirement.

Although the story generally addresses a time period prior to Buschman’s involvement with the brewery, it provides an interesting description of the brewery and its place in history so I’ve included it here.

FIRST MOVIES HERE

A favorite gathering place for South Brooklyn people 30 years ago, was the Golden Horn Brewery on Third Avenue, between Ninety-fifth and Ninety-sixth Sts., owned and conducted by Adolph Texter. It was there that many banquets and other social events were held and where nightly one could enjoy excellent band concerts given by musicians from both the Hamburg-American and North German Lloyd steamers in port and prominent vaudeville and concert artists.

It was at the Golden Horn Brewery that first experiments with a motion picture machine were made. An inventor, named Thomas Kelly, who has many patents on motion picture machines and who has an office on Fourteenth Street, New York, set up his new discovery at that place in the summer of 1897. The event was widely advertised and the curious filled the large ballroom of the brewery. A large screen was spread across the stage and the experiment began. Of course, figures moved, but so rapidly and blurred that it was impossible to distinguish any object. And your eyes! Well, after looking for a few minutes, one was unable to see correctly for some time. However, Mr. Thomas Kelly kept improving on his invention, and in a few weeks after the first experiment, again had a motion picture machine that was considered marvelous in those days, for the objects were distinguishable and didn’t affect the eyes. The brewery was demolished in 1907.

 

 

Buffalo Lithia Water

 

The story of Buffalo Lithia Water is centered around a mineral water spring  located in Mecklenberg County, Virginia.

The very beginning of the story, as remembered years later by a long time local area resident, was included in a feature on the spring and the resort that grew up around it published in the August 23, 1874 edition of the Norfolk Virginian.

We have just learned from an old man living near here, who is about seventy-five years old, all about this now famous place, as it was when he was a boy. The valley in which the spring is was a black marsh, having a strong odor of gunpowder, and looked very much like it, and the Spring was known as “Gunpowder Spring.” It was a favorite resort on Sundays for all the Sabbath-breakers of the neighborhood, who congregated here to fight, play cards, etc. A few years after, the farmers who lived some little distance off, appreciating the valuable water, and not living near enough to visit it as often as they wished, commenced to build them cottages around here, and spend most of the summer here. A gentleman by the name of Speed built the first Hotel, and the place was known as “SPEED’S HEALING SPRING.”

Joseph F. Speed announced the establishment of his hotel, formally referred to as “Buffalo Springs” (sometimes “Buffaloe” in the early years),  in an advertisement dated May 24, 1816. The ad which ran in the June 7, and June 14, 1816 editions of the (Raleigh) North Carolina Star, referred to the hotel as “a house of entertainment,” but primarily focused on the supposed healing properties of the spring’s water.

Buffaloe Mineral Springs

The subscriber takes this method of informing the public that he has established A House of Entertainment at the above named springs, for the accommodation of those who may think proper to visit them, either for the benefit of their health, or for pleasure. To those who intend visiting the springs for the benefit of their health, he can say with confidence, that they will find the water efficacious in the cure of intermittent and remittent bilious fevers, acute rheumatism, taints from syphyliptic complaints, glandular obstructions, and is of peculiar efficacy in diseases of the skin and sore eyes. It has been of great service to several who appeared to have hectic, by speedily restoring their strength. Hypocondrical and hysterical cases are much benefitted. In fine’, from the sensible effects of this water upon the intestines, pores and kidneys, it must be useful in very many of those disorders which render life tedious, and man comfortless to his friends.

The announcement certainly appears introductory in nature so it’s likely that the summer of 1816, if not the hotel’s inaugural season, was certainly close to it..

The hotel remained in the Speed family up until the late 1830’s. During this period, annual items announcing the seasonal opening appeared in nearby Virginia and North Carolina newspapers. Based on these announcements, over the years the hotel was leased and run by various individuals. Some were members of Speed’s family but it was predominantly run by a man named David Shelton who, along with Clem R. Kenon, ultimately bought the property sometime in 1840 or 1841. They actually purchased it from John S. Field and Alexander S. Jones who had purchased it from Speed two years earlier in 1839.

An announcement published in the May 11, 1841 edition of the Raleigh (North Carolina) Register identified Shelton and Kenon as the new owners. It’s clear from this announcement that the resort had grown since 1816.

The subscribers (Shelton and Kenon) having become the owners of the property are tending their means of accommodation, and expect, by the opening of the season, to be able to afford comfortable entertainment to two hundred and fifty or three hundred visitors. Their cabins are well furnished, airy and comfortable – their stables good, with a pump of excellent water in the yard. Their bar will be furnished with the best wines and liquors that can be procured, and their table with the best supplies the country will afford. A band of good music will be always in attendance; in fact they intend to spare neither trouble or expense in their efforts to render this establishment a pleasant and fashionable resort for both the healthy and the sick.

Apparently the business continued to grow and prosper under Shelton who, by 1845, listed himself as the sole proprietor. He would remain the resort’s primary owner throughout the 1840’s and 1850’s. During this period his annual advertisements continued to stress the health benefits of the location. This was Shelton’s 1854 sales pitch, printed in the June 24 edition of the Hillsborough (North Carolina) Register.

