Drs F. E. & J. A. Greene, New York, Chicago, Boston – “Nervura”

Drs. Frank Eugene Greene and Jared Alfonzo Greene partnered together manufacturing a so called nerve tonic called “Nervura,” between 1887 and 1901. The origins of the product however date back much further, to their father, Reuben Greene, sometime in the mid-1850’s.

Reuben Green was first listed in the Boston directories in 1856 under the heading “Botanic Medicine.,” with an address of 36 Bromfield Street in Boston. Around that time he established what he called the Indian Medical Institute. One of his first advertisements, printed in the October 18, 1856 edition of the “New England Farmer,” described his operation.

Established by Dr. R Greene and his Associates, for the successful and scientific treatment of Cancers, Scrofulous Humors, and all kinds of Diseases upon the Natural or Indian system of medicine.

The Institution now has a large MEDICAL OFFICE and LABORATORY at 36 Bromfield Street, and several boarding houses for the accommodation of patients from abroad. A newspaper has also been established, advocating this system of practice. It is entitled “Nature’s Arcana,” or the “Scientific Indian Physician.” It is published monthly, for fifty cents a year.

There is also connected with the Institution Bathing Rooms, where the patients can have the benefit of ELECTRO-CHEMICAL BATHS.

Another early newspaper advertisement, this one from the March 20, 1857 edition of the “Vermont Watchman and State Journal,” presented the Institute’s sales pitch.

Indian Remedies

The sick, and all interested in the “Natural” or Indian system of medicine, should remember that the only place where the genuine scientific Indian treatment can be obtained, is at the

INDIAN MEDICAL INSTITUTE

No. 36 Bromfield Street, Boston

Dr. Green, Superintendent, is a Scientific Physician, and has traveled much, and has spent much time among the Indians themselves, and therefore knows by actual experience their true mode of practice. The great success which has attended his practice for the last twenty years, has induced others to style themselves “Indian Doctors,” saying they gave recipes which come from the Indians, etc., but the sick should not be thus cheated, for the Indian System of Medicine and its peculiarities can only be learned by actual experience with the Indians themselves, and its full value can only be brought out and APPLIED by the scientific attainments of appropriate study to adapt this system to the wants of civilized society.

This advertisement went on to provide a menu of the Indian remedies, with prices, prepared by Dr. Green at his establishment. The long list included a preparation called “Indian Nerve Tonic,” which may well have been the forerunner of “Nervura”

Reuben Greene’s Indian Institute remained at 36 Bromfield Street until 1864, at which time, newspaper advertisements began to list him at Temple Place. The advertisements originally located him at 18 Temple Place (1864 to 1866), then 10 Temple Place (1867 to 1868) and finally at 34 Temple Place where the business remained through the early 1900’s.

The Boston City directories show that one son, Frank E. Greene, joined his father in business around 1876. That year both were listed as physicians at the 34 Temple Place address.

Meanwhile at about the same time, another son, J. Alonzo Greene, was in business for himself in St. Louis Missouri where between 1880 and 1882 he was listed in the St. Louis directories as a physician with an address of 816 Pine Street. This advertisement, printed in the December 16, 1880 edition of the “Fort Scott (Kansas) Weekly,” shows that he was also involved with the so called Indian style of medicine.

By 1883, the Boston directories placed him with his father and brother, listing them all as physicians at 34 Temple Place.

When Reuben retired the two sons purchased the business.  A feature on J. Alonzo Greene in the January 22, 1896 edition of “Printers Ink,” described what appears to be the beginning of the partnership between the two brothers.

Dr. Reuben Greene, the father of Drs. J. Alonzo and F. E. Greene, treated many nervous diseases and used one particular prescription with wonderful success. When the young men purchased the interest of their father in the business, he told them that this prescription was a great nerve and brain invigorate, in fact the best and most effectual remedy that he had ever known for nervous diseases. It was included in the sale, and from that very same prescription the far-famed panacea, Green’s Nervura, the great blood and nerve remedy, the superior merits of which are now so universally recognized, is made.

Reuben Green’s obituary, printed in the February 25,1900 edition of the “Boston Globe,” reported that “during the last fifteen years he had been retired.” This would put his retirement and, most likely, the sale of the business sometime around 1885.

Shortly after Reuben’s retirement, the business established a second office location in New York City. Beginning in 1887, and running through 1901, the partnership of F. E. & J. A. Greene was listed in the New York City Copartnership and Corporation Directory with an address of 35 West 14th Street.

Though they were partners, it appears that Frank was the one who actively managed the day to day business operations during this time. Through most of the 1890’s, J. Alonzo was living in New Hampshire where he was involved in several businesses and where, in 1896, he even made a run for Governor.

Later, and for only a short time, a third office was established as well. Between 1897 and 1899, Illinois newspaper advertisements referenced a Chicago office at 148 State Street. The Chicago directories listed Frank A Green, J Alonzo’s son, as a physician at that address during the same period so it appears that he had joined the fold and was responsible for that location.

Although it looks like the nerve tonic, or at least some version of it, dated back to the 1850’s, it wasn’t until after Frank E. and J. Alonzo acquired the business that it appeared in advertisements under the name “Nervura.”

This early advertisement, printed in the June 16, 1887 edition of the Boston Globe, heralded it as a cure for ALL diseases of the nervous system, calling it the “Great Medical Discovery of the Century.” The advertisement went on to name 20 conditions curable with Nervura.

Another early advertisement, this one printed in New York’s “Evening World” on November 19, 1887, painted this rosy picture:

Under the use of this wonderful restorative, which is purely vegetable and therefore harmless, the dull eyes regain their brilliancy, the lines in the face disappear, the pale look and hollow cheeks show renewed health and vitality, the weak and exhausted feelings give place to strength and vigor, the brain becomes clear, the nerves strong and steady, the gloom and depression are lifted from the mind, and perfect and permanent health is restored.

The company couldn’t advertise Nervura enough. A quick non-scientific study of newspapers.com revealed that between 1887 and 1904, they ran newspaper advertisements in 43 of the 48 states, neglecting only Washington State, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado. They weren’t small advertisements either, many taking up half a page and more than a few encompassing an entire page.

Like many patent medicines of the time, their advertisements were loaded with testimonials. People from every walk of life, including local politicians,  judges, preachers, were successfully cured after taking Nervura. Many of these testimonials were presented to look like actual news articles. This advertisement, that highlighted an endorsement from Clara Barton, actually appeared on the front page of the March 14, 1897 edition of “The Boston Globe.”

In 1901, the business was still located at both 34 Temple Place in Boston and 35 West 14th Street in N.Y.C., but around that time the business was sold. The 1902 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed it as the “Greene Nervura Company, located at 101 Fifth Avenue.” W. J. Dillaway and Elbert K. Pettingil were named president and secretary respectfully.

A  March 31, 1904 story in the Boston Post explained the reasoning behind the sale.

Many years ago “Old” Dr. Greene established his Greene’s Nervura business, and it proved financially successful. Under the management of his son it grew enormously profitable, and remained so until a few years ago when the field of patent medicine became enormously crowded. In the throes of competitive struggle it was disposed of to two Boston men, Ubert K. Pettingill of the Pettingill (advertising) agency and W. E. L. Dillaway, president of the Mechanics’ National Bank. Mr. Pettingill was one of the bank directors.

Mr. Pettingill endeavored to resuscitate the Nervura business by a campaign of vigorous advertising in which his firm was the prime mover, but the effort proved unsuccessful.

The unsuccessful advertising campaign generated debt that was well out of line with company profits and ultimately, in the Spring of 1904, resulted in the bankruptcy of both the Pettingill Company and the Dr. Greene Nervura Company.

The New York and Boston offices of the Greene Nervura Company remained open during bankruptcy proceedings and the business was conducted by the receiver until June, 1904. At that point it was sold back to Dr. J. A. Greene, for $25,000 cash as a going concern.

The following year in 1905, J. Alonzo Greene was listed in the Boston Directory as a physician at 34 Temple Place and a  medicine manufacturer with an address of 597 Albany Street.  It appears that the Temple Place location served as the office, while the laboratory was located on Albany Street. At this point his brother, Frank E. Greene, was retired and no longer involved.

In 1908 he apparently partnered with his son Frank A. Greene and  changed the name of the business in the Boston directories to “F. A. & J. A. Greene.” After J Alonzo’s death in 1917, Frank A. continued the business until 1931, always at 597 Albany Street.

The revived business continued to maintain their New York office until approximately 1915, initially remaining at 101 Fifth Avenue until 1908 when they moved to 9 West 14th Street.

After buying the business back in June, 1904, it didn’t take long for Greene to get back into advertising. An item in a publication aimed at publishers and advertisers called “The Fourth Estate” stated that by September of 1904 he had already contracted a new advertising agency.

