Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters, Moses Atwood, Georgetown Mass.

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters had its origins with Moses Atwood, who originally manufactured it north of Boston, in Georgetown Massachusetts. In the early days the preparation went by a number of different names including: “Atwood’s Bitters,” “Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters,” “Atwood’s Jaundice Physical Bitters,” “Atwood’s Vegetable Physical Jaundice Bitters,”and “Atwood’s Dyspeptic Bitters.” Regardless of the name used, it was touted as a cure for just about anything and everything.

ATWOOD’S JAUNDICE PHYSICAL BITTERS!

HAVE YOU USED IT? If not go at once and procure a bottle – it is warranted in every case to cure the Jaundice, Headache, Dyspepsis, Liver Complaint, Dizziness, Worms, Loss of Appetite, General Debility, Costiveness, Fever and Ague and such other diseases as arise from a disordered state of the stomach, and impurities of the blood. It cleanses the blood from humors, moistens the skin, invigorates the whole system, and imparts new life and energy in the disease wasted frame. It is a powerful cathartic if taken in large doses.

For Sick Headache, it is an infallible cure. It has also become greatly celebrated of late for its remarkable success in curing the most obstinate cases of Fever and Ague. No family should be without this most valuable preparation.

Drug store advertisements that referenced it began appearing in the mid-1840’s, so it was certainly being manufactured and distributed locally by that time. The following newspaper advertisement for the Bennington Laboratory in Bennington, Vermont included Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters on a long list of “just received” items. The ad appeared in several March, 1846 editions of the Vermont Gazette and is the earliest newspaper reference I’ve been able to find.

In the late 1840’s Moses Atwood began to sell off certain pieces of the business and by 1855 he had completely sold out and left Georgetown for Iowa. It’s around this time that things got complicated, such that by the mid 1870’s a number of different entities were manufacturing some form of Atwood’s Bitters. They fall into the following general categories:

Carter & Dodge et. al. – Several businesses were spawned out of a partnership called Carter and Dodge. Carter and Dodge acquired their rights as a result of contracts with Moses Atwood that date back to the late 1840’s and early 1850’s. In 1875 all of these businesses were acquired by the Manhattan Medicine Company.

Lewis H Bateman –  He worked with Moses Atwood in Georgetown as early as 1842 and claimed Atwood left him the formula when he moved to Iowa. His rights were also acquired by the Manhattan Medicine Company in 1875.

L.F. Atwood – Atwood’s father, Levi and his brother Levi F, manufactured a version of the preparation called L. F. Atwood’s Bitters in portions of New England, a territory not included in Moses Atwood’s agreement with Carter & Dodge. Later, L. F. Atwood’s Bitters would continue to be manufactured in Maine By H. H. Hay & Co.

Nathan Wood and later Nathan Wood & Son – They claimed to have acquired the Maine rights to the bitters from Moses Atwood’s son, Moses F. Atwood, in 1861.

Charles H. Atwood – A Boston druggist, he began producing a product called Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters around 1860. As far as I can tell, other than his name he had no direct connection with Moses Atwood. Later, Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters would be manufactured by Alvah Littlefield & Company and subsequent to that, by Gilman Brothers.

Not surprisingly this situation resulted in disputes that centered around the use of the Atwood Bitters name and trade marks. One such dispute resulted in a court case, Manhattan Medicine Company v. Nathan Wood, whose records reveal much about how this early history unfolded. I’ve tried to summarize it below, beginning with an 1848 agreement between Moses Atwood and Moses Carter.

At the time Atwood made an agreement with Moses Carter to sell him certain bills outstanding against local agents, and the rights to sell the medicines in certain specified places. From the original contract, it seems that Moses Atwood retained the preparation of the medicines to himself, and the contract does not show that he did, or agreed to, disclose his formulae to Carter. The medicines were, under the contract, sold to Carter by the barrel and gallon. Among these medicines was one called Attwood’s Jaundice Bitters. When these medicines were sold to Carter, he had the right to sell them in certain named places.

Another agreement between the two, this one in September, 1852, makes it clear that by then Carter had obtained the right to put up and compound the bitters as well as to sell it in specific territories that included a large part of Massachusetts and portions of other states. To accomplish this, Carter had formed a partnership with Benjamin Dodge called Carter & Dodge. A September 8, 1853 advertisement that appeared in several editions of the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal named Carter & Dodge as “wholesale dealers” of the preparation.

Moses Atwood worked in concert with Carter & Dodge until 1855 when he sold his remaining interest in the business to them and moved west to Iowa. Around the same time Carter’s son, Charles, joined the partnership changing its name to Carter, Dodge & Company. The new company name was reflected in this November/December, 1856 advertisement, also published in the Poughkeepsie Journal. No longer just wholesale dealers, the company now referred to themselves as “proprietors.”

Several years later, in 1858, the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent and the Carter’s and Dodge went their separate ways. The Carter’s continued the business in Georgetown operating at times under the name M. Carter and Son and at others as M. Carter & Sons.

Meanwhile Dodge moved to Rowley, Massachusettes where he set up shop and sold the bitters for about five years after which he sold the rights.

…during the existence of the firms M. Carter& Sons and M. Carter & Son, Dodge sold a right to one Will B. Dorman, who also carried on the business of selling this medicine…B.S. Dodge also sold a right to Noyes & Manning of Mystic Bridge Connecticut and they also carried on the same business.

Confused? Well it gets worse! While all this was going on a man named Lewis H Bateman was also selling Atwood’s Bitters in Georgetown Mass.

All this time from the year 1855 to 1871, in the same village of Georgetown, L. H. Bateman carried on the business of compounding these bitters in competition with the Carter’s and Dodge, and when he died in 1871, his son continued the same…

Bateman’s advertisements claimed:

L. H. Bateman of Georgetown, in the county of Essex, Mass., commenced the manufacture of Atwood’s Bitters in connection with Moses Atwood, the inventor, in 1842, and has continued their manufacture to the present time.

The Carter’s challenged Bateman’s claim and brought suit against him but their request for an injunction was denied and the suit was never brought to completion.

The court records go on to say that as time went on competition between the different entities grew:

After M. Carter & Son, Bateman, Dodge, Dorman, and Noyes & Manning were all running their own businesses on these medicines, they became competitors in the business. When the different sales were made to Dorman, Noyes, Manning & Co. and when Dodge separated from the Carters, it appears that certain divisions of the territory originally owned by Carter & Dodge, were made among them. Soon, however, these territorial divisions were disregarded, by them all, and they all sold on each others territory, and wherever they could. Bateman did the same.

As you might expect, this competition was especially fierce between the Carter’s and Bateman whose operations must have been within shouting distance of each other in Georgetown. Both were listed in the 1870 Georgetown Directory, Bateman as “druggist,” and the Carter’s as “patent medicines.” This led in some cases to each calling the other’s business a fake. An example can be found in the 1874 editions of the Davenport Iowa newspapers. Advertisements run by Batemann included his claim that his relationship with Atwood extended back to 1842 and that he legally possessed the original recipe. The ads went on to say:

L. H. Bateman has continued to put the genuine Atwood Bitters in half-pint glass bottles with the words “Atwood’s Jaundiced Bitters, Moses Atwood Georgetown Mass.,” blown on the bottles. And, hereafter, to prevent all mistake, upon the directions on the label of each bottle will be printed with RED INK, a fac-similie of the signature of L. H. Bateman. All dealers and consumers are cautioned not to purchase, and above all, not to take as medicine, bitters called Atwood’s Bitters, not put up and designated as above.

M. Carter & Son responded with their own advertisement, headed with the phrase “Important for all to Know,” that claimed that their bitters was the “only genuine.”

CAUTION Fraud Exposed. Everyone should know that the market is flooded with worthless imitations, purporting to be made and put up by Moses Atwood, who has not manufactured any bitters since we bought the business of him, or lived in Georgetown since 1855. So do not be deceived by worthless imitations.

This situation continued up until 1875 when each of the entities were bought out by the Manhattan Medicine Company.

At the beginning of the year, 1875, the titles of the Atwood Medicine business stood in Luther F. Carter (a son of Moses Carter), William P. Dorman and Noyes & Manning, (said parties being the successors of Carter, Dodge & Co.), and the Bateman heirs. All those several parties, by proper instruments of conveyance, duly conveyed to the appellant (Manhattan Medicine Co.) all of their respective rights, titles and interests therein; the Bateman heirs, January 1, 1875, Noyes & Manning, April 21, 1875, William B. Dorman, March 30,1875 and Luther F. Carter, April, 1875.

This unified most of the claimants to the Moses Atwood business under the Manhattan Medicine Company umbrella. The exception was in the territory of Maine which will be covered a little bit later in this post.

The Manhattan Medicine Company was established in 1875, the same year they acquired the rights to Atwood’s Bitters, however, its roots date back to a long time New York City druggist named John F. Henry. In 1873 he enlarged his operation when he organized the firm of John F. Henry, Curran & Co. An item in the October 4, 1873 edition of the Brooklyn Times Union announced the formation of the new business.

Mr. John F. Henry has very considerably enlarged his business by associating with him in partnership Mr. Theo Curran of the firm of A. L. Scovill & Co., of Cincinnati and this city, and Henry Bowen, Esq., publisher of the Brooklyn Daily Union.

This copartnership gives the new house a working capital of nearly one million dollars, and the ownership of something like a hundred proprietary articles, including the well known list of A. L. Scovill & Co., and the control of many more, among which are Brown’s Ginger, Marshall’s Catarrh Snuff, Heimbold’s Buchu, Murray’s English Fluid Magnesia and many other standard preparations.

It is the intention of the firm to add drugs to their stock, as a profitable method of employing their surplus capital…

The business will be continued under the name and style of John F. Henry, Curran & Co.

The company operated a large New York City facility called the United States Medicine Warehouse located at 8 College Place in Manhattan (later a revision to the Manhattan numbering system changed the address to 24 College Place).

It’s pretty clear that Henry and Curran used some of their new found capital to establish the Manhattan Medicine Company and acquire Atwood’s Bitters. This 1876 advertisement named the Manhattan Medicine Company as proprietors and John F. Henry, Curran & Co. as wholesale agents.

Based on this advertisement I think its safe to say that the Manhattan Medicine Co. owned the rights to Atwood’s Bitters but John F. Henry, Curran & Co. manufactured and distributed it. Recognizing that Henry had an interest in both companies and that each company was listed with the same College Place address, it’s likely that in practice, they operated as one business.

While ownership of the bitters had changed, this 1877 advertisement in the Boston Globe revealed that the marketing message had not.

John F Henry, Curran & Co. only operated until January, 1878 when the business failed as a result of their association with a banker named E. J. Dunning. The story appeared in the January 17, 1878 edition of “The Independent.”

Another heavy failure has occurred in Wall Street. E. J.Dunning. Jr., a commercial note broker well known in the drug and chemical trade, has made an assignment to Mr. E. Y. Bell…The cause of the failure is said to be the unexpected calling in of a large loan by one of the banks. The immediate effect of the failure was to cause the suspension of Messrs. John F. Henry, Curran & Co. and Messrs. Hegeman & Co….

The business ultimately reemerged as J. F. Henry & Co. and their relationship with the Manhattan Medicine Company apparently continued. The 1890 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory still listed both companies at 24 College Place and John F. Henry was named a principal in each.

John F Henry passed away in May 1893,  and within several years J. F. Henry & Co. was no longer listed in the  NYC directories. Subsequently, likely soon after Henry’s death but certainly by the early 1900’s, the long established New York City drug and cosmetics firm of Hall & Ruckel assumed the manufacturing and distribution rights to Atwood’s Bitters.

They were still listed as the manufacturer of Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters on a 1917 list of proprietary medicines prepared by the Analytical Laboratory of the Connecticut Experimental Station.

Sometime in the late teens or early 1920’s, the manufacturing rights passed from Hall & Ruckel to O. H. Jadwin Sons, Inc., who was identified as the sole agent of the Manhattan Medicine Company in this November, 1923 item published in the Druggist Circular.

The last reference I can find that connects the Manhattan Medicine Company with Atwood’s Bitters was a November, 1926 advertisement that appeared in several editions of The (Coshocton, Ohio) Tribune. At that time, though no longer listed in the N.Y.C. directories, you could still find the Manhattan Medicine Company in New York City at 11 Vestry Street where, if you sent in this coupon, you could obtain a free bottle of Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters.

Ultimately, late in 1929 American Home Products acquired the entire capital stock of the Manhattan Medicine Company, including their rights to Atwood’s Bitters. Established in 1926, two of American Home Products’ operating entities, the Whitehall Pharmacal Company (part of the original incorporation) and John Wyeth and Brother (acquired in 1931) were both named as manufacturers on Atwood’s Bitters labels in the 1930’s.

   

“Atwood’s Bitters” was included in drug store advertisements up through the 1940’s and into the early 1950’s. By then the reference to the product was completely generic so who actually manufactured it is unclear, though it’s likely one or both of the Wyeth/Whitehall duo.  This 1940 reference was included in a 1940 Doan’s Drug Store advertisement from Ithaca, New York.

Heading back to 1875, the court records made it clear that the territorial rights to Maine and parts of New Hampshire were not included in the Carter & Dodge agreement with Moses Atwood and were instead reserved for his father, Levi Atwood, and brother, L. F. Atwood.

Localities almost without number were excepted out of the general grant, and uncontradicted proof is that the original proprietor made reservations in favor of his father, Levi Atwood, and his brother Levi F. Atwood, of Maine and part of New Hampshire.

It’s possible that L. F. Atwood was manufacturing a version of the bitters called L. F. Atwood’s Bitters  as early as the 1850’s in the Town of Fairfield, Maine (Kendall’s Mills) where he’s listed under “apothecaries”in the Maine Register as early as 1856. At some point he apparently sold the rights to a local Portland Maine druggist, named Henry H. Hay. Located at the intersection of Fore and Middle Streets, according to their 1863 advertisement in the Portland Maine directory, Hay was the wholesale dealer for a wide variety of drug related products.

By 1868, H. H. Hay & Co. referred to themselves in advertisements as the “Sole General Agent” for L. F. Atwood’s Bitters.

Meanwhile,  in 1861 Atwood’s son, Moses F. Atwood, was back in Georgetown and, while working with Bateman, sold the rights in the same area to Nathan Wood. 

That Bateman had the original recipe, and that Moses F. Atwood, the son of the original proprietor, when in the employment of Bateman as a selling agent, sold the recipe for compounding and preparing the Atwood Bitters in the State of Maine in 1861.

As early as 1844, Nathan Wood was listed in the Portland, Maine directories as a “dealer in botanic medicines.”  When he acquired his right to Atwood’s in 1861 he was listed as “patent medicines,” with an address of 135 Commercial.

