Munro, Dalwhinnie, Scotland, Square Bottle Whisky

Munro’s Square Bottle Whisky was blended and bottled at Scotland’s Dalwhinnie Distillery beginning sometime in the early 1920’s. It certainly made its way across the Atlantic during National Prohibition and also may have been available legally for a short time after its repeal.

Its story however begins  just before the turn of the century with the establishment of the Strathspey Distillery Company. The announcement of the company’s incorporation appeared in the January 27, 1897 edition of the “Aberdeen Weekly Journal and General Advertiser.”

JOINT STOCK COMPANIES IN SCOTLAND.- Seven new joint stock companies were registered in Scotland this week… The new companies include – The Strathspey Distillery Company , Limited, for the purpose of carrying out the business of distillers, maltsters and wine and spirits merchants with a capital of £12,000 in £5 shares.

Another story in the same newspaper described the site selected for the company’s  new distillery like this:

Further testimony to the continued briskness in the Highland whisky trade is found in the fact that another distillery is to be erected in the Badenach district of Upper Speyside, the first in that quarter having been opened only two or three weeks ago at Kinggussie. The one now contracted for is to be situated close to the Dalwhinnie Station, one of the highest points on the Highland Railway, and only a short distance from the summit-level. It will be the highest in Scotland, in point of elevation, and also the furthest inland, being almost equidistant from sea to sea. The water from which the whisky will be made rises at an elevation of about 3,000 feet above sea level, and after tumbling down various defiles will enter the mash tubs at a height of about 2,000 feet above sea level. The burn is called Allt-na-Slochd. There is no arable land within miles of it, nor a single inhabited house from its source to the junction with the river Truim, some miles above its confluence with the Spey. With ample stretches of peat moss all-round the works, and the railway siding close at hand, the site could hardly be excelled. The buildings are to be of a substantial character to stand the rigors of this high altitude.

In connection with the distillery are offices, and manager and workmen’s houses of a neat and attractive character. It is to be called the Strathspey Distillery, and the cost will amount to about £10,000.

In financial trouble from the start, less than two years later the October 26, 1898 “Aberdeen Weekly Journal and General Advertiser” announced the distillery had been sold.

Mr. A. P. Blyth, Craighall, Bonnington, managing director of Messrs John Somerville & Co., Limited, distillers, Leith, has purchased for his son the Strathspey Distillery, Dalwhinnie, Inverness-shire. The name of the firm will be A. P. Blyth & Son…

Renamed “Dalwhinnie, the distillery’s financial woes apparently continued and in 1901 this March 21st “Liverpool Mercury” story announced that the business was in receivership.

The Great Scottish Distillery Failure – A meeting of the creditors of A. P. Blyth & Son, distillers, Dalwhinnie Distillery, Inverness-shire, was held at Edinburgh, yesterday, when it was stated that the liabilities amounted to about £80,000. The assets so far had not been definitely ascertained, but were understood to be large. The firm is stated to have been affected by the recent depression in the Scottish whisky trade, and the banks are creditors for large amounts. Mr. C. J. Munro, C. A., Edinburgh, was appointed trustee.

Later that year, the distillery was offered for sale as evidenced by this notice published in the June 15, 1901 edition of the “Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser.”

INVERNESS-SHIRE – HIGHLAND DISTILLERY FOR SALE

There will be sold by PUBLIC ROUP, at Dowell’s Rooms, No. 18 George Street, Edinborough, on Wednesday, 26th June, 1901, at half past two o’clock, afternoon:

DALWHINNIE DISTILLERY, situated in Glentruim, and near Dalwhinnie, in the County of Inverness, and WHOLE PLANT thereof, and also a right (practically exclusive) to take peats from the adjoining Peat Moss, extending  to 150 acres or thereby…

The Distillery has at present a working capacity of fully 120,000 gallons per annum, and has been so constructed that at a comparatively small cost this production could be nearly doubled…

The Ground consists of 10 acres held under perpetual fen, the small Fen-duty being £100. The extent of the ground is ample for the present or prospective requirements of the Distillery.  UPSET PRICE  £9,000

Apparently there were no takers and the distillery was “re-exposed for sale” several times with the price continually dropping until on May 21, 1904 the upset price listed in the “Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser” was £2,000. Four months later, the September 30, 1904 edition of the “Perthshire Advertiser.” announced  that the distillery ultimately sold for “some £1,500.”

The sale was referenced in this September 30, 1904 edition of “The (London) Guardian.”

A correspondent says a sensation has been caused in the Scott whisky trade by the announcement that the Dalwhinnie Distillery has been purchased by the Cook & Bernheimer Company of New York, one of the largest and most enterprising of the American Distilling companies… The object of the Cook and Bernheimer Company is apparently to secure the large and increasing trade in Scotch whisky which is being done in America.

Cook & Bernheimer operated the Dalwhinnie Distillery under the name of their U.K. subsidiary, James Munro & Son. Less than three months after the purchase, a Munro blend named “Long & Short” had reached the United States as evidenced by this December 15, 1904 advertisement in the “New York Sun.” The ad named Cook & Bernheimer as the brand’s sole agent in the U. S.

Around the same time Cook & Bernheimer was also marketing a domestic rye called “Mount Vernon.” It was put up in a square bottle with a bulging neck that appears to match exactly our subject  bottle.

That being said,  the square bottle was a unique means of distinguishing “Mount Vernon” Rye from other brands of rye so as far as I can tell Cook & Bernheimer did not market “Long & Short” in the same shaped bottle. This is further supported by a a 1907 advertisement in “Osborn’s Annual Guide to Agencies, Hand Book of Useful Information and Club List” that specifically shows “Long & Short” in a cylindrical bottle.

In the late teens, on the eve of National Prohibition, the Dalwhinnie Distillery was sold to Macdonald, Greenlees & Williams of Leith, who maintained the James Murno & Son name.

It was apparently under MacDonald Greenlees & Williams that Cook & Bernheimer’s square bottle was resurrected, this time for a blend of the Munro scotch and, in 1921, patents  for “Munro’s Square Bottle Scotch Whisky” we’re applied for in both New Zealand (August 1921)

and Canada (September 1921)

Legally available in other parts of the world, a December 20,1926 “New York Daily News” story, published under the headline “RUM DELUGE 100,000 CASES A WEEK FLOWS INTO CITY TO BRIGHTEN YULE,  made it clear that the Scotch was also making its way into the United States, albeit illegally. A photo accompanying the story showed an array of smuggled brands that included a “Munro’s Square Bottle Scotch Whisky.” It’s right up front in the middle.

The caption under the photo read:

“White Horse,” “Hennessy,” “Munro’s” – O boy! Don’t even the names make you thirsty?  Here’s a prime exhibit of the kind of stuff that is being  landed in New York, despite the efforts of our enforcement machinery to keep it out.

In case you’re interested the story also included this table listing the cost of a bootlegged  bottle of “Munro’s Square Scotch” at $8.00.

At the end of Prohibition a newly formed U. S. corporation called the Epicure Wine $ Spirits Company named themselves as Munro & Sons’ distributor in the United States. This December 30, 1933 Epicure advertisement in the Buffalo News touted “Square Bottle” along with another Munro blend, “King of Kings.” The ad reads in part:

Orders will be accepted from the trade for shipment of the above to States where and when the sale of liquor is legal, subject to import quotas.

Shortly afterwards the brands disappear from U S newspaper advertisements, certainly the result of a fire that, according to scotlandwhisky.com, closed the distillery for several years. The fire was reported in the February 3, 1934 edition of the “Perthshire Advertiser.”

Perth Fire Brigade made a thrilling dash across the Grampians on Thursday morning to an outbreak at Dalwhinnie Distillery, which is situated five miles north of the Perthshire-Inverness boundary.

Apparently the fire originated in the boiler room and spread so quickly that soon the whisky in the still-room was ablaze. A full granary separated the fire from the bond room, and there was a danger that the flames might reach the £1,500,000 worth of whisky casks.

Inverness Fire Guard refused to answer the call on account of the distance and at seven o’clock a request for aid was made to Perth. Firemaster W. J. Paterson summoned his men, and one and three quarters hours later they were at the scene of the fire 58 miles from Perth. They soon had the flames in subjection, but the total damage to buildings and whisky amounts to about £12,000. The boiler-house, mill-room, malt deposit, still-house, malt mill and wash-house were all destroyed and about 3,000 gallons of whisky were lost.

Whether any “Square Bottle Scotch” made it legally to the United States prior to the fire is not clear, but if it did it certainly wasn’t in large quantities.

According to scotlandwhisky.com  the distillery reopened in 1938 after a four year closure, then, shortly afterwards was closed again as a result of war time restrictions.

Now part of Diageo, the distillery is still active to this day. More on the history of the Dalwhinnie Distillery can be found at:      http://scotlandwhisky.com/distilleries/dalwhinnie

The bottle I found is square with a bulbous neck, a shape that dates back to the Cook & Bernheimer days. Machine made its embossing includes the embossed Munro blend called “Square Bottle Whisky,” dating it between 1921 and 1934. It likely  arrived in the U. S. illegally during prohibition.

 

American Apothecaries Co., New York – SALVITAE

The American Apothecaries Company manufactured the patent medicine “Salvitae” during the first half of the 20th Century.

The first mention of the American Apothecaries Company that I can find was in 1904 when the business incorporated in the State New York. Their incorporation notice was published in the New York Times on November 30, 1904.

American Apothecaries, New York (medicines) capital, $150,000. Directors W. F. Grier, T. F. Kelleghan, A. S Grier, New York.

The company was always located in the Long Island City/Astoria sections of New York City’s Borough of Queens. Initially located at 272 Flushing Avenue (1904 to circa 1926), later (1926 through much of the 1940’s) they would list two addresses; 299 Ely Avenue and 35-08 Astoria Avenue. I suspect, one was their office, the other their manufacturing facility.

Not long after incorporating American Apothecaries Company was advertising several different proprietary medicines to the medical profession as evidenced by this 1908 business card found in the Pharmaceutical Era’s 1908 “Drug Trade Directory.”

That being said, almost all of their advertising focused on “Salvitae,” whose purported  curative properties were described in the following 1908 advertisement found in  the “California Medical Journal.”

Gout, rheumatism, constipation, biliousness, recurrent headache, mental depression, subnormal metabolism, languor and in fact, innumerable local and general deviations from the normal state are frequently the direct effect of excrementitious materials.

Immediate and durable relief of such disturbances is best achieved  by the administration of an agent that is capable of normalizing combustion, promoting elimination and augmenting the constructive processes. Salvitae, which is an effervescent salt embracing uric-solvent, waste-dispelling, laxative and diuretic agents, is unquestionably the most potent product evolved for the relief of systemic disturbances arising from the excessive production or inadequate elimination of waste materials. Its antirheumatic, laxative, diuretic properties and stimulating action upon the excretory apparatus is unequalled.

According to another advertisement, this one found in a 1907 publication called “Dental Items of Interest,” Salvitae was of great benefit to the dental profession as well.

The deposit of serumal or salivary calculi in or about the alveoli is a common cause of Soft, Flabby, Bleeding and Receding Gums.

In conjunction with mechanical treatment, it is distinctly advantageous to administer an agent that will bring about the disintegration of these deposits and prevent their recurrence.

In as much as these deposits are, in the main, due to the systemic retention of an excess of uric acid, it is markedly wise to employ a uric-solvent and eliminant. By increasing the uric-solvent power of the blood and raising its alkalinity to a normal degree, such an agent affects the dissolution of calico concretions and precludes their reformation. Salvitae is unquestionably the most powerful uric-solvent extant. It arrests the over-production of uric acid, disintegrates uratic concretions, promotes metabolism and renders the blood normally alkaline.

Needless to say the product’s claims caught the attention of the authorities and on at least three occasions, (1908, 1919 and 1941) the product was declared mis-branded. Partial documentation from the 1919 incident follows:

7293. Misbranding of Salvitae.  U.S. v. The American Apothecaries Co. Plea of Guilty. Fine $200.

On July 17, 1919, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, acting upon a report by the Secretary of Agriculture, filed in the District Court of the United States for said district an information against the American Apothecaries Co., a corporation, Astoria, N.Y., alleging shipment by said company, in violation of the Food and Drugs Act, as amended on May 25, 1918, from the State of New York into the Island of Porto Rico, of a quantity of an article, labeled in part “Salvitae.” which was mis-branded…

…It was alleged in substance in the information that the article was misbranded for the reason that certain statements appearing on the labels of the bottles containing the article and on the wrapper around said bottles, falsely and fraudulently represented it to be effective as a treatment, remedy and cure for gout, rheumatism, Bright’s disease, Rigg’s disease, stomatitis, recession of the gums, urethritis, cystitis, gravel, inflammatory affections of the urinary passages and diseases that are produced by uric acid, inactivity of the kidneys, renal or hepatic calcull or incontinence and gingivitis, as a uric acid solvent, urinary antiseptic and diuretic and intestinal antiseptic, to fortify the system against the millions of dangerous microbes, and to restore lost health and preserve one from disease, when, in fact, it was not.

This attention from the government authorities doesn’t appear to have had much impact on business.  As early as the mid-teens, in addition to marketing Salvitae to the medical and dental professions, the company was going directly to the public as well, with the product appearing sporadically in the price lists of  drug store advertisements published in local U. S. and Canadian newspapers. This  Salvitae  mention was included in a full page “Owl Drug Company” advertisement found in the April 7, 1914 edition of the “Los Angele Evening Express.”

Around the same time the company was also extending their reach south of the border, where Salvitae was being sold with a Spanish language label. This advertisement, exhibiting the Spanish label appeared in a 1915 publication called “”Puerto Rico Illustrado.”

When the manufacture of Salvitae was discontinued is not exactly clear. A specific advertisement for its use was still appearing as late as 1951 in Binghamton New York’s  “Press & Sun.” Although the advertisement’s language was toned down quite a bit, its theme remained consistent with that of the company’s earliest ads.

By the mid 1950’s Salvitae had disappeared from drug store advertisements in U.S. newspapers, however, in Canada, it was still being sporadically listed in ads up through the mid 1960’s. According to a July 28, 1966 advertisement in the “Montreal Star,” at the time you could still buy a large bottle of Salvitae for $1.52 at the Montreal Pharmacy on St Catherine St. East.

The bottle I found is 5-3/4 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter at the base. It’s machine made and cobalt blue. Its only embossing is on the base and consists of “American Apothecaries Co. New York” embossed in circular fashion along the base perimeter. In addition, “Salvitae” is prominently embossed across the base diameter. I apologize for the lack of a photograph, but all attempts proved absolutely useless.

 

Wayne County Produce Co., Greenpoint, Long Island

The Wayne County Produce Company was a manufacturer of cider and vinegar that was headquartered in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn for over 60 years

The Company’s founder and first president was a German immigrant named Peter Knecht. His obituary, published in the January 21, 1916 edition of Brooklyn’s “Times Union,” gets the company’s story started.

Mr Knecht was born in Bavaria, Germany, on May 19, 1844, and came to this country in 1855. He settled in Calicoon, Sullivan County, N.Y., and also lived in Galilee, Wayne County, Pa., before coming to Brooklyn in 1878.

According to a story published in the September 24, 1905 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle,” the company was established sometime in 1901.  Initially called the Wayne County Produce Cider & Vinegar Company, it was listed in Brooklyn’s 1902 directory with an address of 202 Oakland Street. Certainly a family affair, the directory named Peter Knecht as president, his brother, Charles Knecht, treasurer and son, Peter N. Knecht, secretary.

That being said, the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” story made it clear that while Peter was president, it was Charles who served as general manager of the operation.

Charles Knecht, who is the proprietor of the Wayne County Produce company, is a pioneer of the trade. For the past thirty-two years he has been in the business, twenty-seven of which were spent with the John Doust Company.

Two years after it was established, the business incorporated as the Wayne County Produce Company. Their incorporation notice was published in the May 14, 1903 edition of the “Times Union.”

The Wayne County Produce Company, of Brooklyn, has been incorporated with the Secretary of State. Its capital is placed at $30,000, consisting of shares of $100 each, and the directors for the first year are as follows: Peter Knecht, Charles Knecht, Peter M. Knecht and Edward F. Knecht, of Brooklyn.

At the time it appears that all manufacturing, bottling and distribution was accomplished in their factory that was located, along with their offices, in the block bounded by Greenpoint Avenue, Oakland Street, Calder Street and Newell Street. The 1905 “Brooklyn Daily Eagle’ story summarized the operation like this.

The apple juice is brought from the upstate counties, particularly from the section just north of Albany, and near the town of Raven, in barrels. The pure apple juice is of course cider. The cider is taken from the barrels, placed in a large vat, from which it is allowed to run into a generator, which is tightly packed with rattan. Sugar is also used in the process, and the combination changes the juice into vinegar…

The  story then went on to provide this brief description of their Greenpoint plant.

The Wayne County Produce Company, which has a large plant at 200 Oakland Street, Greenpoint, is one of the foremost of the companies in the cider and vinegar trade in New York. In the company’s plant there are at present eight large tanks, or vats, which have a capacity of about 500 barrels. From these vats the cider, or vinegar, is barreled by means of hose, which is thoroughly sterilized before the beginning of each day’s work.

