The T stands for Theodore Ebeling. A German, he was listed in the 1880 census records but not in the 1870 records so he most likely immigrated to the U.S. sometime in the 1870’s.
He was listed in various NYC Directories between 1875 and and 1892 with the occupation “drugs.” He was located in the Bronx, on Third Avenue between 146th Street and 147th Street for the entire time. The earlier directories listed his address as Third Avenue, near 146th Street while the later ones listed it as 2774 Third Avenue (essentially the same location). The 1880 census records also listed his residence at this location, so it looks like he operated a small business out of his home or lived in an apartment above the shop.
He was still listed in the 1895 Medical, Pharmaceutical and Dental Register at 2774 Third Avenue but by 1896, he had moved to 143rd Street and was no longer listed with an occupation, apparently retired.
The bottle I found is a small (approximately 4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish. It has the 2774 Third Avenue address embossed on it and also includes a logo with Ebeling’s initials T.H. Embossing on the base indicates the bottle was made by the Whitehall Tatum Company (W.T. & Co.). The fact that there’s an ampersand (between the T and Co) indicates it was made before that company incorporated in 1901. This is in agreement with an end date for the business of 1896.
In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, Richard A. Hudnut, a New York businessman built a fortune manufacturing perfumes, cosmetics and beauty products and he is widely recognized as the first American to achieve international success in the cosmetics industry.
His father, Alexander, a druggist, initially established a drug store on Court Street in Brooklyn in the 1850’s. An entrepreneurial businessman in his own right, an historical feature called “The Older Brooklyn” that was published in the June 29, 1911 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and described the Brooklyn of 50 years prior, credits his drug store with being “one of the first to introduce cream and syrup flavors into soda water.” Later, in the early 1870’s he opened a drug store in the Herald Building in Manhattan at 218 Broadway.
Richard began his career working in his father’s business. The early history of his life and business is told in “New York State’s Prominent and Progressive Men” published in 1902.
M. Hudnut was born in the City of Philadelphia on June 2, 1856. Soon thereafter the family removed to New York, and he was educated in the schools of that city, and in the Polytechnic Institute Brooklyn. At the age of eighteen years, he left school and entered the drug store conducted by his father in New York. There he made a thorough study of the drug business, and paid special attention to the chemistry and the manufacture of perfumes. He remained in association with his father in that store until the latter’s retirement from business and the closing of the famous store in 1889.
Mr. Hudnut made a prolonged visit to Europe, during which he traveled widely, and made a careful study of the most approved and successful methods of manufacturing perfumery. Then on his father’s retirement, he opened the Richard Hudnut Pharmacy Incorporated at 925 Broadway New York. To that establishment, he has since devoted practically his entire business attention. While conducting a general pharmacy business of the best kind, Mr. Hudnut’s corporation as might be supposed, makes a specialty of the manufacture and sale of perfumery. In that industry nearly a hundred persons are employed, and the Richard Hudnut Perfumes are sold in all parts of the country and are recognized as of the highest standard of excellence, competing not only with the beast American, but with the best foreign makes.
Much of this story is supported in the various NYC Directories of the time.
Alexander Hudnut is first listed at 218 Broadway in the 1870/71 NYC Directory.
In the 1880 Directory, Alexander and Richard are both listed at the 218 Broadway address and they remain listed together at this address through 1888.
In the 1889 Directory, Richard A Hudnut, drugs, is listed at the 925 Broadway address for the first time.
Up through 1914, Hudnut maintained both a retail drug business and perfume/cosmetics manufacturing business, a business that was continually expanding.
The ERA Druggist Directories between 1905 and 1914 listed the location at 925 Broadway under “retail druggists” and the 1905 Directory provided a menu of services at this location that included: drugs/medicines, drug sundries, wines and liquors and a soda fountain.
In 1902, the Copartnership and Corporation Directory began listing a second address for Richard Hudnut at 40 East 19th Street. The ERA Druggist Directories listed this location under “drug manufacturers” (toilet preps and perfumes.) In and around 1908, this piece of the business moved to a new headquarters at 115 East 29th Street. This location was a newly built six-story building that included manufacturing space, offices, shipping areas, laboratory and a showroom. Then, still in need of more space, on November 18, 1911, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that Hudnut had leased two floors, each 10,000 square feet, in Bush Terminal as general distributing and shipping quarters.
In 1914, Hudnut sold the Broadway location and effectively retired from the retail drug business. The May 1914 issue of the Pharmaceutical Era reported it this way.