The prevalence of disease in the middle and southern portions of the United States, during the past winter and spring, admonish the people to look out for some safe summer retreat, where the ills inflicted by winter maladies may be removed, and, at the same time, secure an exemption from the harassing complaints of the hot season of the year. As a locality propitious to this end, I beg leave respectfully to call the attention of the public to my watering place, the Buffalo Mineral Spring, situated in the upper end of Mecklenburg County, Va., several miles west of the town of Clarksville.

The tonic powers of this water, so potent in imparting tone and vigor to the digestive organs, and its diuretic qualities so efficient in purifying and cleansing the blood, renders it a pleasant and useful remedy in a wide range of disease. Its curative powers are more conspicuously manifested in the various forms of dropsy, protracted intermittent fevers, chronic diseases of the skin, functional derangements of the liver, stomach spleen, bowels, and kidneys, and last, though not least, female complaints, and almost every chronic disease of the pelvic organs in both sexes…

Having been the purveyor to the establishment for many years, I can bear testimony to the astonishing effects of the water on the appetite, and the perfect impunity with which quantities of food may be taken, which under other circumstances, would be wholly inadmissible. To meet this exigency, therefore, I can only promise to do my best in the cuisine department, and will pledge myself to the summer voyager to make no charge against him if his appetite or digestion fail him…

DAVID SHELTON, Proprietor

Shelton’s rate schedule permitted a stay by the day, week or month and he was even willing to care for your horse at seventy-five cents a day.

In addition to the resort’s health benefits, it appears you could have a little fun there as well. During Shelton’s tenure the resort added a billiard room, ten pin bowling alleys and in 1857:

For the gratification and amusement of visitors fond of riding out, I’m am preparing and will have completed in due time, a round trotting track upon a fine surface, where they may ride with comfort and safety.

If that wasn’t enough, they organized and hosted social functions, one of which was an annual knight’s jousting tournament held in full costume. The two day affair included the tournament and a “fancy grand ball,” that featured the coronation of a tournament queen by the successful knight, followed the next day by a balloon ascension and a party. Below, is the tournament’s 1855 announcement published in the September 5, edition of the Weekly Raleigh Register.

Based on their annual seasonal announcements, Shelton owned and ran the resort up through at least 1859, but by the early 1860’s he appears to have been slowing down. The June 11, 1862 announcement in the the (Raleigh North Carolina) Weekly Standard no longer named Shelton as the proprietor but instead indicated that the property had been leased to James Williamson who was running the operation that year.

The announcement went on to make this point:

The location is remote from the theatre of war, and yet accessible to travel.

So, surprisingly, it appears that the resort stayed open for at least a period of time during the Civil War.

Shelton ultimately sold the property to T. Paxson in December 1863 and passed away the following June.  Paxson owned and operated the resort up through 1873 at which point he sold a majority interest to Thomas Goode, a former officer in the Confederate army. The sale was announced in the July, 1873 editions of several North Carolina newspapers.

An August 23, 1874 story in the Norfolk Virginian described the accommodations at around the time Goode acquired the property.

The Hotel is a one-story building, containing the ball room, parlor and office – a very admirable arrangement, as no one is so disturbed by the music and dancing. The dining room takes up another spacious building just in rear of the hotel. Scattered all over the grounds and around the edges of the beautiful green, are about 50 cottages, containing some 100 rooms.

It was under Goode that the Buffalo Spring water went from local to global.

Shortly after  Goode obtained the majority interest in the resort area another spring was discovered on the site. Their seasonal announcement opening the resort in 1874 led with the discovery.

BUFFALO SPRINGS MECKLENBURG COUNTY, VA. – RECENT DISCOVERY OF AN ADDITIONAL SPRING, decidedly impregnated with the celebrated “Salts of Lithia.” These springs open for the reception of visitors on the FIRST OF JUNE, 1874.

A June 11, 1874 advertisement in the (Wilmington, North Carolina) Daily Journal described the new discovery like this:

The New Buffalo Spring

Mecklenburg County Va.

The Spring, discovered since the last Summer, is shown by analysis, made by Professor Toury of Baltimore, to contain a HEAVIER PERCENTAGE of the Bicarbonate of Lithia than any other AMERICAN MINERAL WATER. In fact it is the

Only Spring in America

containing Lithia in any substantial quantity. It is the ingredient which has given such celebrity to the “Aix-la-Chapelle,” the Vichy and the Carlsbad waters of the continent of Europe.

By that Fall they were exporting the water beyond the limits of the resort.  This September 26, 1874 advertisement published in the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, makes it clear that by then they were bottling and shipping water from both Spring No.’s 1 and 2 under the “Buffalo Lithia Water” name using the half-gallon size; a unique size they would use throughout their history.

In the Spring of the following year local drug stores in both Raleigh, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia began to include it in their local advertisements. These ads for Meade & Baker, Druggists and Simpson’s Drug Store that appeared in the May 11, 1875 Richmond Dispatch and the April 3, 1875 (Raleigh) Trickett-Weekly Topic respectively, both made mention of Buffalo Lithia Water.

In 1878, Buffalo Lithia Water’s long time trademark of a seated woman wearing a long flowing robe and  holding a pitcher, presumably containing their mineral water, began to appear in advertisements. The earliest ad I could find that included her attendance was published in the June 22, 1878 edition of a publication called the Medical Record.

Around the same time the word “Lithia” began to appear in advertisements for the resort as well, referring to it as”Buffalo Lithia Springs.”

