Mike’s Collection

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Their advertisements called it:

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

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

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

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

The story then went on to describe the operation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Empire Bottling Works, Rockaway Beach, New York

    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

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

The bottle I found is 27 ounces and machine made.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

PICNIC LUNCH

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

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

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

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

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

Winsor & Newton, London

Established in 1832, Winsor & Newton quickly grew to become one of the main suppliers of art related materials in the world, manufacturing a wide array of items that included oils, alkyds, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, brushes, canvases and papers.  Today, the business remains a major player in the art industry.

Originally established at 38 Rathborne Place in London, the company’s history in Britain is documented in great detail by the U. K.’s National Portrait Gallery. Excerpts from that history are presented below.

The business was founded in 1832 by two childhood friends, William Winsor (1804-64), chemist and artist, and Henry Charles Newton (1805-82), artist.

In 1837 Winsor & Newton acquired a varnish factory at King’s Cross and also took premises at Blackfriars for the grinding of oil colors. These facilities were replaced or extended in 1844 when they set up a steam power factory in Kentish Town, known as the North London Colour Works which continued in use until 1938.

William Winsor’s partnership with Newton was dissolved from 31 December 1864, some months before his death. His son William Henry Winsor (1831-79) inherited his father’s share of the Winsor & Newton business, which was subsequently purchased by Newton.

Winsor & Newton became a limited company in 1882, shortly before Henry Charles Newton’s death. The signatories to the company’s Memorandum of Association in 1882 were Henry Charles Newton, his son Arthur Henry Newton, his son-in-law Arthur Anderson West, Robert White Thrupp and William Winsor’s nephew, William John Winsor.

Winsor & Newton’s canvas, brush and woodwork manufacturing facilities were relocated to Wealdstone in Harrow in 1898, with the color works following in 1937 and head office in 1938. Brush making was moved to a new factory at Lowestoft in 1946.

The last family member to act as a director of the company was Guy Newton, great-grandson of the founder. Winsor & Newton became a public company when it floated on the stock exchange in 1957. It acquired Charles G.Page of Tottenham, maker of toy metal paint boxes in 1963. Winsor & Newton Ltd itself was acquired by Reckitt & Colman in 1976. In 2006 Winsor & Newton was owned by the Swedish based ColArt.

Less than 20 years after the company’s inception advertisements for their products began to appear in United States newspapers. The earliest advertisement I could find, published in the April 16, 1851 edition of the Vermont Family Gazette, provided a menu of available Winsor & Newton materials under the heading “Fresh Importations.”

The advertisement was prepared by the firm of M. J. Whipple of Boston, Massachusetts who described themselves  as “importers of artists’ and drawing materials in every variety.” Up through the late 1880’s the company apparently used import firms like Whipple to distribute their products in the United States.

In New York City, it’s likely that one of the first companies to import their materials was Masury & Whiton. Both a manufacturer and importer of artists’ materials, they were associated with Winsor & Newton dating back to 1857/1858 and possibly earlier under their former name of Masury & Weeks.

The New York Sketch Book and Merchants Guide, dated 1858, included a description of Masury & Whiton that made reference to their relationship with Winsor & Newton.

In artists materials Messrs. Masury & Whiton are probably the largest in the United States. It is a general depot for artists’ materials for the trade, of any and every conceivable description.

The assortment of goods comprises, white lead and zinc paints, colors and brushes; materials for house, ship, and sign painting; for painting in oil colors – brushes, palettes, palette knives, easels, chairs, tents, boxes, etc.; materials for daguerreotypists, lithographers, et id genus omne; including a constant and full supply of Winsor & Newton’s celebrated oil and water colors, canvases, moist water colors in tubes and pans, mill boards, etc.

Having agents in Paris and London, this firm has unequaled facilities for the importation of goods, while there own manufacturing resources enable them to supply, either in large or small quantities, any article connected with plain, fancy or ornamental painting…

The 1858 Sketch Book and Merchants Guide went on to say that, at the time, Masury & Whiton maintained a commodious factory in Brooklyn and a warehouse situated at No. 111 Fulton Street and No 50 Ann Street, having a front on each Street.

This Masury & Whiton advertisement referencing Winsor & Newton was dated June 1, 1859 and appeared in several 1859 editions of the Carlisle (Pa.) Weekly Herald.

Other New York City area importers of artists’ materials that advertised Winsor & Newton materials were C. W. Keenan and M. H. Hartmann. Both advertised Winsor & Newton art materials in the mid to late 1880’s. C. W. Keenan was a Brooklyn firm that at the time was located on the corner of Fulton Street and Jay Street. Their advertising items quite often appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Hartmann was located in Manhattan at the corner of 12th Street and Fourth Avenue. This advertisement appeared in the January 9, 1886 edition of Home Decoration.

According to the U. K.’s Portrait Gallery, by 1889 Winsor & Newton had established a company presence in New York City. That being said, I can’t find a NYC directory listing for them until 1897. Adding to the confusion, according to his 1926 obituary, the company’s long time New York manager, Louis A. Munkelt did not arrive in the United States until 1894. Based on this information I think it’s safe to conclude that by the mid-1890’s Winsor & Newton was operating in the United States.

This is further evidenced by the fact that at around this time the availability of their products, at least in New York City, was expanding from the artists specialty stores to include the the City’s major department stores. In the mid-1890’s both Loeser’s and Abraham and Strauss had established artist departments and were advertising Winsor & Newton products, among others. In 1899 another major department store, H. Batterman’s followed suit. Their announcement was printed in the June 6 edition of the (Brooklyn) Standard Union.

The advertisement went on to say in part:

Artists will find here a large assortment of …WINSOR & NEWTONS OILS, WATER COLORS AND INKS.

By 1900 Macy’s had included Winsor & Newton materials in their advertising as well.

The first address I can find for Winsor & Newton’s New York operation was 88 Fulton Street where they were listed from 1897 through 1904. This advertisement from 1900, found in the July through September issues of a publication called The International Studio referred to it as Winsor & Newton’s American Office.

In 1905 their address changed to 298 Broadway, where they would remain listed through 1916.

In June, 1914 the business incorporated in New York as the “American Agency of Winsor & Newton, Inc.” The incorporation notice was published in the June 18, 1914 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Julius A. Munkelt was listed as one of the new company’s directors. Munkelt had been associated with the company’s New York operation for most, if not all of its existence. Prior to being named a director in the new corporation  he was included in their directory listings as either their New York manager or agent.

A year later another incorporation notice, this one published in the November 22, 1915 edition of the Eagle, announced that the company had apparently reorganized in New York under a new name, “Winsor & Newton, Inc., with no change in management.