The stock and fixtures of Hudnut Pharmacy, 925 Broadway, near 21st Street, Manhattan, valued at $50,000, were sold at auction on April 23. It is understood that Richard Hudnut has been looking for an opportune time to retire from the retail drug business and that the above action is a result of his desire. The wholesale and manufacturing business will continue undisturbed at 115-117 East 29th Street. The Richard Hudnut perfumes and toilet specialties are a well-known line in the trade.
Then, two years later, in August of 1916, the Pharmaceutical Record reported that Hudnut sold the manufacturing end of the business to Wm. R Warner & Co.
An announcement of interest to the trade was recently made by Richard A. Hudnut, who has sold substantial interest in Richard Hudnut to Messrs. H. Pfeiffer, G. A. Pfeiffer and G.D. Merner, of the firm of Wm. R. Warner & Co., of Philadelphia and St. Louis. Mr. Hudnut continues as president, and the business policies that have made the name “Richard Hudnut” famous in the perfume and toilet goods world will be continued.
The office and laboratory located at 115-117 East 29th Street, New York city, have been leased by the new organization.
Two years later, the 1918-1919 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Gustavus Pfeiffer as president of the Richard Hudnut Corporation and Hudnut was no longer mentioned. So within two years of the sale, Hudnut was no longer associated with the business. Whether this decision was Hudnut’s decision or the decision of Wm. R. Warner & Co. is unclear to me. He passed away in 1928, while living in France.
The Wm R. Warner Company became Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. in 1955. Warner Lambert was acquired by Park Davis in 1970 and they merged with Pfizer in 2000.
Richard Hudnut was apparently producing perfume and cosmetic products as early as 1880 while working in his father’s business. By 1893 he had his own product line called Hudnutine that included perfumes, toilet water, talcum powder, face powder, cold cream, tooth powder, rouge, etc. A later product line developed by Hudnut was called DuBarry. After the sale of the business in 1916, the Hudnut name remained associated with various perfume and cosmetic products through at least 1959.
The bottle I found matches the bottle in a 1914 advertisement for a toilet water called Violet Sec.
The value of toilet water is the feeling of freshness its use inspires. The delicacy of Violet Sec Toilet Water, its elusive fragrance and lasting quality have made it the choice of smart women everywhere.
The above image is from Hudnut’s 1913 – 1914 Price List. A patent for Violet Sec Toilet Water was filed on September 17, 1912, however, based on a December 14, 1899 item in the Pharmaceutical Era, the product dates back to at least the late 1800’s..
One of the most artistic drug windows in New York is that of Richard Hudnut, on Broadway. Upon a royal purple background is displayed a varied assortment of goods for the holiday trade. Violet Sec Toilet Water, the “Apotheosis” of the violet odor, is having a great sale among the drug trade this year, selling to the retailer at 75 cents a bottle of six ounces. The essence of this same odor is put up in ounce bottles contained in fancy boxes of imitation grogran silk, decorated in Louis Quinze style.
For the fine trade Hudnut is equipped to supply the druggist’s holiday wants in anything pertaining to violets. (Apparently Hudnut had an entire line of “Violet Sec”Products including perfume, soaps, powders, bath salts, etc.)
In addition to his two New York locations, Hudnut’s products were sold in upscale New York department stores. Between 1896 and 1905 his products were occasionally listed in Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisements for Abraham and Strauss (Richard Hudnut’s Nailustre for the Fingernails – 1902 and Richard Hudnut Handkerchief Perfumes – 1905), H. Batterman (Richard Hudnut’s Perfumes – 1896) and Journeay and Turnham (Richard Hudnut’s 8 oz Toilet Waters, all odors – 1897).
The building that housed the Richard Hudnut headquarters at 115 -117 East 29th Street is still there today and has been converted to condominiums (each in the $2 million + price range).
The current building at 925 Broadway was built in 1918, after the Hudnut retail business was discontinued at that location.
The building at 218 Broadway, Alexander Hudnut’s first Manhattan location, was called the NY Herald Building. It is said that Alexander placed a large thermometer outside his drugstore and as a result, “Hudnut’s Temperature” was published every day in the NY Herald (and the NY Times).
The Herald Building was torn down in 1895, replaced by the St. Paul Building. According to “Glimpses of New York” published in 1917:
The St. Paul Building. One of the tallest buildings in New York when erected. This replaced the old New York Herald office building, where for years Hudnut’s Drug Store on the corner did a land office business in soda-water during the summer, his thermometer regarded as the official figure of temperature.