In 1886 Goode gave up management of the Springs, leasing it to a company named the “Virginia Buffalo Lithia Springs Company.” This announcement marking the change appeared in the June 15, 1886 edition of the (Raleigh, North Carolina) Weekly Observer. Their new rates also appeared in several local newspapers.

According to an open letter to the public that was written by Goode and printed in the September 2, 1886 edition of the Richmond Dispatch this new arrangement lasted less than one season.

To the Public:

I have this moment had my attention called to a card in the Dispatch of the 31st ultimo of the “Virginia Buffalo Lithia Springs Company,” referring to a pending difficulty between the company and myself. I do not propose here to make any detailed statement as to the means of that difficulty. Suffice to say that I hold in my possession a letter signed by Charles H. Royce, president of that company, under date of August 20th, in which he virtually acknowledges the insolvency of his company, and states in express terms that he will not be able to pay the rents upon the Buffalo Springs property due September 1st, and also that he is unable to pay an extension of one half the June rents, a note for which matures on the 15th of September, unless I will take from him in payment stocks instead of money, which stocks I deem utterly useless. These acknowledgements of the president of the company, coupled with the fact that he had ordered the accumulation of 10,000 cases of the Buffalo Lihia Water in the offices of the company in New York, induced me to ask the interposition of a court of equity and the appointment of a receiver to take charge of the property.

Thomas F. Goode

This follow-up item in the June 23, 1887 Henderson (North Carolina) Gold Leaf, made it clear that by the following season Buffalo Springs was back in Goode’s hands, although it took a Supreme Court decision to get it done.

By the decision of the United States Supreme Court Col. Thos. F. Goode is again in possession of the noted Buffalo Lithia Springs near Clarksville, Va., and with many improvements in building and furnishing, is prepared to receive a large number of health or pleasure seeking guest. We know from experience, there is no more pleasant place to spend a couple of weeks in August, or earlier.

Legal issues not withstanding, distribution of their litha water increased throughout the decade of the 1880’s, primarily fueled by advertisements jam packed with testamonials from both doctors and supposedly cured patients. By 1882 it was being advertised in New York area newspapers and by the end of the decade advertisements had reached as far west as California.

Around 1890, distribution was aided further by the addition of a railroad depot at the resort itself. Earlier shipments from the Springs required a 13 mile horse and carriage trip to the Scottsville depot on the Richmond Danville Railroad line. The 13 mile journey included a crossing of the Dan River, described in an August 28, 1874 Norfolk Virginian story as being 50 yards wide and 2 to 4 feet deep. The crossing was facilitated by a “flat manned by one oarsman.” Groundings were not unheard of.

Nonetheless, while demand and distribution increased, their bottling operations up through the turn of the century remained relatively primitive. An August 14, 1889 story in the Richmond Dispatch described it like this.

A visit to the packing-house shows two stout negro men hard at work from morning until night, and often until a late hour of the night, filling the bottles and packing them for shipment to all parts of the country. Great care is taken to have the bottles clean and sweet and to pack them so that no loss is had by breakage while en route to their destination.

Ultimately a new modern bottling plant was opened, but not until sometime in 1910. A news story or advertisement, I’m not sure which, that marked it’s opening appeared in late August, 1910 newspapers across the country.

The story/advertisement went on to say, in part:

We beg to announce the completion of a New and UP-TO-DATE plant for handling and bottling the well-known BUFFALO LITHIA SPRINGS WATER in its natural purity and without loss of its health giving properties…

The spring from which these waters flow is chiseled out of solid rock, lined with white tiling, covered with plate glass and the whole surrounded by triple-reinforced cement walls laid in the natural rock. The water is taken from the spring by means of an air tight pump, silver lined and fitted with silver valves, and forced through lines of block tin pipe into glass-lined steel tanks. From these tanks the water is drawn through silver faucets into NEW bottles which have been chemically treated, washed and rinsed with the purest water under high pressure, and sterilized – all in the most thorough manner and with the latest devices and equipment. Even the air which enters the white-walled bottling room is taken from high above the building, filtered and driven out by powerful electric fans, rendering contamination by dust or otherwise, an impossibility.

The Buffalo Lithia Springs Water retains its medicinal properties to a remarkable degree when bottled and for thirty-eight years past this water has been widely prescribed by the medical profession and no remedial agent has received a larger share of medical endorsation of a high order. Most of this endorsation was given to the use of the bottled water, comparatively few of these eminent physicians having used the waters at the Springs.

Goode passed away in 1905 and by 1908 springtime advertisements confirm that the hotel and bottling business were both being conducted under the name “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water Company.” At the same time, the company began calling the water “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water.”

The formation of the company was likely in response to Goode’s death, however, the American Medical Association, in their June 14, 1914 Journal, suggested that the name change from “Buffalo Lithia Water,” to “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water,” was clearly in reaction to the Food and Drug Act of 1906.

One of the best known, because most widely advertised, of the so-valled lithia waters is Buffalo Lithia Water – or what used to be called Buffalo Lithia Water. After the Federal Food and Drug Act came into effect, by which falsification on the label was penalized, the name of Buffalo Lithia Water was changed to Buffalo Lithia Springs Water. The reason for this change was that when Buffalo Lithia Water was subjected to examination by the government chemists it was found to contain so little lithium that the amount present was unweighable – it could be demonstrated only by the spectroscope. It was evidently, therefore, not a litha water in that it did not contain – at least in quantities that could be consumed – an amount of lithium that would give the therapeutic effects of lithium: Possibly the company imagined that by changing the name from “Buffalo Lithia Water” to “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water” it had cleverly evaded the federal law. Their argument was to this effect: The springs from which the water is taken are known as Buffalo Lithia Springs; therefore, it is not a misstatement of facts to call this Buffalo Lithia Springs Water.