Shortly after the second incorporation the company moved again. The 1917 American Art Annual listed their address as 31 East 17th Street. This 1924 advertisement highlighting their catalog reflected the new company name and address.

By the late teens it appears that long time New York manager Julius Munkelt had retired. (According to his obituary he had been with Winsor & Newton for 42 years) The 1918/1919 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Chas. V. T. Trickett and Adolph Stephani as directors with no mention of Munkelt.

According to the U. K.’s National Portrait Gallery the company remained in New York at various addresses until 1972. Those addresses included 31 Union Square  West from 1935 to 1949, 902 Broadway in the 1950’s and 881 Broadway in the 1960’s. By the early 1970’s they had moved across the Hudson River to Secaucus, New Jersey at 555 Winsor Drive.

The bottle I found appears to be a small ink. Mouth blown, it’s an inch and a half in diameter and a little less than three inches tall. It likely dates between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, around the time the company transitioned their New York operation from Fulton Street to Broadway. This price list found in the 1908 edition of “A Manual of the Principal Instruments used in American Engineering and Surveying,” may provide a clue as to what it contained.

Embossing on the top of the bottle’s shoulder reads “WINSOR & NEWTON LONDON,” along with the company trademark.

The trademark was described in the company’s application filed with the United States Patent Office (7,133) on November 26, 1877 as “the representation of a sea lion.”

The U. S. trademark certificate was ultimately issued on March 25, 1879.

 

I’ve also seen the trademark referred to as a “heraldic lion” and a “griffin.”

 

Fidelio Brewery, New York

 

In name, the Fidelio Brewery, dates back to 1916 when the well established brewing business of H. Koehler & Co. changed their name to the Fidelio Brewing Co., Inc. The company had been brewing beer under the “Fidelio” brand name, since at least the late 1890’s and likely much earlier. The name change announcement was printed in the February 21, 1916 edition of the “Evening World.”

ANNOUNCEMENT

To-day this sixty-four-year-old business, with all its traditions and enviable reputation for ideals of quality, is launched under a new name-

Fidelio Brewing Co.

…Formerly H. Koehler & Co.

The announcement stated that Koehler & Co. was a 64 year old business but, in fact, the roots of the business dated back even further to a brewer named Alexander Gregory who was listed in Manhattan at 6 Sheriff Street in the early 1840’s.

In 1843 Gregory partnered with Phillip C. Harmon and for the next ten years their brewery business was listed as Gregory & Harmon. The Harmon family apparently bought Gregory out in 1852 (the year that coincides with the reference to the business being 64 years old) and renamed it Harmon & Company. The business was listed as Harmon & Co. up through 1862 when a notice in the May 27, edition of the New York Times indicated that both the brewery and its contents were up for sale at that time.

It was at that point the Koehler name entered the picture when three brothers, Herman, Joseph M. and David M. Koehler, bought the brewery. The 1864/65 NYC Directory listed the business as the Koehler Brothers, and it was still located at the 6 Sheriff Street address. Then sometime between 1865 and 1867 the brewery moved to First Avenue between 29th and 30th Street where it would remain until the late 1940’s or 1950.

In the early 1870’s Joseph and David Koehler were no longer associated with the brewery address and the Koehler Brothers name had been dropped from the directories. This apparently left Herman in charge of the entire operation until sometime in 1883 or 1884. At that time he partnered with Samuel Goldberger, changing the name of the business in the directory listings to Herman Koehler & Co.

Koehler and Goldberger continued to be listed as partners until Koehler’s death on April 16, 1889. The following year the 1890 Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Samuel Goldberger as the sole principal of the business and shortly afterward the name of the company was shortened to H. Koehler & Co. Goldberger, according to his June 15, 1905 obituary published in the (Long Branch N. J.) Daily Record, remained owner and president up until the time of his death, after which his son Norman S. Goldberger took over. It was Norman who changed the company name to the Fidelio Brewing Company in 1916.

It’s not clear to me exactly when their famous “Fidelio” brand name was introduced.  By 1898 they were using local distributors to sell it in neighboring New Jersey so it was almost certainly available in New York prior to that. This advertisement printed in the December 23, 1898 edition of the (New Brunswick N. J.) Daily Times also mentioned Koehler’s ale and porter in addition to their Fidelio Beer.

Based on this March 22, 1905 advertisement published in the Evening World I think it’s safe to assume that they had added a bottling operation to the brewery at around that time. Introductory in nature, the advertisement made it clear that Fidelio Beer “can now be obtained directly from our brewery,”

From Brewery to Home

We have just established a delivery service for the prompt distribution of our pure FIDELIO BEER fresh to your door. Not a flat bottle in the lot, our beer is thoroughly pasteurized, is absolutely pure and can now be obtained directly from our brewery.

Shortly after the start of National Prohibition the company, now operating under the Fidelio Brewing Co. name, held a “voluntary dissolution sale.” The notice of the sale, printed in the October 10, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune, provided a good description of the brewery operation at that time.

Lot-1 Fidelio Brewing Co., Inc., plant (with all permanent fixtures), complete brewery comprising whole front on 1st Avenue, 29th to 30th Streets, and adjoining on each street, nearly 14 lots in all, together with garage, complete bottling unit, 60 ton ice making plant, etc.

Lot 2 – About 6,500 Barrels Fidelio brew, malt, hops and sundries brewing materials, also about 500 tons coal.

Lot 3 – Good will, chattel mortgages, book value $133,000; leases, bottles, cases, crowns, draught-packages, shop supplies, etc.

Lot 4 – Auto trucks, automobiles

Lot 5 – Real estate, free and clear, at 316 Oakland Street, corner Huron Street, building with lot 25 x 100 ft., Brooklyn N.Y.

The sale was held on October 13, 1920 with previous president, Norman S. Goldberger, the successful bidder. The result was printed in the October 22, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune.

Buyer of Brewery Property

Deeds just recorded reveal that Norman S. Goldberger, president of the Fidelio Brewing Company, was the successful bidder at the recent auction of the company’s brewing plant on First Avenue, Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Streets. L. J. Phillips &Co. acted as auctioneers.

The company was listed as Fidelio Brewery, Inc. in the 1925 New York City Directory, so it appears that Goldberger incorporated the business under that name after the sale.

According to an article published in the June 27, 1932 edition of the Cincinnati Chronicle Goldberger’s brewery had been turning out near beer and malt tonic at the rate of 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 bottles annually during Prohibition. Another article published around the same time in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle mentioned that this equated to roughly 10 to 15 percent of the brewery’s capacity.