By the late 1860’s H. H. Hay and Wood were certainly in competition as evidenced by two H. H. Hay advertisements that appeared in several 1868 editions of the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier.

One headed “Stop Thief,” stated in part:

The public are hereby cautioned against a base imitation of “L. F.” Atwood’s Bitters by a manufacturer of proprietary medicines in this city, who not only copied the label, in part, and adopted the same style bottle but states on his label that he has purchased the right…

Another, with the heading “The Rightful Medicine,” actually mentioned Wood by name.

I have never given information to anyone respecting my ATWOOD’S BITTERS, or the mode of compounding the same, neither did I sell my recipe, or any part of it to one “Wood,” or any other person or persons or persons whatsoever, excepting to H. H. Hay, Druggist, of Portland Maine…

As far as I can tell, both Hay and Wood continued to manufacture and sell Atwood’s Bitters well into the next century.

Nathan Wood was later joined by his son John T. Wood and by 1875 the business was listed in the Portland directories as Nathan Wood & Son, with an address of 202 Fore St.  Sometime in the early 1880’s the business changed their address to 424 Fore and by the late 1880’s was listing a factory location as well, at 464 Fore St.

The company incorporated on January 1, 1920 and remained listed in the Portland directories up through 1932. By that time Arthur Wood, possibly a third generation of the Wood family, was named as the principal.

While I can’t relate any specific newspaper advertisements to their business, Wood’s Atwood’s Bitters was included in a Druggist Circular price list as late as 1911.

H. H. Hay on the other hand, advertised their L. F. Atwood’s Bitters quite heavily. This July 14, 1876 item in the Vermont Union with the heading “Read Quickly Ye Sufferers,” proudly claimed, among other things:

…highly concentrated, is warranted to contain more Medical properties in a 38 cent bottle than any other “Invigorator” or “Sarsaparilla” sold for a dollar…

By the early 1900’s advertisements referred to it as both L. F. Atwood’s Bitters and L. F. Atwood’s Medicine. This September 21, 1903 advertisement in the Bangor Daily News specifically referenced both names.

Over the next several years the word bitters was dropped from their advertisements and in 1910 the name of the manufacturer included in their advertisements changed from H. H. Hay to the L.F. Medicine Company.

I can’t find the L. F. Medicine Company listed in subsequent Portland, Maine directories, while H.H. Hay remained listed in Portland well into the 1950’s and possibly longer, as H. H. Hay & Son and later H.H. Hay Sons. As late as 1917, published price lists continued to name H. H. Hay Sons as the manufacturer, so it appears that Hay continued to manufacture it under the L. F. Medicine Company name. Newspaper advertisements for the L. F. Medicine vanish by the mid-1930’s.

The final piece of the puzzle, Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters, got its start in Boston, likely in the late 1850’s. Early newspaper advertisements naming Charles H. Atwood of 19 Central Street as the proprietor began appearing in 1860. The following appeared in the October 11, 1860 edition of the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier.

As far as I can tell, Charles H Atwood did not claim any connection with Moses Atwood. The story he’d like you to believe appeared in an advertisement disguised as a newspaper item published in the September 6, 1860 edition of Vermont’s Green Mountain Freeman.

We again call attention to the excellent qualities of Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters, so well adapted to the wants of the debilitated and the dyspeptic. Mr. Atwood, who is a highly respected importer of choice chemicals, medicines, etc., at the suggestion of prominent physicians, and on their representations of the need of a judicious preparation of this character, was induced to devote several months’ time and much energy to producing a tonic stimulant which would justify the confidence of both physician and sufferer.

The newspaper item went on to take what appears to be a veiled jab at the other “Atwood’s Bitters” products without specifically mentioning them by name.

Throwing aside all empirical claims of recently discovered remedies, his researches among the standard agents of the Materia Medica, revealed the fact that many of the most highly prized stomachics and tonics of former years have been of late neglected. Combining the choicest of these with Quinine, thus securing all the virtues of the Peruvian Bark in a condensed and refined form, he has succeeded, after many experiments, in achieving a result in the shape of the Quinine Tonic Bitters, which is now rewarding him for his endeavors. The compound has already acquired a prominent position in the scanty list of reliable remedial agents, backed by the endorsements of most of the eminent physicians of our city.

At some point, likely in the mid 1860’s but no later than 1871, Charles H. Atwood transferred the rights to his bitters to a druggist names Alvah Littlefield who maintained a drug store under Boston’s United States Hotel (Beach corner of Lincoln) for upwards of 40 years. This advertisement sponsored by Littlefield ran in the May 3, 1871 edition of the New England Farmer.

Sometime in the mid-1870’s Littlefield apparently sold the rights to Gilman Brothers who are named as proprietors in this June 28, 1876 advertisement published in the (Montpelier) Vermont Watchman and State Journal.

Newspaper advertisements for Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters disappeared by the early 1900’s, however, I’ve seen it included in a Druggist Circular price list as late as November, 1920.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and roughly six ounces. It has the typical twelve paneled design and is embossed:

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters, Moses Atwood, Georgetown, Mass.

The 12 paneled bottle design dates back to the days of Moses Carter but the fact that our bottle is not pontiled or crudely made all but guarantees it was made after the Manhattan Medicine Company entered the picture in 1875. They continued using the above embossing up until at least 1883 when the United States Supreme Court ruled against them in their suit against Nathan Wood; the Court taking exception to their use of Moses Atwood’s name and their claim that it was manufactured in Georgetown, Mass when in fact it was manufactured by the Manhattan medicine Company in New York City.

The Court’s reasoning is presented below in their own words.

Mr. Justice Field speaking for the court said: “If one affix to goods of his own manufacture signs or marks which indicate that they are the manufacture of others, he is deceiving the public, and attempting to pass upon them goods as possessing a quality and merit which another’s skill has given to similar articles, and which his own manufacture does not possess in the estimation of purchasers. To put forth a statement, therefore, in the form of a circular or label, attached to an article, that is manufactured in a particular place, by a person whose manufacture there had acquired a great reputation, when, in fact, it is manufactured by a different person at a different place, is a fraud upon the public which no court of equity will countenance.”

This precipitated a change in embossing to the following:

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters, Formerly Made By Moses Atwood, Georgetown Mass.

When exactly they made the change in embossing is not clear but I suspect it was shortly after the ruling dating the bottle no later that the mid-1880’s.

 

Armour and Company, Chicago (Armour Laboratories)

Established in the mid 1860’s by Phillip Danforth Armour and John Plankinton, Armour and Company was a meat packing business that by the turn of the century had grown into one of the largest companies in the United States. For many years its presence in Chicago’s Union Stock Yards contributed, in no small way, to that city’s reputation as the capital of the American meatpacking industry.

Not only a meat producer, the company was heavily involved in the manufacture of by-products utilizing materials that were typically wasted in the slaughtering process. According to an October 20, 1901 story in the Buffalo (N.Y.) Times:

It is a saying in Chicago that the house of Armour & Co., in the slaughter of hogs, “loses nothing but the squeal of the hogs” when they are led to the slaughter. Employing many thousands of men in the varied industries growing out of their vast slaughtering business, the firm has found it immensely profitable to utilize all portions of the raw material by the firm.

The story went on to provide this menu of  products manufactured under the Armour name at the turn of the century. The list would grow well into the hundreds by the 1920’s

The business got its start with John Plankinton, not in Chicago but further north in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His biography, available on wisconsinhistory.org tells the story.

John Plankinton was a meat packer and businessman. In 1849 he began the packing of beef and hog products, and in 1852 formed a partnership with Frederick Layton under the firm name of Layton and Plankinton Packing Co. In 1861 Layton withdrew and Plankinton continued the business alone until 1863, when he was joined by Phillip D. Armour, and the firm became Plankinton, Armour and Co. (Plankinton & Armour)

Armour had arrived in Milwaukee by way of California where he had been lured by the gold rush.  Whether he made any money on the west coast is apparently open to speculation. According to his biography published in “A History of the City of Chicago,” published in 1900:

Mr Armour returned to the East in 1856, after having a varied experience in mining enterprises, and it was conjectured at the time that he brought back with him considerable of the golden dust, but the facts of this interesting matter are known only to himself.

Another biography, this one published in the January 7, 1901 edition of Chicago’s “Inter Ocean,” described Armour’s Milwaukee years leading up to his association with Plankinton.

Mr. Armour went to Milwaukee, where he had a friend, Frederick S. Miles, who was engaged in the wholesale grocery and commission business, and soon became his business partner, the style of the firm being Miles & Armour. The firm was prosperous, but in 1863 Mr. Armour withdrew from it to engage in the shipment of wheat, in which he saw more money. He purchased the largest grain elevator in the city, and was again as successful as could be desired.

In the meantime the pork-packing firm of Plankton & Layton was dissolved, and John Plankinton formed a new firm, in the same business with Mr. Armour, under the style of Plankton & Armour.

       

It appears that shortly after his association with Plankinton the financial foundation for the Armour business was laid. His “Inter Ocean” biography went on to say:

The firm was successful from the first, and suddenly amassed a great fortune, all through the brilliant management of Mr. Armour. This happened in the spring of 1863, when the war of the rebellion was drawing to a close. At that time pork was selling at $40 a barrel, and the New York operators were buying it recklessly under the impression that it would go to $60. Mr. Armour believed that the war would soon end, and that pork would decline to $20 or less. He laid his plans before his partners, who gave him their approval, and then went posthaste to New York, where he sold pork short for $40 as long as anybody would buy it. Sure enough, pork soon fell to $18, and Mr. Armour and his partners were made millionaires.

In the meantime Phillip’s brother, Herman O. Armour, had started a grain commission business in Chicago sometime in 1862 and by 1864 the two brothers along with Plankinton had joined together in that city under the name H. O. Armour & Co. In 1868 they began packing pork under the name Armour & Co. and by 1870 all the business transacted in Chicago was  done under the Armour & Co. name.

According to a story written years later in the December 2, 1951 edition of the Tribune, the Chicago operation moved to the Union Stock Yards in 1872 where it would remain until the late 1950’s.

The first Armour hog plant was the old Bell house in the Archer Avenue packing center which had been built up during the Civil War. About 1868 packers began to move south to the area just west of the stock yards and Armour followed in 1872.

As early as 1865 Herman left another brother, Joseph, in charge of the Chicago operation and opened an office in New York under the name Armour, Plankinton & Co. The office was first listed in the 1866/1867 New York City directory at 129 Broad Street in Manhattan.

By the end of the decade the Armours had also established another plant, this one in Kansas City run by a fourth brother, Simeone Armour, under the name Plankinton & Armours.

As early as the mid-1870’s a story in the Kansas City Times clearly viewed their operation as the leader in the country and world’s meat packing industry.

Thoroughly identified with the packing business of the whole country, there are no names in the United States more familiar to the trade than those of the Plankinton’s and the Armours, there being two of the former-father and son-and four of the latter-brothers. These six gentlemen stand at the head of beyond all comparisons the heaviest beef and pork packing business of the world…

A May 10, 1880 story published in the The (London) Times featured the American bacon and pork industry and included this description of the Armour business.

A few hogs are slaughtered and salted by the farmers, but the great bulk pass to the packers…

Messrs. Armour & Co. handle nearly 1,000,000 hogs annually at Chicago, and have similar establishments at Milwaukee and at Kansas City, at each of which upwards of 400,000 are slaughtered and packed. From small beginnings in 1860 their business has steadily increased; within six years it has doubled. At the Chicago works at the stock yards, 10,000 pigs are frequently killed daily in summer; 20,000 constitute a full day’s slaughtering in winter. Two thousand tons of meat are sometimes dispatched in a single day from the railway sidings which are conveniently brought into the premises. The work covers 14 acres; the buildings are four stories high, and are being constantly added to. There are six lifts, and hydrants and fire hose are fixed at convenient points on every story. A trained fire brigade is recruited from among the operatives. The premises are insured for a million dollars, the annual premium on different parts of the works varying from 1 to 1 3/4  percent. Two thousand men are employed in summer and 3,500 in winter.

The raw material which keeps this great establishment moving is conveniently found in the contiguous market where 60,000 hogs are sometimes pitched (sold) in a morning, and on one occasion last summer the number ran up to 80,000… Messrs. Armour have large pens and yards where their purchases are fed and watered until required. No fasting is practiced as in England. The grunter has his breakfast even if he is doomed before dinner time.

An advertisement published in the March 18, 1882 edition of the (New Orleans) Times-Democrat, for one of Armour’s agents, McCloskey & Henderson,  provided this list of canned meat products being  produced and shipped out of Chicago by Armour at the time. By this time the business included beef and even chicken soup, as well as pork.

Over the course of several years during the early 1880’s the Armours and Plankinton severed their various business relationships, apparently amicably. As the dust settled, the resultant situation was summarized in the October 26, 1884 edition of the Kansas City Times.

As appears from a dissolution notice published in the advertisement column of THE TIMES this morning, the partnership which has existed for twenty-five years between Mr P.D. Armour and Mr. John Plankinton, has been dissolved, Mr. Armour retiring from the Milwaukee house and Mr. Plankinton from the Kansas City house, which will in the future be known under the firm name of the Armour Packing Company.

The dissolution does not effect either the Chicago or New York houses, as Mr. Plankinton has not been connected with the former business for several years and a few weeks ago sold his interest in the New York house to Mr. H. O. Armour retaining an interest in but one establishment, that of Milwaukee, of which he is the chief owner.

It was during the remainder of the 1800’s that the Armours laid the foundation for much of the company’s expansion into industries related to their meat packing business, adding a glue factory, soap works and a pharmaceutical department among others to their operation.

A story in the January 1, 1886 edition of the Chicago Tribune announced the acquisition of the Wahl Bros. glue factory.

In a circular-letter to the trade, dated December 21, 1885, they announce the purchase of Wahl Bros’ extensive glue factory (which covers eight acres) in this city, together with the good will and all appurtenances. They will continue to produce glue in all it’s varieties, and all other products that their predecessors did, including gelatin, brewers’ isinglass, size for papermakers, bone-meal, neatsfoot oil, etc., etc. The regular packing business of the firm furnishes them with a fresh daily supply of materials, which is such an essential feature in securing superior qualities and perfect results… They employ 300 hands in the glue factory.

Ten years later, another item published in the Chicago Tribune, this one on May 5, 1896, announced the formation of their soap works.

Commencing this day the firm of Armour & Co. has added another feature to their business, to be known as the Armour Soap Works. The new building and plant are situated at Thirty-first and Benson Streets. With the inauguration of the soap works Armour & Co. now utilize everything in the way of raw material from the hog and steer.