In December of 1910, the federal government formally declared the water misbranded and on February 16, 1914, after years of court proceedings the water was ruled mis-branded by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. The ruling was later upheld by the Court of Appeals in December of 1915.

Ultimately this resulted in another name change, this time to the Buffalo Mineral Springs Water Company. Short-lived, the company defaulted and the property was sold at public auction in April of 1920. The (Newport News) Daily Press reported on the sale in their April 10, 1920 edition.

BUFFALO MINERAL SPRINGS SOLD TO RICHMOND CORP.

The Buffalo Mineral Springs Company’s properties in Mecklenburg County, including the hotel, cottages, water bottling plant, and all mineral rights were yesterday sold at public auction to the Prudential Realty Corporation of Richmond, at a figure said to be in excess of $200,000. H. L. Denoon of Richmond, is president of the corporation. Hotel and cottages it is understood, will be operated by the new owners this summer.

Under the new management the resort was now called the Buffalo Lithia Springs Hotel, but their sales pitch stayed pretty much the same stressing the health value of the waters as well as the resort amenities which, by then, included tennis as well as boating and bathing on a ten acre lake. In the late 1920’s they would add a nine hole golf course.

In addition to operating the resort, the company also continued to bottle and distribute the spring water. Updating the trademark, they now called it “Buffalo Mineral Springs Water.”

Some advertisements now referred to it as a delightful table water and words like therapeutic and helpful had replaced the word cure. One 1922 advertisement put it like this:

For a half-century it has been recognized by physicians the world over for its known therapeutic qualities. It is helpful in the treatment of Bladder and Kidney troubles, Nausea, etc. It is an active antacid Diuretic.

Buffalo Mineral Springs Water is one of nature’s gifts to man – a boon to Scientists and a water of known purity for table use.

The resort would assume new ownership again in May, 1930 when it was acquired by a newly formed corporation called the Virginia Buffalo Springs Corporation. The July 25, 1930 edition of The (Danville Va.) Bee reported planned improvements were in the works.

To Improve Springs

The Virginia Buffalo Springs Corporation, a recently organized company, has taken over from a Richmond bank the property known as Buffalo Lithia Springs in Mecklenburg County and plans to develop this well-known resort into a health sanatorium equal to any in the middle Atlantic states. Roger B. Williams, of New York, heads the newly formed corporation.

The optimistic plans for development never materialized and in 1939 the resort and bottling operation were acquired by a local group that included C. Brooke Temple, along with two partners, George and Ellis Penn. According to a July 31, 1939 story in The Bee:

Announcement was made Saturday of the purchase of the famous Buffalo Springs by C. Brooke Temple of Danville for $25,000. Mr. Temple has made no definite plans concerning the operation of the property as a resort or of the bottling and sale of the famous Buffalo Springs water.

While the $25,000 purchase price as compared with the $200,000 purchase price in 1920 tells you all you need to know about the health of the business, it appears that the bottling operation was still viable, at least to some extent. The July 31, 1939 story went on to say:

Despite the fact that Buffalo Springs water has not been consistently or extensively advertised for over a decade large amounts of it have been bottled and shipped to various points throughout the nation. It can be bought in Danville drug stores today.

Temple apparently kept the resort going, at least for a while. The resort’s opening night dance in 1940 was advertised in the June 10 edition of The Bee.

The following year a story in the August 25, 1941 edition of the Bee announcing an antique auction in the ballroom of the Buffalo Springs Hotel mentioned that the hotel was “open to accommodate guests for meals and lodging.” Whether it operated after 1941 is unclear.”

Temple also continued with what appears to be a scaled down version of the  bottling business. According to an October 17, 1939 item in The Bee:

The Buffalo Mineral Springs Company has been granted a charter to bottle and sell mineral water, by the State Corporation Commission at Richmond. The sum of $30,000 is set at maximum capital for this springs recently purchased by C Brooke Temple of Danville.

At around the same time, this October 9, 1939 advertisement in The Bee promised to soon deliver his water locally in five gallon containers.

He delivered on that promise and between 1940 and 1945 it was advertised locally in the larger bottle. The advertisement below was printed in the June 30, 1943 edition of The Bee.

Now simply called Buffalo Mineral Water, as late as 1943 it was still running afoul of the federal food and drug laws. On December 11, 1943 a judgement of condemnation was ordered against one of their shipments. According to the notice of judgement:

On October 21, 1943 the United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina filed a libel against 37 5-gallon bottles of Buffalo Mineral Water at Wake Forest, N. C., alleging that the article had been shipped on or about June 21, 1943, by the Buffalo Mineral Springs Co., Inc., from Buffalo Springs, Va.; and charging that it was misbranded.

Examination disclosed that the article was a lightly mineralized water.