Their Prohibition brews were listed in the June 30, 1932 edition of the Hartford Courant.

Approximately 25 percent of the brewery’s present business is represented in the sale of Fidelio Purity Brand Malt Tonic, which commands higher price than any other malt tonic sold as a cereal beverage. Other brands at the company are Fidelio Old Lager, Fidelio Double Brew, Fidelio Red Label and New Yorker Brew.

This advertisement for their Purity Brand Malt Tonic and New Yorker Brew appeared in the July 9, 1931 edition of the (Bridgewater N. J.) Courier News.

The Hartford Courant story went on to say:

These products are sold in more than 20,000 stores in the Metropolitan District through chain stores and independent dealers. The largely localized character of the business is a major factor in economical distribution by the company’s own fleet of trucks.

In 1932, with the repeal of the Volstead Act looming the company reorganized again, this time inviting public investment. The June 27, 1932 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the reorganization.

Fidelio Brewery To Be Reorganized

Fidelio Brewery, Inc. has been organized and incorporated under the laws of New York to take over the business heretofore conducted by Norman S. Goldberger, under the name of Fidelio Brewery…Mr. Goldberger will head the Fidelity Brewery, Inc…

The need for public investment was explained in the June 27, 1932 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Available brewing equipment would be insufficient to quench the thirst of the millions in the metropolitan district, should beer be legalized, the announcement said, adding “Realization by the management that the legalization of the brewing and sale of beer would necessitate bringing production up to brewing capacity has influenced the decision to invite public participation in the business.

This advertisement promoting the stock offering appeared in the November 10, 1932 Long Branch (N.J.) Daily Record.

As the date ending Prohibition neared, the Fidelio Brewery was included in a March 15, 1933 New York Daily News pictorial essay entitled “Happy Days Are Here Again…Well, Almost Anyhow.” It featured a photo with the caption “Master Brewer Henry E. Kayan (left) of Fidelio Brewery superintends repair of beer kegs as brewery begins to hum.”

…and the following month this April 20, 1933 advertisement for Fidelio Beer appeared in the New York Daily News.

Nathan S. Goldberger died in March 1936 at the age of 52 at which point Goldberg’s brother in law, Frank Deitsch, assumed the presidency until the late 1930’s.

The end of the Fidelio Brewery name came on November 15,1940 when the company changed its name to the Greater New York Brewery, Inc. A November 16, 1940 Brooklyn Daily Eagle item made the announcement.

Brewery Changes Name

Edgar H. Stone, chairman of the board, announces that effective November 15 the name of the corporation was changed from Fidelio Brewery, Inc., to the Greater New York Brewery, Inc.

Around that time Lowell Birrell became involved with the business and by 1942 he was serving as president and chairman of the Greater New York Brewery. During this period the company acquired three additional breweries – Horton Pilsner, City Brewing and Lion Brewing. In December, 1944 he changed the company name to Greater New York Industries and expanded into other fields.

According to an April 24, 1964 article in the New York Times Birrell was later accused of being one of history’s great stock swindlers, accused of looting a dozen or more corporate treasuries of $40 million. The article went on to say that he had been tabbed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as “the most brilliant manipulator of corporations in modern times. He spent several years in the 1950’s and early 1960’s exiled in Cuba and Brazil until finally returning to the United States to face trial.

Needless to say, the history of the business after Birrell got involved is confusing and unclear, at least to me. What I do know is this.

The Greater New York Brewery survived and apparently moved their operation to Brooklyn where they remained operative or at least maintained facilities up through 1950 or 1951. In 1942 the company listed their office on First Avenue in Manhattan but their plant was now listed at the previously acquired City Brewing plant address of 912 Cypress Avenue in Brooklyn. The First Avenue office listing was dropped the following year but the Brooklyn plant address remained listed in the NYC Telephone Book through 1951. This November 13, 1947 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement confirmed that they were still brewing beer at that time.

The plant in Manhattan was apparently acquired by another NYC brewer named Louis Hertzberg who renamed it the Metropolis Brewery. Hertzberg at one time or another was also connected with the Old Dutch Brewery and North American Brewery in Brooklyn and the Pilser Brewery in the Bronx. He also ran the Metropolis Brewery of Trenton New Jersey.

The Metropolis Brewery of New York was listed at the old Fidelio address of 501 First Avenue in the 1945 Manhattan Telephone Book where it remained through the early 1950’s. An advertisement from the November 1, 1948 edition of the New York Daily News showed at that time he was brewing his Pilser brand at the Metropolis Brewery. He also brewed Champale Malt Liquor during this period.

By 1953, the brewery had been converted into a warehouse and much of its equipment had been shipped half-way around the world to Israel. The surprising story was told in the July 20, 1953 edition of the Berkshire Eagle.

Transplanted N. Y. Brewery Lick’s Israel’s Beer Shortage

All Israel languished over the weekend in searing heat ranging from 90 degrees in Haifa to 115 in Elath. All except Louis Hertzberg, 65, a brewer of Trenton N.J. who has just transported to the Holy Land the old Fidelio Brewery from First Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets, opposite Bellvue Hospital in New York…

To set up the brewery here cost about $2,300,000, of which Mr. Hertzberg put up most and two United States and three Israeli associates smaller sums. In addition to parts of the First Avenue brewery, he brought over equipment from three other New York properties he formerly operated – the Old Dutch Brewery in Flatbush, the North American Brewery on Green Avenue in Brooklyn and Pilser Brewery of 161st Street. Not to mention 2,000,000 amber bottles to supplement Israeli production.

The story went on to say that they intended to continue making the old Fidelio brew under a new name.

New Yorkers who wonder what happened to the familiar landmark of First Avenue – now a warehouse – may be interested to know that as the result of the brewery’s removal, the Israelis, who are accustomed to being short on nearly everything, need never be short on beer again.

Nor need Manhattanites despair of ever again drinking the old Fidelio brew. For under the name of Abir (meaning Knight in Hebrew), beer from the National Brewing Company of Israel will be exported to the United States. Mr. Hertzberg thinks the novelty of beer from Israel will make it easy to sell enough Abir through the distribution network of his Metropolis Brewery of New Jersey to cover his new enterprise’s needs in foreign exchange.

A little over a year later, in August of 1954, Abir was being imported to the United States where I found it listed for sale under the heading “Something New” at a local liquor store in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

This labeled Abir bottle was recently offered for sale on the Internet. Amber, it certainly could have been one of the 2,000,000 bottles that Hertzberg brought with him from the United States during the start-up of the Israeli operation.