Several years later, this June 1, 1911 item found in the “Times Union” suggests by then they were manufacturing their vinegar at an upstate New York plant before shipping the product to their facility in Greenpoint, which now included a second location on Meserole Avenue, for bottling and distribution.

Bottled goods are a specialty with the Wayne County Produce Company, located at 200 to 206 Oakland Street and 179 to 193 Meserole Avenue. The concern produces cider and vinegar received from its country branch upstate, and the products are bottled and distributed from the two Greenpoint depots.

This advertisement, published in the same edition of the “Times Union,” mentioned both Greenpoint distribution points.

Around the same time their Greenpoint bottling operation was described like this in an August 31, 1912 item in the “Times Union.”

The bottling and labeling departments are conducted on the most cleanly up-to-date methods…The daily sales in bottles of Vinegar alone runs about 500 dozen. None of the empty bottles come back.

Newspaper advertisements  for their cider and vinegar that ran during the 1920’s exhibit the the same ribbed style bottle as that of the subject bottle.

That being said, Thanksgiving and Christmas advertisements in 1922 make it clear that bottles weren’t the only way to get your cider.

By the mid-1920’s the company was operating as many as nine plants in upstate New York, as evidenced by this story that appeared in the October 31, 1925 edition of Brooklyn’s “Standard Union.”

At Marion, N.Y., the newest plant of the company was recently opened. Here a staff of 100 men, working under the most sanitary conditions, turn 250,000 pounds of apples into cider and vinegar each day during October, November and December.

Eighty-three tanks with an average capacity of 72,000 gallons each, store the cider and vinegar for the months when apples cannot be obtained. Others of the company’s plants are located at Highlands, Kendall, Catskill, Modena, Albion, Red Hook, Cheviot and Clintondale, all in New York State, in counties where the finest apples are grown.

That being said their main office and distributing plant remained at their Oakland Street location where, according to the 1925 “Standard Union” story:

Twenty-five horse drawn trucks operate from here, with fourteen auto trucks, delivering the bulk of apple products. Tank cars are used for shipments to the Middle West.

Around this time the company was advertising four different vinegar types; Cider, White, Malt and Tarragon, all of which are mentioned in this February 1, 1927 “Standard Union” advertisement.

In the Fall of 1929 the company began advertising apple sauce in addition to their cider and vinegar. One of the first ads I can find was this New Year’s advertisement for Wayne County Cider that appeared in the December 30, 1929 edition of the New York “Daily News.” A reference to their apple sauce which appears introductory in nature, appeared at the bottom of the advertisement.

Later, certainly by 1936, the company had added pepper relish and jellies/ preserves to the menu as well, as evidenced by this March 23, 1936 advertisement in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

The company was still advertising in the late 1950’s. This ad for their cider, now in “handy new 4-packs,” appeared in several 1957 editions of “Newsday”

In  1960, the company’s run was coming to an end. By then they had lost at least one of their upstate plants when the Marion N.Y. plant was put up for public auction. The auction notice appeared in the January 3, 1960 edition of Rochester New York’s “Democrat and Chronicle.”

Three years later the business was sold. Today the business is run under the name of “Wayne County Foods.” Their web site, http://waynecountyfoods.com, completes the story.

In 1963 the company was purchased by the Nemeth family. Vincent Nemeth, a Master Cooper had been making barrels and tanks for the wine industry in Hungary before immigrating to America with his wife Katherine after WW II. At the time of their purchase they were operating out of Brooklyn, New York. In 1969 Vincent’s son Peter joined the company, carrying on the tradition of supplying natural food products to greater New York markets. By 1975 they had outgrown their Brooklyn facility and moved to the Bronx, operating their growing business from this location for 24 years. Once again having outgrown their current facility, in 1999 they moved to their current location in New Jersey.

The bottle I found is machine made, 10 inches tall and contains 20 ounces.  A little over 2-1/2 inches  in diameter, its design actually consists of 10 narrow, vertical panels. The bottle matches those pictured in advertisements published during the 1920’s.

       

As early as 1935 and throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s their cider was available in several sizes, namely quarts, as well as half-gallon and gallon jugs. This December 18, 1947 advertisement in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” mentioned all three sizes.

Finally, here’s the 1940’s version of what is likely their quart size, found in the October 13, 1949 edition of the “Mount Vernon Argus.”

Lea & Perrins, Worcestershire Sauce J.D.S. (John Duncan’s Sons)

There are several differing versions of how Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce got its start, but all seem to agree as to where it happened; namely in the drug store of John Wheeler Lea and William Perrins located at 68 Broad Street in Worcester, England. I suspect that all versions of the story are rooted in some truth but also contain a dose of  marketing and salesmanship mixed in for good measure. I’ll relate the version that appeared in the July 30, 1892 edition of an English publication called “The Drug and Chemist.”

Mr. Lea was in his shop one day when an old Indian officer came in and asked for some hot sauce; he could not get any hot enough. Mr. Lea bethought himself of an old jar in the storeroom which had been neglected for years. It was formerly made for “a nobleman in the county,” but the nobleman had departed, and Lea and Perrins had a stock of it on hand. The Indian officer tried it and was delighted. He recommended it among his chums, and a demand sprang up. To meet the English palate the force heat of the original had to be modified, and Worcestershire sauce was established. This came to pass soon after the year 1830.

By the early 1900’s, the success of the sauce might best be indicated by this colorfully written paragraph that appeared in a 1916 publication called “British Industrial Expansion.”

There is hardly a locality in the world in which meals have not been flavored  with Lea & Perrins’ Sauce. It has been transported in sledges across vast tracts of snow and ice to mining camps of Alaska; by caravan across the deserts of Arabia, and into the interior of Africa; by pack mule train along thousands of miles of barren land, up the Himalayas and across the Andes; by coolies to the hidden towns and villages of China and Japan; whilst expeditions to the North and South Polar Regions invariably carry a supply with which to flavor their pemmican.

That success continued up through the turn of the current century when according to a June 21, 2000 story in the “New York Times:”

Today, 25 million bottles a year are produced here (Worcester) and shipped around the world…In all, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is sold in 140 countries.

So, with that as background let’s go back to the beginning. According to the 1892 story in “The Chemist and Druggist,” The Lea & Perrins story got its start in the late 1700’s in the drug store of George Guise.

Lea & Perrins came into possession of the business with which their names became so intimately associated in the early part of this century (1800’s). A Mr. Guise opened the shop about 1780 and John W. Lea was an apprentice with him. He succeeded his master, and subsequently took William Perrins into partnership.

The partnership is said to have begun on January 1, 1823; a fact supported by a June 12, 1823, advertisement in Berrow’s Worcester Journal that named Lea & Perrins as Worcester’s retail agent for a product called “Robinson’s Prepared Barley, and Prepared Groats.” It’s the earliest advertisement I can find that bears the Lea & Perrins’ name.

By 1830, the Lea & Perrins’ partnership was operating a second store, this one on Vicar Street in Kidderminster. Both the Worcester and Kidderminster locations are referenced in this May 29, 1830 advertisement found in “Jackson’s Oxford Journal…”

This photograph of the Kidderminster store front appeared years later in the October 7, 1916 edition of “The Chemist and Druggist.”

Later in September, 1831 they opened a third store, this one in Cheltenham at 373 High Street. In partnership with James Perrins they conducted business under the name Perrins, Lea and Perrins, The opening of the Cheltenham store was announced in the September 22, 1831 edition of “Berrow’s Worcester Journal.”

Perrins, Lea and Perrins dissolved on September 14, 1832 and was followed by Lea, Perrins and Ormond which dissolved on April 15, 1837.

At this point Lea and Perrins partnered with Nathaniel Smith forming Lea, Perrins and Smith. According to Smith’s obituary in the November 7, 1903 edition of “The Chemist and Druggist:”

Mr. Smith was with Messrs. Lea & Perrins in their Cheltenham branch as an assistant, and in 1837 was taken into partnership…

Three years later, the first newspaper advertisements for Worcestershire Sauce appeared under the “Lea, Perrins and Smith” name. The earliest one I can find appeared in the October 17, 1840 edition of London’s “The Guardian.” The ad suggested that the sauce was being sold locally prior to 1840 (most internet accounts say 1836 or 1837).

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE. – So many sauces under every variety of name, have been of late contending for public favor, that we have hesitated to extend beyond our own vicinity the introduction of a new one, which has, in a very short time, become much sought after and esteemed in other parts of the Kingdom. The Worcestershire Sauce is prepared by us from from the favorable recipe of a nobleman of knowledged gout. it possesses a peculiar piquancy; it is applicable to almost every dish, on account of the superiority of its zest; the diffusible property of its delicate flavor renders it the most economical, as well as the most useful of sauces.

LEA, PERRINS & SMITH, Worcester and Chentlenham. Sold in Manchester by Messrs. Roach and Co., Market Street; Mr. Yates, Old Exchange, and Mr. Hutchinson, Old Church Yard.

The Lea, Perrins & Smith partnership dissolved in 1848 when, according to Smith’s 1903 obituary, he bought the Cheltenham branch of the business. This is confirmed by Smith’s newspaper advertisements that began appearing in the Spring of 1848. One such ad appeared in the May 27, 1848 edition of the “Cheltenham Looker-On; A Note Book of Fashionable Sayings and Doings.” It’s last line reads:

Prepared by Smith, (late Lea, Perrins, & Smith) 373 High Street, Cheltenham.

By the mid to late 1840’s Lea & Perrins’ advertisements  indicate the company had agents all over England and were even making inroads in Australia as evidenced by this February 27, 1850 ad that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.”

By the early 1840’s, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce had also made its way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, but more on that later in this post.

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce grew rapidly until they could no longer meet the demand for its manufacture in the back of their 68 Broad Street store. So, in 1845 they established a separate factory on Bank Street, directly behind or close by their Broad Street store. Now, with an increasing focus on manufacturing, in 1865 they sold their retail drug store on Broad Street to the partnership of George and Welch. A rendering of the store front after the sale appeared years later in the July 30, 1892 edition of “The Chemist and Druggist.

As you might expect, the company’s success inspired a good deal of competition. Local Worcester High Court records, Lea v. Millar, identified a man named Batty as one of, if not the first, competitor to also use the word “Worcestershire” in the name of his sauce. As early as January 30, 1847 Batty’s Worcestershire Sauce was included in this “Jackson’s Oxford Journal” list of “Potted Meats, Pickles, Fish Sauces, etc.” (fourth from the bottom).

Another early competitor was “Greatwoods” as evidenced by this August 4, 1855 advertisement in the “Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial.”

In order to distinguish themselves from the competition, Lea & Perrins advertisements circa 1860  began including the phrase:

Pronounced by Connoisseurs to be the “only good sauce” and applicable to every variety of dish.

The ads typically followed it up with:

The success of this most delicious and unrivaled condiment having caused many unprincipled dealers to apply the name to spurious compounds, the public is respectfully earnestly requested to see that the names of LEA & PERRINS are upon the WRAPPER, LABEL, STOPPER, and BOTTLE.

This early advertisement featuring the two phrases appeared in the March 22, 1860 edition of “The Nottinghamshire Guardian.”

Later, in November, 1874, the company took it a step further and changed their label to include the Lea & Perrins signature. Newspaper advertisements highlighting the new label began appearing shortly thereafter. A typical example appeared in the October 9,1875 edition of “Jackson’s Oxford Journal.”

Less than two years later in a July 1876 court case, Lea v. Millar, Lea & Perrins claimed they had sole rights to the word “Worcestershire.” A summary of the case was reported in the July 28, 1876 edition of the Birmingham Daily Post.”

This was a bill filed by Messrs. Lea and Perrins of Worcester to restrain the defendant from using the name “Worcestershire” in connection with a sauce made and sold by himself under the style or firm of Richard Millar and Co., such name being claimed by the plaintiffs as exclusively belonging to the sauce manufactured by themselves from a recipe imparted to their predecessors in business by a nobleman of the county about the year 1835.

The judge would have none of it.

The Master of Rolls said that he was of the opinion that the plaintiffs case wholly failed, and that Messrs. Lea & Perrins would have been better advised if they had not instituted the suit. Many years ago they might undoubtedly have succeeded in preventing other people from infringing their rights as the first makers of Worcestershire sauce, but they had allowed the maxim “Vigilantibus non dormientibus subrenit lex” to become applicable to their case. (The law favors those who do not sleep on their rights but instead seek to enforce them vigilantly.) It appeared to his lordship to be established that Messrs. Lea and Perrins’ predecessors in business either invented or obtained the recipe for an article to which they gave the name of Worcestershire sauce, and that they were the first persons to sell an article under the same name. That was about the year 1836, and within a very few, probably not more than two, years afterwards other people, of whom one Batty seemed to be the first, began to sell an article under the same name. Indeed, the name, within a very few years after it was first used by Messrs. Lea and Perrins, appeared to have become a common name in the trade…

Likely in response to this decision, sometime in the early 1880’s, Lea and Perrins’ advertisements began referring to their sauce as the

Original and Genuine WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

One of the earliest advertisements that include this phrase appeared in the September 13, 1882 edition of “The Derby Mercury.”

Later, in 1906, Lea & Perrins succeeded in a court proceeding that barred other sauce makers from using that phrase. The April 25, 1906 edition of “The Birmingham Post” summarized the proceedings.

Mr. Justice Swinfen Eady had before him yesterday in the Chancery Division, a motion by the plaintiffs in the action of Lea and Perrins v. Holbrook (Limited) for an interim injunction to restrain defendants from advertising Worcester sauce in a manner alleged to be an infringement of the planiff’s rights.

Mr. Sebastian who represented plaintiffs, said the matter was before the court some weeks ago, when an injunction was asked for to restrain defendants from advertising their Worcester sauce as the original, the genuine, or the only original and genuine. Defendants then gave an interim undertaking, and they had now agreed to make an end of the whole matter. It had been arranged that the motion should be treated as the trial of the action, defendants admitting that plaintiffs were the original makers of Worcester sauce. Defendants also submitted to a permanent injunction in terms which were in writing, in effect restraining them from using in connection with the sale of their sauces the words “original,” “genuine,” “the original,” or “the genuine.”

Competition notwithstanding, Lea & Perrins continued to grow throughout the latter portion of the 19th century. According to “Littlebury’s 1883 Guide to Worcester and its Neighborhood,” at some point the company added wholesale and export warehouses on the Bank Street side while continuing to maintain their offices at 68 Broad Street (likely in the upper floors).  Ultimately however the entire business was forced to move and on November 16, 1895 a “Barrow’s Worcester Journal” story announced that they were moving to 3 Midland Road, outside of Worcester.

One hears sometime of depression in trade affecting Worcester china and Worcester gloves; but never that other Worcester product, sauce. In that there are no fluctuations, only a steady increase. Worcester Sauce has been come to be looked upon as a necessity in civilized countries, and, I suppose, as the world is becoming more and more civilized, the demand for sauce increases. Anyhow it is hardly a secret that the business of Messrs. Lea and Perrins has outgrown the old premises in Broad Street, and that the manufactory will shortly be transferred to a new site. The new factory will be built on a site in the Midland Road which is in every way convenient, notably for railway transit, it being close to Shrub-hill.

Opened in 1896, a rendering of the factory appears on today’s Lea & Perrins’ web site.

Ultimately, in 1930, Lea & Perrins merged with H. P. Sauce,’ Ltd. The merger was announced in the March 21, 1930 edition of several English newspapers. The “Birmingham Gazette” story follows.

The amalgamation of two Midland firms of sauce manufacturers is announced.

An agreement of amalgamation has been entered into as from 1 January, 1930, of the businesses of H.P. Sauce, Ltd., and Lea and Perrins, the well-known manufacturers of the original Worcestershire Sauce.

Both firms have been regarded as leading sauce manufacturers. The two businesses will continue to trade under their own individual managements, but it is considered that the amalgamation should be of great benefit in the further development of the twin interests of the united companies.

The firm of Lea Perrins is being converted into a private limited company of the same name whose shares will be acquired by H.P. Sauce, Ltd…

In Britain, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is still made to this day by Kraft Heinz at the same Midland Road factory that opened in 1896. This current photograph of the factory is courtesy of “The Worcester News.” Other than a car replacing the horse and wagon not much else has changed in relation to their 1896 rendering.

As early as the 1840’s Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce was making its way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States where a firm named John Duncan & Son was named as Lea & Perrins’ U.S. agent.

According to a feature on the Duncan’s published in the July 28, 1911 edition of the “Grocers Advocate,” John Duncan had established the business which dealt in rare and fine groceries, wines and liquors in 1819. Located in New York City, this June 20, 1829 advertisement in the “Evening Post,” located the company in lower Manhattan at 407 Broadway, between Walker and Lispenard Streets.

In 1840, Duncan formed a partnership with his son David, changing the name of the business to John Duncan & Son. The co-partnership notice was published in several February, 1840 editions of the “Evening Post.