GREEN’S NERVURA AGAIN

Dr. Greene, of Boston, who bought back the Dr. Greene’s Medicine from the defunct Pettingill & Co. Agency, of Boston, has given the advertising of it to the J. T. Wetherald Agency, Boston. The advertising will start this fall along the same lines hitherto followed by Dr. Greene.

The last newspaper advertisements that I can find for Nervura occur in 1927. By then they no longer use the word cure and have been toned down quite a bit: “natural herb remedies that quiet the nerves and strengthen the system”

I’ve seen Green’s Nervura included in drug store price lists during the 1930’s but it’s extremely rare.

Thirty-Four Temple Place in Boston certainly doesn’t date back to the 1860’s. According to streeteasy.com, the current buildings in New York, at 35 West 14th Street and 101 Fifth Avenue were built in 1915 and 1908 respectively, so they don’t date back to the business. Likewise, 9 West 14th Street is part of a modern apartment building.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown medicine similar to the labeled one recently pictured on the Internet.

It’s embossed Drs. F. E. & J. A. Greene on one side and is embossed with three locations; New York, Chicago and Boston, on the other side. If I’m right, and the Chicago office was only in existence from 1897 to 1899, this dates the bottle to that time period.

F. Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

The original manufacturer of F. Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger was Frederick Brown, whose business, for most of its history, was located in Philadelphia, at the northeast corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets. Over the course of almost 100 years it was run by three generations of the Brown family.

It all started when Frederick Brown opened what he called a Drug and Chemical Store sometime in 1822. That year, during early December, an item announcing the opening of the new store was printed in several editions of Philadelphia’s “National Gazette.”

A photograph of what appears to be his original store appeared in a commemorative book entitled ” The First Century of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy,” published in 1921.

As early as 1823 Brown was running newspaper ads for several store items including Rose Leaves, Sulphate of Quinine and Swaim’s Panaccea. This advertisement for Rose Leaves was one of his earliest, printed in several June, 1823 editions of the “National Gazette.”

Based on Brown’s own newspaper advertisements from the 1880’s, Brown began making his Essence of Jamaica Ginger in 1828.

That being said, it wasn’t until 1849 that advertisements for it began to appear in the newspapers.

The first newspaper advertisement that I can find for Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger was dated June 2, 1849 and it appeared in several newspapers that year including the August 11, 1849 edition of the Sunbury (Pennsylvania) American.

The advertisement said, in part:

Prepared and sold only, at FREDERICK BROWN’s DRUG and CHEMICAL Store, N. E. corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. The Essence is warranted to possess in a concentrated form, all the valuable properties of Jamaica Ginger and will be found on trial an excellent Family Medicine…

Interestingly, according to the last sentence of the ad, it was available in Sunbury, not from a drug store or sales agent, but at the newspaper office itself.

Another early item, which appeared in the Louisville (Kentucky) Daily Courier on November 29, 1849, appeared to be introductory in nature.

Mr. Frederick Brown, the well known Philadelphia druggist and chemist, has prepared a medicine he calls “Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger,” which, on account of its great virtues and utility, is bound soon to acquire a wide reputation and popularity. It is an excellent tonic, possessed of all the stimulating qualities of brandy without any of the debilitating effects produced by liquor, and it is strongly recommended to inebriates who wish to reform. The medicine is for sale by T. H. McAllister, Pearl Street between Market and Jefferson.

These advertisements lead me to believe that between 1828 and the mid to late 1840’s, his Essence of Jamaica Ginger was manufactured in his drug store, in small quantities, and sold locally. This apparently changed in 1851 when his original shop was replaced with a large multi-story building. In addition to expanding his manufacturing facilities, this new building also continued to house Brown’s corner drug store as well. Called the Frederick Brown Building, it continued to list “Fifth and Chestnut” as its address in the Philadelphia directories.

The founding Brown continued to run the operation until he passed away in 1864. At that point, his son, Frederick Brown, Jr., inherited the business. Prior to that he had been managing his own Philadelphia drug store on the southeast corner of 9th and Chestnut, under the Continental Hotel.

Brown Jr. continued to grow the business. By the mid to late 1800’s they were advertising in most of the east coast states and as far west as Kansas. In addition, this advertisement, printed in the June 1, 1871 edition of Philadelphia’s “The Nation,” included both both London and Paris locations as well.

According to his obituary printed in the October 15,1894 edition of “The Pharmaceutical Era,” Frederick Brown Jr. discontinued the retail store in 1889 in order to focus on manufacturing.

In 1864 his father died, and he secured full possession of the business. The store at Fifth and Chestnut was somewhat improved and he remained there until August, 1889, when he moved to 127 South Fourth Street. This store was right in the financial heart of the city, and the business soon began to assume large proportions. But, notwithstanding, Mr. Brown was not contented. Since his father’s death the drug portion was attended to by his manager, Charles G. Dodson, who in 1890, bought out the store. Mr. Brown was then free to devote himself to the manufacture of the Essence of Jamaica Ginger, which he had been doing for some time, and with which his name has since been identified.

Around the same time, on September 4, 1890, he incorporated the business as the Frederick Brown Company. Their early corporate information was included in a publication called Philadelphia Securities, published in 1892.

It named Frederick Brown Jr. as president and long-time employee Henry E. Robertson as treasurer. According to Robertson’s obituary in the September 1, 1919 edition of the Carlisle (Pennsylvania) Sentinel:

He entered the employ of the Brown firm in 1860, when only fourteen years old, and remained with them until his death….Everyone knew “Ned” Robertson, or “Doc” as he was called by patrons of the drug store.

After Frederick Brown Jr.’s death on September 25, 1894, the third generation of the Brown family, Frederick Zerban Brown, assumed the presidency. In 1898, he re-established the retail store/pharmacy in the Frederick Brown Building. An item in the September, 1898 edition of the National Druggist described the new store.

The company has recently determined to re-establish the pharmacy on the ancient corner, where, for so many years – upwards of three quarters of a century – the Browns, father, son and grandson, held forth.

The new shop has been fitted up in antique oak, and among the many beautiful accessories is an onyx fountain, from the old and well-known house of Robert Green & Son, fitted up with sliding door syrup tanks, and other improvements of that maker. In a prominent place in the shop is a life-size bust of the founder, the original Frederick Brown. Presiding over the establishment, as general manager, is Mr. Henry E. Robertson…

The company remained in the Frederick Brown Building on Chestnut and Fifth until 1907 when it was torn down to make way for construction of a new building called the Lafayette Building that is still there today. This necessitated a move to 17 N. 6th Street, where the business was listed through 1919.

Throughout the years the company was associated with a wide range of proprietary medicines. This 1885 advertisement alone included 15 different products with the Brown name attached.

Without a doubt though, their signature product and largest revenue producer was Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger. Sold as a curative for the stomach and bowels, their advertisements typically touted it as the “Standard Family Medicine.” This advertisement, printed in more than a few 1861 editions of the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” was typical.

Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger – Frederick Brown, Chemist and Druggist, N. E. corner of Chestnut and Fifth Streets, Philadelphia, sole manufacturer of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger which is recognized and prescribed by the medical faculty, and has become the standard family medicine of the United States.

The essence is a preparation of unusual excellence for ordinary diarrhea, incipient cholera, in short, in all cases cases of prostration of the digestive functions, it is of inestimable value. During the prevalence of epidemic cholera and summer complaints of children, it is peculiarly efficacious; no family, individual or traveler should be without it.

Another advertisement, disguised as a news item in the May, 18, 1861 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested that it was an indispensable item for the soldier heading off to fight in the civil war.

Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger – An Indispensable Medicine for the Soldiers – As it is impracticable for soldiers individually to carry a medicine chest, it has been deemed advisable by eminent physicians for every volunteer to be provided with a bottle of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger…

In ordinary diarrhea, incipient cholera, and in all cases of prostration of the digestive organs, the medicine has been found a sovereign remedy, and we therefore feel it to be a humane suggestion to the multitudes who are now about exchanging the comforts of home for the exposure of the camp, to recommend them to supply themselves with this invaluable medicine. Let all our readers interest themselves in carrying out this suggestion, by seeing that every soldier who leaves our city is provided with this simple, but effectual safeguard against sickness and suffering.

Like many patent medicines of the time, Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger contained a high percentage of alcohol. Nonetheless, their label provided dosage recommendations for children as young as two years old.

    

Prepared by Frederick Brown, successor to and devisee under the will of Frederick Brown deceased.

Dose – For a grown person one teaspoonful, for a child 10 to 12 years old, half a teaspoonful and for a child 2 to 5 years old 15 to 20 drops. To be given in sugar and water.