   

The Fidelio bottle I found is 12 ounce, export style, machine made and embossed “Fidelio Brewery, New York.” The business specifically included “Fidelio” in the company name from 1916 up through 1940, so the bottle almost certainly dates somewhere within that period.

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Fidelio’s bond with McSorley’s Ale House. Established in 1854, McSorley’s is one of the oldest and most famous saloons in New York City. An April 14, 1940 story in the New Yorker Magazine explained their relationship with Fidelio.

Except during prohibition, the rich, wax-colored ale sold in McSorley’s always has come from the Fidelio Brewery on First Avenue; the brewery was founded two years before the saloon. In 1934, Bill (McSorley) sold the brewery the right to call its ale McSorley’s Cream Stock and gave it permission to use Old John’s (McSorley) picture on the label; around the picture is the legend “As brewed for McSorley’s Old Ale House.”

Advertisements for McSorley’s Cream Stock Ale were plentiful in 1937 and 1938 editions of the New York Daily News.

       

According to the McSorley’s web site they continued to use the company’s brew after the name change to Greater New York Brewery and did so until the business went into receivership. This likely happened in the late 1940’s or 1950. PABST now services McSorley’s.

H. Harkavy, 510 – 512 E 85th St., N.Y.

Hyman (sometimes Herman) Harkavy was a Russian immigrant who, around the turn of the century, established a business that manufactured and bottled mineral/soda water.  Originally located in Manhattan, the company later moved to the Bronx.

The first listing I can find for his business was in the 1900 New York City Directory with an address of 193 Broome Street. In 1902 and 1903 the business was listed at 413 East 24th Street, then sometime around 1905 it moved to the address embossed on the bottle, 510 East 85th Street, where it remained until approximately 1931.

Originally the business was quite small and family run. Testimony from a 1934 court case, “Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc. against David Radek, et al,” indicated that in 1926 H. Harkavy had approximately 20 employees and that his son, Harry Harkavy was serving as General Manager. Then, in an effort to expand, on May 22, 1926 the business incorporated under the name “Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc.”

This advertising sign recently offered for sale on the internet listed a wide variety of carbonated drinks that the business was manufacturing under the corporate name.

By the early 1930’s the company had moved north from Manhattan to the Bronx, listing their address as 415 Concord Avenue in the 1931 directory. The 1930 census records listed Hyman Harkavy’s spouse Jennie as a widow so Harkavy had apparently passed away sometime in the late 1920’s leaving his son Harry as president.

In 1946, the Harkavy Beverage Co. formed a second company called Doc’s Beverages, Inc. Both the Harkavy Beverage Co. and Doc’s Beverages were listed in the 1948 and 1949 NYC directories at 415 Concord Avenue.

The summary of another court case, Dad’s Root Beer vs. Doc’s Beverages, Inc., et al.,” spells out the reasoning and history behind the second corporation.

In 1941, the plantiff (Dad’s Root Beer Co.) granted to defendant, Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc., the franchise for the Borough of Bronx and the County of Westchester in New York. For the next six years the concern continued to sell there plaintiff’s product which it manufactured from concentrate purchased from plaintiff. In 1946, however, the individual defendants formed Doc’s Beverages, Inc., the other corporate defendant, and began sometime later to substitute their own product, Doc’s Old Fashioned Root Beer, bottled, labeled and boxed in strikingly similar fashion on orders for plaintiff’s root beer. When plaintiff discovered this fact in March 1947, it terminated the franchise, and in October of that year filed the complaint in this action.

This advertising sign, also recently for sale on the internet, depicts “Doc’s Old Fashioned Root Beer” being sold under the Doc’s Beverages, Inc.’s name.

Dad’s Root Beer was granted and injunction in the case and other than an accounting of profits, Harkavy/Doc’s did not appeal.

In 1953, the Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc. and Doc’s Beverages, Inc. were both listed at 629 East 136th Street in the Bronx. That address was also the listed address of the Apollo Bottling Company. According to “The Practical Brewer: A Manual for the Brewing Industry,” some of the assets of the Harkavy Beverage Company were ultimately purchased by the Apollo Bottling Company. The timing of this purchase is not clear to me.

According to streeteasy.com 510 East 85th Street is, today, a 13 story apartment building built in 1956 so it does not date back to the business. The same website indicates that the existing building at 415 Concord Avenue was built in 1931 so Harkavy was likely the original tenant at this location.

The bottle I found is 27 oz. with a crown finish. It’s embossed with the East 85th Street address so it dates between 1905 and 1931 when the company was located at that address. Machine made, it likely dates to the teens or 20’s.

Reiss-Premier Pipe Company

Unlike other bottles presented on this site the above bottle did not contain beverages, medicines or perfumes, but was in fact the water bottle associated with a 1920’s hookah. Manufactured by the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company, a recent ebay advertisement showed an example of the pipe as it likely appeared back in the day.

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company had its roots with a Chicago Company called Reiss Brothers & Company. First listed in the 1887 Chicago Directory with an address of 163 Lake Street, the company listing included the term “smoker’s articles,” and named the initial proprietors as brothers Julius and Otto Reiss and their brother-in-law, Nathan Burger. The company continued to be listed in this fashion until 1909/1910.

Nathan Burger passed away in 1909 and by 1910 Otto Reiss was no longer included in the company listing. Julius passed away sometime in 1913 or 1914, which apparently left the business in the hands of Nathan Burger’s son, Jacob (John) D. Burger. The 1914 and 1915 directories listed both Jacob Burger and the estate of Julius Reiss as proprietors. By 1917, the business had moved to 208 West Monroe and Jacob Burger was listed as the sole proprietor.

It was Jacob Burger, who, according to his November 2, 1943 obituary in the Hackensack (N.J.) Record, established the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company in 1920, when he merged the Reiss Brothers Company with the Premier Briar Pipe Company.

The Premier Briar Pipe Co. had previously incorporated in mid-1913 as a successor to the Carl Hirsch Company which had been established on December 21, 1912. A New York Corporation with capital of $ 50,000, the 1914 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed the company address in Manhattan at 501 East 70th Street. Carl Hirsch was named president and Paul Mayerosch secretary. The following year, the 1915 directory stated that the company had moved to West Hoboken New Jersey.

The start of The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company was announced in the January 8, 1920 edition of a publication called “Tobacco.”

The new Premier-Reiss Pipe Co., successors to Reiss Brothers & Co., is now in working order. Their Chicago salesroom and offices are located at Wells & Monroe Streets. They feature pipes and holders with Redmanol stems and they have a trade that promises to be largely increased.