Later, about 1850,  Duncan admitted a second son, John P. Duncan  to the partnership, changing its name to John Duncan & Sons.

In January, 1843 John Duncan & Son ran the first U. S. newspaper advertisement (that I can find) for Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce in New York’s “Evening Post.”

At the start Duncan imported the sauce in bottles directly from England where it was shipped in the transatlantic ocean liners of the day, one of which was the “Great Western.”

In fact, not only could Worcestershire Sauce be found in the cargo hold of the Great Western, but on the dinner tables of the liner’s passengers as well. According to this excerpt from a November 7, 1844 John Duncan & Sons advertisement:

“GREAT WESTERN STEAM SHIP,” 6th June, 1844 – “The cabin of the Great Western has been regularly supplied with Lea & Perrins’ Worcestershire Sauce, which is adapted for every variety of dish – from turtle to beef – from salmon to steaks – to all of which it gives a famous relish. I have great pleasure in recommending this excellent Sauce to Captains and Passengers for its capital flavor, and as the best accompaniment of its kind for any voyage. (signed) JAMES HOSKEY

On occasion, John Duncan’s early newspaper advertisements would announce the arrival of their trans Atlantic sauce shipments. One such shipment  that included 500 dozen bottles arriving on a ship named the “Universe” was announced in the August 8, 1850 edition of the “Evening Post.”.

While their Lea & Perrins business was certainly increasing, their wholesale and retail business in general remained quite strong, as evidenced by this advertisement that appeared in the June, 1856 issue of Hunt’s “Merchants’ Magazine and Commercial Review.”

Eventually, the company outgrew their Broadway facilities and moved to One Union Square in 1860. Later, sometime around 1870, they added a second Manhattan location at 30 South William Street which later moved to 29 Murray Street in 1878 and 29 College Place in 1879. By this time, John Duncan, Sr. had passed away (in 1864) changing the firm name again, this time to John Duncan’s Sons.

In 1877, the Duncan’s were still importing Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce in bottles when, in concert with Lea & Perrins’ English operation, they implemented a change that was described like this in an August 21, 1899 story published in the Buffalo (N.Y.) “Courier Express:”

…a change in practice was begun by Lea & Perrins and John Duncan’s Sons, by which, instead of sending over here the sauce finished, bottled, labeled and ready for use, it was sent over in a partially manufactured condition in casks, and the Messrs. Duncan finished the sauce here according to formula furnished them by the English house, and bottled and put it up for sale.

The story went on to say

This course had certain obvious advantages. It saved the firms from paying duty on bottles, labels, straw and finishing expenses, and avoided breakage. `

At least a portion of these savings were passed on to the customers, as evidenced by much of their late 1870’s and  early 1880’s advertising which touted:

Great Reduction in Price of Lea & Perrins’ Celebrated Worcestershire Sauce thus giving the consumer not only the Best, but the most Economical Sauce.

As far as I can tell, up through 1886, Union Square served as the company’s retail location, while Murray Street and later, College Place housed their wholesale business and the manufacturing operation associated with the Lea & Perrins sauce.. Then, in 1887, the company discontinued their retail business and moved the wholesale and manufacturing operations to 43 Park Place in Manhattan. A photograph of their Park Place building appeared in an  1895 publication entitled “Kings Photographic Views of New York.”

Twelve years later, in 1899, John Duncan’s Sons began to manufacture Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce in its entirety. The change was brought about as the result of a suit brought by the U.S. government over the valuation of the imported products. The particulars were spelled out in a story found in the August 18,1899 edition of the “Birmingham (Alabama) News”

The firm of John Duncan’s Sons, of New York, are the agents in this country for Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, and for more than twenty years has engaged in a part of the work of preparation of that sauce – the English house sending the sauce over in casks, in a partly manufactured condition, and Messrs. Duncan finishing it here according to a formula supplied from England. By this method the cost of transportation and the duty on bottles, labels, straw and the liability to breakage were avoided. The United States Government levied an import tax of 3 schillings 4 pence per gallon on the unfinished sauce, which was considered sufficient, as the stuff has no marketable value. When appraiser Wakeman came into office, however, he raised the duty 500 percent, but this being contested he finally was required by the department to reduce it to 200 percent. The appraiser then charged Duncan’s Sons with under appraisement and made a seizure of an importation. A suit followed in which the firm came out victorious, the Government withdrawing from its untenable position.

Meantime, however, the duty of 200 percent proved to be prohibitive and the London house decided to send the whole formula to John Duncan’s Sons, and now the sauce is made in this country, instead of imported in the partly finished state.

At the same time they moved into a new factory building that occupied the entire block between Canal and York Streets. It was described like this in the June 17, 1899 edition of “Brooklyn Life.”

How pleasing it is to visit an establishment as that of John Duncan’s Sons, at 392 Canal Street and 11-13 York Streets, New York, where the American output of the world-famous Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is prepared for market.

Here is a building of eight stories, recently constructed, and modern in every particular. It was planned and built solely for the purpose to which it has been put, consequently every detail of construction and interior arrangement has been studied for utility and comfort…

The vaults in the basement, in which are stored the ingredients in bulk, are large and airy, each cask is labeled and numbered and has its own place, so that it can be readily found. Several of the floors above are also utilized for the same purpose.

The bottling department is an interesting one. The liquid is brought from properly placed casks on the floor above through silver tubes to the bottling machine which works automatically. When a row of empty bottles is placed in position the machine allows only just enough of the sauce to flow in to just fill them, and then stops. There is no ladling out or measuring by hand – nothing comes in contact with the liquid except the wood of the casks and the silver tubes. Each bottle is then carefully wrapped in the familiar paper that we all know and is then taken in hand by the packers who deftly fill the boxes according to sizes, and so it goes to the shipping room. The room fronts on York Street and occupies the entire ground floor, except for the small portion on the Canal Street side which is used for general offices.

An unusual fact in connection with this factory is that even the paper of the wrappers is manufactured expressly to order, as are also the corks and the red twine used to tie around the neck of each bottle and which is one of the distinguishing features of the brand of goods.

As modern and large as the factory was, within a decade it was outgrown, forcing the company to move again, this time to a nine story, 80,000 square foot building at 237-241 West Street on the corner of Hubert Street. The building was depicted in the 1911 feature published in the “Grocer’s Advocate.”

Always a devoted advertiser, according to a story in the June 14, 1923 edition of an advertising publication called “Printer’s Ink,” up through the early teens Duncan’s advertisements were designed simply

to remind people of the fact that the sauce was good for soups, gravies, steaks, chops and fish, and keeping the name and trademark in the public’s eye.

The story went on to say:

But in 1915 an educational campaign was inaugurated to tell about new uses. For the first time in its history the company hunted for reasons why the dining public should desire “Lea & Perrins’ Sauce, the original Worcestershire.” Over a hundred recipes were prepared to which the sauce should be used, not merely by its addition as seasoning at the table, but in preparation during the cooking of foods. These recipes were printed on a hanger which could be placed in the kitchen, and they were offered free in the company’s advertising…More than 150 uses have been discovered and more are being found constantly.

One recipe, this one for Fish Hash appeared in the October, 1915 issue of “The Ladies Home Journal.” The ad went on to tout their “Kitchen Recipe Hanger” as well.

Likely as a result of the amalgamation with H.P. Sauce, Ltd., Lea & Perrins, Inc. filed as a domestic business corporation in the U.S. on April 1, 1930. From this point on the business was listed in the U S. directories and telephone books as Lea & Perrins, Inc. at the 241 West Street address. That’s not to say that the Duncans weren’t involved. In fact as late as 1978 a “New York Times” story in their April 18th edition referred to Ransom Duncan, the great-great-grandson of John Duncan, as the technical director of the American firm of Lea & Perrins.

In 1958, Lea & Perrins, Inc. was planning to move out of New York City, and in October obtained approval to build a new plant in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. The approval was announced in the October 22nd edition of Paterson New Jersey’s “Morning Call.”

The construction of a Lea & Perrins plant, sauce manufacturers, in Industrial Park, was approved last night by the planning board.

It was reported that the plant will employ a maximum of 100 persons working 9 to 5 shifts only.

The one story masonry structure will front on Pollitt Dr., adjacent to the Erie Railroad. It will be 364 feet long and 241 feet wide.

The 1960 New York Telephone Book indicated that by then the company had removed to Pollitt Drive in Fair Lawn New Jersey, suggesting the move occurred sometime in 1959.

In 2005, H. J. Heinz Co. acquired Lea & Perrins when they purchased the HP Food Group. The purchase was reported in the August 17, 2005 edition of  “The Hackensack (N.J.) Record.”

H. J. Heinz Co. completed its purchase of HP Foods Group on Tuesday, but the deal left in doubt the future of the company’s North American headquarters in Fair Lawn and the 50 employees there.

The $820 million deal with France’s Group Danane S.A. gave Heinz the HP brand and Lea & Perrins – maker of the world’s No. 1 Worcestershire sauce – as well as a license for Amoy Asian sauce in Europe.

As part of the purchase, Pittsburgh-based Heinz gained two British manufacturing plants and the Fair Lawn location, which includes a factory for making Lea & Perrins and HP sauces.

Heinz spokesman Robin Teets said the company would conduct a detailed analysis of the newly acquired assets to determine how they fit into existing Heinz operations…

“The Fair Lawn facility remains open,” he said, “Until that assessment is completed, we don’t expect any changes.”

The Fair Lawn factory remained open for roughly another 10 years, until 2014 or 2015. Where exactly it’s made today in the U. S. is not clear.

I’ve found a total of three Lea & Perrins bottles over the years. All have the letters J D S in some arrangement embossed on the base. These letters are certainly the initials of Lea & Perrins’ long time U. S. agent, John Duncan’s Sons. The Duncan’s initially imported the sauce in bottles from England and it wasn’t until sometime in 1877 or 1878 that they began bottling it in the United States. Logically, this establishes 1877 as the earliest year any bottle with those initials was produced.

One bottle is mouth blown and roughly 10 ounces in size. The other two are machine made; one is 6 ounces the other 10 ounces. The website glassbottlemarks.com suggests that the mouth blown bottles were produced abundantly until the 1910’s before a switch was made to machine made bottles.

Base photos of both 10 ounce bottles are shown below.

Mouth Blown

Machine Made

 

 

Pluto Water, America’s Physic

 

Pluto Water got its name from a naturally occurring mineral spring also named Pluto whose waters were thought to restore good health to those with a wide range of illnesses. Located in Orange County, Indiana, the Pluto spring was named for the Roman god of the underworld, a reference to the water’s subterranean source.  A resort called French Lick Springs grew up around the Pluto spring, and the water named after it was bottled and sold locally and later nationally from 1890 to 1973.

Over the years bottled Pluto Water was primarily advertised as a natural cure for constipation, with newspaper advertisements as early as 1904 referring to it as “America’s Physic.” Sometime around 1920 this iconic slogan began appearing in their advertising.

A tagline that sometimes drew the sarcastic response:

When Pluto Won’t, Make Your Will.

The story of Pluto Water and consequently French Lick Springs began in the early 1830’s when Dr. William H. Bowles, purchased the land where the mineral springs were located from the State of Indiana. According to the “History of Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties, Indiana,” published in 1884:

At this sale, Dr. William A. Bowles…either by himself or agent, succeeded in obtaining a considerable tract of this land upon which were situated the principal of these mineral springs now so widely known as the French Lick Springs. Soon after this, in partnership with John Hungate, he began a mercantile trade there…

A history of French Lick Springs, published in the July, 1902 editions of several Indiana newspapers, picks up the story from there.

Perhaps as early as 1839 Bowles erected a two-story frame building on the present site, but it had no occupant as it was not finished until 1845 or 46, when Dr. John A. Lane, a genuine “down-easter,” who at the time was traveling in the interest of Dr. Brandeth of “Brandeth Pill” notoriety, chanced to stop for the night with Mr. Hungate, who resided near the springs. Dr. Lane, who was a man of quick perception and foresight, coupled with indomitable energy, became enamored of the place and in 1846 leased the springs of Bowles for a period of five years, and in the spring of that year completed the house and at once opened it for the accommodation of the public.

By 1851, Lane was advertising his resort in nearby Louisville, Kentucky, as evidenced by an announcement of his seasonal opening that appeared in the July 5th and July 14th editions of the “Louisville Courier-Journal.” The announcement suggested that 1850, not 1846, may have been French Lick Springs inaugural year as a formal resort, so suffice to say, the resort was certainly up and running by 1850.

FRENCH LICK SPRINGS

These Springs, located in Orange County, Indiana, ten miles west of Paoli, were offered to the public as a place of resort and the means of the cure of disease last summer for the first time we believe. For the present season the proprietor opened his doors for the reception of visitors on the first of the present month, June.

There are a number of springs affording almost every variety of sulphur and chalybeate water, which scientific men pronounce of great value to the sick and afflicted. The country around is wild and romantic, and abounds in various kinds of game, such as deer, turkeys, pheasants, quails, squirrels, etc. The man of business, tired of the cares and turmoils of city life, can here find a place of retreat and amusement. If fond of hunting, he can take his gun along with him, and after arriving at the springs and partaking, if he chooses, of the healing waters which they afford, head to the surrounding hills and hunt to his heart’s content. If the visitor be an angler, and takes pleasure in catching the “finny tribe” with the “baited hook,” Lost River is nearby, and he too can enjoy his favorite sport. And those fond of fancy amusements can also be accommodated to their liking on the grounds about the springs… 

This rendering of the initial hotel appeared in a feature on French Lick Springs that appeared in the October 18, 1902 edition of the “Boston Home Journal.”

In case you’re interested, a letter published in the  August 19,1851 edition of the “Louisville Daily Courier” made it clear that the 80 mile trip from Louisville to French Lick Springs could be accomplished in one day.

You can leave Louisville at 5 o’clock in the morning in one of Mr. Eastham’s fine daily coaches, with good horses, and very prudent and accommodating drivers, and arrive at New Prospect by 4-1/2 in the afternoon. This is two miles from the Springs, where the traveler falls into the hands of our very worthy and obliging friend, the Postmaster of New Prospect, Mr. Techemacher. He is a Polander and his history is full of interest, and he, together with his learned dog, attracts a great share of the attention of the visitors. You pass over a beautifully romantic country for two miles, crossing the celebrated Lost River, and reach the Springs, where I hope many of your readers may arrive safely, and realize the same amount of benefit which the writer has received for the last few weeks from use of the water.

Lane was still managing the resort for Bowles as late as 1853, as evidenced by this June 28th “Louisville Courier-Journal” advertisement announcing the resort’s seasonal opening that year.

Then, sometime in the mid-1850’s, Lane left French Lick Springs and established another resort nearby, calling it “West Baden Springs.” A story announcing what appears to be West Baden’s grand opening appeared in the July 20, 1857 edition of the “Louisville Daily Courier.”

Dr. J. A. Lane, formerly of the French Lick Springs, Orange County, Indiana, but now the owner and proprietor of the “West Baden Springs,” which are situated about a mile from French Lick, was in the city Saturday last, and informs us that he is putting up good improvements for the accommodation of his old friends, and will be ready and glad to see them on or about the 15th of August next. The mineral water, in that section of Indiana, cannot be excelled in the Union.

This July 8, 1859 item in the “Louisville Daily Courier” makes it clear that by then, stages from Louisville were servicing both French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs. The two resorts would remain competitors well into the next century.

Meanwhile, back at French Lick Springs, Bowles, now apparently managing the resort himself, added a “Bathing Establishment to the resort. His August 4, 1859 advertisement in the “Louisville Daily Courier”read in part:

…To the former accommodations and advantages of this place, there has been added an extensive “BATHING ESTABLISHMENT, where every variety of Bath can be had that are usual at Watering places, and some that cannot be had elsewhere…

According to the 1902 History of the Springs, in 1864 Bowles turned management of the Springs over to Dr. Samuel Ryan who went on to manage it for the next 15 years. This change in management was reflected in a July 14, 1865 item published in the “Louisville Courier-Journal,”

The reasoning for this change is quite evident considering this notice that appeared in the Evansville (Indiana) “Daily Journal.”

General Order No. 27 Headquarters District of Indiana, Indianapolis, May 9, 1865

In accordance with General Court Martial Orders No. 214 dated War Department, Adjunct General’s Office, Washington, May 2, 1865, to wit:

William A. Bowles, citizen of the State of Indiana, will be hanged by the neck until he is dead, on Friday, the 19th day of May, 1865, between the hours of twelve o’clock P.M. and three o’clock P.M., on the parade ground between Camp Morton and Burnside Barracks, near the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Brevet Brigadier General A. A. Stevens, commanding Camp Morgan and Burnside Barracks, is charged with the execution of this order, and will make report thereof to the Commanding General.

Bowles’ troubles were summarized in a story published years later in the April 2, 1873 edition of Bloomington Illinois’ “The Pantagraph.”