Just as incredibly, their June 2, 1849 advertisement brazenly called Brown’s Jamaica Ginger “a great agent in the cause of temperance,” and even marketed it to “those who wish to reform”

It is particularly recommended as a tonic, to persons recovering from fever or other diseases, a few drops imparting to the stomach a glow and vigor, equal to a wine glass of brandy or other stimulant, without any of the debilitating effects, which are sure to follow the use of liquor of any kind; and it is therefore serviceable to children and females. To the aged it will prove a great comfort; to the dyspeptic, and to those who are predisposed to gout or rheumatic affections, it gives great relief; and to the inebriate who wishes to reform, but whose stomach is constantly craving the noxious liquor, it is invaluable – giving tone to the digestive organs, and strength to resist temptation; and is consequently a great agent in the cause of temperance.

It appears that it was their alcohol content that ultimately lead to the liquidation of the business. The company’s demise was reported in the March, 1920 edition of the “Meyer Druggist” in a column called “Trade Notes.”

The Passing of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

With the coming of national legislation affecting alcoholic medicinal preparations , the Frederick Brown Company, of Philadelphia, has decided to terminate a prosperous business which is now in its ninety-ninth year. Frederick Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger has always been made the same way as in 1832 and of the very highest quality of ingredients. It contained less alcohol and more ginger than the U. S. P. IX article.

It’s certainly possible that Henry Robertson’s death in 1919  may have also contributed to the closing of the business.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown oval shaped flask, probably four or five ounces with a flat, finish. It was probably made sometime in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Earlier versions of the same bottle utilized a tapered finish.

I couldn’t end this post without sharing an advertisement printed in the December 6, 1882 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal. It’s an acrostic that spells out “F BROWNS GINGER”

 

The Scotch Oats Essence Co., N.Y.

 

Established by Henry H. Kane, the Scotch Oaks Essence Co. was a short-lived patent medicine business located in New York City. It’s signature preparation, Dr. Buckland’s Scotch Oats Essence, was exposed as a fraud by the medical community in the late 1880’s

Henry H. Kane, patent medicines, was listed in the NYC directories between 1886 and 1888 at 174 Fulton Street. Newspaper advertisements for the Scotch Oats Essence Company that also use that address, date back to the fall of 1885. The only directory listing specifically for the Scotch Oats Essence Company that I can find is in the 1889 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with an address of 160 Fulton Street. By January, 1889, the company was out of business. The January 11, 1889 edition of the Burlington (Vermont) Independent summed it up rather succinctly.

Scotch Oaks Essence

It is gratifying to learn that this pernicious fraud has proved a losing business, in consequence of its exposure by the medical and sanitary authorities, and the concern has failed.

The rise and fall of Scotch Oats Essence begins with the purported benefits of the preparation. Even in the unrestrained patent medicine era their claims were extravagant. One of their advertising pamphlets was summarized in a July 1889 edition of the Boston Journal of Health.

The praises of this (Dr. Buckland’s Scotch Oats) occupy the body of the pamphlet. It was to cure paralysis, epilepsy, dyspepsia, alcoholism, premature decay, headache, sterility, and, note this, the opium and morphine habits. It is declared to be “adapted to infants and octogenarians” alike, and that it destroys the craving for opium, morphine, alcohol and chloral.

This advertisement from the October 31, 1885 edition of the (New York) Sun covers a lot of the same territory and adds:

It builds up, restores and reinvigorates without falsely stimulating. wholly free from all Narcotics

Another advertisement  claimed that their remedy contained “three of the most beneficial, yet harmless, medical agents known.”

Avenesca – a white amorphous powder that has a direct and distinct nerve tonic, heating and anti-spasmodic action;

Soluable Oats Phosphoids – the most perfect and in fact the only nerve food known to medical science and

Boskine – a principle found in oatmeal husk that keeps the blood pure, digestion perfect and the brain and mind clear

The company advertised extensively, much of it preying on the fear and lack of knowledge of the general public at the time. Many of their advertisements linked minor, everyday ailments endured by just about everyone with serious deadly consequences. In these newspaper advertisements from 1886, they linked common occurrences like headaches and sleeplessness with insanity, paralysis and brain softening. The cure? Scotch Oats Essence, of course.

  

This “Four Little Pigs” advertisement that I found in the November 10, 1887 edition of the New York Times outrageously pushed this concept even further.

This little pig went to the drug store

This little pig stayed home

This little pig got Scotch Oats Essence

This little pig got none

With the little pig who got none depicted in a coffin!

Motivated by the outlandish claims, outlandish advertising and resultant  popularity of the preparation, in the first few months of 1888, a publication called “The Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette” performed an independent analysis of it’s contents. The results of the analysis, printed in their April, 1888 issue, revealed that the preparation contained a combination of alcohol and morphine. The rather lengthy “Druggist Circle”  story was summarized quite nicely in an April 20, 1888 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Patent Medicine Frauds

The exposures which have been recently made of the contents entering into the composition of the proprietary tonic known as Scotch Oats Essence serve to call attention to a great and growing danger. This patent medicine has been freely advertised as a “tired brain and tired nerve recuperator,” a cure for the morphine or opium habit, and a medicine that the aged and infants alike could take with safety and benefit.As most persons are more or less tired in brain or nerves in this busy, driving world it is natural that the stuff should have a large sale. The qualities claimed for it, as well as its wide sale and use, have led to analyses of it by prominent chemists, with the result that they find it contains 40 per cent of alcohol, which is a pretty considerable quantity of liquor when large doses are taken. Worse than this, every four ounce bottle of the fluid contains from one-third to one-half a grain of morphine, which both chemists and doctors say is sufficient to create an appetite for the poison instead of curing the habit, as it claimed for the medicine. Dr. Edson of the New York Board of Health says of it: “The sale of the nostrum cannot be stopped too quickly. The feeding of children on morphine is a thing that cannot be stopped too soon, to say nothing of innocent adults being given the morphine without knowing it.” Dr Eccles, Dean of the Long Island College Hospital, who has analyzed it, also says:

“Without a shadow of a doubt, then, Scotch Oats Essence contains morphine. “Avenesca,” the fanciful title somebody has given the active agent of this proprietary preparation, is, then, a synonym for morphine, and the article that, like opium, will “quiet pain and produce sleep” is after all morphine. It is this thing, too, that is pledged to destroy the morphine craving and “free the victim from this terrible bondage.” To sat that “the infant and octogenarian may alike use it without harm and much benefit” is calculated to mislead the unwary in a manner that is pitiable.

The Druggist Circular didn’t stop there but attempted to track down the Dr Buckland who’s name was associated with the product. A month later, their May, 1888 edition made it very clear that the good doctor never existed.

A representative of the Circular visited Milford Conn., the alleged birthplace of this “great benefactor of the human race,” and found that the oldest inhabitants had never heard of a Dr Buckland, had never even heard of such a family, and did not believe that any such person or family had ever lived in or near Milford within the last 90 years…The fame of this marvelous man has, through a liberal use of printer’s ink, spread over the whole United States, while the place of his alleged birth has never heard of him and even denies his very existence.

The story went on to compare a portrait of the supposed Dr Buckland taken from a Scotch Oats Essence advertising pamphlet with that of a German violinist and composer named Ludwig Spohr who died in 1859.

Their conclusion:

It is interesting to note the resemblance to the alleged Dr Buckland, in every little detail, and it would seem on the first glance that some unscrupulous person might have passed him off on the Scotch Oats Essence makers as a good looking figure-head to use as an inventor; one who would inspire and hold the confidence of the public, while they were being victimized.

The company attempted to fight back in the newspapers. In this May 13, 1888 advertisement in The (Philadelphia) Times they labeled the Druggist Circular’s analysis as a “Cowardly Attempt at Assassination”

The advertisement went on to say:

So many hopeless invalids, paralytics, dyspeptics, neuralgics have been wholly cured, so many pompous doctors have seen hearty and strong patients whom they have pronounced incurable, or given up to die; so many beds of labor have been robbed of the pangs and dangers of childbirth; so many times has the doors of the madhouse and the inebriate asylum been shut in the very faces of poor victims by the timely use of Scott’s Oats Essence, that a certain clique decided that it “must be put down,” “destroyed,” “wiped out” at any cost, and they proceeded to try and do it. But “truth will prevail,” for every case that Scotch Oats Essence has cured a hundred friends and defenders of the remedy have been raised up, and its reputation is so strong today, that no clique, no lying, no false outcry, no ridiculous accusations or false reports can encompass its ruin.

And their defense was quite predictable.

Doctored specimens of the remedy with which poisonous drugs had been stealthily injected through the cork or placed in the bottles were sent to certain chemists and several Boards of Health, and these innocent and honest men were made unjustly to take sides with the assassins and were used by them to defame the great remedy.

Nonetheless, rather quickly, the Druggist Circular articles were picked up by the newspapers and by the end of the year the sheriff’s office had closed it down. The December 1888 issue of the Western Druggist reported the company’s demise.