The article was alleged to be misbranded because of false and misleading statements appearing in the leaflet entitled “Perhaps…You Might Wish to Know,” which represented and suggested that the article would improve or restore health; and that it was an unexcelled diuretic and would be of great benefit  in the treatment of kidney disorders, diabetes, renal calculi (stone in the bladder), inflammation of the bladder, Bright’s disease, constipation, stomach disorders, indigestion, gastro-intestinal disorders, jaundice, liver disorders, alcoholism, rheumatism, neuritis, arthritis, disorders of the nervous system, influenza, colds, and children’s diseases.

Finally, a May 27, 1944, a story in The Bee announced that Temple had bought out his two partners and had become the sole owner. The story went on to say that by then he had sold most of the resort buildings.

Regarding the bottling portion of the business it said:

Temple proposes, after the war to develop a bottling works there. Spring No. 5 has been found to be suitable for carbonization and this, he says is to be further developed.

In September, 1945, Temple went so far as to advertise for an operating manager for his bottling plant.

As far as I can tell, the Spring No. 5 plans never materialized beyond that point.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown example of their characteristic half-gallon size and includes their embossed “robed sitting lady” trademark. It was likely made around the turn of the century.

Also embossed with the words “Buffalo Lithia Water,” you would think it contained the water from Spring No.2, however, this may not be the case. According to an article in the November 8, 1900 edition of The (Richmond, Va. Times) they were still bottling the water from both Springs No. 1 and 2 at that time.

The article which was focused on the unlawful refilling of their bottles, described how to make the distinction:

Some unscrupulous dealers seeing the opportunity of enriching themselves at the expense of the public, and to the detriment of their customer’s health, have resorted to refilling Buffalo Lithia Water bottles with ordinary water…

It should be borne in mind that Buffalo Lithia Water is sold in half-gallon bottles and no other way, and that water sold from the siphon, or in goblets, or in any other way whatsoever, is not the genuine. Every cork of the genuine Buffalo Lithia Water is branded either Spring No.1 or Spring No. 2 and upon each cork is the seal which bears the trade mark and again the number 1 or 2, according to the Spring from which that bottle has been filled.

In addition to the cork the respective Spring No. was also indicated on the label. A fully labeled bottle that recently appeared for sale on the Internet clearly indicates Spring No. 2 on the label.

How long they continued bottling water from both springs is not clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clicquot Club

 

The Clicquot Club story can also be billed as the story of ginger ale in America.

According to an article in the January, 1928 edition of a publication called the “American Exporter,” when the Clicquot Club business was founded the American market for ginger ale could be divided into two groups. One was the Belfast people, whose products were high grade and high priced, and sold almost exclusively to hotels, clubs, bar-rooms and cafes. The other group consisted of the local “pop-bottlers” who operated in practically every town that the annual circus visited or county fairs were held. Both groups depended on selling to people who were traveling or otherwise on parade.

Cliquot Club, while not neglecting the traveling public, focused their marketing and sales efforts on home consumption and ultimately revolutionized the industry.

According to a recent article in the September 15, 2011 edition of the Boston Globe, the Ciccquot Club story started with a sparkling cider that was produced locally by Charles LaCroix of the LaCroix Fruit Farm. The farm was likely located somewhere on or neighboring the estate of Lansing Millis for whom the town of Millis, Massachusetts was ultimately named.

Sometime in the early 1880’s LaCroix partnered with Lansing Millis’s son, Henry Millis, and began bottling the cider under the name “Aqua Rex Bottling Works.”

The Boston Globe story goes on to say:

In the 1880’s, Henry Millis suggested he call it “Cliquot” after a famous French champagne, Veuve Clicquot.

Local advertisements for Millis’s Oak Grove Farm suggest that the name change to Clicquot may have taken place sometime in 1887. A March 27, 1887 advertisement in the Boston Globe mentioned an item they called “Refined Cider.” By the end of the year, their December 24, 1887 Christmas advertisement called it Clicquot Club Cider.

    

When Henry Millis incorporated several local businesses and utility systems under the “Millis Company” in June, 1891, the Aqua Rex Bottling Works was one of them.  The description of the bottling works included in the Millis Company stock offering, published in the July 11, 1891 edition of the Boston Globe, made it clear that by then the focus of the business had shifted from cider to ginger ale.

The Aqua- Rex Bottling Works who manufactures the well known “Cliquot Club Ginger Ale.” Actual profits for the first 19 days in June were $1,000.

Newspaper advertisements for their ginger ale began appearing at around that time. The first one I could find was printed in the August 1, 1891 edition of the Boston Globe.

In fact, a bottle from this era, embossed “Aqua Rex Bottling Works Millis, Mass” that likely held their ginger ale recently appeared on an internet sale site.

A year later, a June 28, 1892 advertisement in the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant provided evidence that they had quickly added birch beer, orange soda and sarsaparilla to their menu. It also suggested that by then they had started to use a pint bottle, something they would continue to use throughout their history.

By 1894, the Millis Company, as well as Henry Millis’s other financial interests, were in such serious financial trouble that it ultimately resulted in the failure of his businesses and the personal loss of over half a million dollars.

After failure of the Millis Company management and ownership of the bottling business during the 1890’s is unclear. Suffice to say,  Clicquot Club continued to be advertised throughout the decade and the Aqua Rex Bottling Company was still listed in the New England Business Directory and Gazetteer in 1896.  Up to that point the state of the business was best described in a feature published in the April 21, 1921 edition of an advertising publication called “Printers Ink.” It was written by Edward S Price who in 1921 was the manager of Clicquot Club’s advertising.