When the rebellion broke out Bowles was suspected of being in secret communication with the Confederates, and…had organized and armed a large number of men belonging to the secret order of the Sons of Liberty, and had planned an attack upon the Government arsenal at Indianapolis, and upon Camp Morton near that city, where 7,000 Confederate prisoners of war were confined under guard. The plot also involved the assassination of Governor Morton, the release and arming of the prisoners, and the inauguration of an insurrection in aid of the Confederates throughout the Northwest.

The story went on to say:

President Johnson stayed the execution of sentence until the Supreme Court should pass upon the validity of the judgement pronounced by the military commission. The Supreme Court decided, after a full hearing, that the sentence of the commission was void; that the defendants should have been tried in the United States Court at Indianapolis, and there was no emergency justifying a resort to military law…

This meant that Bowles, along with two coconspirators, had not been convicted by any legal authority and so they were released from prison in April, 1866.  A follow-up story in the January 11, 1867 edition of the “Evansville Daily Journal,” announced that the United States Court at Indianapolis would not prosecute the case, effectively putting the issue to bed. Bowles lived out the rest of his life at French Lick Springs, passing away in March, 1873.

Ryan managed French Lick Springs for Bowles, and later, for his estate up through the late 1870’s. Throughout most of the late 1860’s it was managed under the partnership of “Ryan & Adams” when, according to their opening day announcement in 1868 you could stay for:

$12 per week, $45 per month; children under 12 years of age and servants half price…

In 1869 Adams was replaced by E. Tucker, with the announcement appearing in the January 7, 1869 edition of the Evansville “Daily Journal.”

By 1871, according to their June 26th Evansville “Daily Journal” advertisement, the hotel was open year round with amusements that now included billiards, bowling, pigeons and croquet as well as a “good string band.”

After Ryan’s lease expired in the late 1870’s, the Bowles estate managed the Springs until 1881 when they sold it to Ryan and two others, Hiram Elwood Wells and James Madison Andrews. The sale was reported in the March 10, 1881 edition of the “Mitchell (Indiana) Commercial.”

The French Lick Springs property, including 320 acres of land…was permanently sold Saturday to J. M. Andrews and H. E. Wells, of Paoli, Orange, County, and Dr. S. Ryan, former lessee of the springs. The 320 acres, including the springs and hotel, cost about $30,000. They take immediate possession, and contemplate extensive improvements the coming season.

In 1888, Ryan was no longer involved and the business began operating as the French Lick Springs Company, with Wells serving as president. By then, according to a September 1, 1888 story in the “Boonville (Indiana) Enquirer,” access to the resort had significantly improved with the addition of a rail branch to the Springs.

…Of the wonderful improvements made in and about the springs is in the way of reaching here, was manifested by the enterprise of the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago, Railroad Co. (Monan Route) in building a branch of their splendidly equipped railroad from Orleans through Paoli to the springs, enabling passengers to reach here with comfort and pleasure and at reduced rates making three trips per day in close connection with the main line and to all points south, north, east and west.

That same year, the French Lick Springs Company invested upwards of $100,000 for improvements to the resort itself.

Subsequently, the upgraded resort was described like this in an August 13, 1891 story in “The Evansville Journal.”

It may not be generally known that there are three large hotel buildings here with a capacity for 400 guests. They are arranged in a section of a circle of which the principal spring is the center. These buildings are all the property of the French Lick Springs Company of whom Mr. W. S. Miller, Jr., is manager. The center one, “Windsor,” contains the office, dining-hall, bathrooms and many lodging rooms; the east one, “Pavilion,” a large well-lighted and well-ventilated music and dancing hall on ground floor and lodging rooms in two stories above; the west building, “Clifton,” is connected with the “Windsor” by a covered, latticed promenade, and has three stories with lodgings for guests. The grounds, 300 acres in extent, are composed of hilly and level ground with abundant shade from grand old forest trees. There are pleasant paths here and covered galleries at the houses for rest and exercise. A fourth, smaller building, the “Arno,” can be used for lodgings when necessary.

At a convenient distance are buildings for the help, for laundry, electric lighting and bottling the water for shipment away. In the hotel there is a resident physician, news and cigar stand, telegraph office, annunciator connecting with electric bells, barber shop and other conveniences so that guests can enjoy the conveniences of life as well as in the city.

Just before the turn of the century, the Windsor suffered a devastating fire that completely destroyed the Springs’ main hotel building. The fire was reported in the October 12, 1897 edition of the “Muncie (Indiana) Morning News.”

At 1 o’clock this morning, an alarm of fire was sounded at French Lick, and in less than two hours time the Windsor, the largest hotel and principal building there was a mass of smoldering ruins. The fire originated at or near the bakery, and made such rapid headway that the origin and cause can only be conjectured. In the burned building were located the hotel office, cigar and newsstand, telegraph office, dining room, kitchen, cold storage, bakery, bath rooms and store rooms. No casualties are reported among the guests or employees.

The contents of the building was almost a total loss, but little of the furniture or fixtures being saved. The buildings left standing are the Clifton and the dancing and amusement pavilions, which escaped owing to the fact that they are detached, and located some little distance from the Windsor. The amount of insurance on the property could not be ascertained. The loss is estimated at $40,000…

The next year, an August 14, 1898 story in the Courier-Journal made it clear that the fire had negatively impacted business.

The policy of the management of this popular resort has been to keep as quiet as possible this season as the buildings destroyed last winter by fire have not yet been replaced..

The fortunes of the resort changed three years later when the French Lick Springs Company sold the Springs to a newly formed company called the French Lick Springs Hotel Company. Headed by Indianapolis mayor (and later Senator from Indiana), Thomas Taggert,  the company’s incorporation notice was published in the June 25, 1901 ” edition of “The Indianapolis News.”

The French Lick Springs Hotel Company, in which Mayor Taggert is interested, incorporated today with a capital stock of $600,000. Mayor Taggert and his associates in the company have gone to Louisville to make arrangements incidental to the final closing of the deal by which they become owners of the French Lick property.

Two days later the new corporation owned French Lick Springs. The closing of the deal was described like this in the June 27th edition of Bedford Indiana’s “Daily Mail.”

Mayor Thomas Taggert, of Indianapolis, came to Louisville about 7 o’clock yesterday morning with certified checks for over $400,000 in his pocket. When Mr. Taggert and his companions left for French Lick at 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon $294,150 of these checks had become property of Louisville businessmen and Mr. Taggert carried the deed to all the property of the French Lick Springs Company. The Columbia Finance and Trust Company has $86,000 more of Mr. Taggert’s money which will be used to redeem the bonds of the old company on July 1. The payment of this money opens a new era for French Lick Springs…

The property which changed hands yesterday consists of 320 acres, three hotels, the famous Pluto Spring and a number of minor springs, bath houses, bottling works and a number of other buildings. Work on the new 300 room stone hotel will begin at once. The old hotels will be remodeled and numerous other improvements will be made.

Within a year, this June 22, 1902 “Chicago Tribune” advertisement announced that the new brick (not stone) hotel was now completed and open for business.

A feature on French Lick Springs published in the October 18, 1902 edition of the “Boston Home Journal” announced that the  upgraded resort now afforded accommodations for no less than seven hundred guests. The 1902 feature went on to provide this panoramic view of the resort.

The hotel office and dining room were also pictured in the feature.

By 1902 Taggert had also added a nine hole golf course.

Under Taggert’s ownership the resort continued to grow, with an August, 1916 story in the “National Drug Clerk” describing it like this:

French Lick Springs Hotel is a city within itself. The power plant not only furnishes the hotel light and power, but supplies the city of French Lick with light and power. The street car service between French Lick and West Baden is operated on the power generated at the Hotel Power House.

An 18-hole golf course and tennis courts serve as diversion, and the horseback riding is made a delightful exercise.

Three hot houses furnish the flowers for the interior decoration of the hotel and the pleasure of the guests.

A modern dairy is operated and comprises a fine herd of cows, which produce cream and milk under the most up-to-date and sanitary methods, and the butter is also made. All the dairy products on the dining room table are therefore of the best.

A modern up-to-date laundry is also run in conjunction with the hotel and the service is perfect.

The baths under the careful direction of the experienced attendants have a rejuvenating effect on the human system. As high as 175 baths a day are given in the men’s section, and 90 per day in the ladies’ section.

According to another feature on French Lick Springs, this one found in the June, 1923 edition of the “Practical Druggist,” sometime in the early 1920’s Taggert turned management of the business over to his son, Thomas D. Taggert, Jr. The family would remain in control of the property for another 20 plus years.

Sometime in the early 1890’s, prior to Taggert purchasing the Springs, the French Lick Springs Company began bottling their Pluto Water for sale outside the limits of the resort. The afore mentioned August 13, 1891 description of the resort in “The Evansville Journal,” included mention of a building for

bottling the water for shipment away

That building was likely the one pictured on this postcard that was recently offered for sale on the internet.

That same year, June, 1891 advertisements in the “Louisville Courier-Journal” announced the company had opened a sales office in downtown Louisville.

So they were certainly bottling and distributing their water locally by then. That being said, there’s no evidence that suggests that its distribution extended much beyond the Louisville city limits. That situation began to change in the late 1890’s when the Henry Pharmacal Co., of Louisville was named the sales agent for “Pluto Water.”

The announcement was initially published in the August, 1899 issue of the “Louisville Medical Monthly,” a reprint of which I found in the September 22, 1899 issue of the “Virginia Medical Semi-Monthly.”

The French Lick Springs of Indiana, according to the Louisville Medical Monthly, August, 1899, have passed under the control of Mr. Frank A. Henry, of the Henry Pharmacal Co., of Louisville, who intends to bring the strong saline sulphur water, “Pluto,” to the attention of the medical profession. Too often, the therapeutic value of American mineral springs has been lost under the guise of fashion or summer recreation. The French Lick Springs have always maintained their medical reputation parallel with their celebrity over the United States. It is Mr. Henry’s intention to bring the merits of Pluto Springs to the attention of the medical profession through the medical press, and to show that the resort compares most favorably with the most famous of similar establishments abroad.

Also called the Henry Drug Co., of Louisville, around the turn of the century the company registered two labels with the United States Patent Office, one for “Pluto Natural” the other for “Pluto Concentrated.”

No. 7232 ” Pluto Concentrated” for bottled mineral waters on Dec. 12, 1899

No. 7560 “Pluto” for natural spring water on May 26, 1900

The very bottom of this early label for “Pluto Concentrated clearly identifies the Henry Drug Co., Louisville Ky. as the product’s “Sole Agents for the U.S.A.”

The need for  “Pluto Concentrated,” as explained years later in the June, 1923 edition of the “Practical Druggist,” was one of economics.

…guests who came from many states to drink the water suggested that it be bottled so that they could get it at their own homes. This at first proved a costly venture until it was suggested by some learned chemist that it could be boiled down and concentrated.

That being said, both natural and concentrated versions were mentioned in this advertisement that appeared in several 1903 editions of “The Indianapolis Star.”

The Henry company’s relationship with French Lick Springs and Pluto Water continued throughout most of the first decade of the 1900’s. According to the 1923 “Practical Druggist” story

The product was marketed to the medical and drug trade through the selling agents of the Henry Drug Company of Louisville until the company retired from business; then the distribution was attended to direct from headquarters…

The Henry company was last listed in Louisville’s 1909 city directory, suggesting that this transition had occurred prior to 1910.

By this time, Taggert had pretty much abandoned the distribution of “Pluto Natural” in favor of “Pluto Concentrated.” According to the March 29, 1913 edition of the “American Medical Journal:”

To the average person the composition of the “natural” Pluto Water is largely a matter of academic interest, for practically it is only the so-called “concentrated” Pluto Water that is found on the market.

…While it is doubtless possible to purchase the “natural” Pluto Water by ordering it specially, we believe that not one drug store in a hundred carries anything but the so-called “Concentrated” Pluto Water.

The A.M.A went on to point out that the concentration process resulted in a beverage whose chemical make-up bore little resemblance to the natural water produced by the spring.

The public and the medical profession are led to believe that “concentrated” Pluto Water is identical with “natural” Pluto Water except that the former has been boiled down until it is ten times as strong. With this in mind, study the following analysis which the company issues as representing the composition (parts per thousand) of the “concentrated” Pluto Water: Sodium sulphate (Glauber’s Salt)…50; Magnesium sulphate…30.97 (Epsom Salt); Calcium sulphate…2.81; Sodium chloride (salt) and Magnesium carbonate…0.35.

From this, it will be seen that, even according to the company’s own figures “concentrated” Pluto differs from “natural” Pluto in that it has more than eighty times as much Glauber’s Salt; nearly 100 times as much Epsom Salt; less than twice as much calcium sulphate, only a trifle more sodium chloride and less magnesium carbonate than is found in the “natural.”

What does this mean? it means that “concentrated” Pluto bears but a slight relation to “natural” Pluto, and it means that, for all practical purposes, “concentrated” Pluto Water is essentially a solution of Epsom Salt and Grauber’s Salt in the proportion of three of the former to five of the latter.

Taggert neglected to mention any of this in his labeling and advertising. In fact, reading this excerpt from a December 31, 1917 advertisement found in the “Indianapolis Star” you’d have to think that the natural spring water and the bottled water were one and the same.

The A.M.A. summed up the issue like this:

One wonders whether the contempt which the label of Pluto Concentrated Spring Water shows for “Food Inspection Decision 94” bears any relation to the fact that the French Lick Springs Hotel Company has for its president – Thomas Taggart – a politician whose influence at Washington is such as to make it unnecessary for the company to worry about such trivial things as mislabeling.

Mislabeling not withstanding, the sale of Pluto Water grew exponentially during the teens, much of it fueled by advertising, a fact Taggert made clear to retail druggists in the May, 1918 edition of a publication called “The Spatula.”

The French Lick Springs Hotel Company are conducting a campaign in which they utilize the biggest newspapers, nationally circulated magazines, leading medical journals, street cars and subway trains to send customers around to their drug stores for Pluto Water. A tremendous demand has already been created as indicated by the millions of bottles sold last year, and the druggists who are reaping the richest harvests from this publicity and sales promotion work, are the druggists who link up with the campaign and let their customers know they carry Pluto Water in stock, through window and counter displays.

The druggist who feels he should be getting more of this business can get all the cooperation he wants providing he shows a willingness to do his part. Attractive window display material, show cards and interesting literature for distribution will be promptly supplied on request to the French Lick Springs Hotel Co., French Lick, Ind.

Taggert also employed some less conventional methods of advertising as well. According to the 1923 “Practical Druggist” feature:

He catered to commercial men to come to French Lick for the weekend and not more than fifteen years ago these people were put up over Sunday for $2 and $2.50 a day including room and three meals; then they went out covering many states and talked and boomed the French Lick Springs and Pluto Water. It was advertising that could not be purchased…

A story in the Aug-Sept, 1915 edition of a publication called “Square Deal,” mentioned that even World War I contributed to the growth of Pluto Water.

One rather unexpected increase in business due to the conflict is in the bottling and sale of Pluto Water, obtained at French Lick, Ind. The amount of business is double this year what it was last year. That is due to cutting off much of the foreign water.

The demand associated with this growth was addressed with the opening of a new $185,000  bottling plant at French Lick Springs in 1914.

It was described like this in the January, 1914 edition of the “American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record”

The outside is finished with buff brick and the entire inside is white. The water is pumped from the Pluto Spring to the fifth floor of the building, where it begins a process of filtration and condensation and is finally delivered sparkling and clear to a glass receptacle in the main bottling room, whence it is piped to the bottling machines. The bottling process is on the continuous operation plan and the latest types of machinery are used throughout. Empty bottles are taken from the cars, subjected to a thorough sterilizing and taken to the main bottling room. This room is finished in white enamel brick and is provided with a gallery for visitors. After the bottles are filled they are sealed and taken by automatic conveyors to the cars for shipment. The new plant has a daily capacity of 1,000 cases. A complete printing plant is run in connection with the bottling house.

A January, 1916 “National Drug Clerk” story added:

There are facilities for loading three cars at a time. Pluto Water is shipped in special Pluto cars; twenty of these cars are used exclusively for transportation of Pluto Water.

By the 1920’s, in addition to their headquarters at French Lick Springs, the company maintained branch offices in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco and according to the 1923 “Practical Druggist” feature:

The distribution of this famous water is now so complete that the writer saw it in Colorado Springs, Yellowstone Park, all large cities on the coast, at Victoria, Vancouver, Banff, Montreal and Quebec.

This claim is further supported by advertisements for Pluto Water found in small “off the beaten path”places like Twin Falls, Idaho where this advertisement appeared in the June 27, 1918 edition of that city’s “Times-News.”

The Practical Druggist feature went on to say

There is perhaps no drug store of any size in the United States that does not have in stock this famous water. The company has a large foreign business in Cuba and in many large companies in South America. Last year the writer saw it in Paris, Lucerne, Lake Como and Milan. There is also an agency in Japan that looks after its distribution in the Oriental countries.

In 1920 their famous slogan “When Nature Won’t Pluto Will” began appearing in newspaper advertisements. One of the earliest I can find appeared in the January 13, 1920 edition of the “Pittsburgh Press.”.