Another obituary notice is in order; the Scotch Oats Essence Company has departed this life, and its mortuary advertisement appears in the form of a notice under “Sheriff’s Sales,” thus constituting the liveliest and truest announcement the company ever had. The wind-up occurred in consequence of two judgements, for $8,131 and $31,479 respectively, and it is likely we have heard the last of this concern.

While that may have been the end of Scotch Oats Essence, Kane continued on as a scam artist until he ended up in prison. According to this July 1, 1906 story written at the time of his death:

Dr. Henry H. Kane whose career in this city was full of vicissitudes died on Thursday at Saranac Lake of tuberculosis. He was taken ill about a year ago, soon after his release from prison, where he had been sent for four months, after his plea of guilty to the charge of having defrauded John W. McCullum of Mount Vernon of $10,000 by means of an alleged “radium treatment.”

Dr Kane conducted a sanitarium at 136 West Thirty-fourth Street when he was arrested in 1905. The detectives who had been making an investigation of his methods said he had made a fortune through fraudulent practices.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown 3 to 4 ounce square medicine. It certainly dates to the 1885 to 1888 life span of the company. It resembles several labeled examples recently advertised for sale on the internet.

  

Dr. Peter Fahrney & Sons Co., Chicago, Ill., USA. “The Old Reliable Home Preparation for Home Use”

The founder and original proprietor of the business was Dr Peter Fahrney. He, along with his his four sons, named Ezra Camerer, William Henry, Josiah Harvey and Emery Homer all had significant roles in the growth and management of the business over the years.

A section featuring Dr. Peter Fahrney was included in a publication entitled “Notables of the West – Being the Portraits and Biographies of Progressive Men of the West Who Have Helped in the Development and History Making of this Wonderful Country, Vol. 2” published in 1915. The following information from this feature provided some facts and insight into his early life and the beginnings of his company.

Dr. Peter Fahrney, Proprietary Medicines, Chicago, Illinois, was born near the village of Quincy, in Cumberland Valley, Maryland, February 2, 1840.

His grandfather, (also named) Peter Fahrney, over a century ago acquired fame as a noted herb practitioner, who wandered afoot over Pennsylvania and into Maryland and Virginia in the practice of his profession. He was familiarly known as the ‘Little Dutch Doctor,” and one of his special preparations which he devised as a blood cleanser became eminently successful as far as it became known…His son, Jacob, the father of Dr. Peter Fahrney…devoted most of his time to the dispensing of the herbs his father had perfected and upon which he also improved and made advancements.

Determined to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Peter Fahrney entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, after which he took a course in chemical and pharmaceutical training at the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy.

This step is explained by the statement that he had made up his mind that a capable pharmacist, grounded in all the details of apothecary craft, would be enabled to present the world in convenient form the remedies that made “old” Dr. Peter his reputation.

The younger Fahrney began his practice at Morrison’s Cove, in Blair County Pennsylvania and later moved to Franklin County, Maryland, where he took over the practice of his cousin, Dr. John Burkholder, who had become ill and incapacitated. By this time he had begun to manufacture patent medicines and had achieved some success when the Civil War forced his move to Illinois.

Dr. Fahrney had achieved notable success when the rebellion broke out. In the sweep of armies through the Cumberland, his native city was put to the torch and his fortunes broken. He then removed to Ogle County, Illinois, where he enjoyed a reasonable share of prosperity. In 1869 he arrived in Chicago. He located at what is known as the North Side, securing a site for a laboratory in the section of Chicago just north of the river, his plant one of the first to be located on North Dearborn Street. He was well on his way to notable success when the fire of 1871 came and laid the building in ashes. With indomitable spirit he resumed operations within a few days and was soon again supplying his remedies to all parts of the country. A new location was found on South Hoyne Avenue, on the West Side and within a few years the business had reached the proportions of a national enterprise.

The Chicago directories confirm and add to this information. The address given for P Fahrney in the Edwards Chicago Directory (containing names and locations up through Dec 12, 1871) was 431 W. Lake, late 30 N. Dearborn. So based on this listing it looks like he resumed business on Lake Street after the fire destroyed the location on Dearborn .

Subsequently, the directories between 1872 and 1885 that I can find listed Peter Fahrney as “patent medicines” but only provided a residential address for him. This leads me to believe that the Panic of 1873 and resultant depression impacted the growth of the business in all or part of this time frame but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

Between 1887 and 1890, Peter Fahrney was listed again with a business address at 393 Ogden Avenue and in July, 1889, the business incorporated as Dr. Peter Fahrney & Sons. The incorporation notice was printed in the July 31, 1889 edition of the “Paint, Oil & Drug Review.”

Around the same time, the business relocated to 112-118 Hoyne Avenue. By then, three of his four sons were involved in the business. In addition to naming Peter Fahrney as the president, the 1891 Chicago Directory named Ezra as the vice president, William as treasurer and Josiah as a buyer. By 1899, Emery was also included in the business listings.

Upon Peter Fahrney’s death on March 5, 1905, his oldest son,Ezra, was named president of the company. This photo of him is from the 1910 edition of ‘Notable Men of Chicago and Their City.”

According to Ezra’s biography, also included in the 1915 printing of “Notables of the West,” he had been involved in the business from a very young age and had a significant role with the company well prior to the time of Peter’s death.

Shortly after leaving college Ezra Camerer Fahrney organized the advertising branch of the business and conducted it to an extent that brought quick success. Several years later he was made general manager, and when, in 1889 the business was incorporated, he was elected Vice President and given a one-tenth stock control. A few years thereafter he virtually became the guiding hand of the company, making and marketing its remedies and shipping them throughout the country. The business grew under his management to vast extent, the laboratory on Hoyne Avenue being today one of the most perfectly equipped plants in the United States.

Following Peter’s death, in addition to listing Ezra as president, the 1906 Chicago Directory named Josiah as vice president, William as treasurer and Emery as secretary.

The company remained on Hoyne Avenue until the late teens. Around 1910 their address changed to 19 to 25 S Hoyne Avenue but this was apparently caused by the renumbering of Chicago’s street system and not the result of a physical relocation. By 1920, they had moved to 2501 West Washington Boulevard. At some point, they also established a factory in Winnipeg, Canada.

Ezra remained president until his death in 1930 after which Emery assumed the presidency until 1935 when he also passed away.

William (1920) and Josiah (1922) had previously passed away so at this point, according to a story in the October 8, 1935 edition of the Ironwood (Michigan) Daily Globe, the business passed in trust to Emery’s family.

Emery Homer Fahrney, of Oak Park, who died last night at his summer home near Oshkosh, Wis., was president of the Peter Fahrney Drug Company, founded by his father, who left an estate estimated at $2,000,000.

The patent medicine fortune founded by Peter Fahrney will go now, it is reported, to his granddaughters, Merry and Myrtle, under the terms of a trust.

Ultimately his widow, Mrs. Marion Fahrney Hardeen also shared in the estate.

Management of the company after Emery’s death is not clear to me but apparently the company remained in Chicago well into the 1960’s. In 1952 they purchased a building on N. Ravenswood Avenue. The purchase was reported in the June 22, 1952 edition of the (Chicago) Suburbanite Economist.

Dr. Peter Fahrney and Sons Company, 2501 Washington, has purchased a building fronting on N. Ravenswood Ave., near Wilson Ave. The firm is a producer of proprietary medicines.

Advertisements as late as 1964, this one printed in the October 4, 1964 edition of the Palm Beach (Florida) Post, included their address as 4543 N. Ravenswood, Chicago.

Whether or not they also retained the Washington Blvd location after 1952 is not clear.

The business produced several products over the years including “Forni’s Magolo” and a liniment called “Heil-Oel” but the one they advertised as dating back to Peter’s grandfather, the “Little Dutch Doctor,” was “Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer.”  A  March 1, 1894 advertisement in the (Washington D.C.) National Tribune stated:

…Thus does the discovery of Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer by old Dr. Peter Fahrney date back into the past century.

During its existence, hundreds of so called medical discoveries have sprung up, only to be cast aside and forgotten, because they could not stand the test of time, but the Blood Vitalizer has held its well-earned place in the field of medicine, and is today without a rival as a family medicine.

Another advertisement, this one from the March 14,1901 edition of the National Tribune provides a list of diseases supposedly cured by Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer.

Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer seldom fails to cure rheumatism, kidney and liver troubles, indigestion, constipation, stomach and bowel troubles and all diseases caused by impure or impoverished blood or by disordered stomach.

Around this time, the product was also being marketed in German newspapers as Forni’s Alpenkrauter (sometimes Alpenkraeuter) Blut Beleber (Translated: alpine herbs blood animator). The following two advertisements are from German newspapers; one from the November 21, 1890 edition of the (Hermann Missouri) “Hermanner Volksblatt” and the other from the May 20, 1897 edition of the (Topeka) Kansas Stats-Anzeiger.” The Dr. Peter Fahrney name and address are clearly visible at the bottom of each advertisement.