It should be noted that Alexander sold the business in and around 1889-90 after, according to his New York Tribune obituary, “discussing terms for only half an hour.” The new owners continued to operate it as Hudnut’s Pharmacy at 218 Broadway until the building was torn down in 1895. At that point, the business moved to 205 Broadway where the NYC Directories still associated it with the name Hudnut (why change a good thing?) through 1904.
In addition to the Hudnut name embossed on the front, the bottle I found has the Hudnut Logo comprised of his initials RH (with the H presented both front and back) embossed on the side. It’s machine made and matches the image in the 1913-1914 price list dating it to that period. Amazingly, the bottle was found with the spout (also embossed Richard Hudnut NY) still attached.
The original proprietor of Raeder’s Pharmacy was Edward M Raeder. Originally from Roxbury New York in Delaware County, he graduated from the New York College of Pharmacy in 1898. In addition to being in the pharmacy business he served as Cedarhurst Village Treasurer and President of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Board of Trade.
According to the September 1909 issue of the Practical Druggist, Raeder started his pharmacy business around this time.
E. M. Raeder has opened a new drug store at Cedarhurst L.I., N.Y.
Located at the intersection of Cedarhurst Avenue and Central Avenue, the business is listed in the 1910 ERA Druggist Directory and continues to be listed through 1922, the last year I have access to.
Apparently, Raeder sold a series of photographic postcards of Cedarhurst and the surrounding environment. I’ve seen several different examples of them on the Internet. One of them, published by the American News Company for Raeder’s Pharmacy depicts a rural lane in Cedarhurst. The actual post card was used/postmarked in 1909.
Raeder is also listed as a liquor tax certificate holder for the years ending September 30, 1913, 1914 and 1915 so I assume the business must have stocked a much wider variety of items other than just pharmacy related merchandise.
It looks like Raeder removed himself from the business sometime in the early 1920’s. In November of 1921, the Drug and Chemical Market publication carried an item indicating that Raeder’s Pharmacy in Cedarhurst L.I. had incorporated with a capital of $50,000. and J. Andooschec, A.H.Plack and J. Kanarek were listed as the principals. Then, on January 27, 1922, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a story stating:
It is said that Edward M Raeder, village treasurer, will refuse a renomination on account of illness. Mr. Raeder is now in Roxbury N.Y., where he is expected to remain several months.
To the best of my knowledge, he never returned to Cedarhurst.
One of the new principals in the incorporated business, Dr. Alvin H. Plack ran Raeder’s as well as Colonial Pharmacy in Woodmere until his death in December, 1929. After that, it looks like the business continued into the late 1930’s but I’m not sure how long it lasts after that.
Today, three of the four corners on Cedarhurst and Central contain buildings that appear to date back as far as the business.
The bottle I found is mouth blown, approximately four ounces, and probably dates back to the first decade of the business.
In 1860 Alpheus P. Sharp established a retail pharmacy at the southwest corner of Howard and Pratt Streets in Baltimore. He teamed with Louis Dohme and later his brother Charles Dohme and they gradually developed a list of pharmaceuticals for which they experienced more than a local demand. Their proucts included medicinal fluids, solid and powdered extracts, gelatin and sugar coated pills, effervescent salts, hypodermic and compressed tablets, elixers, cordials, syrups and pepsins.
On December 31, 1885, Sharp retired, and Louis and Charles Dome, along with Ernst Stoffregen continued the business. The notice announcing this change was printed in the January, 6, 1886 edition of the Baltimore Sun.
The business subsequently incorporated in 1892.
In 1889 they established a branch in NYC. According to the NYC Directories, their first location was 16 Cedar Street. In 1891 they were located at 112 William Street and in 1892 they relocated to 41 John Street where they remained through at least 1919. Today, none of these addresses appear to date back to the business.
According to a December 31, 1896 article in the Phamaceutical Era, in 1893 Sharp and Dohme transferred it’s general offices including, the advertising, bookkeeping and billing departments from Baltimore to New York. The New York location was under the direction of Ernst Stroffregen and it fed the company’s growth in the eastern and middle states that naturally looked to New York for supplies. The west and northwest was served from a Chicago location. Laboratories were located in Baltimore and that location included the bottling and wrapping department. In 1896 the Baltimore facility included two buildings; one six stories the other seven stories.
The 1896 article credits Sharp & Dohme as the first to demonstrate the superiority of porous over compressed hypodermic tablets. It goes on to state that:
Their list of hypodermics is the largest and most complete made in the country. Their hypodermics are remarkably soluble even in cold water and this feature, which is an unvarying one, together with the quality of drug and accuracy of manufacture easily wins the confidence of the doctor.