An April 17, 1897 advertisement For Oshkosh Wisconsin’s “Kruschke’s” Department Store, confirmed that less than a year later the soap works was manufacturing at least three different soap brands.

Both the glue works and soap works were included in this May 28, 1897 advertisement in the Chicago Chronicle.

By the early 1890’s a pharmaceutical department had also been established  as evidenced by this excerpt from an April 10, 1892 Chicago Tribune article.

In the downtown office of Armour & Co. are several rows of shelves filled with bottles and at first sight a stranger would think the “old man,” as P.D. Armour is called by his employees among themselves, was running a drug store on the side to make both ends meet. In these bottles are a great and unique variety of preparations extracted from animals killed at the yards. The man who manages this department is a duly licensed druggist and physician, and the big packer’s hobby when receiving visitors is to invite them to sample his dried bullock’s blood or desiccated ox gail.

It’s likely that the above mentioned licensed druggist and his department were the very beginning of  Armour Laboratories. According to a November 13, 1949 Tribune story:

One of their earliest (products) was pepsin, a commercially valuable compound recovered from the stomach linings of hogs. For many rears the rudimentary laboratories at Armour’s were called the “pepsin department.”

On April 15, 1900 Phillip Armour formed a corporation that included most, though not all, of the Armour businesses. His reasoning was explained in a February 18, 1900 Chicago Tribune story.

The business of Armour & Co always has been carried on as a partnership. The recent death of Phillip D. Armour Jr., and the illness of Phillip D, Armour, the founder and head of the firm, are said to have supplied the reasons for deciding to put the business in a stock company. For several months the elder Armour has been ill, but it was not believed his illness was sufficiently grave to warrant any change in the management of the business. The death of his son was a severe blow, however, and is said to have determined the plan of incorporation.

The new corporation included the packing houses (excluding the Armour Packing House of Kansas City),  glue factory and soap factory, as well as a felt and hair factory and rail car shops.

The factories that will be taken into the stock company are large concerns. The glue factory is one of the largest in the country. The soap factory of Armour & Co., a more recent establishment, is also an important plant. The hair factory has an output which is said to be unequalled by that of any similar institution. The car factory is used to manufacture and keep in repair the hundreds of cars used in the transportation of the meat and other products of the various Armour industries.

In addition to the manufacturing plants, the packing house includes the large cattle interests of the firm. The agencies of Armour & Co. also will fall into the corporation. In every city of any size in the United States Armour & Co. has an agency for the distribution of dressed beef and the other packing house products of the firm. There are besides agencies in foreign countries. These are to be found in every port of consequence in Europe. In Asia and Africa the firm also carries on its widespread business.

The stockholders of the new corporation were Phillip D. Armour (50%), his son, J. Ogden Armour (25%) and the estate of his deceased son Phillip D. Armour, Jr. (25%). Shortly after the business incorporated, Phillip Sr. also passed away and J. Ogden Armour assumed the presidency. It was J. Ogden Armour who, according to an August 17, 1927 Chicago Tribune story, developed the business into a world wide organization.

Expansion in this country was followed by invasion in the South American field. In 1909 Armour & Co. acquired an interest in an Argentine packing plant. Now (1927) it has in that country five large plants whose products go to the world meat trade.

In the teens their food product menu extended well beyond the by-products of their meat packing business.  A product list published in 1919 bears this out.

According to the February, 1917 edition of a journal called “Advertising & Selling,” their food product line alone had reached over 300 items that were being distributed by 350 branch houses throughout the country. So it was out of necessity that around this time they unified much of their advertising under the “Armour Oval Label”

According to the 1917 story in “Advertising and Selling:”

About two years ago (1915) it was adopted as a permanent trademark for all Armour top grade products, and since then has appeared in all the advertising of these products; newspaper, poster, magazine, window display, booklet advertising, alike, all have the Oval Label as a prominent and permanent feature of the copy. (A label committee , composed of representatives from the selling, operative and executive departments, decides upon the eligibility of a product for the Oval Label, only the highest quality products being admitted to this class.)

Armour Laboratories had also grown significantly from the fledgling department of the early 1890’s.  An advertisement published in the 1919 edition of the “Modern Hospital Year Book,” included the laboratory’s pitch to the medical community.

We are headquarters for the organotherapeutic agents. Our abattoirs supply enormous quantities of glands and membranes from which digestive ferments and endocrine gland preparations are made. Raw material is selected with rigorous care. Nothing but healthy normal material is employed, and this is put into process before any deterioration has set in.

The laboratory is conveniently located. All desiccating is done in vacuum ovens at a low temperature, which prevents injury to active principles.

The advertisement went on to provide a descriptive list of their preparations.

The post World War I years brought pressures on the business that would ultimately, in the 1920’s, transition it from a company closely held by the Armour family to a publicly held company. A feature on J. Ogden Armour published at the time of his death in the August 17, 1927 edition of the Chicago Tribune described the influence of World War I on the corporation.

During the war American packers carried tremendous meat supplies, both for the American armies and for those of European allies. Prices of live stock and meat joined the wartime inflation.The business of Armour & Co. increased sales to around $1,000,000,000 a year…

With the abrupt ending of the war American packers and the allied governments alike had vast quantities of meat on hand. The wartime demand faded. Governments cancelled contracts and threw their surplus stocks on the market for whatever they would bring. Prices of live stock and meat dropped. With the post-war depression the currencies of Europe also plunged down in value.

The result of all this was that the large inventories of American meat packers lost tremendously in value. Their stocks in Europe were paid for in constantly depreciating currencies. It is estimated that Armour & Co. lost around $125,000,000 in two years.

Ultimately in 1923 a refinancing of the business was effected that ultimately resulted in J. Ogden Armour both relinquishing the presidency and selling the majority of his stock.

The Associated Press announced the organizational change on January 3, 1923.

Armour & Co. for the first time since it was organized in 1862, today operated without a member of the Armour family in the president’s chair.

Instead F. Edison White, a worker from the ranks, occupied the controlling station made vacant by the resignation of J. Ogden Armour yesterday, who became chairman of the board of directors.

However, members of the Armour family will retain important positions with the company. Phillip D. Armour III who has been a vice president of the company was designated first vice president, and Lester Armour was continued as a member of the board of directors.

A Chicago Tribune Story, dated February 14, 1925 revealed that the refinancing plan also included an option to purchase the bulk of Mr. Armour’s stock holdings within five years. The story went on to say that the purchase began at that time with a third of his holdings.

Armour & Co., largest of the packing concerns, will be owned by a large body of investors and will cease to be a family corporation with the working out of plans made known yesterday.

It is understood that about one third of the total stock holdings of J. Ogden Armour will be bought by the banking group, which conducted the financial reorganization of Armour & Co. two years ago, and then offered publicly to investors. Later on and as market conditions permit, further offerings of stock will be made.

J. Ogden Armour’s 1927 Chicago Tribune obituary mentioned that Armour’s stock holdings at the time of his death were not large, so it appears much of his remaining stock was sold over the next two years. Four years later in January, 1931 P. D. Armour, the grandson and namesake of the founder, resigned as first vice president. He would be the last member of the Armour family to hold an executive position in the corporation.

Overall the company had its ups and downs but continued to grow through the 1930’s and early 1940’s as evidenced by this financial snapshot included in the Chicago Tribune’s January 23, 1943 edition.

Stockholders were given a glimpse of company progress as indicated by a comparison of balance sheets of last year and of 1923, after a reorganization. Funded debt was reduced from 144 million to 62 million dollars during the 20 years, and sales increased from slightly more than 800 millions to 1 billion 300 millions.

Around this time they were contributing significantly to the World War II effort, so much so that an April 11, 1943 Chicago Tribune story announced that 90 to 95 per cent of Armour’s total production was devoted to war production. As a result, the army and navy awarded their E flag to company officials.

Notice that Armour & Co. had been elected to the award came in a letter from Robert P. Patterson, Undersecretary of War. The letter read in part; “You men and women of Armour & Co. are making an outstanding contribution to victory. You have every reason to be proud of the record you have set, and your practical patriotism stands as an example to all Americans.

Among the company’s specific accomplishments in aiding the war, (Armour)President Eastwood cited the following: “The development of wood veneer drums to replace metal drums, such as are used in the shipment of lard; a new method of smoking ham and bacon for army use which takes 96 hours instead of seven days; the telescoping of lambs to save shipping space.”

He also pointed to a new product “Tushonka,” a canned pork popular with Russians; to a new style of “stuffing horn” for packaging of ground beef; and, finally to the formula for “Pemmican,” an emergency ration carried by airplanes and ships.

The award also recognized the achievements of Armour Laboratories.

Brig. Gen. C. C. Hillman, acting Surgeon General, Washington D. C., said in his statement of the award to Armour Laboratories that they had “given a rich endowment, not only to the war effort but to the entire field of medicine. Listed on the chart of Armour’s achievements will be their production of ligatures, insulin, and other medical supplies for the military service. In addition to this, your conversion of facilities for the absorption of great production loads all shall be listed on the war chart victory.”

After the war the company continued to introduce new products and innovations. In 1948 the company introduced their famous brand, DIAL deodorant soap.

An August 11, 1948 Chicago Tribune advertisement bragged that the soap was so popular that after being introduced, it immediately sold out.

In the mid-1950’s Armour became the first company to vacuum package their bacon as well as other meats. A May 5, 1956 Chicago Tribune feature provided the details.

Armour was the very first to discover how to keep bacon slicer-fresh from packing house to your pan. Old style packages of bacon usually lost freshness after a week or 10 days, so Armour research set about developing a package that would maintain freshness for three weeks.

Since air was known to be the villain that made bacon lose flavor, the obvious solution was to remove the air and pack bacon in a vacuum.

Obvious? Well not exactly. While vacuum packed jars and cans have been used for years, the requirement that a bacon package be both flexible and transparent gave the problem new complexity.

Several hundred kinds of materials, and nearly as many different shapes and types of packages were tried and discarded.

Finally, a new plastic was tested and found to have just the right combination of strength and pliability for use in newly developed vacuum packaging machines.

Subsequent taste tests revealed that bacon packaged the new way keeps fresh much longer than was once thought possible. This fundamental research on bacon packaging was so successful that it soon led to vacuum packaging of many other products.

Armour Laboratories was also making significant advances during the late late 1940’s and 1950’s. Some were enumerated in a December 2, 1951 story.

Recently the science of animal utilization has reached its highest point at Armour & Co., which is now headed by Frederick Specht. The company views its laboratory accomplishments primarily from a humanitarian, rather than a money making angle.

The outstanding achievement was development of the pituitary hormone , ACTH, which was ordered into production in the early summer of 1949. It has been used in treating arthritis and 20 other diseases. A later development is trypsin, which has the ability to turn dead flesh into liquid without damaging live tissue. Trypsin, like the insulin used by diabetics, come from a meat animal’s pancreas.

Hormones are not the only medical products of meat packing. Liver extracts are used in treating anemia, many products are made from animal blood, and a stomach lining substance is used for ulcer.

As the 1960’s approached the overall corporate picture was apparently beginning to lose some shine. In 1959 Armour discontinued all slaughtering operations in Chicago. A story dated June 9, 1959 in the Chicago Tribune detailed the facts and reasoning behind the decision.

Armour & Co. announced Monday that it will discontinue all slaughtering operations at six plants, including the one at Chicago…

Approximately 5,000 employees will be affected at all plants, including 2,000 in Chicago. Armour employs nearly 3,000 persons in its Chicago unit, but not all of them work in slaughtering operations. Such Chicago operations as refining of fats and oils, wool pulling, soap manufacturer, and sales and distribution will be continued. In addition, Armour will continue to buy cattle on the Chicago market for its eastern plants…

The company said there were several basic causes for its inability to reverse substantial losses encountered at these plants. These include obsolescence of buildings, many of which were constructed more than 50 years ago; shifts in live stock numbers sectionally; declining receipts of live stock at some markets; and a general and widely recognized condition of excess production capacity in the meat packing industry.

Ultimately Armour was acquired by the Greyhound Corporation in 1970. This strange marriage is explained by company histories.com.

The country’s leader in the motor coach industry since 1930, Greyhound under chairperson and CEO Gerald H. Trautman had begun to diversify its operations in the 1960’s in response to declining bus ticket sales. As automobiles and airline tickets became less expensive and bus line profits dwindled, Greyhound acquired small companies in the fields of automobile leasing, money orders, insurance, and catering. Greyhound board members were approached by Armour in the late 1960’s when General Host threatened Armour with a hostile takeover, and Greyhound was persuaded to add Armour to its subsidiaries. The 1970 $400 million purchase was Greyhound’s first major acquisition. To reduce its investment, Greyhound immediately sold $225 million of Armour assets, retaining only the meatpacking and consumer products subsidiaries. The meatpacking operation was renamed Armour Foods, while the consumer products operation was renamed Armour-Dial.

Less than a year later, and after more than 100 years, the Arizona Republic announced that, now a subsidiary of Greyhound, the Armour headquarters was leaving Chicago for Phoenix Arizona.

Greyhound Corp. the nation’s 29th largest firm, and its big subsidiary, Armour and Co., are moving from Chicago to Phoenix.

Gerald H. Trautman of Paradise Valley, chairman and chief executive said the move will affect ” a few hundred”employees of the headquarters staffs of the Greyhound Corp. and of these subsidiaries:

Armour and Co., Greyhound Bus Lines, Greyhound Leasing and Financial Corp., and Greyhound Computer Corp., except its service center personnel.

The largest of Greyhound’s subsidiaries is Armour and Co., acquired in 1970. From its start in meat packing, that firm has diversified into a modern industrial complex.

 

Today Armour meat products continue to be sold by Smithfield Foods and are still marketed under an oval label.

Over the years I’ve found two Armour bottles, both small and mouth blown. One embossed “Armour Laboratories,” is colored brown and approximately one ounce in size. The Armour Laboratory Pharmaceutical List, published in the 1919 “Modern Hospital Yearbook” included a one ounce bottle size for both pepsin and pancreatin powders.

The second bottle is approximately two ounces in size and embossed “Armour and Company,” not “Armour Laboratories,” which leads me to believe its not a pharmaceutical bottle. Armour produced lemon, orange and vanilla flavoring extracts in several size bottles, including two ounces, so I’m leaning in that direction.

 

Kellogg’s Tasteless Castor Oil

 

The above bottle is simply embossed Kellogg’s on its base which leaves several turn of the century products that it could possibly have contained.

One was “Kellogg’s Whiskey,” but the size and shape of the bottle certainly say medicine, not whiskey flask. Another, Kellogg’s Ant Paste, also fits the time frame but was sold in what was marketed as “the jar with the rattle cap,” not in a bottle

         

The fact that both businesses were located on the west coast and focused their advertising in that area further raised doubt that they hit the mark.