During its first fifteen years this was an honest, straightforward, but slow growing, small, countryside bottling business; handicapped at times by lack of capital and other annoying troubles due to lack of experience in buying, selling, manufacturing and exploiting.

The now famous Clicquot Club blend was there, however, and by sheer force of its goodness, the business grew. Then came a man who believed in advertising, a man who had the courage of his convictions.

That man was H. Earle Kimball whose father, Horace A. Kimball of Rhode Island, acquired the controlling interest in the business in 1901. He put his son in charge who would then manage the business until his death in 1952.

Shortly after the Kimball’s took control, their 1901 patent applications referred to the business as the Clicquot Club Bottling and Extract Company but soon after the name was shortened to the Clicquot Club Company.

Under Kimball’s management, the Millis plant grew quickly. A March 1906 feature in the “National Magazine” described the early 1900’s plant as three buildings with a floor space of 45,000 square feet.

In 1915, Clicquot Club advertisements in the January and February editions of the American Bottler mentioned that by then the plant had grown to 100,000 square feet and had a capacity of 60,000 bottles per day. The advertisements included this photograph of the plant presumably taken at around that time.

Documenting the company’s continued growth, the October, 1923 edition of the RE-LY-ON Bottler provided this description of an even larger plant.

The plant itself, located about 20 miles from Boston, on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, is situated on a 17 acre tract of land and is housed in fire-proof brick buildings, consisting of the main bottling plant, 200 by 175 feet; four warehouses, from 100 by 180 to 100 by 280 feet; one three story building, 150 by 50 feet; a modern power house, 50 by 70 feet, containing two boilers, two generators and two engines; and the two story office building, containing 5,400 feet of space and given over to the administrative, advertising and clerical forces. Three railroad sidings, with a total trackage of 3,070 feet, make for speedy loading and unloading.

The growth of the business into a national concern under Kimball was in no small way the result of their advertising campaigns. Situated between Providence and Boston they were quite successful in those markets but had fewer dealers elsewhere. Nonetheless in 1907 they began advertising on a national scale. According to the 1921 Printer’s Ink story:

We did our first national advertising in 1907, using a large list of magazines and accepted “waste circulation” – waste circulation on account of our lack of distribution. We bought space in national magazines and considered it a profitable investment for the good it did us where we did have dealer distribution.

Many advertising theorists have contended that one should have distribution first, but it was not so with us. Consumer demand was created in many places where we had no distribution, that is true; but a big consumer demand was created where we did have distribution. Perfectly logically, demand created distribution, and now one may, in normal times, purchase Clicquot Club ginger ale in almost any community from Maine to California.

Our selling scheme was about like this: A salesman was to go to the wholesale grocer and say in effect, “Here is our ginger ale which is good enough and made by a concern big enough to advertise in all the leading national publications.”

This full page advertisement printed in the April, 1908 edition of McLure’s Magazine was surely part of their initial 1907 national advertising campaign.

In May, 1913 their long time “Eskimo Boy” trademark began to appear in newspaper advertisements. One of the first ones I could find was in the  May 23, 1913 edition of the Fitchburg (Mass.) Sentinel. The “Eskimo Boy” would go on to become the nationally recognized symbol of the company.

Their advertising wasn’t just limited to print and 10 years later, the Cliquot Club “Eskimo Boy” found himself on the world’s largest electric advertising sign smack dab in the middle of Times Square, New York. The sign was described in this June 18, 1924 story in the (Binghamton N.Y.) Press and Sun Bulletin, written around the time that the sign was illuminated for the first time.

BROADWAY’S GREATEST SIGN NOW ADVERTISES CLICQUOT CLUB PRODUCT

The largest electric sign in the white light history of Broadway was turned on last week at Times Square. The sign, advertising Clicquot Club ginger ale stretches a full city block and is over 50 feet high. Almost 20 miles of copper wire, tons of wrought iron, sheet metal and solder, hundreds of gallons of paint and nearly 20,000 electric bulbs contribute their parts to this colossal illiumination. Very striking design and ingenious action as well as gigantic size distinguish the Clicquot Club sign from all other Broadway displays. The Cliquot Club Eskimo Kid, whose face is so familiar in magazines and newspapers, sits on a dog sled behind a huge bottle of his ginger ale. His scarf flying in the Arctic breeze, he whizzes through the snow, drawn by three joyous little Eskimos. And as he rides, his great electric whip strikes the name of Clicquot Club Ginger Ale, one word at each illuminating crack.

The Clicquot Club company has erected this sign largely as a symbol of its entry into its 40th year of service to the American public.

This photograph of the sign is courtesy of the New York State Historical Society.

Cliquot Club was also a trailblazer in radio advertising. As early as 1925 it sponsored a radio program featuring a banjo orchestra called The Clicquot Club Eskimos. This photograph of the band appeared in the March 21, 1926 edition of the Pittsburgh Post and also appeared in several other newspapers that month as far west as Wyoming.

The caption under the photograph reads:

Picture in costume of the Clicquot Club Eskimos led by Harry Reser (seated in front). This banjo ensemble is making a great name for itself over the air every Thursday night. It is sponsored by the Clicquot Club Ginger Ale Company. The Eskimos are heard over 15 stations.