                      

According to a publication entitled “A Mile Square of Chicago,” in addition to Forni’s Alpenkrauter,  the product also appeared under several other names according to the nationalities to which it was advertised. The names mentioned in the publication are: Hoboko, Novoro, Zokoro, Kuriko and Gomozo. Newspaper advertisements from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s appear to bear this out. I’ve seen advertisements  in that era for Novoro, Zokoro and Gomozo.  The advertisements appear to be in French, Dutch and Polish respectively. The Dutch (March 28, 1900 Sioux Center Iowa News) and Polish (July 3, 1901 Chicago Telegraf) advertisements are shown below.

     

Regardless of the name presented, advertising from that time typically stressed its natural ingredients.

Composed exclusively of herbs, roots, leaves, barks, etc., it is nature’s true medicine, unaltered, as nature does not change. The human constitution is the same today as it was one hundred years ago. It is subject to the same troubles and ailments, and the Blood Vitalizer demonstrates to the living generation its effectiveness, as well as it did to those of the past.

What the advertising failed to mention was the fact that it contained 14% alcohol. In fact, this advertisement from an 1893 issue of the Farmers’ Review, would have you believe that your “glow of vitality” was not intoxication but the result of a cleansed and revivified system.

“A Spades a Spade” – The saying is a true one. Yet there never was a greater tendency to call things by their wrong names then now.

Whisky by any other name is just the same – it isn’t any more invigorating to the blood if you call it “bitters” than if you call it whisky.

Intoxication may be easily mistaken for the glow of vitality – but it’s not.

Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer is an herb root remedy for all blood troubles – it cleanses and revivifies the entire system. You couldn’t get drunk if you drank a barrel of it.

It has successfully stood the test of more than one hundred years of popular use.

Don’t ask your druggist. It can be had of local retail agents only. Write Dr. Peter Fahrney, Chicago.

This marketing approach however did not escape the scrutiny of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose North Dakota Experiment Station analyzed its contents. In their September, 1913 Special Bulletin they concluded:

$1.25 per pint for a mild laxative and alcoholic stimulant, made palatable by the presence of a little sugar, ought to furnish a pretty good profit for the manufacturers, with very little likelihood  of any great permanent benefit to the users of the preparation.

With the advent of National Prohibition, “an alcoholic stimulant made palatable by the presence of a little sugar,” was certainly in great demand. Apparently available during the prohibition years as a medicinal product, it was advertised in the newspapers throughout that period. This item, promoting an establishment called George Tuch’s Place in the September 12, 1924 edition of the (Riverdale, Illinois) Pointer, looks like a rather thinly veiled advertisement for a club serving alcohol in the form of Fahrney’s Alpenkruter.

By the late 1940’s, most of their advertisements continued to promote Peter Fahrney’s reputation as a doctor and to mention that the product was composed of medicinal roots and herbs, but the description of expected results had been toned down quite a bit.  This advertisement from a  February 13, 1949 edition of the New York Daily News, which actually contained a picture of Peter Fahrney, was pretty typical.

…get Fahrney’s Alpenkrauter – the time-proved laxative and stomach tonic medicine. Contains 18 of Nature’s own medicinal roots, herbs and botanicals. Use as directed. Gently and smoothly Alpenkrauter puts sluggish bowels to work and aids them to eliminate clogging waste; helps expel constipation’s gas, gives the stomach that comforting feeling of warmth.

Based on newspaper advertisements, the preparation was still being marketed up through the 1950’s and early 1960’s. By then the advertisements were predominately, if not entirely, published in english but the various names under which it was sold survived. This series of advertisements appearing between 1954 – 1955 used the same advertising copy to promote the product under several of its various names.

      

   

According to Yelp.com, today 2501 W Washington Blvd is a five story, 68,000 square foot building built in 1920. Peter Fahrney & Sons began listing it as their address around the same time, making them the original tenant.   As far as I can tell, a catering business called the “Revere Loft” currently occupies the top floor with the remaining floors vacant and for rent.

Building information for 4541 N Ravenswood Ave. presented on realtytrac.com states that it was built in 1927, so it is certainly the building Peter Fahrney & Sons purchased in 1952.

The bottle I found is a machine made, square, roughly pint sized medicine embossed on one side: “Prepared By Peter Fahrney & Sons Co. Chicago, U.S.A.” The other side is embossed: “The Reliable Old Time Preparation for Home Use.” This leads me to believe it contained “Dr. Peter’s Blood Vitalizer.” Under what name? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

Rawleigh’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KREO, a scientific disinfectant for general household use.

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

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

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

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

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

The 1932 Freeport Journal Standard Feature continued the history:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murray & Lanman, Druggists, New York, Florida Water

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water has been sold as a toilet water or perfume for almost two centuries. This 1885 advertisement called it the “universal perfume,” advertising it “for the handkerchief, the toilet and the bath.”

According to one advertisement, printed in the February 6, 1880 edition of the Oakland Tribune:

The pleasure of bathing is greatly increased by mixing in the tub half or even a quarter of a bottle of Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water. Instantly the whole atmosphere of the bath-room is as fragrant as a blooming flower garden, the mind becomes buoyant, and the body emerges refreshed and strengthened.

Other advertisements from the same era add that it’s also:

delightful and healthful in the sick room, relieves weakness, fatigue, prostration, nervousness and headache.

Some say that it has “magical” properties as well and it’s commonly used in Hoodoo, Voodoo, Santeria and Wicca practices for ritual offerings and purification among other things.

Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water is still made today by the firm of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, who was featured in a February 7, 1999 article in the New York Daily News. According to that article:

Despite it’s name, Florida Water was never made in Florida. In fact, Florida wasn’t even a state when the company began. The word simply means “of flowers.”

The article went on to touch on the start of the business.

“We go way back,” says Stephen Cooper, president of Lanman & Kemp-Barclay, its makers. “Our company was founded in 1808 by Robert Murray. In the 1830’s, he got together with Lanman and that’s when they began our main product, which is Florida Water”

The earliest NYC directory I could find, Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory, published July 4, 1813, listed Robert J. Murray as a druggist located at 335 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan. The same directory also listed his brother, Lindley Murray, as a druggist at 313 Pearl Street. By 1826, and possibly earlier, they were listed together as Robert & Lindley Murray, druggists, located at 263 Pearl Street, corner of Fulton.

In 1835, it was Lindley Murray along with David Trumball Lanman, who established the partnership of Murray & Lanman. The business was first listed in the 1835 NYC Directory as druggists at 69 Water Street. Lindley Murray was also listed individually as a druggist at the same address. In the same directory Robert Murray was no longer listed, either individually or associated with the business.

Murray & Lanman was listed at 69 Water up through 1847. Then, in May of 1848, several legal notices printed in the Buffalo Courier named David T Lanman as the “surviving partner” of Murray & Lanaman, so Lindley Murray apparently passed away sometime in 1847 or early 1848.

Lanman remained listed individually as a druggist at 69 Water and apparently operated as a sole proprietor until 1853 when he formed a partnership with George Kemp called David T. Lanham & Co. The copartnership notice establishing the business was printed in the January 3, 1853 edition of the New York Times.

Five years later, another copartnership notice, this one printed in the January 1, 1858 edition of the New York Times, indicated that the name of the partnership was changed to D. T. Lanman & Kemp.

The company was listed in the NYC directories this way between 1858 and 1861, then in the 1862 directory they shortened the name to simply Lanman & Kemp. During this period, the business was apparently focused primarily on the foreign market. This advertisement, in the October 22, 1861 edition of the New York Times, called them “wholesale export druggists” further stating; “special attention paid to the execution of drug orders for the markets of Cuba, Mexico, West Indies and South Central America…”

It appears that by the early 1860’s, Lanman was no longer associated with the business. The 1862 NYC Directory no longer listed D.T. Lanman individually at the company’s Water Street address, and by 1865 the company listing in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory included the phrase “George Kemp only” as proprietor.

Lanman & Kemp remained listed at 69 Water Street until 1871 when they moved to 68-70 William Street. It was around this time that George’s brother, Edward, joined him in the management of the business and he continued to run the business after George Kemp’s death in 1893. According to Edward’s January 2, 1902 obituary he facilitated the construction of their long time headquarters at 135 Water Street.

In 1870 he became associated with his late brother George in the firm of Lanman & Kemp, his knowledge of commercial affairs and accurate judgement assisting greatly in making the business highly successful. It was he who built the fine building at No. 135 Water Street, in which the firm’s offices are now located.