That left the linseed oil manufacturing company of Spencer Kellogg & Sons who in the mid-teens began manufacturing a product called “Tasteless Castor Oil,” whose bottles best fit the bill. In fact, the subject bottle looks quite similar to the bottle illustrated in this 1913 advertisement.

The business of Spencer Kellogg & Sons incorporated in Buffalo, New York in 1912 but the Kellogg family had been in the business of crushing and recovering products from various oil bearing seeds for two generations prior. The family’s start in the business was described years later in the December 31, 1939 edition of the Decatur, Illinois “Herald and Review.”

History records the erection of the first linseed oil mill by a member of the Kellogg family in 1824. It was in that year that Supplina Kellogg, grandfather of the founder of the present company, great grandfather of a present president, made the decision at the age of 35 to embark in the linseed oil business.

The first linseed mill erected on the Chactanunda Creek, West Galway in the Mohawk Valley near Amsterdam, N.Y., was a modest affair with a capacity of two barrels daily. In a few years, its production expanded to six barrels daily.

The first motive power at this “plant” was furnished by a blind mule. The maximum output was obtained when the mule was good and fresh.

According to the “Genealogical and Family History of Western New York,” by William Richard Cutter, published in 1912, Supplina passed away in 1845 and subsequently the business, operated by his two sons, Lauren and John, moved to Amsterdam, New York  in 1852. A year later Lauren Kellogg passed away and his place in the firm was taken by his wife’s brother, James A. Miller, changing the firm to Kellogg and Miller.

The “Genealogical and Family History of Western New York” goes on to say that in 1868 Spencer Kellogg entered the picture.

Spencer Kellogg, at the age of seventeen, began working for the firm and displayed so much business ability that four years later, in 1872, on his coming of legal age, was admitted to the firm…

Spencer remained with the firm for another five years. Then, in 1877 sold his interest in the business and relocated to Des Moines, Iowa before ultimately settling in Buffalo, New York. The reasoning behind his move from Des Moines to Buffalo was explained in “A history of the City of Buffalo Its Men and Institutions,” published in 1908.

…he entered into a partnership to erect a linseed oil mill in that town, which was to compete with one already established there. One day Mr. Kellogg was struck with the idea that the flax crop which had progressed steadily in a northwesterly direction, and from having originally been chiefly grown in the vicinity of Philadelphia, had moved through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and was now largely located in Iowa, must almost of necessity proceed further westward, and would, therefore, eventually leave Des Moines, out of its radius, as it had already left Amsterdam.

Further investigation convinced him that the flaxseed which was the raw material of his proposed mill, would in the end be grown principally in the Dakotas. But the principal markets for linseed oil were in the East. Hence the question arose, How will the flaxseed be brought to the Eastern mills? and putting his finger on the map where Buffalo was marked, he said to his partner, “That will be the great distributing point, and that is the place for our mill.

Acting on this theory, the Des Moines project was abandoned and in 1879 Kellogg, in partnership with Sidney McDougall, erected a mill in Buffalo, New York. Located on an island in Buffalo Harbor, a February 22, 1881 story in the “Buffalo Commercial” described their location as “the south side of the creek, opposite the foot of Illinois Street.” The 1880 Buffalo Directory simply used the address, “on island.”

The early history of the business included a building collapse and two fires but the company survived and grew steadily during their first decade  ultimately incorporating in 1887 under the name  of the Kellogg & McDougall Linseed Oil Company. The incorporation notice was published in the January 14, 1887 edition of the “Buffalo Times.”

A feature on the business published in the October 2, 1892 edition of the “Buffalo Sunday Morning News” provided this snapshot of their oil manufacturing works as the business entered the 1890’s.

The office of the works is at 351 Main Street, while the works on the island at the foot of Main Street occupy a two story building 50 x 130 feet, a six story building 40 x 150 feet, and an elevator of 100,000 bushels capacity. Twenty presses are operated, crushing 750,000 barrels annually, the daily capacity being for 120 barrels of oil and 57 tons of oil cake, the latter being exported, while the oil is sold through New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

As early as 1884 the company was not only producing oil from the crushed flaxseed but, based on this May 3, 1884 news item, was growing a portion of the flaxseed crop as well, not surprisingly, in the Dakotas.

The enterprising firm of Kellogg & McDougall of Buffalo have 2000 acres of land in Dakota now under cultivation for flaxseed. This is the greatest number of acres ever sown to flaxseed by any one firm in the United States. The farm is under the management of Lauren K. Lee, a cousin of Spencer Kellogg. He has 180 head of horses and from 80 to 100 men employed by the undertaking. The land is located around Valley Springs, is very rich and will yield a handsome crop.

In addition to expanding their oil works the company was also branching out during their first decade. The 1892 “Buffalo Morning News”  feature went on to enumerate several other companies/businesses established under Kellogg and McDougall during that period. One was the Kellogg Oil, Paint and Varnish Company.

The Kellogg Oil, Paint and Varnish Company was incorporated in 1887, the officers being Spencer Kellogg, president; Sidney McDougall, treasurer and Robert M. Walker, manager, with office at 351 Main Street and their four story factory with warehouse adjoining is on Elk Street and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railway, South Buffalo.They manufacture ready-mixed paints, colors ground in oil, shingle stains and buggy and floor paints, all of superior quality and largely sold throughout the country.

Their incorporation notice was published in the June 11, 1887 edition of the “Buffalo Commercial.”

1889 newspaper advertisements for their paints indicate that the company may have had a retail location at 609 Main Street as well as their 351 Main Street office.

The 1892 feature went on to say:

Mr. Kellogg in 1888 established a large business as a dealer in linseed oil, making a specialty of aging these oils to give them a superior body, adapting them for use for varnish, grinding, patent leather, printers’ ink and other purposes, this business also occupying commodious premises on Elk Street, South Buffalo.

Another of these enterprises is that of the Spencer Kellogg Company, organized in the present year with Spencer Kellogg, president, and Sidney McDougall secretary, this company opened for business Aug 1, 1892, an elevator of 600,000 bushels capacity on Ganson Street, the canal, the river and the Buffalo Creek Railway.

The Spencer Kellogg Company’s incorporation notice, published in the February 5, 1892 edition of the “Buffalo morning Express,” provided the following description of the elevator business.

The Spencer Kellogg Company is the name of an organization the certificate of incorporation of which was filed with the County Clerk yesterday. The object of the company is the purchase of cereals, grain and seeds and grinding and milling the same, manufacture of flour and meal, the receiving, elevating, storing and transporting of grain….

The capital stock is $100,000, all of which shall be common stock, and the company of 50 years duration. There are five directors as follows: Spencer Kellogg, Sidney McDougall, Robert M. Walker, Albert J. Warwick and Charles S. Wright.

An anecdote published in the August 9, 1892 edition of the “Buffalo Morning Express” provided an idea of the elevator’s size without mentioning a single dimension.

“I’m glad that stack is finished,” said contractor James Boland yesterday as he looked at the big brick smokestack of the new Kellogg & McDougall elevator. “It was intended to make it round, but that was so expensive and would take so much time that a square stack was decided on instead. It’s rather an expensive job. The men went up in the morning and did not come down until night, because I found it much cheaper to feed them at the top. An hour’s nooning would take a man two hours away from his work. I guess he could go to Black Rock in the time it would take him to go up and come down the stack.”

This construction photograph of the elevator appeared in the June 12 1892 edition of the Buffalo Morning Express.

If that wasn’t enough, Kellogg & McDougall also established a broom factory as part of their operation. According to the 1892 “Buffalo Sunday Morning News” feature:

Under the firm name of Kellogg & McDougall, these gentlemen conduct on Elk Street and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railway in South Buffalo an extensive broom manufactory which they established in 1886. They produce 200 dozen brooms daily, making a specialty of the best grades.

Well respected in their own right, the brooms were exhibited in the Paris Exposition in 1889. In fact, not only were they included in the U. S. exhibit  but, according to a June 30, 1889 item in the Buffalo Morning Express, they also kept the floors of the entire U. S. portion of the exposition swept clean..

Opposite the exhibit of Buffalo tools, on the wall, is a big palm-leaf fan, projecting high above everything. It is made entirely of brooms, as are also the two pyramids in front of it, and the whole is placarded, in big labels, “These brooms are from the works of Kellogg & McDougall, Buffalo, N.Y., U.S.A.” This firm supplies all the brooms used by the United States Commission in keeping clean its 80,000 square feet of floor space. An exhibit of linseed oil cake, in a prominent place near by, is also from the firm.

That being said, the manufacture of raw linseed oil was their primary business, operating independently until sometime in 1889 or 1890. At that time it appears that the business joined a linseed oil trust, reorganizing as a branch of the National Linseed Oil Company of Chicago Illinois. A feature on the business in the October 2, 1892 edition of the “Buffalo Sunday Morning News” described the reorganization.

One of the most interesting groups of important industries is that of which Spencer Kellogg and Sidney McDougall are the controlling heads. In 1879 they became associated under firm name of Kellogg & McDougall to manufacture pure linseed oil, carrying on the business thus until two years ago, when a reorganization was effected, the business since then being conducted as a branch of the National Linseed Oil Company of Chicago, Ill., under the direction of the original proprietors, Mr. Kellogg being manager and Mr. McDougall assistant manager, and the establishment being known as the Kellogg & McDougall Linseed Oil Works

Spencer Kellogg’s association with the Trust was short lived and in 1894 the April 26 edition of the “Buffalo Morning Express” announced that he was leaving the trust with plans to construct a new plant and proceed independently.

Spencer Kellogg who has been connected with the National Linseed Oil Company of Chicago for more than a year, or since the Trust assumed control of the different plants of that kind in the country is about to sever his connection with the Trust and to engage in the manufacture of these products on his own account. He was the owner of the plant in this city until the time when it went into the hands of the Trust and since that time has managed the concern…

The new plant will be a model one of the kind, it is promised. It will be located on the lot adjoining the Kellogg Elevator and will be one of the most modern and best equipped in the country. It will have a capacity for crushing 4,600 bushels of flaxseed a day and 1,400,000 a year, which makes  a very large output at the present price of flaxseed…

The mill will contain 36 presses and the machinery will be of the latest design. At the beginning there will be in the vicinity of 40 men employed and this number will probably be increased after a short time…

Over the next six years Kellogg’s new plant was almost continuously being enlarged. An October 4, 1900 story in the “Buffalo Morning Express” documented the additions.

The Kellogg plant originally had 36 presses. Twenty-four more were added in March, 1899. The work of intstalling 30 more was begun about July, 1900.

The story went on to call it the largest linseed oil plant in the world and they weren’t done. Three years later, in 1903, another addition increased the number of presses to 138.

The business incorporated in 1904 as the Spencer Kellogg Company. The incorporation notice was published in the May 7, 1904 edition of the “Buffalo Courier.”

The Spencer Kellogg Company capitalized at a million dollars has been incorporated according to papers filed yesterday. The concern deals in and refines oil in Buffalo. The directors are Spencer Kellogg, Spencer Kellogg, Jr., and Howard Kellogg.

Later, in August, 1912, they would reincorporate as Spencer Kellogg & Sons, with $6,000,000 capital.

The incorporation notices included Kellogg’s two sons but made no mention of  Sidney McDougall  who apparently ended his business relationship with Kellogg in 1898. At that time, it appears he left the manufacture of linseed oil to Kellogg and took complete control of the “Kellogg Oil, Paint and Varnish Company,” changing its name to the “Buffalo Oil, Paint and Varnish Company,” on December 27, 1898. According to his May 18, 1919 obituary in the “Buffalo Courier,” he remained president of that firm until his death.

In 1907 Kellogg announced plans for a second plant in Minneapolis Minnesota that would double their output. Later, in 1909, a December 27 story in the “Buffalo Evening News” announced that the Spencer Kellogg Company was in the process of establishing still another plant; this one in the New York City area. The story quoted Spencer Kellogg, Jr.

The Spencer Kellogg Company has a mill in Minneapolis, and we are now building another plant in New York, consisting of a mill, concrete elevators, refineries, etc., which will cost $500,000, exclusive of the site. The purpose of this plant at New York is to crush and treat the seed that is imported.

The plant was actually located directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan, in Edgewater, New Jersey. The following aerial and river views of the facility that date to the late 1940’s are courtesy of the Library of Congress.

According to “The Chemical Industry of Shadyside (Edgewater) New Jersey – A History” by Robert J. Baptista, (December 16, 2012 update):

The deepwater dock allowed ocean going ships from India and Argentina to come directly to the plant to discharge cargoes of flaxseed, which was pressed into Linseed Oil. In 1913 the plant started crushing castor beans from India. The castor oil was used in the textile industry to soften fibers and impart luster to synthetic dyes.

It was at the New Jersey location that their “Tasteless Castor Oil” was manufactured. It apparently hit the market sometime in 1913 with newspaper advertisements first appearing in August of that year. Several ads, disguised as newspaper articles, appeared that year that were certainly introductory in nature.

BUFFALO FIRM PERFECTS THE FINEST LAXATIVE IN 3,000 YEARS

Kellogg’s Tasteless Castor Oil is Pure Castor Oil Without Taste or Smell

For 3,000 years castor oil has been the world’s best laxative, but until now an offensive, sickening taste has limited its use.

For 3,000 years chemists have tried to remove the taste.

It remained for Spencer Kellogg & Sons of Buffalo to solve the problem.

Kellogg’s Tasteless Castor oil is just what the name means – a pure, clear, refined oil without any taste. Doctors are prescribing it already.

Anybody can disguise the taste of castor oil by mixing it with alcohol, wintergreen, peppermint, or other flavors, but it required real genius to keep the oil pure and make it tasteless. Kellogg’s Tasteless Castor Oil works even better than the old evil dose, without pain or griping.

Your dealer has Kellogg’s Tasteless Oil, or can get it quickly. 25c and 50c. Ask for Kellogg’s and look for the trade mark on the label – the Kellogg signature over a green castor leaf. Spencer Kellogg & Sons, Inc., Buffalo N.Y.

At the same time the company was reaching the general public with newspaper advertisements they were also pitching the medical profession through a series of 1914 advertisements in the New York State Journal of Medicine.

The advertisements said, in part:

The attending physician can now prescribe pure castor oil in cases of temporary indisposition, with the feeling that he will not be working a hardship upon his patient – whether man, woman or child – because it is now made in absolutely tasteless form and no cathartic is quite so meritorious.

Realizing the great demand for an absolutely TASTELESS Castor Oil –  without the unpleasant flavor and odor of castor – we experimented with and finally announce the complete perfection of Kellogg’s Tasteless Castor Oil.