The Wells & Monroe Street location mentioned in the above story was likely the former location of Reiss Brothers & Co. but according to this May 25, 1922 item in “Tobacco” within two years they had moved their offices and established a new warehouse.

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Co. has opened new offices in the Hunter Building at 339 W. Madison Street. The new warehouse is now located at 32-40 South Clinton Street.

It’s also likely that they initially utilized the Premier Briar Pipe Co.’s West Hoboken N. J. location as their manufacturing facility but I haven’t been able to confirm this. Ultimately, the company established their primary manufacturing facility in West New York, New Jersey at 6400 Broadway where their factory encompassed an entire city block.

In the early 1920’s the company established a New York City presence as well. The 1922 NYC Directory listed Reiss-Premier at 37 w 39th with John D. Burger named as N Y Manager. Later, by 1926, the company had moved their New York location to 277 5th Avenue where they were listed through at least 1932.

In 1926 the company acquired Kaufman Bros. & Bondy, originators of the famous Kaywoodie pipe brand. At the time, this made them the largest manufacturer and importer of pipes in the United States. The August 18, 1926 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle summarized the acquisition and described the make-up of the organization at that time

Reiss-Premier Pipe Co. Unites Vast industries

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company of New York has purchased a controlling interest in Kaufman Bros. & Bondy, the oldest pipe house in America, established in 1851. This company will now be known as Kaufman Bros. & Bondy, Inc. and will operate as an associate company of the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company.

Another associate company is the Civic Premier Pipe Company, which is the American representative of the Civic Co. Ltd., of London, the largest manufacturer of pipes in the world. The three companies are operated under the same management and represent in this combination the largest manufacturers and importers of pipes in the United States, and are therefore the largest factor in the pipe business of the country.

In 1929 United Cigar Stores of America acquired a large minority share in Reiss-Premier. The transaction was announced in the April 13, 1929 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

United Cigar Stores of America directors have agreed to exchange 35,000 shares of $10 common stock for 1470 shares of Reiss-Premier Pipe Company capital stock. A contract has been entered into with J. D. Burger and will give the United Cigar Stores 49 percent of the outstanding 3,000 shares Reiss-Premier. Stock for purpose of the exchange was valued at $500 a share.

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company is an Illinois corporation which operates chiefly through subsidiaries.

As mentioned in the 1929 article above, the company operated primarily through subsidiaries and apparently there were quite a few of them. In addition to the board chairmanship of Reiss-Premier, Burger’s obituary named him as chairman of subsidiaries Kaufman Brothers and Bondy and the Kaywoodie company. The company was also intimately connected with the New England Briar Pipe Company, in Penacook, New Hampshire and the Transylvania Pipe Company in Brevard North Carolina.

Another subsidiary that I can identify with Reiss-Premier was the Pacific Briarwood company, located in Santa Cruz County in California.  Incorporated in July 1941, the company was established to cut and cure manzanita wood required for the manufacture of Kaywoodie pipes. According to a June 25,1941 story in the Santa Cruz Evening News the wood supply was needed because the supply from France, Italy and Africa had been cut off as a result of World War II. By 1947, with the war long over, the company suspended operations.

His obituary also named Burger as Chairman of the Board of Lorr Laboratories, which indicates that at the time of his death the overall organization was not just exclusively associated with the manufacture of pipes and smoker’s articles. According to a story in the February 20, 1937 edition of the Paterson (N.J.) Morning Call:

The Lorr Laboratories serve various large chain drug stores in supplying them with a well-assorted pharmaceutical line of goods, toothpaste, cod liver oil, aspirin tablets, and various other staple articles in the drug line. The Lorr Laboratories are intimately associated with the Reiss-Premier corporation, a company which manufactures approximately one-half of the tobacco smoking pipes manufactured in this country.

Burger’s obituary went on to say that he served as Chairman of the Board of Reiss-Premier until his death in November of 1943. At that time, Rudolph Hirsch, the nephew of Carl Hirsch assumed leadership of the company. Hirsch was already intimately involved in the operation, serving as President of Reiss-Premier as well as President of the New England Briar Pipe Company, Transylvania Pipe Company, Pacific Briarwood Company and the Kaywoodie Company.

It appears that the Reiss-Premier story ends in 1955. That year S.M. Frank Company acquired the pipe manufacturing companies associated with Reiss-Premier. According to the S.M.Frank Company website:

In March of 1955, S.M. Frank & Co., Inc., headquartered at 133 Fifth Avenue, New York, with manufacturing facilities located in the Richmond Hill section of Queens in New York City, completed the purchase of The Kaywoodie Company, Kaufman Brothers & Bondy, Reiss-Premier Corp. and The New England Briar Pipe Co.

S.M. Frank & Company remains in business to this day in upstate New York and continues to manufacture a series of Kaywoodie pipes.

Around the same time, Lorr Laboratories was acquired by A. R. Winarick Inc., makers of Jeris Hair Tonic. A story in the January 16, 1955 edition of the Central New Jersey Home News mentioned that acquisition.

Nat Winarick, secretary of the company and its chief chemist, recently announced the firm had purchased the Lorr Laboratories of Paterson (N.J.), makers of Dura-Gloss nail polish.

A story printed in the December 26, 2006 edition of the Hudson Reporter stated that S. M. Frank maintained the pipe manufacturing facility in West New York, New Jersey until 1972. Subsequently, sometime within the last decade, the building was demolished and the location is currently a vacant lot. The following photographs, one taken prior to demolition and the other afterwards and both from roughly the same angle, give one a sense of the size of their New Jersey operation, which, according to the Hudson Reporter story, at the height of production employed over 500 people and produced up to 10,000 pipes per day.

The bottle I found is machine made which fits the post 1920 start of the company. In fact, in the mid-1920’s the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company applied for a patent that included, in addition to pipes and cigar and cigarette holders, an item entitled hookahs.

I couldn’t find any  advertising material specifically associated with the Reiss-Premier Hookah but this December 1, 1927 Daily News article may explain why there may have been some demand.

 

Colgate & Company, New York

  

Originally a candle and laundry soap manufacturer, Colgate & Company was founded by William Colgate around the turn of the nineteenth century. The business ultimately grew into today’s Colgate-Palmolive, a global household and consumer product corporation with over 38,000 employees.

William Colgate was the son of Robert Colgate, an English farmer who was forced to leave England as a result of his political sentiments that favored the democracies of France and America.

According to William Colgate’s obituary, in the March 26, 1857 edition of the New York Tribune, in March, 1795 the family sailed for America on the ship “Eliza,” arriving in Baltimore after passage of 70 days. As a young boy, Colgate lived with his father in Baltimore before moving to New York City. The obituary picks up the story from there.