The company was first listed at this location in the 1900 directory and they remained there through the mid to late 1950’s when they moved to New Jersey.  The 1957 NYC telephone book listed their general offices at 15 Grand Avenue, Palisades Park N.J., although it still included their 135 Water Street address as well. By 1959, the Water Street address was no longer listed.

They were first listed as Lanman & Kemp- Barclay & Co. in 1933. Today the company is located on Woodland Avenue in Westwood N.J.

Despite the many company name changes over the years, their florida water was always sold under the Murray & Lanman name and in fact, it’s still sold under that name today.  According to Lanman & Kemp-Barclay & Co.’s web site, the product was available in the United States as early as 1808.

Murray & Lanman Florida Water was introduced into the United States market on February 14, 1808. Immediately it gained popularity and approval from the consumer and became a woldwide, well-known cologne, not only because of it’s delightful fragrance, but also because of the more than twenty uses attributed to it.

Although the Murray’s may have been selling their florida water locally in the early 1800’s, a series of D. T. Lanman & Kemp advertisements from the late 1850’s indicate that the product wasn’t widely available in the United States until around that time. This advertisement which appeared in several Ohio newspapers between April 1857 and July 1858 stated under the heading “What Are Its Antecedents” that it was being sold in the Latin American countries for twenty years before being introduced in the United States.

For twenty years it has maintained its ascendency over all other perfumes throughout Cuba, South America and the West Indies. It has been introduced into the United States in response to the earnest demand growing out of its southern reputation.

Another advertisement from the same era stated:

Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water from its great celebrity in the South America and West Indian markets, for which for twenty years it was exclusively manufactured has been extensively imitated in the United States. Now however, the original article has been introduced throughout the Union, and as it bears the distinctive trade-mark of the proprietors, may be readily distinguished by its externals from the simulated preparations.

So, if you believe their own advertising, Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water was being exported to the West Indies and South America as early as the mid to late 1830’s, around the time the company was first established in 1835 and introduced in the United States sometime in the mid to late 1850’s. Recognizing the company’s focus on foreign markets this seems to make a lot of sense.

Like most successful patent medicines of the day, much of their popularity can be attributed to advertising.  Murray & Lanman’s Florida Water along with several of the company’s other products were advertised in their own publication called “Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac.” According to the 1999 Daily News feature:

…these products have been advertised for almost eight generations in Bristol’s Illustrated Almanac, the free booklets Lanman & Kemp give out each year. “Up until a short time before the Second World War, I think, it was published in Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and English,” says Cooper. The 1999 version marks 167 years of continuous publishing.”

And what publishing it is! Interspersed with page after page of shameless product endorsements are poems, recipes, weather predictions and jokes older than Florida water itself. “How to raise beets,” begins one seemingly serious entry in a turn of the century almanac. “Take hold of the tops and pull.”

What strikes me most about this product and the various companies that produced it over the years is the consistency of the image they have portrayed. The cover of their almanac hasn’t changed in over 100 years. Likewise, their bottle and its label have changed little, if at all.  Advertisements from 1887 and 1946 bear this out.

             

Finally, here’s today’s version.

On a final note, while it has the word “water” in its name, Florida Water has more alcohol than water in its formula. In 2004, after a woman, performing a Santeria cleansing ritual involving florida water and candles died tragically  in an apartment fire, the Daily News performed a test comparing the flammability of florida water to rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, nail polish remover and lighter fluid. According to the story, published in their February 26 edition:

In an indoor, controlled setting, Daily News reporters timed how long it took each product to turn a large cotton sweatshirt into a ball of flames.

About 4 ounces of each product was sprinkled on identical sweatshirts suspended on a wire coat hanger and ignited with a candle.

The sweatshirt doused in Murray & Lanman Florida Water was engulfed in flames in 10 seconds.

At 15 seconds, flames were shooting up 2 feet from the shoulders and by 40 seconds the sweatshirt was completely burned off the hanger.

The complete results of the experiment were published in the story.

The bottle I found is the typical florida water shape and is mouth blown. It’s embossed “Florida Water/Murray & Lanman/ Druggists/New York.” I’ve seen examples on the internet that also include the  69 Water Street address so it was most likely manufactured at the William Street location or right after the move to 135 Water Street.

Gude’s Pepto-Mangan

Sometime around 1890, in Leipzig Germany, Dr August Gude formulated an iron-manganese preparation that could be used for the treatment of anemia. Unlike similar preparations developed previously, it was easily digestible, palatable and minimized side effects. According to an article in the August 1902 edition of the “Southern Practitioner:”

After laborious attempts, Dr. Gude, chemist, succeeded in producing such an iron-manganese preparation, which is easily absorbed by the entire intestinal tract, evokes no concomitant effects, and, as illustrated in the following histories of cases, has proved an excellent remedy for the formation of blood. The preparation referred to is Pepto-Mangan (Gude). It contains iron and manganese in an organic combination with peptone, and is a clear fluid, resembling dark red wine, of an agreeable, non-metallic, non-astringent taste.

The advantage of this preparation is that it exerts a stimulating effect upon the blood forming organs, these being excited to greater functional activity, and that the favorable effect manifests itself even within a short time by an increased oxygenation of the blood. At the same time…causes no digestive disturbances and does not injure the teeth.

Pepto-Mangan was manufactured in Liebzig by Dr. A Gude & Company and as early as 1892, Max J Breitenbach, a pharmacist by trade, served as Gude’s sole agent in both the United States and Canada.

According to his obituary in the September 11, 1920 edition of the “Drug Trade Weekly,” Breitenbach was born in Albany, Georgia in 1857; came to New York in 1874 and was an 1877 graduate of the New York College of Pharmacy. The obituary goes on to describe Breitenbach’s pharmacy career leading up to his association with Peptone-Mangan.

After working for a time in the drug store kept by Tsheppe & Schur at Sixtieth Street and Third Avenue, Mr. Breitenbach in 1878 took a position in the drug store of Albert Dung at Canal Street and the Bowery. Three years later he was made manager of the store and two years after that, or in 1883, he became the owner. This prospered so that he opened another drug store in Madison Avenue and met with such success in this that he decided to enter the proprietary business and in 1892 he opened an office at 53 Warren Street, which he maintained until his death.

The office on Warren Street was opened primarily, if not exclusively, to facilitate the distribution of Pepto-Mangan in the United States.  Breitenbach was first listed at that location in the 1894 NYC Directory (I don’t have access to 1893) and by 1896 the firm of M. J. Britenbach Co. was also listed at the same location. Around this time Breitenbach was also getting out of the drug store business. The Bowery store was no longer listed in 1894 and the Madison Avenue store, although still called Breitenbach Pharmacy, was listed with a new owner in the 1902 Copartnership and Corporation Directory.

M.J. Breitenbach Co. remained on Warren Street well past Breitenbach’s death in 1920.

This advertisement from the mid to late 1890’s makes it clear that originally Gude’s Peptone-Mangan was imported from Leipzig, Germany.

Another, from the same decade listed Liebzig as the laboratory location.

As far as I can tell, this all changed around 1916 when Breitenbach purchased the entire company, including the Leipzig operation and established a laboratory in New York City. According to an item in the June 1916 edition of “American Medicine,” the company opened their new facility right around that time.

NO SHORTAGE OF PEPTO-MANGAN (GUDE)

It affords us pleasure to call special attention to the advertisement of Pepto-Mangan in this issue.

It will be noted that plentiful supplies of this standard hematinic are again available, after a brief shortage of stock, due to unexpected delays in the fitting up a new and thoroughly modern laboratory for its manufacture in New York City.

Pepto-Mangan (Gude) is now and will continue to be owned, controlled and manufactured in the United States, and will be supplied, exactly the same as heretofore, in unlimited quantities and at the usual price.

Interestingly, they blame their shortage of Pepto-Mangan on construction delays and not on the fact that their laboratory was located in Germany during World War I. In fact, I have to believe that the catalyst for this move to America had a lot to do with World War I; a time when it couldn’t have been good business to sell a German made product in America.  Another story, this one in the October 1918 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Record” spoke of the company’s operation during the war as well as their public relations spin at the time.

After the Germans declared war on the rest of the world, M.J. Breitenbach, who owned the American rights for Gude’s Pepto-Mangan, purchased the entire business in Leibzig, Germany. He installed his own manager there and manufactured there the product intended for use in Germany, its allies, and neutral European countries. Mr. Breitenbach supplies the American market from his laboratory in New York City, which furnishes all the product used in the United States and in the balance of North America and South America and also for the countries of the Allies. The product therefore is entirely American, even that which is made and sold in Germany being American. Of course Mr. Breitenbach has not heard anything about what has happened to his property in Leipzig since America entered the war. Presumably it has been taken over by the alien property custodian and is therefore a complete loss to him. His American laboratory, however, has been going on most successfully, and under the influence of the large sum which he is spending in popular advertising there has been a very rapid growth in the consumption of the product.