Its simply good old-fashioned Castor Oil without the unpleasantness. Absolutely nothing added – nothing taken away except the odor and taste. Not to be confused with so-called “palatable” or “aromatic flavored” Oils which are heavily adulterated with strong flavoring which greatly compromises the properties of the Oil.

You can now prescribe KELLOGG’S TASTELESS CASTOR OIL freely for children and fastidious adult patients without working a hardship on them. You’ll find they welcome this king of all cathartics – if you see that they get Kellogg’s.

Their oil continued to be included in advertised drug store  price listings as late as the early 1970’s and over the years their message remained quite consistent. Advertisements from 1926 and 1939 bear this out, although by 1939 it was called Kellogg’s “Perfected” Tasteless Castor Oil.

 

Spencer Kellogg passed away in 1922. That left his son Howard as president ushering in a fourth generation of Kellogg’s to a leadership position. Later a fifth generation, in the person of Howard Kellogg Jr., would serve as president. By 1957, according to a March 20 story in the ‘Binghamton (New York) Press and Sun-Bulletin,” the company employed about 1,200 persons at 15 plants in the country. Over the years their plant locations included Superior, Wisconsin, Chicago and Decatur, Illinois, Des Moines, Iowa, Bellevue, Ohio, Long Beach California, as well as Rotterdam Holland and Manilla in the Philippines.

The Kellogg business also maintained sales offices at various locations across the country, with one in New York City listed consistently from 1886 up until 1960. Initially located at 102 Barclay Street, they remained in lower Manhattan, at 59 Maiden Lane and later 100 William Street, until sometime around 1920 when they moved to midtown where they occupied several different locations in the East 40’s over the next 40 years.

In 1961 Spencer Kellogg & Sons merged with Textron Inc. The merger was reported in the July 28, 1961 edition of the “Decatur (Illinois) Daily Review.”

Spencer Kellogg & Sons, Inc. is now a part of Textron, Inc.

Textron a diversified company supplying industrial, consumer and defense products is based in Providence R. I.

Spencer Kellogg is a producer of vegetable oils and meal, special chemical products and animal feed.

Textron will acquire Spencer Kellogg’s assets, properties and business by swapping six-sevenths of a share of its stock for a share of Spencer Kellogg.

Last year Spencer Kellogg had assets of $52,459,000 dropping it to 465th place from 446th place in the national rankings of Forbes Magazine.

Spencer Kellogg employs 1,772 persons making it 487th in size.

The bottle I found is machine made with Kellogg’s (in script) embossed on the base. It likely dates as early as 1913 when their Tasteless Castor Oil was introduced up through the late 1920’s when they likely transitioned to a screw top finish.

During this period the company offered both a three ounce and seven ounce size as evidenced by this 1915 advertisement.

The subject bottle is certainly the three ounce version.

A 1924 advertisement in a publication called “The Public Health Nurse,”demonstrated that the company was also offering a sample size around that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavoris Chemical Co., Minneapolis

Beginning around the turn of the century, the Lavoris Chemical Company, whose name was later changed to the Lavoris Company in 1932, manufactured their staple product, Lavoris Mouthwash, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Active for fifty plus years, the company was acquired by the Vick Chemical Company of New York in 1958. An August 13, 1958 Minneapolis Star story provided this snapshot of the company at the time of the acquisition.

Lavoris is described as one of the largest independent manufacturing chemists’ firms in the industry. Although it has only the one plant in Minneapolis, it sells its product in all 48 states and many foreign countries.

A paradox in this modern age of salesmanship – the Lavoris Company has no salesman and no sales agents and has had none for more than forty years.

Its business is entirely by mail order.

Today the company has one of the most modern bottling and packaging plants in the nation.

Established in 1902, the company’s incorporation notice was published in the August 7, 1902 edition of the Minneapolis Journal.

The notice announced three incorporators, Charles E. Leigh, William H. Levings and Weed Munro. Leigh owned a Minneapolis drug store located at Seventh and Nicolette and is generally credited as the originator of “Lavoris” mouthwash. He served as president of the firm up until 1940. Levings served  as the company’s secretary and treasurer up until his death in 1930. Sadly Weed Munro, a lawyer by trade, passed away in early 1907 after suffering a serious head injury in September of 1905.

A March 1903 Lavoris advertisement (shown further down in this post) listed the company’s initial address  as 3 So Sixth St., on the corner of Hennepin Avenue. However, within several months the business had moved across Hennepin Avenue to 8 N. Sixth St., where they rented space from the local Masonic Temple Association. According to a May 2, 1903 story in the Minneapolis Journal.

Secretary H. M. Meyers of the Masonic Temple Association has rented the corner used by the Minneapolis Gas Light Company to J. F. Gage, dealer in desks, and the Lavoris Chemical Company. The Lavoris company will have the rear occupied by the gas company as a shop.

It wasn’t long after they moved to this location that a December 5, 1903 story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that Leigh had sold his drug store in order to focus on the new business.

An important deal in the drug business was consummated yesterday when the papers were signed which converted into the possession of Voegell Bros. Drug Company, the large drug store of Charles E. Leigh, Nicolette Avenue and Seventh Street. The sale was made to enable Mr. Leigh to devote his entire attention to the manufacture of “Lavoris…” The consideration, it is understood, was between $10,000 and $12,000.

Over the next several years demands for expansion would uproot the business several times. Sometime around 1909 the business moved to the Burd building at 318 First Avenue where they occupied the entire fifth floor. The ERA Druggist Directory listed them at that address as late as 1911.

According to the 1913 ERA Druggist Directory by then they had moved again, this time to Western Avenue and N. 10th Avenue. Here they continued to expand until by October of 1919 they were leasing the entire building. According to a story published that month in the Northwestern Druggist:

The Lavoris Chemical Company, 52,54,56,58 Western Avenue, Minneapolis, which one year ago enlarged its headquarters to take care of increased business, has again effected an expansion and now occupies the entire building at Western and Tenth. The building, which is pictured below, is modern in every respect and is strictly fireproof. The facilities provided by the expansion represent an extension of approximately fifty percent.

Tired of leasing, on October 30, 1922 the company was issued a building permit to erect a new $150,000 factory on North Third Street. A rendering of the new building which included frontage of 110 feet on Third Street and 149 feet on Tenth Avenue, was featured in the November 5, 1922 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The caption below the rendering read:

The Lavoris Chemical Company will erect a three story building, on Third Street and Tenth Avenue North, the frontage to be on Third Street. The building is expected to be completed before May 1. The new site will have the benefit of rail trackage of the Great Northern and Burlington lines.

The exterior will be of Bedford stone, brick and terra cotta. The structure will be fire proof. Provision has been made for lounge and rest rooms. Two freight elevators will be installed.

The laboratory space will be increased and more equipment added. Floors will be cement.

Supplementing their Minneapolis expansion, the company  incorporated a Canadian subsidiary in Toronto. The incorporation notice appeared in the October 12, 1921 edition of a trade publication called “Drug and Chemical Markets.”

According to the 1958 Minneapolis Star story, when Leigh stepped down as president in 1940, he continued to serve as a vice president in an advisory capacity until his death in 1947. He was replaced as president by Greenly Ladd who, in 1954, retired and was replaced by Harold C. Keen. Keen was still president when the company was acquired by the Vick Chemical Company in 1958.

Vick’s acquisition of the Lavoris Co., as reported in the Minneapolis Star, was finalized on October 1, 1958.

The Lavoris Co., which has made Lavoris mouthwash in Minneapolis for 56 years, today became a part of the Vick Chemical Co. of New York.

Signing of final papers took place this morning at Lavoris headquarters, 918 N. 3rd St.

Signing for Lavoris was H. C. Keen, president. Acting for Vick were Kirby Peake, president; J. G. Morrison, vice president of Vick’s products division; R. P. Powell, assistant secretary of Vick.

Lavoris stockholders ratified the sale of the company to Vick on Sept. 9.

Peake said the acquisition is part of Vick’s expansion and diversification program in all phases of the drug industry. The firm now has 12 divisions and subsidiaries.

Peake said the Lavoris Co. will continue to manufacture its mouthwash in Minneapolis and Keen will continue as president of the subsidiary.

Vick’s intent to keep the business in Minneapolis was certainly not a long term proposition.  Within three years of the acquisition, this November 20,1961 story in the Minneapolis Star made it clear that the Lavoris Division of Vicks had abandoned their long time Minneapolis headquarters.

Home of a departed Minneapolis industry, Lavoris Co., at 3rd St. and N. 10th Ave., has been purchased by Flour City Brush Co. for $235,000…Lavoris moved after it was absorbed by Vick Chemical Co.

The structure itself still exists to this day. A photograph of the building taken around the time it opened and published in the May 13, 1923 edition of the Star Tribune, as compared with today’s Google Earth version clearly demonstrates that the building’s exterior has changed very little over almost 100 years.

Over its lifetime, the Lavoris company’s existence was primarily devoted to the manufacture and sale of one single product, Lavoris Mouthwash. Originally marketed to the dental profession. the earliest Lavoris advertisements I can find appeared in the February and March 1903 editions of a technical publication called the “Dental Cosmos.” The March 1903 advertisement is shown below.

By 1910, advertisements targeting the general public began appearing in some daily newspapers. Their marketing “pitch” went like this:

The Guardian of Teeth, Gums and General Health

Lavoris used daily will keep your mouth and throat always sweet, clean and free from germs and gases that cause decay and bad breath. It will harden the gums and delicate throat tissues and keep them firm and healthy to resist colds, catarrh and other infections.

If your gums are receding, indicating Pyorrhea or Riggs Disease; if your teeth are loose or your gums soft, spongy or swollen; if tartar forms rapidly, or if you notice an unpleasant, acid-like taste in the morning –

Start the Regular Use of Lavoris Today

Not just a dental product it was also advertised as a topical antiseptic.

Lavoris is the favorite antiseptic preparation among physicians also. For cleaning and dressing cuts, burns, insect bites, wounds of all kinds. It removes the danger of infection – blood poisoning – at the same time soothing and healing the affected parts.

The company claimed their essential ingredient was chloride of zinc.

Zinc Chloride is the most cleansing, soothing, healing agent known to science. Your dentist uses it – so does your doctor. Lavoris is the only preparation on the market containing Zinc Chloride in soluble form so you or anybody can use it in the home.

The American Medical Association wasn’t convinced. In their November 1, 1919 Journal they presented an analysis of Lavoris that showed it did contain zinc chloride but in such a small dose as to be ineffective.

It is generally held that zinc chloride solutions which possess a strength of from 1 to 200 up to 1 to 500 exercise a weak antiseptic action. The strength of zinc chloride in Lavoris is approximately 1 to 1,000. The directions for its use recommended that Lavoris should be diluted. A dilution of 1 to 4 is recommended for a variety of mouth conditions while for cystitis irrigations and as a vaginal douche, it is recommended that one tablespoonful be added to a quart of warm water or salt solution. The strength of zinc chloride in the last suggested dilution would approximate 1 to 64,000. It is evident that no antiseptic action could be expected from such dilutions.

Regardless, the product was marketed as a mouth wash and gargle up to and following their acquisition by the Vick Company. The following Life Magazine advertisements are from 1957 and 1959 respectively.

 

The Lavoris brand went through a number of ownership changes after the Vicks acquisition. Today the Lavoris trademark is held by Evergreen Consumer Products, Inc. and the mouthwash is still available on Amazon and in stores like Walgreens.

Over the years I’ve found both three and eight ounce, machine-made bottles that exhibit the word “Lavoris on the shoulder. This same design was employed for most of the product’s history. Look closely and you can see the words Lavoris on the shoulder of the bottle in this January 1905 advertisement found in a publication called “The Bur.”

Other than transitioning from cork to screw top, their bottle design in this 1960 Life Magazine advertisement remained relatively unchanged with “Lavoris” still embossed on the shoulder.

Based on an unscientific study of their advertising, the company transitioned from cork top to screw top bottles sometime around 1935.  Both types can be found in their advertisements that year.

It wasn’t until sometime after 1960 that their actual bottle design changed as evidenced by this 1966 Life Magazine advertisement.

Both bottles I found are also embossed on the base with the “Lavoris Chemical Co.” name. This dates them between the early 1900’s and the 1932 name change to the Lavoris Company.

On a final note, the Masonic Temple where the fledgling Lavoris Chemical Co. rented space back in the early 1900’s remains to this day. It’s now the Hennepin Center for the Arts.

There’s a good chance that this alleyway at the rear of the building on N. Sixth St. provides access to the former shop area once rented by the Lavoris Chemical Company.

 

Wm F. Kidder, New York

William Kidder was a wholesale drug merchant and later manufacturing chemist located in New York City’s Borough of Manhattan. Companies associated with his name were in business from the late 1860’s up through the early 1900’s.

Initially Kidder ran a wholesale drug depot in partnership with Eugene Wetherell. Although not listed in New York City directories prior to 1870, November and December 1869 advertisements for Durno’s Catarrh Snuff made it clear that they were certainly in operation by then at 32 Cedar Street under the name Kidder & Wetherell.

Later an April 1870 advertisement, also for Durno’s Snuff, included Kidder & Wetherell’s address as 104 William Street and that’s where the company was initially listed in New York City’s 1870/1871 directory.

The partnership with Wetherell continued for several years using several different addresses; 104 William Street (1870-1871), 57 John Street (1872) and 83 John Street (1873). Directories during this period classified them under several categories including merchants, importers and soaps.

Then in 1874 the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed the partnership as dissolved. A pair of advertisements published in New York’s Christian Leader suggest that the dissolution took place sometime in November of 1873. The first, for Morison’s Pills published on November 8, 1873, named the business as Kidder, Wetherell & Co. The second, for Buchan’s Carbolic Soaps published a week later on November 15, 1873 in the same newspaper, named the business as William F. Kidder & Co., successors to Kidder, Wetherall & Co.

     

     

Between 1874 and 1877 Kidder remained in business at 83 John Street operating under the name Wm. F. Kidder & Co. Newspaper  advertisements during this time indicate that the company continued to operate primarily as wholesale agents for a wide variety of products that not only included patent medicines but also items like Hawthorne Spring Water and Frese’s American Mende Cement.

       

       

Sometime in 1877 or 1878, Kidder formed another partnership, this time with George W. Laird. The business operated under the name Kidder & Laird from 1877 up until 1884. Sometime around 1880 advertisements for Kidder’s Saccharated Pepsine began appearing in the trade magazines suggesting that by then, in addition to acting as wholesale agents, they had added a manufacturing arm to the company.

Ultimately, with Laird experiencing financial difficulties, the  Kidder & Laird partnership was dissolved on May 3, 1884. The dissolution notice appeared in the May, 4, 1884 edition of the New York Tribune.