Sharp & Dohme merged with H K Mulford & Co in 1929. The announcement was printed in the August 9, 1929 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Sharp & Dohme, Inc., announced that it will make an offer to the stockholders of the H.K. Mulford Company of Philadelphia for an exchange of stock that will consolidate the activities of these two nationally known concerns…
The H.K. Mulford Company has the leading biological laboratories in this country and is one of the oldest and best-known organizations in this line of business. Sharp & Dohme is one of the oldest and largest pharmaceutical houses in the country having been founded 69 years ago, manufacturing standard pharmaceutical products and certain controlled medicinal specialties.
The deal, one of the most important mergers in the medical industry at the time, closed two months later. At that time, Sharp & Dohme’s New York operation was listed at 78 Varick Street. H.K. Mulford had offices at 119-121 Varick Street.
In 1953 Sharp & Dome merged with Merck & Co.
The bottle I found is a small brown pill bottle. I’ve seen the exact bottle on E-Bay with a label that reads Lapactic Pills. According to the Pharmaceutical Era:
Lapactic Pills are prescribed in all parts of the civilized world for chronic constipation and atomic dyspepsia. A soluble aloin is made by Sharp & Dohme for use in this pill.
C T Hurlburt stands for Charles T Hurlburt. The company, established in 1852 and always located in Manhattan, was primarily engaged in the preparation of homoeopathic remedies. The company was also known as the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy.
Charles Hurlburt was the sole proprietor until 1893 when he formed a partnership with his son. The partnership was announced in the Society and News section of the 1893 issue of the “North American Journal of Homoeopathy”as follows:
We notice that the old established house of C T Hurlburt, the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy, which has been under his sole management since 1852 has been changed to a partnership under the firm name of C T Hurlburt & Co. The firm consists of Mr C T Hurlburt and his son, Mr Chas F Hurlburt, who has a long experience in homoeopathic pharmacy under his father’s direction and who is now associated with him as a partner.
The business was active until approximately 1915 occupying several locations over it’s life span. The original location was 437 Broome Street and later, in 1868, the business moved to 898 Broadway between 18th and 19th Street. This February 16, 1877 advertisement in the (Brooklyn) Times Union indicated that they also maintained a presence in Brooklyn (Eastern District) as well.
Prior to 1880 they moved to East 19th Street. Here they were first listed at 15 East 19th Street in 1880/81 and by 1886 were listed at 3 East 19th Street where they remained until 1901. Between the mid 1880’s and early 1900’s the business also maintained a 125th Street location. 52, 59,61 and 108 W 125th Street were all listed during this period.
An article in an 1896 issue of the Phamaceutical Era described the business and it’s products during this period:
This firm also known as the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy is one of the oldest houses engaged in preparing alcoholic tinctures of green plants and other supplies used by the Homoeopathic School of Medicine. They are the proprietors of a number of special preparations well known to the general drug trade as “Hurlburts” which have secured a large sale through their own merits, curative qualities and the established reputation and long experience of the manufacturers. These medicines are the result of scientific skill and medical knowledge. One of the oldest and most celebrated is their remedy for Croup coughs and Bronchial troubles, called Hurlburt’s Trachial Drops, prepared both in syrup and tablets – a remedy unqualified for the household in providing safety against that dread of mothers – the croup. Hurlburt’s Rubini Camphor Pills for Colds, Grippe and Dirreha were originated by this firm as the most convenient and desirable way of taking an efficient yet pleasant dose of camphor. They have many imitators, but to secure the genuine buyers should see that the label bears the trademark of the firm. Circulars and prices of these and other valuable remedies can be obtained by addressing Messrs Hurlburt and Co. who offer the trade very advantageous terms.
An advertisement printed in the October 2, 1892 issue of the New York Sun referenced the Tracheal Drops and Rubini Camphor Pills as well as several other products.
In 1902 the business was listed at 575 Madison Avenue and by 1906 they were at 7 Barclay, where they stayed until 1911. The 7 Barclay Street address is now located in the current footprint of the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan. The site for the building was acquired in 1911 necessitating Hurlburt’s move to 45 Lafayette Street where they were listed from 1912 to 1914.
In 1915 C. T. Hurlburt was no longer included in the directories, but now Hurlburt’s Pharmacal Co was listed with an address of 366 West 11th Street and Theo Stemmler as President. I’m not sure whether this is a continuation of the original company or not.