In 1930 the company began advertising a crystalized version of Pluto water called French Lick Salts. According to this 1933 advertisement:

The same essential minerals contained in the famous Pluto Water have now been concentrated into pleasant tasting effervescent laxative crystals known as FRENCH LICK SALTS.

Other advertisements, like one published in the July 1, 1931 edition of “The Indianapolis Times,” touted it for weight loss.

Why allow yourself to be overweight and unsightly? You can so easily have slim ankles, graceful hips, a stylishly slender form. French Lick Salts works wonders.

French Lick Salts gets right at the causes – clears out stagnant body wastes that impair health and cause unhealthy fat…Take a little French Lick Salts every morning. Watch your weight go down and your health improve. Dropped in cool water, French Lick Salts effervesces delightfully, is as pleasant to drink as a fountain beverage! A generous bottle is only 50 cents at any drug store.

Short-lived, as far as I can tell ads for French Lick Salts disappear by the early 1940’s.

In 1946 a hotelier and business man named John B. Cabot bought the hotel along with the bottling works and began operating them under two newly established corporations called the French Lick Springs Hotel Company, Inc., and the  Pluto Corporation. The sale was reported in the November 30, 1946 edition of the “Louisville Courier-Journal.”

A New York hotel syndicate tonight purchased French Lick Springs Hotel, nationally famous spa in southern Indiana.

The purchasers were the French Lick Springs Hotel Company, Inc., and the Pluto Corporation of Delaware, headed by John B. Cabot of New York…

The hotel was part of the estate of the late Thomas D. Taggert, Sr., former United States Senator and former Mayor of Indianapolis. The heirs included Thomas D. Taggert Jr., a son, and four sisters…

Although the consideration was not announced, it was reported to exceed $4,000,000.

The story went on to describe the property at the time which had certainly continued to grow under the Taggerts.

The sale includes the 600-room hotel, 1,800 acres, three swimming pools, two golf courses, an airport, a riding stable, three mineral springs and the Pluto Water Bottling Works, and a large dairy and two herds of Jersey and Holstein cattle.

This photograph of the hotel accompanied an “Indianapolis News” story regarding the sale.

Six years later, Massachusetts Mutual Insurance Company, who helped underwrite the sale and held a $1,550,000 mortgage on the hotel took over sole possession of the property. The take-over story appeared in the October 29, 1952 edition of Munster Indiana’s “The Hammond Times:”

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company today announced that it will continue to operate the French Lick Springs Hotel as a resort and convention site.

The insurance firm assumed possession of the famous Southern Indiana hotel when New York – Florida hotel man John B. Cabot was unable to exercise an option to pay indebtedness and buy off the firm’s $1,550,000 mortgage.

Insurance company Vice President J. Truman Strange said present French Lick policies will be continued and improved service will be offered. He also said the company is willing to negotiate for sale of the 600-room hotel and 2,000 acres of land but that no negotiations are under way.

Negotiations must have started shortly after the above story was written because within a year Mass Mutuel sold the hotel and bottling works to separate entities. A story in the October 15, 1953 edition of the “Indianapolis Star” reported both transactions.

Purchase of French Lick Springs Hotel by a New York City corporation was announced yesterday. The reported price was approximately $2,000,000.

The nationally-known southern Indiana convention center and health resort was purchased by Tishman Realty and Construction Company Inc. from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The story went on to say:

Sale of the Pluto Corporation, bottlers of water from mineral springs on the spa property, to an Illinois businessman, also was disclosed yesterday.

New owner of the 50-year-old Pluto Corporation is Maxwell R. Hott, Monticello (Ill.) patent medicine tycoon. The price was reported to have been between $100,000 and $200,000.

Shortly after purchasing the hotel Tischman closed it for three months during which time they remodeled it to the tune of $1,000,000. The hotel reopened in March, 1955 and was ultimately sold to the Sheraton Corporation in September of that year.

Hott’s plans for the Pluto Corporation were outlined in a  March 7, 1954 “Terre Haute (Ind.) Tribune” story.

Pluto Water under the ownership and direction of Maxwell R. Hott, is pointing for a bigger share of the laxative market with a test campaign in selected markets including Terre Haute. The revitalized company is testing a series of 80-100 line newspaper ads with frequent insertions to establish a national pattern.

Mr. Hott purchased the rights to Pluto Water which was formerly owned by the French Lick springs Hotel. One of their prime reasons of buying was the discovery of the fact that although the product has not been actively promoted for almost 20 years, there has been a continued steady demand for Pluto Water and evidence of a loyal market for the product nationwide. A pilot study revealed a tremendous sales potential, particularly among middle-aged persons many of whom were introduced to Pluto Water through visits to the mineral springs in French Lick, Ind.

Hott apparently liked the results of the test campaign and followed it up with a series of long winded newspaper advertisements. One, found in the February 27, 1955 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer opened with this clear reference to the hotel and its mineral springs.

The Pluto Corporation was sold again in 1963. The transaction was reported in an April 25, 1963 story in the “Indianapolis Star:”

Purchase of the Pluto Corporation of French Lick, Ind., for an undisclosed price was announced yesterday by a group of Cincinnati businessmen.

Arthur H. Friedman, head of the Cincinnati group, said the firm would continue to bottle and sell spring water from its six-story plant…

Over the next ten years the Pluto Corporation reinvented itself, ultimately discontinuing the production of Pluto Water in favor of cleaning products. What might serve as Pluto Water’s obituary can be found in the September 28, 1994 edition of Bedford, Indiana’s “Times-Mail.”

The once worldwide market for Pluto Water diminished over the years, and sales declined to the point that in 1973 production ceased…

Pluto Water may be a thing of the past, but the Pluto Corporation here is going strong in the production of household cleaning products.

On a final note, according to a book called “Sanitariums, Hospitals, and the Belladonna Cure,” by Kenneth Anderson, published in 2022:

The myth that Pluto Water was taken off the market because it contained lithium is nothing more than an urban legend; the trace amounts of lithium found in Pluto Water were too small to be meaningful. Moreover, Lithia Springs Water, which has a much higher quantity of lithium salts, is still sold today.

Over the years, I’ve found several Pluto Water bottles, all machine made with the same embossing on the base.

One is quart size with no additional embossing on its sides. It exhibits a finish that suggests it was sealed with a cork. The others all exhibit a crown finish and are embossed Pluto Water America’s Physic” on the side.

The cork closure  was still being utilized for Pluto Water in August, 1916 when this description of the bottling and labeling process appeared in a publication called the “National Drug Clerk.”

Each individual bottle is sterilized under pressure of steam and thoroughly rinsed, placed on the filling table, which works automatically, moving forward until the bottles are directly under the filling tank, which then descends, filling twenty-four bottled with one operation…

In the workings conveyors are timed to move according to the capacity of the cooling machines, which is fifty bottles a minute. On account of the rapidity of motion and the strain, these operators are relieved every 30 minutes. In a storage room above, the corks are washed, trundled in revolving machines, and passed in front of powerful blowers to remove dust and particles from crevices of the corks. They then descend to the machines through an inverted U shaped arched chute.

After corking, and before the labels are attached, the bottles pass under a plate glass hood. Here they are subject to a needle spray bath of scalding water and steam, under pressure of one hundred and ten pounds, which cleanses the exterior and prepares the bottle for labeling. The neck and body labels are attached in one operation. The operator of these machines, like those of the corking machines, are relieved every thirty minutes.

The crown  closure had certainly replaced the cork by 1923 when this description of Pluto’s apparently updated bottling process appeared in the January edition of a publication called the “Glass Container.” It specifically references a “crowner.”

…Rotary filling machines are capable of filling and delivering bottles to the crowner at the rate of 125 per minute with the half pint size, and 80 per minute with the quarts. Separate machines are utilized for each size. Before being labeled the bottles are conveyed beneath a needle spray bath of steam under pressure of 120 lb. which completely rinses the exterior. Only one operation is necessary in order to put two labels on each bottle, and from the labeling machine they are conveyed to the packing and shipping room.

This dates the transition from cork to crown sometime between the 1916 “National Drug Story” and the 1923 “Glass Container “story. An unscientific review of their newspaper advertising serves to narrow the range further. Using the “Kansas City Times” as an example,  this  March 25, 1918 ad exhibits the cork closure…

…while a little over a year later, the December 19, 1919 edition of the same newspaper ran an ad exhibiting a crown closure.

That likely puts the transition from cork closure to crown sometime in 1918 or 1919. The crown closure was still being used as late as 1940, as evidenced by this advertisement that appeared in the June 23, 1940 edition of the “Tampa Bay Times.”

At some point in the 1940’s Pluto Water transitioned to a screw top container as evidenced by this March 5,1947 advertisement in the “Buffalo Evening News.”

Another screw top version can be found in a January 29, 1956 “Pittsburgh Press” advertisement.

 

Consumers Park Brewing Co., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Established on November 29, 1897, the Consumers’Park Brewing Company was a syndicate of saloon owners that operated Brooklyn’s Consumers’ Park Brewery from 1900 until 1913. This early 1900’s photograph of the brewery recently appeared on an internet sale site.

The circumstances that lead up to the formation of the company were laid out in a December 23, 1897 story published in Brooklyn’s “The Standard Union.”

The production of beer and ale by the large breweries during the past few years has reached an output that hardly seems possible. The output has become centered in the hands of a few large brewers, who by combination have put the output in their own control. A number of the heavy consumers, including a class of dealers who use from 1,000 to 5,000 barrels annually, conceived of an idea of forming a syndicate to manufacture for their own use beer and ale, thus accruing to themselves the profit that heretofore went to the large brewers. It was this proposition that first gave life to what has now become a regularly incorporated company since November 29, 1897, under the name of “The Consumers’ Park Brewing Company…”

The company’s plan, which included much more than just the manufacture and distribution of their own beer, was detailed in a January 13, 1898 “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” story.

The block bounded by Franklin and Washington Avenues, and Montgomery Street, is owned by the company. It is in one of the best parts of the city and adjoins Institute Park and the Botanical Gardens. It is but a stones throw from the Willink entrance of Prospect Park. On this site an immense brewery will be erected, but its promoters say there will be nothing about it in appearance that will not be in keeping with the location. Architecturally the brewery will be an ornament. The grounds around it will be beautifully laid out in walks and drives and here and there a fountain. A hotel will be built with broad verandas running around it and a band will give concerts twice a day. The cuisine will be of a high order, it is promised.

There will be a beer garden with tables under small trees, where Brooklynites can drink beer and listen to the music in the hotel. For those who care to dance there will be built a large ballroom, and there, too, an orchestra will be stationed. There will be a bicycle ring and bowling alleys. Particular attention will be paid to the class of people admitted.

Two years later, with the brewery scheduled to open in the first week of January, the company had assembled over 200 stockholders. The upcoming opening was announced in the  December 31, 1899 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

The new plant of the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company, the stockholders of which number more than 200 saloon keepers in this city and vicinity, and which was organized to fight the trust is to open its doors for business on January 6. On that date the first beer made by the new brewery will be delivered, and it is expected that the saloon men interested in the concern will substitute beer of their own manufacture for that of other brewers.

Advertisements for the “opening” that also included an invitation to inspect the new brewery appeared in several local New York and New Jersey newspapers that week.

Herman Raub, a restaurant owner and hotel keeper, was serving as president of the Consumers Park Brewing Company at the time the brewery opened its doors that January.

That being said, he almost didn’t make it through the opening day festivities when the temporary platform he was seated on collapsed. The January 5, 1900 edition of “The Times Union” told the story.

A bad accident marked the formal opening and inspection of the Consumers’Park Brewery at 946-973 Franklin Avenue, yesterday. The company entertained guests on Wednesday and the festivities continued yesterday afternoon. During the afternoon for the amusement of those assembled the heavy truck horses were put through their paces in the brewery yard and the trucks loaded with kegs. The guests were seated on a temporary platform where they could see. Right in the midst of the performance the platform collapsed and the occupants were thrown heavily to the ground.

Raub survived the event with a broken foot and went on to serve as president until 1907. This photograph of Raub, along with the company’s entire board of Directors appeared in the July 1, 1900 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

Shortly after the brewery opened, the promised hotel, cafe and concerts were all up and running on the brewery grounds, as evidenced by announcements that began appearing in the Brooklyn newspapers in the Fall of 1901. The following, touting a concert by the “Tyrolean Zither and Warbler Sextet,” appeared in The December 22, 1901 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

In case you’re interested, the show was reviewed in the January 19, 1902 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle”

The Tyrolean Zither and Warbler Sextet had made quite a hit in their Sunday concerts at the Consumers’ Park Brewery, opposite the Willing entrance to Prospect Park. They appear in national costume and the snap and sparkle of their music are very pleasing.

The above advertisement finished up with the phrase::

Always on Draught, the adjacent Consumers’ Park Brewing Co.’s AMERICAN STANDARD BEER.

A lager, according to their January, 1900 grand opening announcements, that brand was being produced at the brewery from day one.

The “American Standard” Beer, light and dark, one of the best brews in the market, will be on draught at all our customers’, on and after Saturday,  January 6, 1900.

Four months later, in the Spring of 1900, the company introduced a Bock Beer as well. This advertisement inviting the retail trade to their “First Bock Beer Festival” appeared in the April 1, 1900 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

Their Bock Beer Festival ultimately went on to become an annual spring time event, however, it was their “American Standard” that was the brewery’s number one seller. A story commemorating the company’s one year anniversary provided some details. It appeared in the January 5, 1901 issue of the “Standard Union.”

The Consumers’ Park Brewing Company’s opening a year ago will be recollected by many. Since that time the officers, headed by the president, Herman Raub, have made the company one of the leading breweries in Brooklyn. A few days ago the company published a statement which shows that the sales for the first year nearly reached 72,000 barrels, and that a dividend of 7 percent, was payable Jan. 15, 1901. This is a remarkable showing, considering that a year ago the company was a novice, and credit is due to the management for its ability and intelligence in obtaining such satisfactory results.

While the above advertisement mentioned a first year production of 72,000 barrels, an advertisement included in the same edition of “The Times Union” strove to be more accurate. It was, in fact, only 71,953 11/12 barrels.

“American Standard’s” main clientele was the company’s 200 or so stockholders, however, they did have at least one unique customer and from a marketing perspective they certainly made the most of it. Consider the following story that appeared in the February 24, 1902 edition of “The Brooklyn Citizen..”

BROOKLYN BEER FOR PRINCE HENRY

It Was Ordered from the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company and Delivered in Style.

All the beer used on board of the Kaiser’s yacht Hohenzollern is supplied by the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company, of Brooklyn. It is certainly a recognition of the progress of American industry if these German sailors select a strictly American beer to quench their thirst and the brewing company can justly be proud of this fact.

The Consumers’ Brewing Company had a wagon built specially for the purpose of sending the beer on board. The special delivery wagon attracted considerable attention going through the streets of New York and Brooklyn. Being decorated in white and gold, showing the imperial crown and the German colors on each side, it certainly presented a most impressive appearance. The brewery had no difficulty in selecting four beautiful horses from its large stable, as all the horses are first class in every respect. The horses’ harnesses are richly ornamented with silk ribbons and rosettes. In order to promptly deliver the beer the managers of the brewery had two of its best drivers, dressed in tasteful uniform, placed in charge of this fine team.

Versions of this story appeared in several Brooklyn newspapers that day each of which was followed up with this advertisement.

At some point the brewery even added a  “Hohenzollern Brau,” to their beer menu, as evidenced by this October 5, 1907 advertisement found in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.” By that time they were also making a “Double Stout” and “India Pale Ale” as well.

In 1907, Herman Raub was forced out as president by the company’s Board of Directors, replaced by August Ludeman. Raub’s August 6, 1915 obituary in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” suggested that the reasoning behind his removal was never revealed:

Mr. Raub lost out in the Consumers’ Park Brewery  venture. After he had organized it and had long been its president and general manager he was forced out for a reason that has never become public by the board of directors in 1907. He took the case to court at the time in an attempt to prevent his removal but was removed before he could serve an injunction he had obtained.

Six years later, in 1913, the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company merged with the New York and Brooklyn Brewing Company. The merger was reported in the January 3, 1913 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

Another step toward the consolidation of the breweries of Brooklyn has been taken by the directors of the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company and of the New York and Brooklyn Brewing Company, who have drawn up an agreement for the merger of the two concerns into what will be styled as the Interboro Brewing Company.

The stockholder vote held on January 15, 1913 was unanimous and the plan moving forward was summarized in a January 23, 1913 “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” story.

The plant of the New York and Brooklyn, which in itself, represents a merger of several minor brewing companies. will eventually be shut down, all of the output henceforth to be manufactured at the Consumers plant, which is said to be one of the finest in Brooklyn. While no definite plans have yet been formulated as to the ultimate disposition of the New York and Brooklyn’s plant, it is probable that a new company may be formed and the plant converted into an artificial ice plant,

The new Interboro Brewing Company is now the third largest brewery in the borough.

Over the next several years, the brewery operated under the Interboro (sometimes Interborough) Brewing Company name. During this time, newspaper stories suggest that the former Consumers Park facility was noted more for their safety violations than for their product. The one receiving the most attention involved a smoke condition that continuously impacted nearby Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The situation was described in a March 16, 1916 “Times Union” story.