This description of the Eskimos appeared in the August 11, 1926 edition of the (Lancaster Pa.) Intelligencer Journal. They, and along with them the Clicquot Club name, entered homes across the country every week.

These remarkable producers of popular music under the leadership of Harry Reser primarily consist of solo banjo, plectrum banjo for rhythm,, two mandolin banjos, saxaphone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, violin, piano, drums.

When occasion requires, banjos are shifted to wood lutes, mandolins, guitars, ukuleles, an extra viola, cello and there are even further combinations sometimes worked out with this able group of four stringed instrument men.

An interesting feature has been added to the program of the Clicquot Club Eskimos of snappy popular songs handled mostly as chorus accompaniment  to the orchestra or with banjo and guitar accompaniment.

The radio program ran until the Mid-1930’s and the orchestra continued to make live appearances up through the late 1930’s. Here they are, sans costume, circa 1936.

By the late 1920’s, their advertising had literally woven Clicquot Club ginger ale into the fabric of the nation. Consider a story in the October 15, 1929 edition  of the (Caruthersville Mo.) Democrat-Argus about the Graf Zeppelin completing what they called “its epochal globe-girding flight.” The story marveled at the fact that “Such extraordinary events and apparently incredible achievements have been piling up (and) the world has come to take these marvels as accustomed events.” With the help of Cliquot Club the story went on to emphasize their point.

Curiously enough the man on the street was no more casual about the event than the Graf Zeppelin passengers. What do you think was on their minds as they approached the last leg of their trip around the world? Nothing more important than the replenishment of the steward’s supply of ginger ale. H. Earle Kimball, president of the Clicquot Club Company, tells me that his West Coast representative had to go to no end of trouble about it.

Dr. Eckener had instructed his steward, Hendrick Kubik, to lighten the load to facilitate the ship’s crossing of the Rocky Mountains, and as ginger ale comes in heavy glass bottles, Herr Kubik appealed to the Clicquot people and they proposed supplying it in gallon aluminum containers, used for quite another purpose, but which had a spigot attachment. Herr Kubik objected that as part was drawn off the balance would become flat and useless. But the Sec brand was so dry that it could be de-cantered without loss of carbonation. This was proved by a hurried experiment and the Zeppelin passengers enjoyed their ginger ale, avoided airsickness, and Herr Kubik’s reputation as the best steward on the round-the-world air service was maintained.

It was sometime in the mid-1920’s that they began marketing their ginger ale in multiple brands, initially adding a second brand of ginger ale called “Pale Dry” to their menu.

One advertisement described the distinction between the two different brands, both of which they called thirst-erasers:

Wherever you go this summer from Bar Harbor Maine to Coronado Beach in California, you will find these two thirst-erasers. Choose Cliquot Club Ginger Ale, Regular, to get that rare and spicy flavor that is real ginger ale. Uncap Cliquot Club Pale Dry for a drink that is as delicate and subtle as Regular Cliquot is vigorous and full flavored. Both are full of life. Both have that famous Cliquot Club taste – the taste that, forty years ago, taught America what real ginger ale is like.

By the late 1920’s it appears that their original ginger ale named “Regular” in the above advertisement had acquired the more consumer friendly name of “Golden.” They had also added a third brand by then called “Sec,” describing it as:

The supremely dry ginger ale, a favorite in clubs, hotels, and wherever people of discriminating taste gather. Sec is the rarest ginger ale flavor in America!

During the 1930’s the company updated their packaging, adding a quart bottle to their long time pint and a canned option as well.

The quart was added in 1934 and was extensively advertised throughout that year starting in May/June.

Cans became available in 1938. This July 1938 advertisement exhibits a cone-shaped type can and it certainly appears introductory in nature.

The advertisement goes on to say that it was the first ginger ale offered in a can.

This fine old ginger ale is the first to come to you in cans. You’ll like the new way of buying Cliquot Club – because it’s so handy, and because it’s the same delicious ginger ale as Cliquot Club in bottles.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s the company was no longer manufacturing and bottling their beverages exclusively at their Millis, Massachusetts plant. By then they were establishing regional bottling plants in an effort to bottle and distribute their products closer to their end user. In the late 1940’s the New York City franchise was called the Clicquot Club Bottling Company of Manhattan, although it was actually located across the East River in Long Island City Queens, at 5-16 47th Avenue. Clicquot Club bottlers in upstate New York were located in Cairo and Binghamton.

According to a June 6, 1953 story in the Kingston (N.Y.) Freeman, by this time their advertising strategy was no longer national in scope but focused primarily on local newspaper advertisements in an effort to best service these regional bottlers.

Clicquot Club Selects Newspaper Advertising

Newspapers have been selected as the principal medium for the advertising and promotion of Clicquot Club ginger ale and other sparkling soft drinks for 1953, it was announced by Alton T. Barnard, vice president in charge of sales for the Clicquot Club Bottling Co., Millis, Mass…

Barnard, who has recently completed a coast-to-coast tour of Clicquot Club bottling plants, pointed out that regional bottlers were highly enthusiastic about this years sale possibilities and the advertising campaign which he outlined for them.

Ninety percent of the entire 1953 appropriation will be spent in local newspapers to bring the Clicquot Club story to the public.

“We believe that by placing our advertising directly in the newspapers in the areas serviced by Clicquot Club bottlers, we can best tell the American public about the goodness of our ginger ale and other drinks,” Barnard said.