At this point, Kidder, now associated with a man named Vass Houghton, carried on the business as Wm F. Kidder & Co. and by the mid 1880’s was heavily advertising several specialty products. One called “Digestylin,” was labeled as “a sure cure for indigestion and dyspepsia” in a series of newspaper advertisements that ran throughout the eastern half of the country in September through December of 1887.

Another was Kidder’s Wine of the Purified Hypophosphites of Lime and Soda that was primarily advertised to the medical profession in pharmaceutical trade magazines.

Physicians will find this wine an efficacious remedy, where disease indicates the administration. Of all preparations of Phosphorous the Hypophosphates are the most easy assimilated thus rendering it a superior medicine in an improved condition of the system, as in Phthisis, Nervous Depression, Scrofulous Ulceration, Debility from prolonged lactation, and in all diseases in which the vital forces are impaired. The combination with pure wine aids its tonic action and makes it palatable and acceptable to the most delicate stomach. This preparation, alternated with Hydroleine (Hydrated Oil), will greatly aid in building up the debilitated system.

The  mention of Hydoleine in the above advertisement was no coincidence because Kidder was also the sole U. S. agent for that product as well.

According to a January 14, 1888 story in The New York Times, it was the advertising costs associated with these products that, in part, forced a suspension of the business at that time.

BUSINESS TROUBLES

William F. Kidder and Vass Houghton, comprising the firm of William F. Kidder & Co., 83 John St., New York made an assignment recently to Benjamin Y. Pippey. The failure caused great surprise in the trade, as a year ago $150,000 had been claimed as available means. Mr. Kidder who lives at East Orange, did not come over to his office yesterday, and his clerks could not give any details of the failure. It was stated, however, that Mr. Kidder had spent large amounts in advertising his specialties and the returns had come in very slowly lately. Business had been dull and obligations were maturing which he could not meet. The failure of his former partner, George W. Laird, some time ago, had also affected him indirectly, as he had added one of Mr. Laird’s creditors to a considerable extent. Mr. Kidder had hoped to pull through, but found he was unable to.

Several weeks later a slightly more optimistic item appeared in the March 1888 edition of the Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette.

The assignee of Wm. F. Kidder & Co., reports the nominal assets at $38,000, actual assets $21,000 and gross liabilities $62,000. There is an effort being made to effect a settlement with the creditors that business may be resumed.

It appears that Kidder did in fact continue in business, remaining with the company for several more years. Both the company and Kidder were still listed at 83 John Street with the the classification “patent medicines” in the 1890/1891 NYC Directory. However, the next year the company moved to 19 Beekman Street and by that time Kidder was no longer included at that address.

The 1895 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Wm F. Kidder & Co. as a New Jersey Corporation with capital of $12,000 (I don’t have access to 1891 to 1894). Still located at 19 Beekman Street, George Currier was named as president and Frank W. Bailey and Horace W. Campbell as secretary and treasurer respectively.

Sometime around 1900 the company moved to 26 Cliff Street where it was still listed with the same officers in the 1902 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory. It had vanished from the directories by 1904.

The bottle I found is a 12 oz mouth blown medicine embossed “Wm. F Kidder, New York.” That puts it within one of two time periods when the company operated solely under his name – 1874 to 1877 or 1884 to 1903. The bottle was almost certainly manufactured during the latter. I suspect it’s from the mid to late 1880’s when the company heavily advertising “Dygestylin” to the general public (price $1 per large bottle according to the above advertisement).

Coca Mariani, Paris

 

The term Coca Mariani encompassed a series of coca based products one of which was a Bordeaux produced wine infused with coca leaves called Vin Mariani. Originally formulated in the 1860’s by M. Angelo Mariani, it would go on to become extremely popular in the United States from the 1880’s up until the early 1900’s.

Born in 1838, the early part of Mariani’s career is described in a book entitled “A Brief History of Cocaine,” by Steven B. Karch, M. D., published in 2006.

It can be said with reasonable certainty, that Mariani worked as an apprentice pharmacist in Paris at Chantrels, a pharmacy located on the Rue de Clichy. Sometime during his apprenticeship years, Mariani moved to another pharmacy in Saint-Germain. He always claimed that he was a certified pharmacist, and his death certificate supports that claim, but there is no record that he ever passed the examination required for certification.

The book goes on to say that he first produced his coca wine while still working as a pharmacy assistant. Later, his advertisements would state that it was “introduced through the medical profession since 1863.” Whether this was the date he first produced the wine; the date he first went into business for himself or just a convenient date for advertising purposes is not clear. Suffice to say, as evidenced by this November 8, 1879 advertisement in the British Medical Journal, by the late 1870’s his business was not only up and running in Paris, at 41 Boulevard Haussmann, but he was also selling his coca wine in England through the reputable pharmacy of Roberts & Co.

In the United States, the company’s operation was headquartered in NewYork City, where Mariani & Co. were first listed in 1883 with an address of 50 Exchange Place. Later they listed 19 East 16th Street (1884 to 1885) and 127 Fifth Avenue (1886 to 1888) before ultimately moving to their long time location of 52 West 15th Street in 1889.

A May 23, 1896 story in the Minneapolis Tribune described their turn of the century operation.

Mr. Mariani has the largest laboratory in France, and here he prepares, in addition to Vin Mariani, a number of other preparations well known to the scientific world. In Burgandy he has large tracts of vine-land where, by means of the blending of certain varieties of wines, he produces the grape from which the wine itself used in Vin Mariani is obtained. He is the largest buyer in the world of Peruvian cocoa, selecting the best leaves for use in his preparations and re-selling the balance to the general trade. He alone, possesses the secret of extracting all the tonic and aromatic principles in the cocoa leaf, and at the same time eliminating the alkaloid. It is the secret, together with the magnificent old Burgundy employed, that has given Vin Mariani its world wide fame.

By the late 1880’s several “coca preparations” were being advertised in the United States under the Mariani name. In addition to his wine, called Vin Mariani, this December, 1885 advertisement mentioned a liqueur, Elixir Mariani; an extract, The Mariani and crystallized lozenges, Pate Mariani.

Vin Mariani was certainly the most heavily advertised and apparently most popular of the lot. This description of its affects was typical of newspaper advertisements from the late 1800’s.

Mariani Wine is certainly the greatest tonic the world has ever known. It strengthens the nerves and gives tone to the general system. It is invaluable as a spring medicine when the system is weakened by changes of temperature and especially susceptible to attacks of malaria and la grippe.

Mariani Wine is specially indicated for throat and lung diseases, general debility, weakness from whatever causes, overwork, profound depression and exhaustion, consumption, malaria and la grippe. It is an adjuvant in convalescence and a powerful rejuvenator. For overworked men, delicate women, sickly children it works wonders.

While its questionable as to whether or not Angelo Mariani was a certified pharmacist, there’s absolutely no question that he was a top notch marketer and one of the first to employ the use of celebrity endorsements in his advertising. According to “Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography,” by Dominic Streatfeild, published in 2001, Mariani would send free cases of wine to leading celebrities of the day, asking what they thought of it and requesting a signed photograph in return. The book goes on to say:

It is difficult to know whether the celebrities who responded were simply acknowledging the receipt of a gift, or whether they were generally impressed with the product, but the result was the same: a huge pile of letters from the most impressive men and women of the age, all apparently advocating the use of Vin Mariani.

Advertisements featuring celebrity endorsements from politicians, actors, musicians, religious leaders and even royalty began appearing in United States newspapers and magazines beginning in 1894. At minimum, the advertisements typically included a sketch of the celebrity and a quote from them. This May 14, 1898 advertisement in The (Washington D.C.) Evening Star featuring Victorien Sardou and Sarah Bernhardt was typical.

If one were to believe Mariani’s advertising, even the Empress of Russia was so impressed that she ordered a case of 50 bottles of Vin Miriani.

Anitchkoff Palace, St Petersburg, Dec. 6, 1894 – “Her Majesty Marie Feodorowna, finding great benefit from the use of your Tonic-Wine, requests that a case of 50 bottles Vin Mariani be sent immediately, addressed to Her Majesty the Empress.” By Order of the Court Physician.

Even Pope Leo XIII got involved, awarding Angelo Mariani a papal gold medal.

The advertising campaign was quite successful, as evidenced by this January 25, 1900 advertisement in the Manitoba Morning Free Press, that indicated by the turn of the century Vin Mariani’s availability had reached  world-wide proportions.

“Vin Mariani Encircles the World,” and it is a truism to say “Vin Mariani is always attended by a noonday sun.”

By the early 1900’s however, in the United States the American Medical Association was clamping down on patent medicines and their outlandish claims. In a report published in their November 24, 1906 Journal they questioned the validity of the quotes in Mariani’s testimonials.

The testimonials of these great men and women are enough to convince the most skeptical that this remarkable medicine will do everything but raise the dead – and even under favorable conditions accomplish even this. And still more it will win battles! Witness this from the governor-general of Madagascar: “We were refreshed by Vin Mariani, and before morning carried the stronghold.” Alexander Dumas and Emile Zola are credited with calling it “the elixir of life.” One very strange thing about the testimonials in the circular used in this country is that all are written by foreigners. But Americans (President McKinley – think of it! – among others) are honored by having their testimonials quoted in the circulars used on the other side of the Atlantic. Why? Is it possible that the testimonials are fakes?

In the same journal the A.M.A. had other issues with Vin Mariani as well. Tests they performed revealed that only the Bordeaux wine was imported from France and much of the remaining ingredients, including coca and sugar were added in this country. As a result the A.M.A. took this position:

According to the above report Vin Mariani as imported is simply an ordinary cheap French wine, the preparation sold in this country as Vin Mariani being compounded in this country. Yet the advertising literature, the label on the bottle, etc., state directly that it is a French preparation. Until recently – presumably until the vendors realized that the truth regarding this point would come out – the advertisements in medical journals contained an analysis made by a chemist in Paris. The shape of the bottle, the character of the printed matter accompanying the bottle, etc., are evidently intended to convey the impression that it is imported. Vin Mariani is sold under gross misrepresentations and is a fraud.

No surprise the A.M.A.,  also claimed that the product made unwarranted, exaggerated and mis-leading statements as to its therapeutic value and, suggesting that it was intended not as a medicine but as a beverage, the report recommended that it be refused recognition as a medicine.

This appears to be the beginning of the end for Mariani’s coca preparations in the United States. Around this time their advertising had become less frequent, and ultimately , whether the result of stricter food and drug laws, looming National Prohibition, Angelo Mariani’s death in 1914, or more likely a combination of all three, by 1920 Mariani & Company was no longer listed in the New York City directories.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and embossed just below the shoulder “Coca Mariani,” and “Paris,” and there’s similar embossing on its base.  It likely contained either Vin Mariani or Elixir Mariani both of which were sold in 17 ounce bottles similar to the one shown in an October 1893 advertisement published in a magazine called  “The Alienist and Neurologist.” Other advertisements show that back in the day it was likely sold in a paper wrapper.

   

Based on the November, 1906 A.M.A. Journal quoted above, regardless of the embossing and labeling, it’s not likely that the bottle and/or its entire contents actually originated in France.

Clark Johnson (Dr. Clark Johnson’s Indian Blood Syrup)

 

In the 1870’s newspaper advertisements began appearing for a patent medicine called Dr. Clark Johnson’s Indian Blood Syrup. Like most patent medicines of the day their concoction was purported to provide a “speedy and PERMANENT CURE” for a wide range of ailments.

A series of advertisements appearing nation-wide in 1878 – 1879 told the following story which they’d have you believe accurately described the origins of this “Best Remedy Known to Man.”

Dr. Clark Johnson having associated himself with Mr. Edwin Eastman, an escaped captive, long a slave to Wakametkia, the medicine man of the Comanches, is now prepared to lend his aid in the introduction of the wonderful remedy of that tribe…

Suffice to say, that for several years, Mr. Eastman, while a captive, was compelled to gather the roots, gums, barks, herbs and berries of which Wakametkia’s medicine was made, and is still prepared to provide the same materials for the successful introduction of the medicine to the world; and assures the public that the remedy is the same now as when Wakametkia compelled him to make it.

If that wasn’t convincing enough you could purchase the entire story entitled “Seven and Nine Years Among the Camanches and Apaches,” for $1.00.

Their advertisements called it:

A neat volume of 300 pages, being a simple statement of the horrible facts connected with the sad massacre of a helpless family and the captivity, torture and ultimate escape of its two surviving members.

The title page of the story associated Dr. Clark Johnson, M. D. with Jersey City, N. J. at the time it was published in 1874. However, as you might have guessed, there’s no record of a Dr. Clark Johnson that I could find in either the Jersey City directories or the census records from around that time.

A monthly column entitled “Sundry Humbugs,”published in the December, 1873 edition of a publication called the “American Agriculturist,” told the real story, prominently featuring “Dr. Clark Johnson” as an example of blatant patent medicine fraud. The story revealed that the actual origins of the syrup and the business that manufactured it involved a man named Dr. E. P. Huylar who operated out of a building on the corner of Thompson Street and Amity Street (later renamed West 3rd St) in Manhattan. The story described Dr. Huyler’s medical qualifications, tongue in cheek, like this:

He followed a very peculiar course of study to acquire his title. He sold stoves and sewing machines, baked bread, took photographs, peddled tobacco, traveled with a fakir show, and finally became an M. D.

The story then went on to describe the operation.

Their “cure all” is or was a compound of aloes, cayenne pepper, molasses,  muriatic acid and other cheap and nauseous drugs. We would give the recipe as it was in full, but the above is all that is necessary to show what kind of stuff it is. They sell it under various names of “Mother Noble’s Healing Syrup;” “Wine of Apocynum,” supposed to be run from 236 and 238 Thompson Street, the side basement door of 77 Amity Street; “The Electric Health Restorer,” from the same number as the Apocynum; and “Dr. Clark’s Indian Blood Syrup.” This last is advertised from Jersey City. All letters which come to that address are taken from the post office by a messenger, carried to 77 Amity Street, New York City, and there attended to. The various enterprises are supposed to be run by Abel King, M.D., Dr. Clark Johnson, Edwin Eastman, Israel Goodspeed, and others. It is needless to say such persons never existed; they are purely creatures of imagination; only other names for this Doctor Huylar.

According to the “Statement of Facts” in a subsequent court case (Clark Johnson Medicine Company vs. Allen S. Olmsted ) the fictitious doctor’s name “may be traced to the fact Mrs. Huylar’s father’s name was Clark Johnson.”

The American Agriculturist story went on to say that the publication “Seven and Nine Years Among the Comanches and Apaches, was actually “the joint production of two of Huylar’s clerks.”