One of their oldest and certainly most well known product was called Hurlburt’s Tracheal Drops. Sold throughout most of the company’s existence, it dated back to the early 1860’s as evidenced by this November 9, 1863 advertisement published in the New York Times.
Though, according to the 1909 Ohio Bulletin On Proprietary Medicines, it contained one sixth of a gram of codeine to the fluid ounce, it was marketed heavily to mothers of small children. This advertisement appeared in several 1893 issues of a publication called “Babyhood – The Mother’s Nursery Guide.”
Mothers will find Hurlburt’s Tracheal Drops a perfect safeguard for infants from the dread disease Croup, in all its forms. A invaluable household remedy for Croup, Whooping Cough and all Bronchial Irritation. In use for over 30 years. The genuine has name blown in the bottle.
The bottle I found is a small (1-2 ounce), square medicine bottle with a tooled finish. It’s embossed: C T Hurlburt & Co., so it was made after the partnership with Charles was formed in 1893. The maker’s mark TCW & Co is embossed on the base of the bottle indicating it was made by the T C Wheaton Glass Co. According to various Internet web sites, this specific mark was used between 1888 and 1901. This dates the bottle between 1893 and 1901 and ties it to the E 19th Street location.
The embossing does NOT include the words “Hurlburt’s Tracheal Drops.”
NYC Directories and the ERA Druggist Directories of the US, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Manila and the Hawaiian Islands indicate that Steinmann operated a pharmacy at 1402 Lexington Avenue (at 92nd Street) from 1907 to approximately 1917 -1920. He also operated a pharmacy in Bronxville NY from 1913 to 1925.
Frederick Steinmann’s story is best told in a letter he wrote to his friends and customers announcing that he was selling his pharmacy business. The letter was printed in the May 8, 1925 issue of the Bronxville Press. I’ve summarized parts of it below.
Frederick Steinmann was a graduate of the 1899 class of the New York College of Pharmacy and was manager of drug stores until 1907 when he entered business for himself at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Several years later he established a branch at 152nd Street and Convent Avenue, New York City, and in 1913 he opened a Bronxville branch in the Colonial Building.
He talked about how early on the Bronxville store was a losing proposition and how the opening of the rail line and station and movie theatre improved things. During this period, he sold the NY stores (A 1917 directory in the Druggist Circular still lists both the Lexington Avenue and Bronxville locations) and moved from Long Island to Bronxville to devote his energies to building the Bronxville business.
Ultimately, on May 1, 1925, he sold out to I Bernitz, a successful pharmacist of New York City who had sold his NYC store several weeks prior. Steinmann announced he was leaving pharmacy and entering the real estate brokerage field.
In a reflective piece of the letter he talked about serving the community during the influenza period and during the strain of the weeks of constant call to duty when compounding of prescriptions and medical supplies were in most urgent demand. Digalen, thermometers and caffeine benzoate were unobtainable in New York or in other places but we were fortunate enough to have brought our surplus stock to this store. It seemed a matter of fate to have helped save many lives. Then again, the pleasant duties of serving the healthy as well as the sick recompensed one for all the effort and strife and cares of a business.
The Fred’k S Steinmann name carried on into the 1990’s. In October 1968 the Fred’k S Steinmann Apothecary ltd of Ossining New York filed for incorporation in New York State and on July 1, 1997 the company was dissolved.
Today, 1402 Lexington Avenue is a five-story walk-up with a street level commercial store. According to apartments.com it was built in 1920 (it looks older to me) so it doesn’t date back to the business.
The bottle I found is a small (4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish that has the Amsterdam Avenue and 92nd Street address embossed on it. Embossing on the base indicates it was made by Whitehall Tatum Company (W.T. Co). The fact that there’s no ampersand (between the T and Co) indicates it was made after that business incorporated in 1901. A web site article on Whitehall Tatum puts the specific embossing in the 1901 to 1924 time frame. This confirms that the bottle fits within the 1907 to late teen’s time period that the business was at the Lexington Avenue address.
The J stands for John S Seabury. Born in 1811, he was a druggist and patent medicine proprietor from the 1830’s to at least 1882. He died in 1888. His obituary, printed in the November 1, 1888 issue of the ‘Pharmaceutical Record” states” John S Seabury, a well known druggist of Jamaica, New York and also in former years of this City, (NY) died at his home a few days ago. He began in business at New Rochelle, was later at Jamaica, and at one time was a member of the firm of Pinchot, Bruen & Seabury of this City (located on Fulton Street). He had an excellent reputation as a druggist and a citizen. He was 77 years of age.