After Kimball’s death on November 26, 1952, his lawyer, Thomas F. Black, Jr. assumed the presidency at Kimball’s request. The H. Kimball Foundation web site completes the story.

In the late fifties, officials of Veuve Clicquot (after whom the ginger ale had been originally named by Millis) threatened court action if the American soft drink manufacturer didn’t cease using the name Clicquot. Black traveled to France and a meeting was held at which it was agreed that the Millis based company would drop the name at an agreed upon future date.

Declining sales, increased competition and the thought of losing their long held name, probably had a lot to do with the company being sold to Cott Beverage of Connecticut in 1960.

The company operated a number of years under the direction of John Cott who continued to bottle Clicquot until the name change agreement went into effect. Cott Beverage was later sold to Canada Dry and the plant closed.

The Cliquot Club name completely disappeared from grocery store advertisements and price lists sometime in the early 1980’s.

Today, a smokestack associated with their plant still exists in Millis. Sadly, though not a surprise, this google maps image indicates that it’s now functioning as a cell phone tower.

The bottle I found is a machine made pint, typical of the bottle they used throughout much of their existence. The base of the bottle is embossed with a likeness of their trademark “Eskimo Boy.” The letters “A” & “B” are embossed on either side of the figure, suggesting it may have been made by the American Bottle Company. A “25” embossed below the “A” could indicate a 1925 manufacture date. The bottle appears identical to this one that appeared in a 1922 advertisement.

       

The presence of the Eskimo certainly dates it no earlier than 1913.

Empire Bottling Works, Rockaway Beach, New York

    

The Empire Bottling Works was established in June, 1905. Nathan Goldberg was named as one of the four original directors and apparently the one actively involved in the management of the business. A Russian immigrant, prior to establishing the bottling business Goldberg lived on Second Street in Manhattan where he listed his occupation as  “hotel keeper” in the 1900 census records.

The company’s incorporation notice was published in the June 10, 1905 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The 1913/1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens continued to associate Nathan Goldberg with the business listing him as president of the company. His son Samuel, a lawyer by trade was named vice president.

The business was located in a small portion of Rockaway Beach called Hammels for most if not all of their history.

Initially, a September 5, 1906 story in the Times Union mentioned that the Empire Bottling Works was located at 23 and 25 South Hammel Avenue (later named Beach 85th Street), which they went on to say was also the dwelling of Nathan Goldberger.

Later directories and tax certificates between 1906 and 1927 listed the business on Division Avenue (later named Beach 82nd Street) near Boulevard.  At times they also used a Boulevard address (both 497 and 522 were listed at various times).

Their 1905 incorporation notice only mentioned mineral waters but the company certainly bottled beer as well. This is confirmed by a labeled bottle that recently appeared for sale on the internet. The label named the Empire Bottling Works of Rockaway Beach as the local bottler for Koehler & Co.s Fidelio Beer.  Information on Koehler & Co.and Fidelio Beer is available in more detail within another post on this site.  Fidelio Brewery, New York

   

By 1928 the business was listed at 75-18 Rockaway Beach Boulevard which was technically just outside of Hammels. As far as I can tell Goldberg’s wife Yetta was listed as a widow in the 1930 census records so its quite possible that the business ended around that time. The company was not listed in the 1940 Queens phone book. (I don’t have access to any directory information from the 1930’s.)

The bottle I found is 27 ounces and machine made.

 

Union Hill B. B. Co., 6 – 8 Monitor St., Brooklyn N. Y.

The Union Hill Birch Beer Company was listed in the Brooklyn directories from 1904 t0 1951, always with an address of 6 Monitor Street.

Edward C. Hindermann was named as the owner of the business in his October 30, 1959 obituary that was printed in the Geenpoint Weekly Star.  Born in 1872, 1910 census records indicate that he immigrated to the United States in 1901. The 1904 Brooklyn Directory listed Hindermann’s residence as 8 Monitor Street, right next door to the business, suggesting that it was a relatively small operation.

The 1910 census records also listed a Dieterich Benken living at the same 8 Monitor Street address. Benken, like Hindermann, listed his occupation as a birch beer manufacturer so he was likely associated with the business, but in what capacity is unknown.

Hindermann was still living at 8 Monitor Street when he died on October 24, 1959.

There’s not much information available on the company which is another indication that it was not a large business. I did find one reference to it in a column entitled “I Remember Old Brooklyn,” in the March 22, 1965 edition of the New York Daily News. A reader had submitted this story to the newspaper.

PICNIC LUNCH

When the St. Nicholas Band struck up a tune with fifes, drums and bugles, that was a signal that we St. Nicholas pupils were starting off on a picnic to Washington Park on Grand St., Elmhurst.

The band would parade through the neighborhood and stop at Grand and Olive Sts. We would pile aboard chartered trolley cars at 7 A.M. with shoe boxes full of lunch, enough for all day.

Our tickets cost 15 cents, including three stubs, each good for a glass of Union Hill birch beer. The beer was on tap at the park for us. Then the trolleys would take us back at 7 P.M.

Today 6 – 8 Monitor Street does not date back to the early 1900’s

The bottle I found is 27 ounces and machine made. A monogram is embossed on the back of the bottle that, as far as I can tell, represents Hindermann’s initials “E H.”