Early New York City directories support the American Agriculturist version of the story. Edward P. Huylar was first listed with the occupation of physician in 1870/1871 and by 1872/1873 he had relocated to 77 Amity Street. A year later his occupation in the directories changed to patent medicine.  In the late 1870’s  Amity Street was renamed West 3rd Street changing Huylar’s address to 77 West 3rd Street. The business operated out of that location until the mid-1890’s and despite the American Agriculturist espose’ the operation was apparently very successful during this time.

In the early 1880’s the business advertised quite a bit, relying heavily on testimonials. (Likely written by the same clerks who wrote their 300 page tome.) In New York City, their advertisements included full page spreads in the major daily’s including the New York Times. This advertisement which took up the entire Page 6 of the Times’ March 8, 1881 edition was typical. Under a huge headline it proceeded to deliver a full six columns of testimonials devoted to the successful cure of specific conditions; dyspepsia and indigestion (2 columns), liver complaint (2 columns), rheumatism and kidney complaint (1 column) and chills and fever (1 column).

According to the advertisement the business did not employ a traveling sales force but instead relied exclusively on wholesalers and agents to distribute their product. The seventh column provided a list of those wholesalers in New York City.

It wasn’t just a local business however, and the column went on to list wholesalers nationwide, including several north of the border in Canada.

Huylar, along with his wife Martha, ran the business until he passed away in 1889.  The following year, on May 1, 1890, Martha sold the business to George Mellville Hard for the sum of $45,000. At the time Hard was also president of the Chatam National Bank,  According to the bill of sale dated May 1, 1890 (found as Plantiff’s Exhibit D in Clark Johnson Medicine Company vs. Allen S. Olmsted) the sale included:

…the entire patent medicine business heretofore carried on by me or my Husband at No. 77 West Third Street and Nos. 236 & 238 Thompson Street in the City of New York, including the good will of such business, all outstanding book accounts against any person pertaining to such business, which in my opinion will aggregate in amount to between twenty thousand and thirty thousand dollars, any and all trademarks, labels, copyrights or other prints, heretofore used in the said business in the sale of the following remedies viz: Dr. Clark Johnson’s Indian Blood Syrup, Cornease, Mother Noble’s Healing Syrup, Sister Agnes Herb Cure, The Electric Health Restorer, Wine of Apocynum and any other medicines or remedies heretofore  manufactured or sold in said Business, also the formula or recipe in writing which is herewith delivered with this bill of sale…

After purchasing the business Hard immediately transferred it to the Clark Johnson Medicine Company, a New York Corporation whose certificate of incorporation had been filed two days earlier on April 29, 1890. The initial directors of this new corporation were Hard, Charles H. Simpson and William H. Osborne.

In the mid-1890’s, the company moved to 17 Lispenard Street in Manhattan where it was still listed in the 1919 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with one of the original directors,William H. Osborne, as president. In the early 1920’s the company moved again and from 1922 to 1931 they listed their address as 510 (sometimes 508) Broome Street. As far as I can tell the business disappeared from the NYC directories in the early 1930’s (they’re not listed in 1933).

By the early 1900’s the manufacture and sale of Clark Johnson’s Indian Blood Syrup was certainly being impacted by the nation’s food and drug laws. The last newspaper advertisement I can find for the product was in the December 30, 1914 edition of the of the Richmond (Indiana) Item. While still outlandish, the advertisement’s copy had been toned down, no longer using the word cure.

Though no longer advertising in the newspapers, this December, 1917 advertisement in a trade publication called the “National Druggist” suggested that they were still pushing it with their wholesalers and agents at that time.

I’ve seen the Indian Blood Syrup included in published drug price lists up through the early 1920’s. The last price listing I can find was in the October, 1923 edition of the Southern Pharmaceutical Journal and Drug Price Review.

However, as late as October 14, 1932 a shipment of six dozen bottles was confiscated in violation of the Food and Drugs Act. Assuming it was produced at around the same time it was shipped, it’s likely both the company and product end date was sometime in the early 1930’s.

Today the 77 West 3rd Street and 17 Lispenard Street addresses are encompassed by modern buildings that do not date back to the business. According to streeteasy.com, 508 – 510 Broome Street was built in 1900 so it’s the building that the business relocated to sometime between 1919 and 1921.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown, roughly 4 oz. medicine. The name “Clark Johnson” is embossed on one of the narrow side panels. The bottle is identical to this labeled example recently offered for sale on the internet.

It was sold in both small and large sizes. Based on this labeled example I’ve found the small size. It was yours in 1879 for $0.50.

If you’re interested, the directions for use were included on the back label of the pictured bottle.

From 15 to 30 drops three times a day, in a wine glass of milk or water, is the usual dose for an adult. Should this move the bowels too freely, reduce the dose; if not enough, increase it. Take the medicine INSTANTLY after eating. It is in a very strong and concentrated form and should not be taken clear. In all cases it is better to begin with smaller doses than directed and increase the dose as found necessary.

The syrup can be used externally in cases of Old Sores and Skin Diseases.

Calder’s Dentine

Calder’s Dentine, usually called Calder’s Saponaceous Dentine, was a tooth powder developed by Providence, Rhode Island native Albert L. Calder.  Although it was comprised of nothing more than chalk (56%) and soap (44%) flavored with wintergreen, it became popular in the 1860’s and was sold well into the 1920’s. According to Merriam-Webster the word saponaceous is based on the Latin word “sapo,” meaning soap.

Weeks & Potters Revised Catalog of Foreign and Domestic Drugs, published in 1879, included an advertisement promoting it “for cleansing, preserving and beautifying the teeth.” The advertisement went on to deliver much the same message as today’s toothpaste manufacturers.

This agreeable and efficacious Tooth Powder, established by more than twenty years experience, has received the sanction of the members of the Dental and Medical profession generally, and by them it is daily recommended and prescribed. It is as pleasant in the application as it is excellent in its effects; it speedily renders the teeth white and smooth, the gums healthful, red and firm; and by frequent use will preserve them in this desirable condition. It gradually but effectively removes tartar, and destroys the parasitical animalcule which neglect may have permitted to collect and prevents their further accumulation, thus serving as a complete beautifier and preserver of the teeth.

Another early advertisement, this one printed in the June 10, 1872 edition of Davenport Iowa’s Quad-City Times sent the same message but a little more succinctly:

Everyone having teeth and wishing to keep them should use Calder’s Dentine. Sold everywhere.

According to Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island, Vol 2, published in 1908, Albert L. Calder was born and raised in Providence Rhode Island and spent some time in Boston before returning to Providence for good in 1850. At that time:

He engaged in the apothecary business with his brother George B. Calder, this arrangement continuing from February 1851, until June, 1853. In the latter year the store which stood on Westminster Street, where is now Dorrance Street, was burned out in a disastrous conflagration. Mr. Calder at once bought the lease of the (nearby) lot on Westminster Street where the new part of the Journal office is now located, erected a building for his business purposes, and continued there until he sold out in 1885, to retire from the apothecary business, in order to give his special attention to the manufacture of Calder’s Dentine, a proprietary article which was well and favorably known throughout the country.

Information in the Providence city directories supports and adds to the above narrative. Calder’s, initial apothecary  was listed in both the 1852 and 1853 directories at 151 Westminster Street. His brother George Calder was listed as a clerk at the same address. After the fire caused Calder to relocate in 1854, his new address was listed as 161 Westminster Street. At this point he was the sole proprietor of the business, his brother George having started his own apothecary business at 21 Westminster Street under the name Chambers & Calder.

Albert Calder remained at 161 Westminster Street through 1886. Although later advertisements mention that Calder’s Saponaceous Dentine had been manufactured since 1850, it was during this time that the product apparently gained prominence. This is evidenced by Calder’s annual advertisement in the Providence City Directory

As late as 1866, Calder  focused on his retail pharmacy business that in addition to medicines also included perfumes, soda water, cigars and artists materials. There was no mention of Calder’s Dentine.

It wasn’t until 1867 that he even mentioned in small font that he was the “sole proprietor of Calder’s Saponaceous Dentine.”

Several years later, in 1870, the product had achieved much greater visibility.

It was some time in late 1885 or early 1886 that he gave up the retail portion of his business, selling the pharmacy to two local druggists. The sale was announced in an April 15, 1886 news item in the Pharmaceutical Record.

Mr. A. L. Calder of Providence R. I. has sold his well known pharmacy on Westminster Street to Harvey I. Leith and E. C. Danforth, both pharmacists of excellent repute of that city. The new firm is Leith & Danforth, and they will certainly receive, from all who know them, congratulations and good wishes in their new home and for great business prosperity.

Calder proceeded to construct his new office and laboratory for the manufacture of Calder’s Dentine at 181-183 North Main Street in Providence where it was first listed in 1887.

In 1890, Albert Calder’s son, Charles Albert Calder, joined the business. His biographical profile also contained in Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island, stated:

In 1890 he became interested with his father in the manufacture of Calder’s Dentine, and upon his father’s death succeeded him in that business.

Albert’s death occurred on May 24, 1899 after which Charles was listed as “manager”at the North Main Street address up through 1906 or 1907. The 1908 directory stated that Charles A. Calder had removed to Diamond Hill so it appears that he was no longer associated with the business by then.

On January 14, 1908 the Albert L Calder Company incorporated and a year later, on January 5, 1909, a new company, the Calder Dentine Company, was also incorporated. The relationship between the two corporations was described in the 1910 Providence City Directory listing.

CALDER DENTINE CO. The lessees of The Albert L. Calder Co., dentine and toilet articles. 183 North Main.

The accompanying advertisement in the directory simply mentioned the Calder Dentine Co.

Sometime during this period the business apparently formed an association with Samuel Everett, founder of  Everett & Barron, a large shoe polish manufacturer. In 1912 both firms were utilizing the same address, 217 Canal Street and according to the 1915 edition of “Who’s Who in New England Samuel Everett was serving as president and treasurer of both Everett & Barron and the Calder Dentine Co.

Both companies listed 217 Canal Street as their address up through the late teens. At times the Calder Dentine Co. also listed 181-183 North Main as another address so it’s likely that they maintained their manufacturing facilities at that location.

In the early 1920’s both companies relocated to 359 Eddy Street, also in Providence. The Calder Dentine Company remained listed there until the mid 1930’s but the product itself disappeared from newspaper advertised drug store price lists by the mid-1920’s.  Everett & Barron was still listed in the Providence directories well into the 1960’s.

Over the course of its history Calder’s Dentine was sold in 25 cent and 50 cent sizes. Smaller 10 cent sample sizes were also available. The bottle I found is a small mouth blown jar, two inches in diameter and three inches high. It matches the smaller of the two bottles shown in this October, 1900 advertisement published in Parsons Magazine suggesting it was the 25 cent size.

A labeled example of the 25 cents size that recently appeared for sale on the internet is pictured below.

This 1901 Cosmopolitan advertisement indicated that if you were looking to purchase a bottle you had to look for it packaged in a paper wrapper.

Finally, in addition to being available in bottles, this 1907 Life Magazine advertisement stated that Calder’s Dentine was also sold in metal containers. A metal example also recently appeared on the internet.

          

 

 

Glyco-Thymoline (Kress & Owen Co.)

Glycol-Thymoline dates back to the late 1800’s, when it was advertised as:

An alkaline, antiseptic, non-irritating, cleaning solution for the treatment of diseased mucous membrane, especially nasal catarrh.

The preparation had its roots with Oscar Kress, who, according to his January 3, 1895 obituary in the Pharmaceutical Record, was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States after graduating from the University of Munich.

A medical paper entitled “Chronic Nasal Catarrh and what the General Practitioner Can Do for it,” presented in May, 1893, mentioned that Kress introduced Glyco-Thymoline to the medical profession around that time.

Glycolic-thymoline is a preparation recently introduced to the profession by Mr. Oscar Kress, a pharmacist of this city. It is composed of glycerine, thymol, sodium, borax , benzoin, salicylic acid, eucalyptol, menthol, gaultheria, oleum pini pumillonia, and solvents, in proper proportions.

A druggist, Kress was first listed in NYC’s general directories in 1870/1871 with an address of 781 Seventh Avenue. Later, in the 1880/1881 NYC Directory the business was listed as Oscar Kress & Co.and two addresses were included: 1670 Broadway and 918 Sixth Avenue. According to an item in the July 15, 1894 edition of the Pharmaceutical Era, it was the Broadway location that accommodated the early manufacture of Glyco-Thymoline.

Oscar Kress of 52nd Street and Broadway, and of Sixth Avenue, is one of the most enterprising druggists in this city. He prepares a solution known as Glyco-Thym0line, which has an immense sale; in fact, he keeps six men on the road all the time. Mr. Kress is now enlarging the basement of his Broadway store to accommodate the additional apparatus needed in his manufacture. The cellar will be carried out under the sidewalk and will give him much more room on both the street and front sides

At some point prior to his death in December, 1894, Kress associated with Samuel Owen who, when Kress passed away, continued its manufacture. Ultimately on June 8, 1895, the business incorporated under the name of Kress & Owen. The announcement was printed in the June 13, 1895 edition of the Pharmaceutical Record.

The Kress & Owen Co. has been incorporated to manufacture and deal in drugs and medicines in this city. It’s capital is $100,000. and the directors are Samuel Owen, Alfred H. Kennedy, and William H. Pearson of Newark, N.J., Artur A. Stillwell, Max J. Breitenbach and Edward G. Wells of New York, Thomas W. Mullet of Jersey City and William A. Demerust of Brooklyn. The firm will manufacture its specialties at its present quarters, No. 374 Pearl Street. The “Kress” in the firm name represents the estate of Oscar Kress, the late druggist of 6th Avenue, who was interested in the concern.

Samuel Owen was named the company’s first president and the NYC directories and phone books continued to list him as president through the mid-1920’s.

The announcement referenced the initial corporate address as 374 Pearl Street but that location was apparently short-lived and by 1897 they were listed at 221 Fulton Street where they remained until approximately 1903, when they moved to 210 Fulton Street. Other than a temporary relocation due to fire, the business remained at 210 Fulton Street until 1912. The fire and resultant  relocation were described in the March 11, 1907 edition of the Pharmaceutical Record.

A disastrous fire completely gutted the five-story white stone building at 210 Fulton Street, occupied by the Kress & Owen Co., manufacturers of Glyco-Thymoline on Sunday night, March 3. Though the building was so ruined by the flames that it will have to be entirely rebuilt before it can be used again for commercial purposes, the Kress & Owen Co. has not permitted the disaster to interfere seriously with its business and is now ready to fill all orders from its new location at 92 Chambers Street. The company lost almost all of its stock at the Fulton Street site but fortunately saved many of its most valuable files. The total loss by fire amounted to $75,000 but the stock, machinery, tanks, fixtures, drugs and chemicals of the company were fully insured so that it will sustain no actual loss except a temporary cessation of business.