It was in the late teens that the company’s approach to advertising also changed, certainly as a result of the sale to Breitenbach. Prior to the sale, the company only advertised to the medical practitioner in trade journals and circulars, a course of action that was stipulated in their contract with Dr. A Gude & Co. of Leipzig.

Section 9. And it is further agreed between Dr. A Gude & Co. party of the first part and the M.J. Breitenbach Co. party of the second part, that if at any time the said M.J. Breitenbach Co. by device or by advertising attempt to increase their business in Gude’s Peto-Mangan other than through the recognized channels to the Medical Profession then in such event this contract is to become null and void and all rights of the M.J. Breitenbach Co. existing under this instrument immediately become the property of said Dr. A. Gude & Co. without recourse to law.

In 1917, the company, now owned outright by Breitenbach, launched a national advertising campaign targeting general newspapers across the country. This advertisement, which appeared in the June 11, 1917 edition of the Pittsburgh Press, was part of that first wave of ads that appeared that year.

Based on this advertisement, in the October 1920 edition of the National Druggist, they were still using the trade publications as well, but now they were highlighting their advertising campaign to the druggists with no mention of the uses or benefits of the product itself.

Both liquid and tablet form are now being extensively advertised in the newspapers of this country. Stock both and be prepared for increased trade.

After Breitenbach’s death in 1920, the business continued to be listed at their Warren Street address  up through at least the late 1920’s. By the early 1930’s they were listed at 160 Varick Street and later in the 1940’s and early 1950’s 304 East 23rd Street. Then sometime after the early 1950’s the brand was acquired by the Natcon Chemical Co who was operating out of Bethpage New York on Long Island.

Pepto-Mangan was still being sold in the early 1960’s. The last advertisement I can find for them was in the June 6, 1960 edition of the New York Daily News.

I’ve seen Pepto-Mangan included in advertised drug store price listings as late as 1964.

The bottle I found is machine made, hexagonal in cross-section and contained 11 ounces. It matches the bottle shown in a number of the newspaper advertisements that appeared between 1917 and 1920.

 

Sloan’s Liniment, Kills Pain

Sloan’s Liniment was originally a veterinary product developed by Andrew Sloan to topically treat sore and lame horses. Andrew’s son, Earl S. Sloan, is credited with initially putting it on the market as a remedy for human ills and developing it into a world wide product that is still available today. Earl’s likeness has been included prominently on Sloan’s Liniment labels from the very beginnings of the business.

             

Stories published in the August 4, 1910 edition of “Printers Ink” and the December, 1910 edition of another advertising publication called “The Poster,” both referenced an interview with Earl Sloan in which he talked about the origins of the liniment:

The formula for “Sloan’s Liniment,” said Dr. Sloan, was my fathers.

He was one of the chief surgeons and Inspectors of Stock during the Civil War, and it was in that work that he developed and made use of the liniment.

As a young man I was in the horse-trading business and made the liniment simply for my own use, but it became so popular with friends and neighbors that I resolved to go into the liniment business exclusively.

According to census records and limited city directory information, Earl’s father, Andrew, lived in Zanesfield Ohio (1840’s to 1860’s), where Earl was born in 1848 and later in St Louis Missouri (1870’s). By 1880, Earl had moved to Boston where his business took root. A publication entitled “Commercial and Financial New England Illustrated,” published by the “Boston Herald’ in 1906, described the early history of the business.

Whoever knows the ills of the horse, the noblest of beasts, knows the value of Dr. Earl S. Sloan’s Liniment and Veterinary Remedies, which, through extensive advertising and their own merit have become the leading remedies of their kind in the world since their introduction in 1885. When Dr. Sloan put Sloan’s Liniment and Veterinary Remedies on the market, he had only one small room on Portland Street. This room was used for an office, and the remedies, which were then strictly veterinary, were manufactured in a laboratory in the suburbs.

In 1888 increasing business obliged a removal to a larger building on Portland Street, which, being partly destroyed by fire in 1896, necessitated another removal to a still larger building on the corner of Canton and Albany Streets…

In 1901 he bought from Dr. Parker the right to sell and manufacture the Dr. Parker Family Remedies, a venture which from the inception has been crowned with success. Needing still larger and more commodious quarters for the conduct of the business, he bought in 1904, from the Reuben Green estate, the factory which he now occupies on the corner of Brookline and Albany Streets. The plant is more than twice the size of the old factory and has been fitted with all the most modern appliances…

The company was incorporated in 1904 with a capital of $50,000 and employs a force of sixty-four persons. The officers of the firm are Dr. Earl S. Sloan, president; Foreman Sloan, vice president; Andrew Sloan, treasurer; Mrs. Bertha P. Sloan, director, and Archie MacKiegan, clerk.

This history was well supported by the Boston City Directories. Sloan was first listed in the Boston directories in 1880 and by 1882 he was listed at his first Portland Street location, 166 – 175 Portland, where he remained until 1887. This advertisement in the March 6, 1886 edition of the Black Hills (South Dakota) Daily Times confirmed that by this time Sloan’s Liniment was not just being marketed as a veterinary remedy.

The man or woman that has rheumatism and fails to keep and use “Sloan’s Liniment” is like a drowning man refusing a rope.

He was subsequently listed at his second Portland Street location, 132 Portland, by 1889. His first Albany Street address was listed in 1897 at 597-599 Albany and later, by 1905, he was listed at 615 Albany.

The business was still located at 615 Albany in 1913 when Sloan sold the company to the Pfeiffer Chemical Company. The July 31, 1913 edition of “Printer’s Ink” reported the sale.

Dr. Earl S. Sloan has sold his entire interests in the Dr. Sloan’s Mfg. Company (Sloan’s Liniment), of Boston, a “close” corporation. The purchasers are Henry Pfeiffer and J. A. Pfeiffer, of the Pfeiffer Chemical Company of St. Louis Mo. The business will be continued in Boston for the present…

During most of Earl Sloan’s time heading the company, Sloan’s Liniment was advertised as both a farm and home remedy – “cures all pain in man or beast.” An advertisement included in several southern U.S. newspapers in 1898, makes the same point with a little more flair.

A beautiful woman and a handsome horse appeal to every southerner’s heart. Both are better for the use of, and may be kept free from illness, by Sloan’s Liniment!

In fact, Sloan credited advertising for growing “Sloans Liniment” from a local veterinary  medicine to a product sold world wide by 1910. According to Earl Sloan’s interview in the December, 1910 edition of Printer’s Ink:

For years I put every dollar I could possibly take out of the business back into advertising. This meant, of course, an increasing expenditure each year until today we utilize practically all mediums, and even issue a magazine of our own, known as “Sloan’s Farm and Home Journal,” of which we send out millions of copies annually.

According to the “Printer’s Ink”story, the business depended on signs and billposting for every-day reminders and on newspapers and booklets for educational work. The words “Sloans Liniment” were always the most prominent feature in his newspaper and outdoor signage.

We believe that in that way we teach the public to unconsciously connect the two in their mind. Whenever they think of liniment they think of Sloan’s.

He went on to describe the world-wide recognition the product was receiving in 1910.

The far-reaching effect of our advertising has been surprising. I do not believe there is a spot in the world, reasonably civilized, where “Sloan’s Liniment” is not for sale. A man once wanted to make a wager with me that he knew one place where there was no “Sloan’s Liniment,” and he gave the Isle of Malta, which he said is the hottest place in the world. I looked up our records and found we had two druggists there who were selling large quantities of the liniment to the natives and to sailors on ships that use the Isle of Malta as a coaling station…

Yes, we advertise in foreign countries, as much proportionately as in the United States, using mostly newspapers, outdoor advertising and some street car advertising. Our business in England, Germany, South America and the West Indies is increasing so rapidly that it is hard for us to keep up with it.

The long history of “Sloan’s Liniment” suggests that it’s value as a liniment also contributed to it’s success but the company’s advertisements marketed it as much more than just a liniment. One 1905 advertisement called it “a complete medicine chest” and another, this one from 1920, listed 26 human conditions for which the liniment offered relief.

   

Advertisements in 1905 even advertised it as a preventative for yellow fever and malaria.

Avoid Yellow Fever

Use the great antiseptic preventative Sloan’s Liniment. Six drops of Sloan’s Liniment on a teaspoonful of sugar will kill yellow fever and malaria germs.

Farmers were also in luck. This 1908 advertisement announced it brought relief for various ailments associated with horses, cattle and sheep, hogs and poultry.

After Sloan sold the business it continued to operate under the name Dr. Earl S. Sloan, Inc., and they continued to list Boston as their home office on the “Sloan’s Liniment” label through 1916. The label also listed locations of Philadelphia and St. Louis in the U.S.; Toronto, Canada, and London, England.

         

Then in 1917, the label was revised, dropping the Boston location and adding New York.