It’s not clear when Seabury moved from New Rochelle to Jamaica, but J. S. Seabury & Co. of Jamaica was listed as an authorized agent for “Brandreth’s Pills” in the August 20, 1839 issue of the Long Island Star so he was doing business in Jamaica by then.
Around this time he was involved with at least two different proprietary products. One was for “Vestamental Soap” advertised in a July 1840 issue of the Long Island Farmer. It stated:
For removing grease spots, paint, etc. from woolen cloths. This is a new article lately invented by Mr. John S Seabury, Druggist, New Rochelle. The proprietor contents himself with merely stating in the label upon each bottle, the purpose of which it is intended, and the method of application; leaving those who choose to give it a trial to judge of its merits. We can say that we have never seen anything half so well adapted to removing spots from woolen garments as the Vestamental Soap. Price 25 cents a bottle. For sale at the New Drug and Book Store, by C. S. Watrous.
The other was called Hawkshurst’s Opodeldoc or Rheumatic Embrocation. The 1841 advertisement in the Long Island Farmer stated:
an effectual and speedy remedy for rheumatism, cramps, sprains, bruises, wounds, stiff joints, sore throat, pains in the chest, side back, etc. prepared for many years by the late John Hawkshurst of Newtown Long Island. The subscriber having procured the original recipe for preparing this embrocation, the genuine article will in future bear his written signature on the directions accompanying each bottle…Certificates of the most respectable character to the efficiency of the above medicine might be procured but the subscriber deems it unnecessary, as he authorizes every vendor of the article to refund the money for any part of a bottle of the embrocation which may be returned, should it not prove as represented.
By 1849 he owned a drug store in Jamaica called “Seabury’s Hall of Pharmacy”. According to an advertisement in the L I Farmer in the early 1850’s it was advertised as a general store as much as a pharmacy, selling an assortment of products such as paints, books, stationary, window glass and lamps in addition to drugs and medicines.
Over the years, this store was turned over to an employee named George Peck, first operating under a partnership of Seabury and Peck. Ultimately around 1865 Peck became sole proprietor and changed the name to the “Hall of Pharmacy”
Seabury apparently continued in business on Long Island at other Jamaica locations until at least 1882. He was listed in Curtain’s Long Island Directory of 1868-1869 under patent medicines in Jamaica on Fulton St near Washington Ave and there’s an advertisement for Seabury’s Cough Balsam in an 1871 issue of the Long Island Farmer. The advertisement names Seabury as the sole proprietor in Jamaica.
Finally, in 1882, Seabury is looking to retire. An 1882 issue of the “Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette” carried the following item headlined as a Rare Business Opportunity:
Desirous of retiring from active business, I offer for sale a first class drug store in the Village of Jamaica L I, also a well established fire insurance agency representing some of the best companies in the State. I would also sell one or all of my popular proprietary medicines. The above would be sold together or separately as desired. Address for particulars J S Seabury, Jamaica L I.
It’s not clear if and when he sold out.
The bottle I found is a small (approximately 2 oz) medicine with an applied finish and only the Seabury name embossed on it. It probably contained a proprietary medicine (maybe cough balsam?) from the Fulton St location.
The H stands for Herman C. Schmidt. A druggist of German ancestry, he’s listed in the March 1906 “Deutsch-Amerikanische Apotheker Zeitung”.
Schmidt’s business started in 1887. He’s not listed in the 1886 NYC Directory but after that he’s listed in every directory I could find through 1925 at 1134 Park Avenue. The 1905 ERA Directory indicated that he provided services in the following categories: drugs and medicine, drug sundries, tobacco or cigars, books or stationary and that the business had a soda fountain.
Today, the 1134 Park Avenue address is part of a large 15 story pre-war apartment building at 1130 Park Avenue. According to street easy.com it was built in 1927 so its construction would have signaled the end of the Schmidt business at this location.
It seems that around this time the business moved diagonally across the 91st Street intersection to 1143 Park Avenue, and by 1930 ownership of the pharmacy had been turned over to David G Fine. Fine listed his occupation in the 1930 census records as the proprietor of a drug store and a match book cover, recently advertised on e-bay named Fine as the proprietor of the H.C. Schmidt Pharmacy.
Fine maintained the business for 30+ years. Schmidt’s Pharmacy was still listed at 1143 Park Avenue in the 1960 Manhattan telephone book. Fine was also listed in 1960 at that address with the “classification “Pharmacy.”