The company rebuilt at 210 Fulton Street and continued to list it as their address until May 1912, when they moved to 361 Pearl Street.

A long time employee, Dr. Charles L. Constantinides, replaced Samuel Owen as president in the mid-1920’s. According to his August 4, 1955  obituary:

He was graduated from the Toronto Medical College in 1903 and joined Kress & Owen, manufacturing chemists, in 1906. He retired from the firm in 1949 after 25 years as as president.

The company remained at Pearl Street in New York City until the early 1950’s when they built a 14,000 square foot facility in Middletown New Jersey. By this time, Alfred Owen, a nephew of Samuel Owen was serving as president.  The opening of the new plant was highlighted in the January 24, 1952 edition of the (Long Branch N.J.) Daily Record.

One of the newer additions to Monmouth County’s rapidly growing roster of industry is that of Kress & Owen Company, makers of Glyco-Thymoline, an alkaline preparation for oral application.

In operation since the new year, in a modern plant recently erected on land owned by the company on Route 35, Middletown, Kress & Owen merchandise is now being shipped from here to all parts of the world.

The June 28, 1951 edition of the (Long Branch N.J.) Daily Record included a rendering of the new building which, according to another Daily Record story around the same time, would, due to automation, employ only 12 to 15 persons.

The company remained at this location for less than twenty years. An item in the January 7, 1969 edition of the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, stated that at that time Kress & Owen no longer occupied the building and it was being remodeled for office use.

Over the years, advertisements for Glyco-Thymoline focused primarily on treatment of the nose and throat. One, from December 1899, included this quote from the March 1898 issue of the Chicago Medical Recorder.

In acute and chronic rhinitis and post-nasal catarrh it will be found specially effacious, diluted in from one to three parts of water, and slightly warmed before using. As a gargle in diphtheritic inflammations and other forms of pharyngitis , its bland and non-irritating properties render it most soothing and curative to the inflamed membrane.

Many of their early advertisements promoted the use of Glyco-Thymoline in concert with a nasal applicator called the Birmingham Douche. (A precursor to today’s Neti Pot?) This 1899 advertisement printed in the American Journal of Surgery and Gynecology was one that promoted them together under a single process.

The application of Glycolic-Thymoline (Kress) to the nasal passages with our Birmingham Douche, obviates the danger of drawing Muco-Pus into the Eustachian tube.

“An ideal little instrument, safe, cheap, effective”

In case you were wondering how the Birmingham Douche worked, this young lady from an early 1900’s advertisement, served to clarify.

       

Sometime in the 1920’s, their advertisements had added a nasal spray as another type of application designed to target what they referred to as “the zone of infection.”

By the mid-1940’s bad breath had been added to the list of conditions addressed by the preparation as evidenced by this March 12, 1948 Los Angeles Times advertisement.

Other than that, over the years their advertising message did not change much. The last set of newspaper advertisements I could find for Glyco-Thymoline was released in the Spring of 1967. One such ad, printed in the April 5, 1967 edition of the New York Daily News, delivered the same message as those from the 1890’s.

Apparently dormant for a while, the Kress & Own Company, Inc. is once again active and being run by members of the Owen family.  Their web site, glyco-thymoline.net, lists their address as a P.O. Box in Owings Mills, Maryland and states that in 2008:

Kress & Owen Company launches the Glyco-Thymoline web site and reintroduces the 100 year old “premier” oral hygiene product. We intend to get Glyco-Thymoline back in the local pharmacy, grocery and retail stores near you. Our product has been recommended by dentists and physicians for over 100 years.

Today, you can purchase Glyco-Thymoline on Amazon.

The bottle I found is machine made with a square cross-section. Six ounces in size, it was one of three sizes utilized by the company in the early 1900’s. This December 1913 advertisement indicated that the six ounce size was originally furnished with a sprinkler top.

 

 

 

Santal deMidy, Paris

   

Popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Santal Midy consisted of distilled sandalwood oil in capsule form. It’s popularity stemmed from the fact that it was marketed as a cure for gonorrhea and all forms of urethritis. A February 1893 advertisement aimed at retail druggists described the product in a nutshell.

Court records from a 1918 trademark case stated that Santal Midy had been produced for over 40 years, dating it back to the late 1870’s. A French product, it was originally manufactured by F. Rigaud and later by his son Emile Rigaud under several different company names: Rigaud & Dusart, Grimault & Co., Rigaud & Chapoteau, Rigaud & Clermont and Rigaud-Vial. Apparently Riguad changed the company name each time he associated with a new chemist. Each company listed 8 Rue Vivienne, Paris, as their address.

Rigaud’s career as a pharmacist was capsulized in a June 14, 1897 story in the Pharmaceutical Era.

Born at Riom (Puy-de-Dome) less than 60 years ago, he came to Paris in 1859, and secured a position in the employ of the renowned Dorvault, author of “L’Officiene ou Repertoire General de Pharmacie Pratique.” When Dorvault’s business was divided, the pharmaceutical portion of it was transferred to Grimault & Co., of which firm Mr. Rigaud became a member. He finally bought out Mr. Grimault, and marked out the lines on which the subsequent successes of the firm were attained…

He realized the value of expert chemical assistance, and employed such men as Dusart, Vial Armaund, Sauthier and Chapoteaut. Gradually his firm absorbed the leading French specialties of established merit and brought them to the knowledge of medical men and pharmacists of every nationality and language throughout the globe.

The story went on to say:

His commercial travelers who visited all parts of the globe were instructed to investigate new drugs and send samples to his laboratory, and many drugs now found in the pharmacopeias were introduced in this way.

I have to believe that Santal Midy was one such drug. It apparently had its origins with a French chemist named Midy who operated a drug store at 113 Faubourg St., Honore, Paris. Later when it was manufactured by Grimault & Co., advertisements continued to name Midy’s drug store as the products’s French depot.

By 1880, Santal Midy had made it to the United States where for several years it was apparently marketed exclusively in the French inhabited New Orleans. The first United States newspaper advertisement for Santal Midy that I can find appeared in the February 21, 1880 edition of The (New Orleans, La) Times Democrat. It was included in a menu of several products being manufactured by Rigaud & Dusart and sold through the local agent St. Cyr Fourcade.

SANTAL MIDY

These capsules contain the extract of citrine sands of Bombay in all its purity. Numerous experiments, made in hospitals of Paris, have demonstrated that citrine sandal possesses greater curative powers than cupaiba and essence of turpentine. They cure in two or three days the most painful and obstinate cases, without giving any smell to the urine. They do not cause nausea, coil, diarrhea, and are very effectual against catharral affections of the bladder and emission of blood.

Another  advertisement, this one printed in several December, 1882 editions of The (New Orleans) Times Picayune referred to it as a “New Discovery in Medicine.”

It wasn’t until 1883 that newspaper advertisements for Santal Midy began appearing in other parts of the country. It was around this time that their advertisements began to identify the New York City drug firm of E. Fougera & Company as their sole agent in the United States.  Over the next 50 plus years, E Fougera & Co., the Rigaud companies and Santal Midy would remain intimately connected.

Established in 1849, E. Fougera & Co. was first listed in the New York City directories at 26 to 30 North William Street where they remained until 1905 when they moved to 90 Beekman Street. . Originally called E.& S. Fougera the initial  proprietors were Fdmund and Stanislov Fougera. An item in the January 11, 1918 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle referred to the company as “the largest wholesale importing house for French and foreign medicinal preparations and specialties in the United States.”

This December 1895 advertisement in the “Western Druggist” listed a menu of their products that  included both “Grimault & Co.’s Preparations” as well as Midy’s Capsules of Santal.”

As far as I can tell, Santal Midy was produced in France with E. Fougera & Co. acting as Rigaud’s importer and American agent until sometime in the early 1900’s when its manufacture apparently shifted to the United States under the company name of Dr. Ph Chapelle. The firm of Dr. Ph Chapelle was first listed in the New York directories in 1915 so I suspect that it was around this time that the transition occurred.

A July 7, 1922 “Letter to the Editor,” written by M. M. Sterling, then president of Fougera, to a publication called “Drug & Chemical Markets” confirmed that the Chapelle firm was also owned by Henri Rigaud.

Mr. Rigaud is also owner of the business Ph. Chapelle, formerly known as Rigaud & Chapoteau, Grimault and Vial, makers of Santal Midy, Chapoteau’s Wine, Apioline, Morrhuol and Creosote, and other well-known proprietary remedies.

The firm of Dr. Ph. Chapelle (sometimes Phillip Chapelle) was listed in the New York City directories from 1915 through the early 1920’s with an address of 92 Beekman which was at or adjacent to Fougera’s 90 Beekman Street address. The 1919 New York City Copartnership and Corporation Directory continued to name E. Fougera & Co. as Ph Chapelle’s agent.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s Rigaud  continued to manufacture Santal Midy in the United States under several different names, each still very much French sounding. In the 1925 directory they were listed under the name Laboratorie de Pharmacologie, Inc., and were still located with Fougera at 90-92 Beekman Street. 

Then, according to court records in New York’s Southern District (Etablissments Rigaud, Inc. v. Hey), on July 27,1933, Laboratorie de Pharmacologie, Inc. merged with Rigaud’s perfume company, Parfumerie, Rigaud, Inc, to form Etablissments Rigaud, Inc., with Fougera subsequently serving as the sole sales representative of the merged corporation.

During much of the 1940’s, the address of Etablissments Rigaud, Inc. was listed as 79 Bedford, while Fougera had moved to 75 Varick Street. Both were registered as New York corporations. Records from another court case (Etablissments Rigaud v. Federal Trade Commission) described the relationship between Rigaud and Fougera at this time.

Rigaud is a New York Corporation engaged in compounding perfumes and cosmetics which it sells solely to Fougera, another New York corporation. Some of the merchandise thus sold by Rigaud is delivered to Fougera in New York, while some is shipped to the latter’s customers on its order. The goods Fougera has so purchased it sells throughout the United States. The various ingredients used to make up the perfumes are combined by Rigaud with one another and with domestic alcohol at its place of business at 79 Bedford Street, New York City. When the ingredients are thus compounded they are bottled and packaged for sale. Some of Rigaud’s officers and five of its eight directors reside in Paris and to a considerable extent direct the business policy of the company, but Rigaud does not maintain any office there as a corporation.

Etablissments Rigaud, Inc. was still listed in the Manhattan Telephone Book in 1949, after which I lose track of them. The company was not listed in 1959.

Although Santal Midy was certainly being manufactured in the United States by 1915, it was clearly the aim of Rigaud and Fougera to continue marketing it as a French product. Their labeling in the late teens included the phrase quoted below which certainly implied French production while in smaller type they mentioned its U.S. manufacture.

L. Midy, Pharmacien de lre Classe Paris Depot Dans Les Principales Pharmacies Dr. Ph. Chapelle Ancienne. Maison Grimault & Cie, 8 rue Vivienne, Paris.

This caught the attention of the United States Food and Drug Administration who accused them of mis-branding. One judgement against the company in 1919 summed it up like this.

It was alleged that said labeling was false and misleading in that the statement in French, quoted above, indicated that the article was a foreign product, whereas, in truth and in fact, it was not a foreign product, but was a domestic product, and which said false statement was not sufficiently corrected by the statement on the said label in inconspicuous type, “Bottled in the New York Laboratories of Dr. Ph. Chapelle.

Location of manufacture was not their only issue. As early as 1909 the American Medical Association took exception to the curative claims presented in the Santal Midy advertising and labeling. The issue was summed up in an item in the September 25, 1909 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Referring to E. Fougera & Co., it stated:

One of the preparations which this firm advertises to the public is “Santal Midy.” “Cures in 48 hours” the advertisements used to read, but since the Journal called attention to the fact that promising to cure gonorrhea in two days was rather a large order, this has been modified – in American advertisements – to “relieved in 24 hours.”

Newspaper advertisements from the period bear this out. The following two advertisements were from 1907 and 1909 respectively. The 1909 advertisement reads:

In 48 hours Gonorrhoea and discharges from the urinary organs arrested by Santal Midy Capsules without inconvenience.

 

By mid-1909 the advertising copy had changed to “Relieved in 24 Hours.” The following advertisements that appeared in 1910 reflect this change.

Advertising adjustments notwithstanding, in 1919 and 1920 a number of Fougera’s Santal Midy shipments from New York to other states were intercepted and declared mis-branded as a result of their curative claims. The notice of judgement associated with one such shipment into Maryland in May, 1919 stated:

the curative and therapeutic claims made for the treatment of gonorrhea, fleet, etc., were declared false and fraudulent. In September, 1919, the court entered judgement of condemnation and forfeiture and ordered the product destroyed.

Another judgement associated with an April 17, 1919 shipment to West Virginia stated in part:

…the article contained no substance and no ingredients and no combination of ingredients capable of producing the effects claimed.

The following Fougera advertisement, printed in the June, 1923 edition of the Western Druggist and directed toward the retail trade, was certainly an indication that all of this negative publicity was taking its toll on sales. In part the advertisement made the following plea to retail druggists:

When a Customer Asks for Santal Midy Capsules do not hesitate to supply them.

There is no measure legally restrictive.

Nothing in its recommendations by advertisement, literature or label precludes its unrestrained sale or use as such.

Don’t let a misunderstanding of this fact cost you profitable sales.

Santal Midy is advertised as extensively as ever…

At the same time however they continued to tone down their advertisements to the general public. These early 1920’s newspaper advertisements no longer mentioned a time frame for relief, instead, they used phrases like “Easy to Take – Quick to Relieve” and “Popular Remedy.”

 

In the late 1930’s, the product results were described with phrases like “helps to relieve pain and soreness” and “let soothing Santal Midy help you.”

The above advertisement, circulated in 1938/1939, was the last newspaper advertisement for Santal Midy that I can find. How much longer Santal Midy was manufactured and sold after 1939 is not clear. Some later Santal Midy labels name Gallia Laboratories, 254 W 31st Street in New York City as a distributor so it’s possible that at some point after the 1933 merger Rigaud gave up the pharmaceutical piece of their business to focus on perfume but that is simply conjecture on my part. Rigaud perfumes are still made today.

E Fougera & Company also exists today as a division of Fougera Pharmaceuticals. Located in Melville New York, they make generic topical steroids, antibiotics and anti-fungals for both prescription and “Over the Counter” markets.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown, 10-sided vial embossed Santal deMidy, Paris. Recognizing it’s mouth blown it likely dates no later than the early 1900’s and was most likely imported from France.