The company address in New York was 113 West 18th Street. In the 1933 NYC Directory, Henry Pfeiffer was listed as president, and G.A. Pfeiffer as vice president and treasurer. During this period their advertisements continued to focus on the relief of joint and muscle pain but they were no longer using phrases like “cures rheumatism” and “destroys all germ life.”

According to an article in the October 15, 1945 edition of the Atlanta Constitution, around that time 14 companies, including the Pfeiffer Chemical Co., and  Dr. Earl S. Sloan, Inc. were consolidated under the name Standard Laboratories, Inc. The 1948 NYC Directory listed Standard Lab’s Inc. at the 113 West 18th Street address. In fact, Standard Lab’s was listed at that address as far back as the early 1920’s so it appears that the relationship between Sloan, Pfeiffer and Standard Lab’s probably dated back much further than the consolidation.

Built in 1913, the building utilized by the business at 113 West 18th Street still remains today.

By the early 1950’s Standard Laboratories, Inc. was located in Morris Plains N.J. According to bestbusinessny.com the company has been inactive since the mid 1980’s.

Sloan’s Liniment continues to be made today by Lee Pharmaceuticals and according to drugs.com, it’s still used for temporary relief of muscle or joint pain caused by strains, sprains, arthritis, bruising or backaches.

Over 130 years later, the packaging still includes Earl Sloan’s likeness on the label.

I’ve found two “Sloan’s Liniment” bottles, both three ounces in size. One is mouth blown and Embossed “Sloan’s Liniment / Kills Pain” that was probably made prior to Earl selling the business in 1913. The other is machine made, only embossed “Sloan’s Liniment” and most likely dates to the period following the sale.

 

Wm Jay Barker, New York, Hirsutus

Wm Jay Barker was listed in the New York City directories for over 100 years from 1847 until sometime in the mid-1950’s. During this time the business was listed with a wide range of classifications including hairdresser, barber, wigs, wigs and human hair, human hair merchant, patent meds and toilet goods. Many of the listings also included the name of the hair tonic that the business manufactured called “Hirsutus.” My daughter, who has a minor in Latin, tells me “Hirsutus” is a Latin adjective and can mean “hairy” or “shaggy”

Barker was first listed in the 1847 NYC Directory at 349 1/2 Broadway. The business remained on or near Broadway for almost 50 years utilizing many different addresses. In 1851 they were located at 459 Broadway and by 1857-58 they had moved to 565 Broadway. In the 1859-60 directory their address was listed as 622 Broadway where they remained through 1871. The 1867-68 NYC Directory included an expanded listing for the business.

In 1870 they opened a second location at 1275 Broadway. The opening of this location was announced in the June 22, 1870 edition of the New York Herald.

They maintained both addresses for just a year or so, dropping 622 Broadway in the 1871-72 Directory. In 1876-77 they moved again, this time to a location four doors off Broadway at 36 West 29th Street.

After leaving Broadway they were located at 112 Fulton Street (1895 to 1903); 106 6th Avenue (1903 to approx. 1930) and 1826 Park Avenue (approx. 1930 to the mid-1940’s). By 1948 they had moved to 160 East 127th Street where they remained listed through 1953. They were no longer listed in 1957.

The business was run by William Jay Barker until his death sometime prior to 1894 after which it appears that the business remained in the family. NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories between 1901 and 1919 listed  the business as “William Jay Barker (Mary Barker Fareira, only)” and a February 7, 1918 New York Times article,  named his son, also William Jay Barker, as president of the company until his tragic death, at the time of the article, in a Connecticut house fire.

Management of the company after Mary Fareira’s death sometime in the 1920’s is not clear.

Company advertisements stated that their hair tonic “Hirsutus” dated back to the start of the business in 1847, however the first mention of it that I can find was in an April 12, 1869 advertisement in the New York Herald.

This advertisement from 1902 claims that dandruff, thin failing hair, baldness, scrub, scalp humors and itching scalp were all relieved with one application of “Barker’s Hirsutus.”

Another 1902 advertisement went further, stating:

Thousands of persons are today scratching their heads and saying they would give anything in the world if they could only get some kind of a remedy that would relieve or cure them of dandruff and other scalp diseases, a large number not knowing of a wonderful remedy which has been in existence over half a century, called Barker’s Hirsutus, which is a positive and well known cure used by the most fashionable people of the world, and if they would use it would never be troubled by these diseases.

Hirsutus is a vegetable preparation, free from grease and poisonous chemicals. Positively cures dandruff, failing hair and all scalp diseases. Grows hair on any bald head if directions are faithfully carried out.

Hisutus is indispensable to ladies and children. By its use they can keep the scalp free from scruff and dandruff, thereby creating a healthy condition of the scalp , and promoting a soft, pliant and luxurious growth of hair. This preparation costs more than most other remedies of this nature, but IT DOES MORE. Anyone troubled with scalp diseases, takes no chances in using HIRSUTUS. It positively does all that is claimed for it.

It’s not clear how long the Hirsutus hair tonic was actually on the market. NYC phone books included the word “Hirsutus” with company listings right up through the 1950’s but I don’t see it advertised or included in drug store listings after 1936.

As far as I can tell, none of the buildings occupied by the business still exist today.

The bottle I found is mouth blown (maybe 8 to 10 oz) with a tooled finish. It’s sun-purpled indicating the presence of manganese dioxide which was predominantly used as a decolorizing agent prior to 1920. It’s shape and embossing are similar to a labeled example recently advertised on e-bay that exhibits the 6th Avenue address utilized by the company between 1903 and 1930.

  

Sallade & Co., Magic Mosquito Bite Cure & Insect Destroyer, N.Y.

Sallade & Co. was established by Mary F. Sallade, a widow who arrived in New York City via Philadelphia in the late 1870’s. She was last listed in the 1878 Philadelphia Directory as a widow with the occupation “plaitings,” someone who makes  dressmakers trimmings. In fact she held several patents in the late 1800’s related to plaiting machines.

Sometime after her arrival in New York City, while continuing her work as a plaiter, she developed and began to manufacture an insecticide. She patented the label for the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure” on January 26, 1886 but the product was certainly in use prior to that date. Later, on October 1, 1889, she lengthened the name and patented an updated label for the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure and Insect Exterminator.”

Sallade was first listed in New York City (Manhattan) in 1878 as a plaiter at 69 Fourth Avenue. A year later, in 1879, she was also listed at a second location, this one at 249 Fulton Street in Brooklyn. She continued to list the 249 Fulton Street address in Brooklyn through 1886 and it appears that the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure” had its origins at this location sometime in the early to mid-1880’s. Though she still listed her occupation as a plaiter in the directories, an advertisement for the “Magic Mosquito Bite Cure” in the June 27, 1885 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated that it was sold in three different sized bottles and added:

Bites cured free at 249 Fulton Street

The mother of a small daughter, Sallade’s  early marketing strategy played heavily on that theme of motherhood.

In the late 1870’s through mid 1880’s, her Manhattan address changed on a regular basis and included 39 Union Square (1880), 878 Broadway (1881), 16 West 23rd (1883), 8 East 18th (1884 to 1889) and finally 53-59 West 24th beginning in 1889. By this time the insecticide was for sale in many of New York’s large department stores; most notably Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor.

In the mid 1880’s Sallade was also attempting to grow the business outside the New York area as well. In the fall of  1885, she placed newspaper advertisements in at least 6 states:North Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Indiana West Virginia and Kansas, as well as Washington D.C. looking for agents to sell her product. This advertisement from the Hagerstown (Indiana) Exponent was very typical.

In the mid-1890’s Sallade transferred ownership of the business to Thomas T. Pountney. Between 1896 and 1922 most NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed the business as “Sallade & Co., T.T. Pountney, only.” Mary Sallade continued to be listed in New York City through 1910 as a plaiter but was no longer associated with Sallade & Co.

The business remained on West 24th Street until 1902 when it moved to 122 Cedar Street. It remained there until the early 1920’s when it moved again, this time to 121 Leroy Street. Pountney continued to stress the theme of motherhood as evidenced by this advertisement printed in the September 1, 1904 edition of the NY Tribune:

No Skeeters Last Night Mama

Sometime between 1915 and 1917 the name of the insecticide changed from “Insect Exterminator” to “Insect Destroyer” in advertisements and listings of proprietary medicines.”

The company remained listed in New York City through the late 1940’s at 121 Leroy and 99 Pine (1920’s -1930’s) and 67 Cortlandt (1940’s). Thomas Pountney died in March of 1937 but it’s not clear how long he remained associated with the business.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown flask that exhibits the term “Insect Destroyer” as opposed to “Insect Exterminator.” This suggests that it dates no earlier than 1915 to 1917 when the name changed. It matches a labeled bottle recently exhibited on e-bay that exhibited the Cedar Street address.