The Interborough Brewing Company of 964 Franklin Avenue, was fined $250 today in the Court of Special Sessions for violating the Sanitary Law. Frank H. Schmitz, of 99 Hawthorne Street, engineer of the concern, pleaded guilty.

Charles Ebbett, Jr., claimed that the dense smoke coming from the plant of this company had caused $40,000 damage to Ebbetts Field.

“We had to paint all the fences and the stands,” said Mr. Ebbetts. “Because of the coating on them caused by the black smoke from this brewing company. We lost a lot of patronage too, because people got tired of having their hats and cloths ruined and getting cinders in their eyes.

Schmitz told Justices Salmon, Gavin and Edwards that he has ordered a better grade of coal, but that as yet he had been unable to have it delivered to him.

Whether the better grade of coal helped is not clear however the situation likely resolved itself when the brewery shut down sometime in 1917 or 1918. At that time the rationing of fuel as a result of World War I, not to mention looming Prohibition, was taking its toll on the brewing industry. A September 7, 1918 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle made it clear that the Interboro Brewing Company had been extremely hard hit.

An official of the Interborough Brewing Company, formerly the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company, said:

“The situation is very hard on us. Of course we are closed now and have been for some time. We closed because of high taxes and the lack of fuel and material. We were among the first to comply with the suggestion of the Breweries Board of Trade to consolidate and the Ebling plant has been making our beer.”

An advertisement in the May 6, 1919 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle,” signaled the official end of the plant that had opened on January 6, 1900.

Several of the original brewery buildings remain to this day. This is evident by comparing the early 1900’s photograph of the brewery with a similar view from today, courtesy of Google Maps.

The two buildings in the foreground of todays view are clearly visible as the third and fourth buildings in the older photo. The larger building is also visible in both photos however it appears that the original pitched roof has been removed.

The bottle I found is a champagne style, approximately 12-ounces in size. Machine made, it likely dates to the latter half of the 1900 to 1913 time frame when the brewery operated under that name.

The embossing on the bottle includes the company’s trademark, described like this in the November 20, 1899 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review:”

Essential Features: The representation of a broken triangular feature, composed of three diamond shaped figures, arranged with their adjacent points or apices touching.

The trademark (no. 33,658) was dated October 31, 1899 in the U.S. patent records; several months prior to the brewery’s grand opening.

 

Whistle, Orange Whistle Bottling Co.

Whistle is an orange soda that hit the U. S. market in the Spring of 1916. Still sold today, it’s height of popularity occurred in the 1920’s when, according to one newspaper source, it out-sold Coca Cola in New York. Early on, it’s advertising slogan was:

Thirsty?  Just WHISTLE

The Whistle story begins with a native Texan named Vess (Sylvester) Jones. According to a feature on Jones published in the July 20, 1922 edition of an advertising publication called “Printer’s Ink,” his business career began, not in the soda business, but in the garment industry.

He had been in the clothing specialty line and had built up a profitable trade, but he finally went broke as a result of a prolonged garment strike.

As early as 1912, he had become engaged in the syrup/soft drink business in Oklahoma City where several local newspaper accounts indicate he was serving as the Oklahoma representative for a Texas firm called the Jersey Cream Company of Fort Worth. By 1914, he had moved to St. Louis, Missouri where the 1914 city directory listed him as the vice president of the Orange Julep Company.

The 1922 “Printers Ink” feature picks up the story from there.

In 1916 Vess Jones thought of an idea for a new soft drink…

Having observed that the orange is an unusually popular fruit, Jones figured that a good beverage with orange juice as its chief ingredient should be almost equally as popular. Now Jones wasn’t the first person to hit upon the orange as the nucleus of a palatable beverage, and he knew it, but his formula called for something different from anything he had ever tasted. He aimed to mix a beverage that would make the majority of persons imbibe several drinks at a single sitting.

So, with an idea and $5,000 in savings Jones established the Orange Whistle Company, setting up shop (the “Printers Ink” story referred to it as a shack) at 315 North Main Street in St. Louis where he was initially listed in the 1916 directory. The company’s incorporation notice was published that February in the “Southern Pharmaceutical Journal.”

Though he settled in St. Louis, according to the “Printer’s Ink” feature, his first client was located in Illinois, not Missouri.

When his first batch of syrup was ready for marketing he hired a horse and wagon and started out to make the people of St. Louis acquainted with, as well as cultivate a liking for his new beverage. The bottlers of that city, however, didn’t display any particular interest in Whistle, even when Jones promised to create a demand for it, for at the start it meant no more to them than a hundred and one other soft drinks that have come and gone. Disappointed but not discouraged, Jones shifted his activities to Illinois, just across from St. Louis.

“I’ve got the best soft drink you ever drank.” Jones informed the first bottler he interviewed in Illinois, “and if you will bottle some of my syrup according to my formula and send it out to your dealers, I’ll spend my own money to move it from the counters.”

The proposition appealed to the dealer and he purchased some of the syrup, promising to bottle it immediately. By the time Whistle was ready for the public, Jones had made a tour of the city with his horse and wagon and put up signs and tacked posters around the stand or store served by that particular bottler. He supplemented his outdoor advertising with copy in the newspapers. Two weeks later the bottler, realizing that he had a valuable commodity, asked for and obtained the exclusive bottling rights to the city.

At first glance the above story appears to be nothing more than a fictional tale pumped out years later by an advertising agency, however, recognizing that the earliest newspaper advertisements for “Orange Whistle” appeared in Mattoon and Bloomington, Illinois, two cities located just north of St. Louis, lends credence to the story.

In Bloomington, this April 22, 1916 advertisement in their local newspaper called “The Pantograph” associated Orange Whistle with the H. Quosick Bottling Company.

In Mattoon, it was the Union Bottling Works, whose similar ad was published in the  April 25, 1916 edition of Mattoon’s “Journal Gazette.” In fact, in Mattoon, according to this April 18th advertisement in the “Journal Gazette,” Orange Whistle was already being dispensed at the soda fountain in Frank J. Ritter’s Drug Store.

The following month, Orange Whistle newspaper ads were appearing in nine nearby states and by year end that number had increased to 15 states, all in the south and midwest. This rapid growth required the geographical expansion of Whistle’s manufacturing capabilities as evidenced by this story announcing the opening of a new plant in Greenville N.C. It was published in the January 21, 1917 edition of the “Greenville News.”

The Orange Whistle Company…has completed its plant on South Main Street and is now shipping its product to the bottlers of the Carolinas. The concern is one of five in the United States in which the Orange Whistle syrup is made..

Orange Whistle is a comparatively new drink, having been placed on the market only in the last year or so. It originated in St Louis and until the first of the present year, all of the syrup was made there. The demand for the new drink, however, was so great that it became necessary to establish additional factories in various parts of the country.

The story went on to say that Greenville, apparently like Jones’s other newly established plants, was supported by local capital and management.

When the city was selected local capital was invited to take stock in the enterprise. As soon as the fact became known that the company in St. Louis had determined upon Greenville as the logical place for supplying the Carolinas, a number of local business men made a hasty trip to St. Louis with the result that the Greenville Orange Whistle Company was formed.

A similar company, called the Orange Whistle Company of Indiana, was formed later that year around a newly established plant in Evansville Indiana. The pitch to local investors there was included in the July 6, 1917 edition of the Evansville “Courier and Press.”

By mid-1917, less than two years after being established, the company operated a total of seven factory locations,  Six were located in the southern and midwestern U.S. cities of St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Chattanooga, Tennessee, Greenville, South Carolina; and Evansville, Indiana, the seventh in Havana, Cuba.

By 1918, in addition to manufacturing Orange Whistle, Jones had begun to establish companies  to bottle and distribute it as well. According to a September 15, 1918 story in the St. Louis “Globe Democrat:”

Organized in January, 1916, its operations for the first two years were limited to furnishing syrup to bottling concerns. Last January it embarked in the bottling business on its own account, and has plants in several other cities, principally in the South.

Meanwhile, back at their St Louis headquarters, the company was also expanding. Their original “shack” on North Main Street had been replaced with a factory located at 1035 North Grand Avenue and offices at 1418 Pine Street. In addition, the September 15th “Globe Democrat” story announced that a new, upgraded bottling plant was also in the works. Located in what was called the Cadillac Building, at 2920-22 Locust Street, it was described like this:

Equipment that will surpass that of any bottling concern in the United States, it is declared by Jones, will begin to arrive not later than October 15, under terms of the contract, and the cost will aggregate $80,000. Much of the machinery is being constructed under specifications furnished by the head of the Orange Whistle Company, to give it national leadership and also to effect an increase in capacity over the present plant of 500 percent, while lowering the labor force by 50 percent.

The new plant will have a capacity of 144,000 bottles a day. It is what is known as a low-pressure system. Empty bottles are cleaned, sterilized, given a double rinsing, filled, labeled and capped by machinery, without once being touched by human hands.

Early in 1918, the company was also expanding into the northeast and in February they established the Orange Whistle Company of N.Y. The incorporation notice was published in the February 20th edition of the “New York Times.”

The following year, the Whistle Bottling Company of Manhattan was established.

The above incorporation notice, published in the June 5, 1919 edition of the “New York Tribune,” located the bottling company’s offices at 111 Broadway in lower Manhattan. A week later the company leased a building on East 19th Street to serve as their new bottling plant and by August 12th, advertisements in the Tribune announced  that “Whistle was now on sale in New York,” and invited the public to inspect their new plant.

Bottling plants in The Bronx and Brooklyn were added in the early 1920’s. According to a December 15, 1922 item in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle,” the Brooklyn plant was established on Clifton Place.

The industrial department of Bulkley & Horton Co. have leased to The Whistle Company of America the entire building at 197-199 Clifton Pl. to be used as their main distributing and bottling plant to handle Brooklyn and Queens territory.

In the Bronx, the plant was located at 1360 La Fountaine Avenue

What was happening in New York was also happening in other parts of the country and by 1922 the business had certainly achieved a national presence. Around this time the company formed a Delaware corporation called the Whistle Company of America to serve as a holding concern for the various  Whistle entities. The holding company’s incorporation notice was published in the April 14, 1922 edition of the “New York Times.”

The new parent corporation was headquartered on Washington Street in New York City , where it was listed in the 1922 N.Y.C. Directory along with both the Manhattan and Bronx bottling companies.

The 1922 “Printers Ink” story put some numbers to their exponential national expansion.

The old shack in St. Louis certainly enjoyed a rapid and healthy growth. Its only a memory now, but its offspring in the form of robust syrup plants are flourishing in sixteen large cities in this country and three in Canada. And these same plants furnish syrup to 1,200 bottlers, who, in 1921 sold 150,000,000 bottles of “Whistle.”

The story went on to credit much of their success to advertising, which at the time totaled $300,000 annually in signs, posters and newspapers. According to the “Printers Ink” feature:

For every gallon of syrup a bottler purchases the company agrees to spend at least ten cents advertising Whistle in that bottler’s territory. As a rule however, it invests from fifteen to twenty cents, and not infrequently it has spent three dollars a gallon at the start in order to create a demand for a new bottler.

It appears  the company also supplemented these locally targeted advertising dollars with some rather unique general campaigns as well. One, likely considered “state-of-the-art” at the time, caught my attention as well as the attention of the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch,” who described it in a November 30, 1919 story.

MOBILE BILLBOARD TO ADVERTISE SOFT DRINK

A novel motor truck with a specially built body to be used for advertising purposes by the Whistle Bottling Co. has made its appearance on the streets of St. Louis during the last few days.

Miniature billboards, the length of the truck and about three feet high, are built on either side of the truck and in the rear. Each of the boards is electrically illuminated for display at night and artistically decorated. Pictures of various Whistle plants throughout the country are painted on each side.

C. L. Griggs, national advertising manager of the Whistle Bottling Co., said the truck would be sent to Chicago to attend the National Automobile and Truck Show in January and later would make an ocean-to-ocean journey, calling on many of the plants of the concern throughout the country. Motion pictures during the summer will be shown on a curtain attached to the rear of the truck. The pictures will show how a soft drink is made.

And that wasn’t the company’s only tricked-out truck as evidenced by this undated photograph exhibiting one with a hand-held bottle of Whistle popping out the top.

Also contributing to the company’s success was the attention given to “quality control.” According to Vess Jones in his own words:

“It’s a simple matter to sell anything once,” Mr. Jones said. “But unless you have a standard and see that everyone connected with it lives up to the standard, you’re not likely to hold your market, for confidence that is once betrayed is rarely regained. We could hand out franchises and then forget about them, but we don’t. It’s our duty to see that every franchise is kept valuable, and we do this in various ways.

Before we grant a bottler a franchise we get his rating, learn how he stands with the retail trade, investigate his plant to discover his daily capacity, see how many trucks he operates, and what else he bottles. If he doesn’t own an up-to-date bottling machine we insist that he install one before we will give him a franchise.

Provided a bottler seeking a franchise meets certain prerequisites, we have him sign a contract in which he agrees to keep his plant fit at all times for visitors’ inspection, to buy all his syrup for Whistle from us, to manufacture Whistle strictly according to our formula, to use only bottles with the name ‘Whistle’ blown in, to use them for nothing but Whistle, to see that every bottle of the product carries a Whistle label before it leaves his plant, and to paint his trucks with Whistle colors – orange and blue.”

Sometime in 1927 or 1928 Jones began manufacturing other favored drinks in addition to Orange Whistle. Marketed under the brand name “Vess,” one of the earliest was a ginger ale called “Vess Dry.” An introductory advertisement that appeared in the April 3, 1928 edition of the “Scranton (Pa), Times Tribune,” described it as :

Containing the purest spices available-genuine JAMAICAN GINGER- Pure Cane Sugar and blended FRUIT Essences.

As far as I can tell, at this point the manufacturing arm of the business was now called the “Vess Beverage Company.”  At the same time, they continued to bottle and sell the Vess flavors and Orange Whistle utilizing the “Whistle Bottling Company” and its local franchises.

All that aside,  there’s little doubt that the success of the overall business was due primarily to Orange Whistle. That success continued until the late 1920’s when the fluctuating price of sugar served as the catalyst for a downturn that ultimately lead to Jones selling the business to long-time employee, Leroy O. Schneeberger. The circumstances that lead up to the sale were recounted by Schneeberger’s son, Donald, in an interview published years later, in the March 29, 1981 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch.”

“In those days, Whistle provided sugar for its bottlers,” Schneeberger said. “The price of sugar rose sharply. Went from 4 cents to 20 cents a pound, and kept going. Whistle negotiated a contract at 20 cents, but the sugar producers wouldn’t deliver at that price. They had buyers for 30 cents.

Whistle sued. The sugar companies delayed until sugar went down to 4 cents. Whistle won – and had to pay 16 cents more than the market rate.

That drained the company. When the crash came, well, it killed them. My father bought the company for $10,000. 

Schneeberger went on to say that only the midwest portion of the business survived.

Vess was never again anything more than a regional brand – the midwest region that the Schneebergers owned. The country was divided into four equal areas. The other three were not aggressive. They let it slip away. You can imagine what it was like trying to get four people to agree on advertising and marketing. That’s what really held it back…

The company operated under Leroy Schneeberger for the next 30 + years. As early as the mid-1930’s they introduced several new brands, one of which was Cleo Cola.

The Cola had a short but noteworthy history as told by Don Schneeberger in another interview, this one published in the June 27, 1994 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch.”

One name got its start from his father’s habit of smoking Cleopatra cigars, Schneeberger said. “He took the drawing of a girl in an abbreviated costume off the cigar label, put it on a drink bottle and called it Cleo Cola.”

The bottle looked good, Schneeberger said, but it brought protests that it would not be appropriate for a church picnic.

So his father took the girl off the bottle and substituted a shield. He fooled around, changing the bottle and script for the name.

That turned out to be a bad move, Don Schneeberger said. The company was hit by a suit from Coca-Cola, charging trademark infringement in the way the C’s were written. Coca-Cola won and Cleo had to pay a royalty on every case.

The name Cleo is clearly visible in the photograph of this 1935 Vess delivery truck, found in the June 28, 1970 edition of the “Kansas City Star.”

Another new 1930’s brand was a lemon-lime soda called “Bubble Up, advertised as “THE BILLION BUBBLE BEVERAGE.” Both Cleo Cola and Bubble Up made an appearance in this June 25, 1939 Vess advertisement published in the “Chillicothe (Mo.) Gazette.”

The company must have liked the “Billon Bubble” phrase because it wasn’t long before they were lumping the entire menu of Vess beverages under that phrase.

And…Orange Whistle had not been forgotten, as evidenced by this February 13, 1941 “St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times” advertisement that touted its “modern-styled BIG 12-ounce bottle.”

In late 1946 the company became one of, if not the first, to market a caffeine free soda. The December 10, 1946 edition of the St. Louis “Star and Times” announced it like this:

NO CAFFEIN IN NEW VESS COLA DRINK

A “First” has just been achieved by Vess Cola with the announcement by company officials that they are now featuring an entirely “caffein-free” cola drink. Distribution of the new Vess Cola, with no caffein, has now been completed in this area.