In 1804, William Colgate, at the age of 21, left his father’;s house and came, a comparative stranger, to the City of New York. He had scarcely a cent that he could call his own. His purpose. however, was fixed; and in his pursuit, he entered the counting-room of John Slidel & Co., then the largest tallow chandlers in the city, located at No. 50 Broadway…The salary proposed was small. But it was not the salary, it was the business that he wished; and in a very short time he accomplished his purpose. He was soon transferred from the manufacturing to the sales department; and at the end of three years, when the firm dissolved, Mr. Colgate was its principal business manager.

At the age of 23, in the year 1806 Mr. Colgate commenced the soap and candle business for himself in Dutch Street…

It appears that the business was originally organized as a partnership between Colgate and Francis Smith. The company was first listed in the 1807 Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory as “Smith and Colgate, tallow chandlers,” with an address of 6 Dutch Street. A rendering of the original Dutch Street location was included in a profile of Colgate’s business published in the July 1921 edition of Printers Ink Monthly.

The Printer’s Ink story went on to reveal why Colgate chose the Dutch Street location for his business.

In meeting the first problem that confronted him – the selection of a location for his business – the young soap and candle maker exhibited good judgement for the Mayor of New York lived on Dutch Street, and in the immediate vicinity of his little factory were the homes of many other prominent men of the day. Thus it followed that the influential citizens of the city must of necessity become familiar with his business by passing it every day. And the out-of-town friends who visited the Mayor and his neighbors must need see the Colgate factory and carry back home with them that impression of metropolitan prestige for which even today businesses spend fabulous sums in erecting towering buildings and great sky signs in New York and other large cities.

The partnership of Smith & Colgate was listed until 1815 when it apparently dissolved. Subsequently William Colgate was listed individually as a tallow chandler at 6 Dutch Street until 1820 when the listing changed to William Colgate & Company. Colgate would add the manufacture of toilet soaps to the business in 1847, continuing  to mange the company until his death in 1857. At that point, his son Samuel Colgate and nephew Charles C. Colgate took over and the company name listed in the directories was shortened to simply Colgate & Company.

According to the Printer’s Ink story, the two younger Colgate’s continued to add the manufacture of new products to the business.

Still studying the trend of the market as had the elder Colgate, and ever on the alert to add new products that might appropriately be made and sold by a soap manufacturer, the two young Colgates decided to add perfumes to the Colgate line, and in the early 60’s this was done with great success.

Then in line with the demand for a perfumed toilet soap, in 1869 or 187o the first kettle of the now famous Cashmere Bouquet was made.

During this period, advertisements for their perfumed toilet soaps began to appear in the newspapers. The first ones I could find referenced brands named “Honey Toilet Soap” and “Aromatic Vegetable Soap.”  The advertisements below appeared in 1867 (Hartford Conn Courant) and 1869 (Rutland Vt. Daily Herald) respectively.

 

By the early 1870’s, their famous Cashmere Bouquet toilet soap had been added to what had become a long list of toilet soap brands. That list of at least 17 different brands appeared in  several August/September 1872 editions of the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press.

According to this November 5, 1873 advertisement in the Buffalo Commercial, a Cashmere Bouquet perfume soon followed.

This delightful perfume will be appreciated by all who have enjoyed the lasting fragrance of Colgate & Co.’s Cashmere Bouquet Soap, which is so universally popular.

It was around the same time that, according to the Colgate-Palmolive web site, Colgate introduced their “antiseptic dental powder” sold in a jar. As evidenced by this November 17, 1895 Frank Brothers Department Store advertisement in the Chicago Tribune, by the mid-1890’s they were selling toothpaste in a tube as well.

This 1911 advertisement, for the Paine Drug Company in Rochester New York, provided a listing of the Colgate products they carried at the time. It provides a feel for how much Colgate’s product line had expanded in their first century.

This expanded product line required expansion of both their office and manufacturing facilities as well.

A story in the January 21, 1906 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle dedicated to Colgate’s 100th anniversary celebration described the expansion of the company’s physical plant over their first 100 years stating that in 1847 the company added a Jersey City factory and in 1865 they expanded their New York facilities extending their Dutch Street offices through into John Street.

Around this time their New York City directory listings for Colgate began to include addresses on both ends of their block; 6 Dutch Street and 55 John Street. Their Jersey City factory was situated along the Hudson River waterfront. Initially located on the corner of York and Greene Streets, according to a July 17, 1988 New York Times article, by the 1890’s it encompassed the full block bounded by York, Greene, Hudson and Grand Streets.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 100th anniversary story went on to provide this description of the company facilities as they existed in 1906.

…by now offices and perfume manufactory have overflowed until they cover very nearly a third of the New York block, and the Jersey City factory, just equipped with new buildings, fills out the entire block and portions of other blocks in the neighborhood. Here are the greatest soap kettles or “pans” in the world, four stories high (five of the largest hold 700,000 pounds each), also the original pan of 1847, which was considered a giant in those days. William Colgate was told that it was folly to build such a big “pan,” that he could never use it. That “pan” is, however, a pigmy beside those of today. Only soap is not made now by building a fire underneath as in the old days. Coils of steam pipes run inside the monster kettles.

Samuel’s Colgate’s biography contained in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol XIII, published in 1906, adds to the picture by describing the extent of Colgate’s perfume operation in that centennial year.

As a producer of perfumery the firm is the most extensive in the United States, and stands second or third in the entire world. In the valley of the Var, France, bounded by the towns of Grasse, Nice and Cannes, many acres of flowers are cultivated for the manufacture of perfumery, and Colgate & Co. take the total output of a factory in which the essence of fragrancy is extracted. Over 100 tons of rose leaves are thus used annually, besides large quantities of other flowers.

The company continued to occupy their Dutch Street/John Street location in New York City until 1910. At that point it appears that most of the operation had moved to New Jersey although they did continue to list a New York location at 199 Fulton Street from 1911 to 1922 and later 403 Broadway in 1925.

The Colgate Company ultimately merged with the Palmolive Peet Company in July, 1928. A well established company in their own right, the Palmolive Company was formed in 1864, and on January 1, 1927, they had acquired the Peet Brothers Company, which had been established in 1872. A July 11, 1928 UP story covered their merger with Colgate:

PALMOLIVE, COLGATE MERGER IS PLANNED

Directors of the Palmolive-Peet Company and Colgate and Company have agreed to a plan of consolidation of the two firms, subject to action of stockholders. The merger would be effective as of July 1, 1928, if approved, it was announced today.