The current building at 1143 Park Avenue was built in 1915 according to streeteasy.com. It’s the red building in the photo below, second from the corner.
The drug store was certainly at street level.
The bottle I found is a small (approximately 4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish that fits within the time that the business was located at 1134 Park Avenue (S.W. corner of 91st). The bottom of the bottle is embossed “Pat June 17, 88,”further indication that the business started around that time.
There was also a druggist on Third Avenue during this time period named Herman Schmidt. It’s possible that he used the middle initial C to differentiate his business from the one on Third Avenue.
Emil Roller, drugs, was first listed in the 1889 NYC Directory at 1441 First Avenue. Over the next ten years, between 1890 and 1899, he both lived and worked as a druggist on First Avenue between East 75th and East 77th Streets in Manhattan. Whether or not he operated his own business during this period is not clear.
Around 1900 he opened a drug store on the west side of Manhattan. Between 1900 and 1908, he was listed with the occupation “drugs”at 864 Ninth Avenue. The 1905 ERA Directory indicated that his drug store provided services in the following categories: drugs and medicine, drug sundries, tobacco or cigars, books or stationary and that the business had a soda fountain.
In 1908 Roller sold the Ninth Avenue business and purchased another one on Amsterdam Avenue. On October 14, 1908, the “Pharmaceutical Era” reported that:
Francis Zitz, Amsterdam Avenue and 86th Street has been succeeded by Emil Roller. Mr. Roller recently sold his store at 56th Street and Ninth Avenue to S Beck.
Between 1908 and 1914 the business was listed as “Roller’s Prescription Pharmacy” at 535 Amsterdam Avenue at 86th Street. Then in 1915 they moved to 574 Amsterdam Avenue on the southwest corner of West 88th Street
The business incorporated in 1918. A notice in the September 27 issue of the New York Times listed them as a new corporation:
Emil Roller Pharmacy, Manhattan, $6,000; E.Roller, J. Hundy, Martha Hundy, 220 West 88th Street.
The Roller Pharmacy was listed at this location through at least 1925.
It’s not clear when the business ended. By 1933 Roller is still listed with the occupation of “drugs” but I can’t find a listing for the pharmacy. In 1948 Emil Roller is no longer listed as well.
Roller developed a few products that he sold under his own name. A series of advertisements in the April and May, 1910 issues of the New York Age touted “Emil Rollers Unrivaled Skin Balm”
Apparently he sold stomach and liver pills under his name as well. A 1911 issue of the American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record printed the following lyric that they said Roller included in packages to his customers:
Hark, our Stomach, Liver Pills Highly Recommended! Will relieve all minor ills In proper time attended
They restore your appetite, Liberate bad gases, And make life a real delight, A joy in all its phases
You won’t have to hang around Without spunk, ambitions; You’ll feel active, safe and sound, Alert in all conditions
Nausea, Headaches, Dizziness Disappears like wonder; Billousness and pains, distress Will also have to wander
And all troubles, and all ills, Caused by indigestion, You can right by Roller’s Pills Quite surely without question
They are to our best belief Just the medication When you look for help, relief In Chronic Constipation
Therefore give them a fair trial Without hesitation; Buy of Roller’s Pills a vial And you’ll obtain salvation
Roller, in addition to having a good sense of humor, was apparently a pretty smart guy. A chemist, in 1914 he was part of a team that studied the treatment of malignant growths with Colloidal Glyco-Sulpher-Seleno Preparations. He was also working on a new urinary test for syphilis that “threatens to superseed the Wasserman”. (This probably didn’t happen because the Wasserman test was still quite popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s).
He was also heavily involved with the German Apothecaries Society and at one time was Chairman of the Scientific Committee.
The bottle I found is a small (approximayely 4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish. It has the Amsterdam Avenue and 88th Street address embossed on it so it dates to no earlier than 1915. Embossing on the base indicates it was made by Whitehall Tatum Company (W.T. Co). The fact that there’s no ampersand (between the T and Co) indicates it was made after the business incorporated in 1901. A web site article on Whitehall Tatum puts the specific embossing in the 1901 to 1924 time frame. So it looks like the bottle was made between 1915 and 1924. Recognizing that the bottle is mouth blown I’d say it’s manufacture is within a year or two of 1915.
R W stands for Russel W Robinson. According to an article in the January to June 1907 records of the “American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, Robinson entered the drug business in the late 1840’s and formed the firm of R W Robinson & Son in 1870. He died in 1883.