The removal of caffein from Vess Cola adds to the appeal of this popular drink. With all the true cola flavor, sparkle and refreshment quality in, and the caffein out, its the wholesome drink for children as well as adults

A known stimulant, caffein is capable of hindering sleep and of aggravating caffein sensitive nervous systems. Normally over-active children often react to caffein by becoming more jumpy and high-strung. With the caffein out, Vess Cola can be drunk early or late without risk of this over-stimulation.

Vess Cola with no caffein has now been distributed to retail outlets and is available throughout this area. Bottled under license of Vess Beverage Company by Vess Bottling Company,  St. Louis. Mo.

In the late 1940’s ads like this were appearing in several midwest states.

Many ads went on to include this little jingle:

So whether you drink it early or drink it late,

Vess Cola doesn’t over-stimulate.

No wonder mothers say “Yes” to Vess Cola

The favors keen with no caffein,

According to Donald Schneeberger’s 1994 interview, their caffeine-free soda turned out to be an innovation that appeared well before its time.

Caffeine-free drinks got popular in the 1980’s. But in the 1940’s Vess didn’t have enough money to advertise the no-caffeine drink fully. It passed on without a lot of notice – no big deal.

Still headquartered in St. Louis, throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s it appears the company, now called Whistle & Vess Beverages, Inc., continued to utilize the facilities of the former Whistle company.  Then in late 1949 they began construction of a new St Louis facility, a rendering of which was included in the December 25, 1949 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch”

According to the story that accompanied the rendering

Work has started at the southwest corner of Hereford Avenue and Arsenal Street on a new building to house the offices of Whistle & Vess Beverages, Inc. and the company’s locally franchised bottling agency, the Vess Bottling Co.

The parent concern…now has its office in the Arcade Building and the local bottling agency at 2925 Locust Street

At this point, according to another item in the story, the company was once again branching out geographically with “150 franchised bottlers, all located west of Indiana to the Pacific and south to the border.” That being said, the bulk of their newspaper advertising continued to be focused on Missouri and the surrounding states.

Leroy Schneeberger continued to run the business until 1968 when, according to a March 29, 1981 St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, he sold Vess to a conglomerate. In an effort to continue the “truck’ theme, here’s the conglomerate’s 1970’s version of their delivery truck.

The 1981 St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” feature went on to say that under the conglomerate:

Vess went flat- lost 70 percent of its St. Louis business, 90 percent of its out-of-town trade.

The above statement is bolstered by the fact that in the two years between 1974 and 1975, at least two of their bottling franchises, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Kansas City, Missouri, filed for bankruptcy.

In 1975, Donald Schneeberger, who had been working at Vess with his father until the mid-1960’s when he left to form another bottling/canning operation called Custom Packaging Corp., bought the company back. He promptly published this notice in the December 3rd edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch.”

The younger Schneeberger served as president of Vess from 1975 until 1994.

During his term as president the business apparently made a comeback as evidenced by this item that appeared in a June 27, 1994 “St Lois Post-Dispatch” feature on the company.

In 1975, when he bought the company, it was turning out about 650,000 cases of soft drinks a year. In the last year it has turned out almost 18 million cases and had revenue of $50 million.

By then, according to a June 1, 1994 St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” story the company was still turning out its Orange Whistle along with 13 other sugar-sweetened flavors, eight varieties of diet soda and spring waters.

It was around the same time, in June, 1994, that Schneeberger sold both Vess and the Custom Packing Corporation to the Cott Corp. of Toronto. The June 27th St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” feature went on to say:

In buying Vess for $27 million, Cott gets a 235,000 square-foot plant here in the Westport area, plus a 130,000 square-foot warehouse and the 154,000 square-foot  (Custom Packing) plant in Sikeston.

Donald Schneeberger passed away on December 27, 2019. His St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” obituary stated, in part:

Today his iconic flavors; Whistle Orange, Cream, Grape and Strawberry as well as many others are family favorites to this day.

Here’s an advertisement depicting today’s version of Orange Whistle’s packaging.

At least two St. Louis buildings occupied by the various Whistle/Vess companies over the years remain to this day. One is the Cadillac Building, leased by the Orange Whistle Company in 1918 to house their bottling plant. Located at 2020-22 Locust Street, here’s its present look, courtesy of Google Maps.

The other is the one built in 1949-50 at Hereford Avenue and Arsenal Street to house Vess. Again, here it is courtesy of Google Maps.

The bottle I found is machine made and contains 6-1/2 ounces. In addition to “WHISTLE,” embossed prominently on the shoulder, the words “WHISTLE BOTTLING CO., GLENWOOD LANDING, N.Y.” are embossed in small lettering along the heel of the bottle.

The Glenwood Landing reference almost certainly associates the bottle with the bottling company of a man named George Sessler. Sessler operated a bottling business in Glenwood Landing on Long Island, N.Y.’s north shore from 1907 until sometime in the 1930’s and possibly longer. The 1925 “Beverage Blue Book” specifically identified his business as a “Whistle” franchise.

In addition to his Glenwood Landing plant, Sessler also operated one on Long Island’s south shore in Baldwin, N.Y., as evidenced by this introductory advertisement that appeared in the May 10, 1923 edition of Rockville Centre (L. I.)’s “Long Island News and Owl”

More on George Sessler can be found in another post on this site.

George Sessler

Why Sessler was supplied with syrup from the Whistle Company of Pennsylvania as opposed to New York is unknown.

Our bottle exactly matches the Orange Whistle bottles depicted in advertisements that date from the late teens up through the mid to late 1920’s.

 

Ads like this one found in the May 7, 1931 edition of the St. Louis “Post-Dispatch” suggest that by the early 1930’s the company had transitioned to a different bottle design.

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Brand & Co., Ltd., Mayfair, The “A 1” Sauce

Invention of “The A 1 Sauce” is credited to English  chef, grocer and author, Henderson William Brand. According to A 1 advertisements published by Brand in the British newspapers  during the early 1880’s, the story went like this:

This Celebrated Sauce was invented by Mr. H.W. Brand (Formerly of the Royal Household) in 1862, when he was cook and co-manger of the cuisine at the International Exhibition in Hyde Park. It was submitted by him among other sauces to the Royal Commissioners for approval for use at the restaurants in the Exhibition, and pronounced by the Chief Commissioner to be “A 1”- a designation which was immediately adopted, and by which it has been known ever since. This is an incontestable proof of its excellence and superiority.

BRAND’S…TRY a Bottle to see if you do not agree with THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER.

Another early advertisement for A 1, this one published in the October 5, 1872 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions Advertiser” suggested its use with just about any type of food.

The A 1 OF 1862, LONDON AND 1867 PARIS

Most Wholesome and Excellent, is most exquisite and excels with plain Hot or Cold Meats, Chops, Steaks. Poultry, Fried or Boiled Fish, Bacon Eggs or Cheese. Patronized and in general use at the ROYAL HOUSEHOLD, the Principal Courts on the Continent, the London Clubs and large Hotels, and nearly all first-class Restaurants and Refreshment Rooms.

Today the brand is manufactured in the U.S. by Kraft-Heinz and their message is still pretty much the same.

A1 Sauce is great for pork, chicken, fish and vegetables.

While the A 1 brand itself dates to the early 1860’s, the story of Henderson William Brand gets its start back in the 1820’s when he served in the royal kitchen of England’s King George IV. According to “Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History:”

King George IV’s flagging health inspired royal chef Mr. H.W. Brand, to develop an essence of chicken beverage to boost his Majesty’s physical condition.

After leaving the royal kitchen, Brand served as the private chef for various celebrities and noblemen of his era. A feature on Brand & Co., published in the May, 1914 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Era” provided some details.

In due time the chef left the royal kitchens and became in turn chef for various celebrated gourmands and hosts, including T.W. Coke, of Holkham (the “Coke of Norfolk,” at whose table Charles James Fox was a frequent visitor), and afterward to Earl Manvers; then to His Grace the Duke of Norfolk; the Marquis of Ailsa; Lord Rolle, and others.

In 1834 Brand followed this up by publishing a collection of recipes entitled “The Complete Modern Cook,” a work that ‘Blackwoods Lady Magazine & Gazette” reviewed like this in 1841.

The design of Mr. Brand, in the production of the “Modern Cook,” is praisworthy, his object being evidently to furnish the practiced cook with modern novelties, and the inexperienced with every kind of information relative to cookery, written in so clear and concise a style, that to peruse somewhat 400 pages is rendered a pleasure, instead of hard study, as is with some works which have come under our notice…We recommend every noblemen’s and other family to possess a copy, feeling confident that the author, who for distinction sake we shall say was many years in the kitchen of his late Majesty George the Fourth, has done justice in the production.

In 1835, a year after publishing “The Modern Cook,” Brand established Brand & Co. and went into business for himself. The 1843 “Post Office London Directory” (the earliest I can find) described Brand & Co. as:

manufacturers & importers of preserves & preserved fresh & salt provisions & solid milk, beef tea, etc.”

The company listing included two addresses; 61 King William Street in the city, and 11 Little Stanhope Street in Mayfair but it was the Mayfair address that the business was almost exclusively associated with.

As early as the Spring of 1835 advertisements for H.W. Brand began appearing in the London newspapers. The earliest one I can find, published in the May 23, 1835 edition of London’s “Morning Post,” provides evidence that Brand was producing sauces from the very beginning. The advertisement also mentioned among other things his “chicken broth for invalids,” which could be what he served King George IV in his waning years.

Another advertisement, this one published on March 16, 1841 in the “Morning Post,” was addressed directly: “To INVALIDS and to all Persons of Delicate Constitution,” and mentioned specialties that included: “CONCENTRATED BEEF TEA, CHICKEN and MUTTON BROTH.”

A more extensive menu of  Brand’s specialties as well as imported items he offered can be found at the end of a second book he wrote in 1838 called “The Modern Process for the Preservation of all Alimentary Substances.”

Certainly a noted chef and author, Brand was apparently not as adept in business and in August, 1843 the “London Gazette” included him on a list of “BANKRUPTS.”

A story in the January 1, 1855 edition of London’s “Daily News” suggests that Brand’s business survived the bankruptcy and was still up and running on Stanhope Street at that time.

Mrs. Jane Brand was summoned by the police, under the authority of Lord Palmerston, and pursuant to provision of the new act for abating the smoke nuisance, for using a furnace not so constructed as to consume its own smoke.

The defendant is a preserved provision and meat compressor, No. 11 Little Stanhope-street, near Newport Market…

That same year Brand sold the business and over the next eighteen years it would change hands twice.  The weekly notes of an 1877 court case “heard and determined by the House of Lords” entitled “Dence vs Mason,” provided the basics.

The facts of this case were that the plaintiffs firm originated about forty five years ago, when it was conducted by Henderson William Brand, and was about the year 1855 acquired by Mr. Withall, who, on the 29th of September, 1873, sold  the same to Thomas Dence for the sum of 5,000 (pounds). The business has always been carried under the name of Brand & Co.

After selling the business Brand apparently served as a chef in several different capacities during the late 1850’s and 1860’s. It was during this time, while serving as cook and co-manger at the International Exhibition in Hyde Park that he developed his A 1 Sauce.

Later in the decade he would also  serve as  manager of the “Jersey Imperial Hotel,” as evidenced by an August 31, 1867 story in the “Gloucestershire Chronicle.”

THE JERSEY IMPERIAL HOTEL. – The Jersey Imperial Hotel, at the opening of which we gave an account some months ago, has just been seen to perfection in connection with a splendid ball and supper given by officers of the 66th Regiment. “Seen from the road,” we are told, “the hotel, being most tastefully illuminated with gas, had a fairy-like appearance, and hundreds of persons had gathered there to admire it. The hall and dining rooms, profusely decorated with flowers, and presenting a very elegant appearance, were very much admired by those who had received invitations.” The company numbered 270. The supper was perfect, and the arrangements were ably carried out by Mr. H.W. Brand, the manager.

Shortly after, likely sometime in the early 1870’s, Brand went into business for himself again, this time as H.W. Brand & Co. and, as early as 1872 was advertising Brand’s International Sauce, “The A 1 of 1862,” along with many of his  former products. Two, “Essence of Beef” and “Concentrated Beef Tea,” are specifically mentioned in this October 5, 1872 advertisement found in the “Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions Advertiser.”

His newly established business was initially located at 4a, Villa Road, Brixton,S.W., where it remained until 1880 at which time the May 25th edition of London’s “The Standard” announced that he had moved the business to 21 Sackville Street, Piccadilly

One year later, an item published in the June 27, 1881 edition of “The London Times” announced that H.W.Brand had moved again, this time to 6 Vere Street, Oxford Street.

All the while, his former business, Brand & Co., now owned by Thomas Dence and managed by a man named John James Mason, continued to operate at 11 Little Stanhope Street and with the exception of A 1 Sauce was selling many of the same named products as H.W. Brand. This advertisement for Brand & Co. that appeared in the February 21, 1877 edition of the “The Medical Press and Circular Advertiser” specifically mentioned “Essence of Beef” and “Concentrated Beef Tea,” among others.

Competition between the two firms led to a High Court ruling restricting H.W. Brand from including the word “Company” in the name of his business. Consequently, Brand operated under the name “H.W. Brand,” while Dence continued under the original name of “Brand & Co.” The decision was highlighted in this H.W. Brand advertisement published in the June 18, 1880 edition of London’s “Daily News.”

The competition between H.W. Brand and Brand & Co. continued for the next several years; a competition that might be best illustrated by the presence of each in London’s 1884 “International Health Exhibition” where the Official Catalog listed them right next to each other in the index.

and their product information was strikingly similar.

By the early 1880’s, Brand & Co., in an obvious effort to compete with H.W. Brands A 1 Sauce, was advertising what they called “Brand & Co.’s “Own Sauce.”

The competition between the two firms came to an end sometime in the mid 1880’s, when it appears that Brand & Co. bought out H. W. Brand. While I can’t find specific documentation, this supposition is supported by the following: First, H.W. Brand newspaper advertisements disappear sometime in 1884. Secondly, by 1887 Brand & Co. newspaper advertisements had substituted “A 1 Sauce” for “Own Sauce” in their advertisements…

…and this March 9, 1889 advertisement found in “The Freemason,” calls out 11 Little Stanhope as the product’s “sole address.

Last but not least, born in 1805, Henderson William Brand was in his 80’s by this time. (He ultimately passed away in 1893.)

In 1887 Brand & Co. constructed a new factory in Vauxhall, London at 74-84 South Lambeth Road. According to an article featuring Brand & Co. published in the May, 1914 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Era:”

The business had grown to such proportions that the factory in Mayfair was not large enough to cope with the orders. It became necessary to find a suitable site for the erection of premises on a much vaster scale and the site on which the present establishment stands was selected. This is situated in historical surroundings in Vauxhall in close proximity to the river Thames and only a few minutes’ train ride from Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, and within a few minutes walk of Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Bishop of London.

A tour through the buildings is both instructive and interesting. One is especially struck by the spaciousness, loftiness and ariness of the various departments. The great “kitchen,” the vast hall in which, at the time of your representative’s visit, the “cooks” were at work carving the finest meat procurable and transferring it to huge steam-jacketed “coppers” in which the processes of extraction are carried on, is a model of cleanliness. It is shown in the illustration herewith.

The business incorporated in 1897 with Thomas Dence named as “permanent managing director.” The incorporation notice was published in the October 9, 1897 edition of “The Chemist and Druggist.”

Over half a century later an item in the November 3, 1949  edition of the South Wales “Western Mail” announced that the company had gone public.

For the first time in the company’s 114 years’ history the public will be able to acquire an interest in Brand & Co., makers of “Brand’s Essence’ and “A1 Sauce.” Arrangements are being made by British Trusts Association for the placing of the 150,000 5% Redeemable preference 1 (pound) shares, and a quotation is being sought.

Ten years later, Brand & Co. became a target for acquisition. An item in the July 4, 1959 edition of London’s “Daily Telegraph and Morning Post” told the story.

Cerebos, the salt company which also owns “Bits” and “Sifta” salt, has made a counter take-over offer worth about 4 million (pounds), for Brand & Co., the “A 1” sauce firm. Earlier this week a 3 million (pound) bid was made by an unnamed company.

Lt.-Col. J.E. Ridley, chairman of Brand, and his co-directors are recommending the Cerebos offer.

Later that month, on August 25th, Nottingham’s “Guardian Journal” reported that the Cerebos take-over had succeeded.

In Britain, Brand & Company was still advertising both Brand’s Essence of Beef and A1 Sauce right up to the time of acquisition. The following ads published in the early 1950’s were typical of the time period.

As a member of the Cerebos Group of Companies, the business continued to operate under the Brand & Co. name and while newspaper ads for their  their A 1 Sauce were becoming less frequent the product was still available in British grocery stores, as evidenced by this item that appeared in the financial pages of the “Evening Post” on December 28, 1967.