The name of the new company would be the Colgate Palmolive Peet Company.

The new organization will have large manufacturing units at Jersey City,  N.  J., Milwaukee, Chicago, Jeffersonville, Ind., Kansas City, Kan., Berkeley Calif., and Portland, Ore.

The executive offices will be located at Chicago. No public financing is contemplated at present.

The following officers were reported as probable selections: Sidney M. Colgate, chairman of the board; Charles S. Pearce, president and general manager, and A. W. Peet, chairman of the executive committee.

Later, in 1953, the company would shorten its name to Colgate-Palmolive.

The story mentioned that Colgate’s Jersey City plant would continue to operate as one of Colgate Palmolive’s manufacturing units, which it did for another 50 plus years, ultimately expanding to a footprint of six city blocks.  Finally, in 1985 the company announced its closing. The announcement was covered in the January 15, 1985 edition of The (Paterson N.J.) News.

Colgate – Palmolive Plant in N. J. to Close

The Colgate-Palmolive Co. plant on the Jersey City waterfront, whose 54-foot high clock is a landmark, will close in three years, the company said yesterday.

The company is closing the plant because its products can be made more cheaply at factories in the Midwest, a company spokesman said. Colgate-Palmolive expects the plant closing to result in a savings of $20 million per year.

Today, the initial Jersey City block occupied by the Colgate factory is home to the tallest building in New Jersey, a 79 story luxury condominium, however, another Jersey City  building in the area, located at 81 Greene Street, provides a reminder of it’s former use.

According to the “Library of Congress” this building served as the principal manufacturing facility for the company’s personal care products from 1915 to 1987.

I’ve found two Colgate & Co. bottles over the years. The first is machine made and is embossed with the Colgate & Co. trademark (C & Co enclosed within a double circle). It most likely contained one of their toilet water brands. It matches a Colgate bottle recently offered for sale on the internet labeled “Dactyus Toilet Water.”

   

The Dractylis brand was included in the 1911 Paine Drug Store advertisement presented previously in this post. Machine made, it likely doesn’t date much earlier than the 1911 advertisement and certainly no later than the 1928 Colgate-Palmolive merger.

The other is a mouth blown jar embossed Colgate & Co./ Perfumers / New York. In spite of the embossing it looks more like this labeled tooth powder jar to me…who knows???

I couldn’t end this post without at least touching on the iconic Colgate Clock  that has overlooked the Hudson River and served as an identifying symbol of the company since 1908. Designed and built in connection with Colgates centennial anniversary, according to a New Jersey City University Internet Post entitled “Jersey City Past and Present,” it sat atop the roof of an eight-story Colgate warehouse at the southeast corner of York and Hudson Streets.

It was officially set running on May 25, 1908. A special dispatch to the San Francisco Chronicle covered the start-up.

The largest clock in the world was set going today on top of Colgate & Co.’s eight-story factory building on the river front in Jersey City. It is visible for miles along the Hudson River and can be clearly seen from the New York skyscrapers.

Mayor Wittpen of Jersey City pressed the button which started the mechanism of the giant timekeeper, and when the immense minute hand began moving the boats on the river joined in a chorus of whistles.

The dial is thirty-eight feet in diameter, with an area of 1,134 square feet. The next largest clock – that on the Philadelphia City Hall, has a diameter of twenty-five  feet and a face area of 490 feet. The diameter of the Westminster clock in London is twenty-two and one-half feet and its dial area is 393 feet. The minute hand of the Colgate clock is twenty feet long and weighs nearly a third of a ton. The clock’s weight is approximately six tons. At night red electric bulbs mark the hours and white electric bulbs show the minute spaces.

The above story attempts to convey the size of the clock but, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the following photographs put the clock’s size in perspective. The first found in the November, 1908 issue of a publication called “Wood Craft” compares the clock to a worker (to the right of the clock) standing on a support beam. The next two, found in the May 23, 1908 issue of “Scientific American” appear to be construction photos that show the clock’s hands in relation to construction workers.

   

A lot of publicity was generated around the design and construction of the clock of which Colgate took full advantage. This advertisement in the June 20, 1908 edition of “Collier’s” linked the clock to a number of their products.

A July 17, 1988 story in the New York Times suggested that the clock was worth more than simply advertising to the Colgate Company.

The Colgate sign and clock was a sophisticated piece of advertising, comparable to the landmark headquarters buildings of the Metropolitan Life Insurance and Woolworth Companies of the same period. It was seen by the thousands aboard ships trafficking New York Harbor. In 1910, Colgate moved its executive offices to the Jersey City complex and the clock, and sign, became for the public the very symbol of the company’s corporate identity.

The 1988 New York Times story went on to say that:

In 1924 the Colgate clock was replaced with a new larger one, 50 feet in diameter of practically identical design – including the trademark octagon dial shape. Mayor Frank Hague turned on the new clock on December 1…

In 1983, Colgate, long out of the perfume business took down the “Soaps-Perfumes” lettering on the sign, replacing it with an inartistically drawn toothpaste tube representing one of its most identifiable products.

The original 38 foot clock was relocated to Colgate’s newly opened Clarksville Indiana plant where according to Images of America – Clarksville Indiana, by Jane Sarles, it was lit for the first time on November 17, 1924.

“Secret Louisville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure,”By Jill Halpern, completes the story.

An enduring vision in downtown Louisville for as long as locals can remember, the bright red clock (when lit) usually shows the correct time, or at least close, 100 years later, despite the fact that Colgate-Palmolive moved its operations out of town in 2008. The clock’s continued operation is likely because the facility was placed on Indiana Landmarks list of 10 Most Endangered Landmarks.

The nomination to place on the Clarksville plant, including the clock, on the National Register of Historic Places was announced in the December 13, 2013 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal December 14, 2013.

The newer 50 foot version of the clock still resides on the Jersey City waterfront next to the Goldman Sachs Tower and his maintained by Goldman Sachs.

Calder’s Dentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          

 

 

Milliken’s Parlor Pride Stove Enamel, Milliken & Co., Boston & N.Y.

Parlor Pride Stove Enamel was closely associated with Benjamin D. Milliken who was listed as a peddler in the 1878 Boston City Directory. It’s likely that he was making and selling the product locally by that time.

Around 1880 he began to formally manufacture it in Boston under a partnership with I. C. Stuart. That year, “Milliken & Stuart, stove blacking,” was listed for the first time in the Boston City directories with an address of 21 Commercial Street. Over the next several years Milliken & Stuart was listed at several different Boston addresses including 5 India (1882), 52 South Market (1883) and 85 Fulton (1885).