The NYC directories support and add to this information.
Russel W Robinson was first listed in the 1847/1848 City Directory (the earliest one I could find) at 214 Fulton Street with the occupation of “drugs.”
Robinson moved to 182 – 186 Greenwich Street in and around 1857/1858.
The firm of R W Robinson and Son first appeared in the 1870/1871 Directory at the Greenwich Street address. Russel W Robinson continued to be listed individually at that address as well. The business was also listed in the 1877 Rands NYC Business Directory under “wholesale drugs”
Russel W Robinson was still listed individually in the 1883 directory but was not listed in 1886 (the next directory I have access to). The business continued to be listed at Greenwich Street.
In the 1897 and 1898 Trow Business Directories for Manhattan and the Bronx, the company remained listed at the Greenwich Street address and an address at 228 Fulton Street was added.
A notice in the November 28, 1903 edition of the New York Times announced that the business had incorporated:
R. W. Robinson & Son, New York, to deal in drugs; capital $80,000. Directors – F.M. Robinson, W.R. Robinson, D.W. Kent, New York.
After incorporation, the company name became R. W. Robinson & Son Company.
In 1906 there appears to have been a split, when several directors and long time employees of Robinson resigned and formed a new company called the C. S. Littell Company. The May 1906 issue of the “Pharmaceutical Era”reported the formation of the new company under the headline “Well Known Drug Men in New Wholesale House”
It was announced by Charles S. Littell, George Thompson and Theodore W. Day that they have resigned as directors of the corporation of R. W. Robinson & Son, Co., severing their connection with that concern, and have formed a co-partnership under the name of C. S. Littell & Co. They will do a wholesale drug business at 228 Fulton Street. The new firm has leased the Fulton Street section of the old building, leaving the Greenwich Street side, which forms an “L” to 186 Greenwich, to the Robinson firm. which will continue in business. The two buildings are, in fact, separate and distinct, being connected by a passageway.
Charles S. Littell, who is prominent in drug trade circles as chairman of the Drug Trade Section of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation, started with the Robinson firm thirty-five years ago as a boy and for twenty years was a partner in the old firm of R. W. Robinson & Son. During the past two years he has been vice-president of the present incorporated company. Mr. Thompson and Mr. Day have both been connected with the business for over twenty years.
It was first the intention of the Robinson Co. gradually to drop their wholesale branch altogether and to confine themselves to their cash jobbing business, which they carry on in their Greenwich Street building, and to the pushing of their laboratory specialties. F. M. Robinson said to an Era representative this week, however, that he had changed his mind about the matter. So much new business has been coming in, he said, that there will be enough to go around between the new and the old concerns without either conflicting with the other. Hence the firm will continue the wholesale department…
There must have been more to the situation than reported in the story because a little over one year later, R. W. Robinson & Son was bankrupt. A bankruptcy notice, that listed assets of $24,184 and liabilities of $156,569 was printed in the October 31, 1907 edition of the N Y Times. A day later, a bankruptcy sale was announced in the paper. The notice provided a description of the business at that time of the sale. It included: a complete manufacturing, wholesale and retail business together with a laboratory. Their property included drugs, chemicals, proprietory medicines, formulas, trade names, office fixtures, typewriters, etc.
C. S. Littell was still listed at 228 Fulton Street in the 1919 Copartnership and Corporation Directory. At some point in the early 1920’s they moved to 330 Spring Street and I don’t see them listed in the 1930’s.
Each year the Robinson Company published an almanac which they referred to as “An ephemeris of the motions of the sun and moon, the true places and aspects of the planets, rising and setting of the sun and the rising, setting and southing of the moon.” The annual almanac advertised the wide variety of proprietary remedies available from R W Robinson and Sons. They were also listed as a dealer for several proprietary medicines in newspaper advertisements over the years. The earliest one I could find is from 1870 for “Hembold’s Buchu.”
Other proprietary medicines they were associated with in advertisements include “Dr. Clark Johnson’s Indian Blood Syrup,” the “Old Squaw’s Cure” and “Dr. M Caldwell’s Dyspepsia Remedy.” An 1873 advertisement for Dr. Caldwell’s from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle is included below.
The 182 -186 Greenwich Street and 228 Fulton Street addresses no longer exist and the location is currently within the footprint of the World Trade Center site.
The bottle I found is a small medicine (approximately 4 oz) with a tooled finish. It’s embossed R W Robinson & Son and fits with the 1870 to 1907 time frame of the company (probably late 1800’s). There’s no address embossed on the bottle.