Sometime in 1885 the partnership was apparently dissolved and Milliken continued as sole proprietor. The 1886 Boston Directory listed the business as the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co., B. D. Milliken & Co., proprietors. That first year, the business remained listed at 85 Fulton Street.

Around that time the first newspaper advertisements for “Parlor Pride” began to appear. This advertisement appeared in the January 23, 1886 edition of the Burlington (Vt) Free Press.

The 1885 edition of “Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of the City of Boston” featured the company and mentioned that in addition to Milliken’s Parlor Pride Stove Enamel the company was also manufacturing Milliken’s Parlor Pride Paste Polish and Milliken’s Cold Iron Enamel. The feature went on to describe the business at the time.

This company does a large business in the trade by reason of the superior excellence of its goods and the immense popularity they have achieved throughout the entire United States and Canada. The factory is located at No. 85 Fulton Street, occupying three entire floors for manufacturing purposes, each being 30 x 80 feet in dimensions. Here are all the necessary apparatus for the manufacture of the beautiful enamels and polishes for which the concern is so well and favorably known in the trade and among the community in general, and the demand is so large and continued that a force of twenty-five hands is constantly employed to assist in the compounding and preparation of the goods…So popular are the goods that Mr. B. D. Milliken, the sole proprietor, has been obliged to open a branch establishment at Nos. 188 and 190 McGill Street, Montreal. Mr. Milliken also imports and grinds all kinds of Ceylon and lubricating lead and the finest quality of plumbago, much of which he uses in the manufacture of his unequalled goods, and the remainder he sells to the trade.

In 1887, the company moved to 140 Commercial Street. It was around this time that the design of their bottle (as least as depicted in their ads) changed as well. This February 28, 1887 advertisement from the (New Haven Conn.) Morning Journal Courier depicted the new design.

It was at the 140 Commercial Street address that Milliken developed and patented a device that supported the manufacture of his Parlor Pride Stove Enamel. The patented device was described in an article printed in the April 5, 1889 edition of the Tunkhannick (Pa.) Republican.

A patent has just been granted on an ingenious contrivance, made by Mr. Benjamin D. Milliken of Sommerville Mass., for the purpose of mixing liquid and powdered substances where the latter cannot be held in solution. This will be a great convenience to manufacturers of sauces, liquid polishes and the like, where a given quantity of each ingredient must enter every package. The machine is so constructed that an “agitator,” revolving in the tank, keeps the contents in perpetual “boiling spring motion,”and at the same time straining the liquid. An additional device measures the quantity required for each bottle, filling the same at the rapid rate of 48 bottles per minute, or 200 gross a day. One of these machines has been in constant use since April of last year, at 140 Commercial Street, Boston, where it can be seen by anyone interested, pumping Parlor Pride Stove Enamel.

Although evidently a skilled inventor, Milliken was apparently not a strong businessman. An item in the June 27, 1889 edition of the Boston Globe announced that his business had failed.

Business Troubles

Benjamin D. Milliken & Co. (Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company), manufacturers of stove enamel, 140 and 142 Commercial Street, Boston, have failed. The liabilities are about $25,000, and assets $15,000. The creditors are offered 50 cents on a dollar.

Two days later, a follow-up  item in the Globe announced that the business would continue under the direction of three trustees.

The creditors of Benjamin D. Milliken & Co., manufacturers of stove enamel, 142 Commercial Street, Boston, held a meeting yesterday. The statement presented showed the liabilities to be $24,445 and the assets as far looked into $11,000. It was unanimously agreed that the failure be settled through three trustees; they to hire Mr. Milliken at a fair salary and go on with the business; the intention being that 100 cents on the dollar be worked out and then the assets remaining be returned to Mr. Milliken. Nathaniel F. Ryder and L. H. Wiley of Boston and Milton Yetter of East Stroudsburgh, Penn., were chosen trustees.

Milliken’s continued association with the business did not last very long and by 1892 he was only listed at his residence in Sommerville Mass., with no reference to the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co., or stove polish.

Around the same time, on February 10, 1893, the business reorganized under the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company name. One of the trustees, Nathaniel F. Ryder, served as the company’s treasurer. Ryder was also principal in a varnish manufacturing company called Burbank and Ryder and over the next several years the two businesses were closely related if not one and the same. In fact between 1893 and 1904 the two companies shared the same addresses in the Boston directories. Likely retail stores and/or offices the addresses were: 8 Oliver (1892 -1893), 149A Milk (1894 – 1899), 18 Central (1900) and 8 Exchange Place (1901).

During this period Burbank & Ryder operated manufacturing facilities in both Middleborough Massachusetts and Charleston Massachusetts and its likely that Charleston was where Milliken’s Parlor Pride Stove Polish was made during this time. In fact, between 1902 and 1904 the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company listed Burbank & Ryder’s manufacturing facility at 62 Alford Street in Charleston as their address.

In 1905 the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company was no longer listed at the same address as Burbank & Ryder so its not clear whether the companies were still associated at this time. Parlor Pride was listed in Boston at 64 Federal Street and 60 State Street in 1905 and 1906 respectively.

As late as 1906 “Parlor Pride Stove Polish” advertisements were still appearing in some northeastern United States newspapers. This advertisement, one of the last I could find, appeared in several Vermont newspapers in 1905 and 1906.

In 1907 the company was no longer listed in the Boston directories and it appears they moved to North Andover Massachusetts around that time. The 1913 Directory of Massachusetts Manufacturers listed the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co. in North Andover and identified the proprietors as James W. and William J. Leitch. While the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Company was not listed in the North Andover directories between 1907 and 1926, the plumbing and heating business of J. W. Leith & Son was listed at 136 Main Street. There’s a good possibility the the two companies were actually one and the same or at least associated during this time. While I don’t see newspaper advertisements for Parlor Pride Stove Enamel during this period, the product was included sporadically in advertised department/hardware store price lists.

In 1930, the Parlor Pride Manufacturing Co. was still located in North Andover and was now included in that town’s directory at an address of 90 Saunders Street. It was listed this way through 1949 with Robert P. Miller named as proprietor. In 1951 it was no longer listed and I lose track of them.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and square in shape. It includes the Milliken company name likely dating it no later than January, 1893, when the business reorganized. It matches the bottle type that began appearing in advertisements in 1887 so the bottle most likely dates between 1887 and 1892.

The embossing on the bottle is not sharp but at the bottom it seems to name both Boston and N.Y. as locations. That being said, I can’t locate any reference to the company in the New York directories. I couldn’t find any additional information on their Montreal location either. It’s possible the company was just indicating they had agents in those locations but I really don’t know?