That being said, their Vauxhall factory was lost to a consolidation sometime in 1967; a fact mentioned by the Cerebo chairman in a statement made in advance of the company’s sixty third annual general meeting. The statement was published in the May 8, 1967 edition of “The Guardian.”

…We have made further progress in our program to consolidate production within the larger units of the Group….The transfer of production to our Greatham factory has been successfully completed and during the current year the Brand’s factory at Vauxhall will be closed and the production transferred to Greatham…

A year later, The July 3, 1968 edition of “The Guardian” announced that Cerebos had been acquired by Rank Hovis McDougall.

Rank Hovis McDiugall, the giant flour milling, baking, and food manufacturing group is merging with Cerebos, the salt (Cerebos and Saxa), Bisto and Scott’s Porage Oats combine. The deal will create a group worth 180 million (pounds).

Shortly after the merger there’s little, if any, mention of Brand’s A 1 Sauce or Brand’s Essence in British newspapers.

Today, Brand’s Essence of Chicken is manufactured by “Suntory Beverage and Food.” According the their web site the product is only available in Asia but apparently its also available on Amazon.

How close it comes to the beverage Henderson William Brand served King George IV almost 200 years ago is anybody’s guess!

In the United States, the introduction of A 1 Sauce  dates back to the 1890’s and is generally credited to the Hartford Connecticut firm of G.F. Heubling & Brother. According to a 75th anniversary  feature on the company published in the April 30, 1950 edition of the “Hartford Courant,” the company got its start in 1862 when Andrew Heublein established a small hotel that served both fine food and liquors. The feature went on to say:

In 1875, Andrew stepped aside and let his two sons, Gilbert and Louis. take control of the organization. The two brothers began importing choice viands, vintage wines and liquors from France, Spain and Italy, and it wasn’t too long before “The House of Heublein” had established a name for fine products.

Later, 1n 1892 the company added another line of business bottling pre-made cocktails they called “Club Cocktails.”

As early as the Spring of 1895 an advertisement for their “Club Cocktails” also included a reference to Brand & Co.’s A1 Sauce, naming G. F. Heublein & Bro. as “sole agents for the United States.” The advertisement, offering a sample bottle of A 1 Sauce for 15 cents, appeared in both an April, 1895 issue of “Life” and May, 1895 issue of “Puck”magazines.

Over the next 20 years or so “A 1” advertisements in the U.S. named Hueblein as the “sole importer” of the sauce.  Advertisements from 1905 published in the “Bulletin of the Hartford Public Library” and 1912 in the “American Federalist” bear this out.

Sometime in the late teens Heublein began manufacturing Brand’s A 1 Sauce in the United States. According to the 75th anniversary feature on Heublein in the “Hartford Courant,” it was World War I that served as the catalyst for this change.

At the start of World War I, shipments of A1 Sauce from England became increasingly sporadic. Heublein made a satisfactory agreement with the Brand organization and began manufacture of the condiment in Hartford.

Several rears later, that agreement turned out to be a blessing for Heublein.

When the National Prohibition Act was passed in 1919, Heublein’s liquor plant closed down. Fortunately the A 1 business continued good and key personnel were transferred there.

By the early 1930’s, not only was it being manufactured in the U.S. but it was being advertised and sold there on a national scale, a fact that was emphasized to grocers in this October, 1931 advertisement published in the “National Grocers Bulletin.”

It’s surprising how easily grocers can add this extra sale of flavor… this flavor that goes with nearly every food they sell. Millions of housewives know A.1. Sauce…National advertising is reminding them of it every month. There are lots of easy profits in suggesting A.1. Sauce. Try this…and see! G.F. Heublein & Brother, Hartford, Conn.

Sometime in the 1960’s A 1 advertisements began to focus almost exclusively on beef and as such it was rebranded “A 1 Steak Sauce.”

By the 1980’s, Heublein had grown from a small 1860’s hotel that served wine and liquors into a $2 billion a year corporation that in addition to A 1 included brands like Smirnoff Vodka and Kentucky Fried Chicken. An early 1980’s breakdown of their products and sales was published  in the June 2, 1982 edition of the “Miami Herald.”

It was around this time that Heublein was acquired by R.J Reynolds Industries. The acquisition was reported in the July 30, 1982 edition of the “Hartford Courant.”.

Saying it was unlikely the company could have remained independent much longer, Hicks B. Waldron, chairman of Heublein Inc., announced Thursday that the longtime Connecticut food and beverage company will be merged into R.J. Reynolds Industries Inc., the giant tobacco, shipping and canning conglomerate.

The merger would create a $14 billion concern that will rank 26th at the Fortune 500 list ahead of Chrysler Corp. and closing in on Proctor & Gamble Co. It will rival Hartford’s United Technologies Corp. in size.

The companies made the announcement separately Thursday afternoon, confirming rumors of a merger between the two that had existed for about six months and which grew to a feverish pitch early this week. The transaction is valued at about $1.3 billion.

R.J. Reynolds is a $12 billion company, about six times Heublein’s size.

A 1 is now manufactured in the U.S. by Kraft-Heinz who in 2014 revived the original “A 1 Sauce” name. According to a May 15, 2014 Kraft-Heinz press release:

In the 1960’s, the brand shifted focus to beef and the product was renamed A1 Steak Sauce. Now, with the original product formula remained unchanged, the brand is removing “Steak” from its name and launching a new creative campaign that shows A 1 Sauce is great for pork, chicken, fish and vegetables.

Today, both the “original” and “Steak Sauce” names are utilized by the company as evidenced by this recent Amazon ad.

The bottle I found is 7-1/2 inches tall and roughly 1-1/2 inches square. Machine made, it’s embossed “Brand & Co., Ltd., Mayfair” on the base.

That being said the Illinois Glass Company’s makers mark of an “I” inside a diamond is also faintly visible on the base, indicating that the bottle was American made. The Illinois Glass Company used this mark between 1915 and 1929, indicating that the bottle was more than likely ordered by Heublein & Co.,  after they began manufacturing “The A 1 Sauce,” say late teens through 1929.

Sparklene (Charles H. Smith & Co.)

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“Sparklene” was the name of a polish manufactured from the late 1890’s up through the 1950’s by Charles H. Smith & Co. of Boston, Massachusettes and later by J. A. Wright & Co. of Keene, New Hampshire. Newspaper advertisements for the polish were still appearing as late as the mid-1980’s.

Although generally referred to as a “silver polish,” over the years it was advertised as a polish for anything from metals to marble to glass.

One early advertisement, found in the June 3, 1897 edition of Hartford Connecticut’s “Daily Morning Journal and Courier,” summed up Sparklene’s marketing pitch in one sentence.

SPARKLENE!

It will brighten anything which ought to be bright.

On Jul7 17, 1905, Charles H. Smith & Co. filed an Application (No. 10,468)  to register the “Sparklene” trademark in accordance with the then recently enacted Trademark Act of February 20, 1905.

There was no public opposition to their application and the trademark was ultimately registered on January 30, 1906 (No. 49,242).

The patent records indicated that the Sparklene trademark had been in use for ten years prior, likely establishing a start date for its manufacture sometime in the mid-1890’s. The prequel to the Sparklene story however begins several years earlier with the originating company’s namesake, Charles H. Smith.

Census records indicate that he was born in New Hampshire in 1854. Boston city directories suggest that he arrived in Boston sometime in the late 1880’s, where he was first listed with the occupation “agent for the “Dam’s Remedy Company.”

A patent medicine business run by a so called physician named Alvah Dam, in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s, the company manufactured and sold several patent medicines that prominently featured the Dam name. One, called Dr. Dam’s Nerve-Aid, was featured in this November 12, 1893 “Boston Globe advertisement.

The Boston directories continued to associate Smith with the “Dam Remedy Company” up through 1895 at which point Alvah Dam, in severe financial trouble, filed for bankruptcy. According to the December 1, 1895 edition of “Merck’s Market Report,” Smith was one of Dam’s two largest creditors.

Dr. Alvah M. F. Dam, 212 Columbus Avenue, Boston, well known through his connection with the Dam Remedy Company, whose insolvency petition was filed recently, has debts amounting to $69,814. Among the largest creditors are the National Traders’ Bank of Portland, Me., $10,000 and Charles H. Smith, who has $7,834 charged against him.

In fact, a notice published in the December 24, 1895 edition of the Boston Post, announced that Smith had actually been appointed as the “assignee” in the case.

Apparently, at the same time Smith was involved in the bankruptcy proceedings of his former boss, he was also establishing Charles H. Smith & Company. As early as November 24, 1895, he was running this want ad in the “Boston Globe” classifieds..

While there’s no way of knowing, it certainly makes sense that the “quick seller” mentioned in the above ad was Sparklene. This supposition is bolstered by the fact that department stores were stocking Sparklene and offering free demonstrations as early as 1897. One such department store was Hochschild, Kohn & Co., of Baltimore Md., who included this item in their April 22, 1899 advertisement published in the “Baltimore Sun.”

In their home town of Boston, the October 25, 1905 edition of the “Globe,” announced that the department store of Henry Siegel Co. had taken it a step further, actually maintaining a “demonstration booth” in their basement.

Charles H Smith & Co.remained listed in Boston up through 1957 listing several addresses over that period; 8 Bromfield (1896-1897), 10 Federal (1898), 79 Milk (1899-1904), 220 Devonshire (1905-1922), 85 Purchase (1923-1945) and 103 Broad (1948-1957). I suspect that each of these addresses referenced their office location. It’s likely that their manufacturing facilities were also situated in Boston but where is unknown.

Over the course of this roughly 60 year period the company was apparently closely held by the Smith family. The Boston directories named Charles as proprietor up through the time of his death on November 10, 1929, after which his wife, Annie, continued to be listed in that role. Annie went on to renew the Sparklene trademark (No. 49242) in 1946.

Charles H. Smith & Co. disappeared from the Boston directories sometime in the late 1950’s. Around that time it appears that Annie transferred control of the business to one of their competitors, J. A. Wright & Co. of Keene New Hampshire. Trademark renewal records from 1966 reveal that the transfer had certainly occurred by then.

J. A. Wright & Co. renewed the Sparklene trademark again in 1985 however, how long they continued to market the polish is not clear. The last mention of Sparklene polish that I can find appeared in the April 8, 1984 edition of the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” where it was included within a menu of items (2nd from the bottom) advertised by a company called “Shop-In-Bag.”

The trademark expired when it was not renewed in 2006.

The style of our subject bottle was utilized by the company throughout much of their history, as evidenced by the following two advertisements. The first was published in 1910 and the second in 1943.

   

Our subject bottle is machine made and certainly the 5-1/2 ounce size. The base of the bottle exhibits the Illinois Glass Co.’s maker’s mark of an I enclosed in a diamond shape, dating the bottle between 1915 and 1929.

Sparklene advertisements in later years suggest that sometime in the 1940’s they began to package the polish in jars with wider mouths and shorter necks. The first, exhibiting a 32 oz sized jar, was published in a 1944 edition of the Pittsburgh “Sun-Telegraph.” The second, a pint jar, was found in a 1964 edition of Allentown Pennsylvania’s “Morning Call.”

 

Long John Scotch Whisky, Registered No. 702081

Produced in Scotland, the life span of the “Long John” brand of scotch whisky extends from the late 1820’s right up through today. Originally produced as a single malt, sometime around 1910 it transitioned to a blend.

As shown in the above photograph the subject bottle does not exhibit either a company name or product name. However it’s raised shield and rectangle exactly match a labeled Long John Scotch bottle recently offered for sale on the internet.

In addition the back of both bottles are embossed with the English patent registration number 702081.

As far as I can tell, the patent relates to the design of the bottle and, in fact, another example, also found on the internet, exhibits some rather ornate decoration.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Archives website, the patent number dates the design between 1922 (No. 694297) and 1926 (No. 719813). Interpolation between the two results in a 702081 patent date sometime  in 1923.

That being said, the “Long John” name itself dates back almost 100 years earlier to the town of Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. Located at the base of Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, the town was described like this in a publication entitled “Glasgow and its Environs,” published in 1891.

Fort William takes its name from the fort erected during the reign of William III, by General Monk, in order to overawe Cameron of Lochiel and his supporters. Within easy distance Ben Nevis towers above all its brother Bens, and attracts numerous ambitious visitors. It commands the waterway to Inverness and sits among the sublimest scenery.

This late 1800’s photograph of Fort William with Ben Nevis clearly visible in the background accompanied the description.

It was about one mile outside Fort William, at the Ben Nevis Distillery, where, what would become the “Long John” brand was first produced. Accounts written in the late 1800’s credit the scotch brand’s namesake, John MacDonald, as the distillery’s founder. This version found in  “Glasgow and it’s Environs,” is typical.

The origin of the Ben Nevis Distillery was due to Mr. John MacDonald, who in 1825, founded the first enterprise of the kind in the Lochabar district.

To be fair, some later internet accounts, namely elitewineandwhisky.com, credit a man named Angus McDonnell with its founding, and go on to suggest that John MacDonald didn’t get involved with the distillery until sometime around 1830. There’s no dispute however, that by the early 183o’s John MacDonald was the proprietor.

An imposing figure, MacDonald stood  6′-4″ tall in his stocking feet earning him his “Long John” nickname. He also possessed a “bigger than life” reputation that is bolstered by an actual story that appeared in the October 4, 1838 edition of Edinburgh Scotland’s “Caledonian Mercury.” While a little lengthy, its certainly worth a read!

PERILOUS SITUATION OF THE DUCHESS OF BUCCLEUCH. – The young and beautiful Duchess of Buccleuch made a narrow escape last week, on the mountain of Ben Nevis. The Duke has been deer stalking in Badenoch; and the Duchess, on Monday last, undertook to ascend Ben Nevis, on foot, from Corpech Inn, at the western end of the Caledonian Canal. She was accompanied on the expedition by a young gentleman, a near relation of the Duke; and they took with them a guide, who proved subsequently imperfectly acquainted with the road. When on the summit of the mountain, the day, which had previously been fine, became hazy, and night was, at the same time, drawing on. The little party were soon enveloped in a dark mist, and the guide became perfectly bewildered. The Duchess, with a degree of moral courage, scarcely to have been anticipated in a young lady of delicate nurture and constitution, exerted herself to keep up the spirits of her companions, and to nerve them to preserve exertion. Her efforts would have been unavailing amid the wilderness of precipices and morasses – for who can say what would have been the effect of exposure to the inclement night air on so delicate a frame – but for the sagacious exertions of Mr. John M’Donald, proprietor of the Ben Nevis Distillery. The long delay of the Duchess had excited alarm, and the inhabitants of Fort William were mustering to the rescue, when Mr. M’Donald mounted his horse, and taking with him a large bell, cantered out into the night. The sound of the bell caught the ear of the wanderers, and the Duchess and her noble relative were, by this ingenious device, rescued from their dangerous situation. Mr. M’D’s plaid being converted into a temporary pack saddle, the noble lady was conveyed, in an almost exhausted state, to Fort William where “tired nature’s best restorer” effaced all traces of her toil…

“Long John”MacDonald served as proprietor of the distillery up through 1856 during which time, according to a story in the 1888 edition of “Wyman’s Commercial Directory,” he never produced more than 200 gallons per week. Though not a large operation, by the early 1840’s MacDonald’s whiskey was available in England as well as Scotland. The earliest English advertisement I can find appeared in the April 24, 1841 edition of “The Newcastle Journal.”

J. M’INTYRE,

WINE AND SPIRIT MERCHANT,

HIGH BRIDGE NEWCASTLE,

BEGS most respectfully to inform the Nobility, Gentry, and Inhabitants of Newcastle, Northumberland, Durham, and the adjoining Counties, that he has on Hand a large Stock of the justly famed BEN NEVIS WHISKEY, which is well known to be the best made in the Highlands. The Quality of the Water that this fine Whiskey is made with – the skillful Management of Mr. M’Donald, the Distiller, is too well known to require any further Remarks. Families will be convinced by a single Trial, that Ben Nevis Dew is truly a Medicine.

J.M’ACINTYRE flatters himself that he is the only Agent in England that has this fine Article for Sale: Families wishing a large quantity, if preferred, can be supplied direct from the Distillery, by making early Application.

These early newspaper advertisements typically referred to MacDonald’s scotch as “Ben Nevis Whiskey,” a name that according to “Wyman’s Commercial Directory,” he alone could rightfully claim.

…there is no other whisky manufactory within a radius of 50 miles to contest Mr. MacDonald’s sole right to the use of the name Ben Nevis.

By the late 1840’s some advertisements began to attach the name “Long John” to his Ben Nevis product. One of the earliest I could find was this April 28, 1848 item that called it “Long John’s celebrated Ben Nevis Whiskey.” It appeared in the “The Newcastle Weekly Courant.”

By the 1850’s, more and more advertisements were also referring to it as the “Dew Off Ben Nevis,” as evidenced by this ad that appeared in the December, 1850 editions of several English newspapers.

The above advertisement promoted the “Dew Off Ben Nevis” as a favorite of the Royal Family, in this case Prince Albert. Whether this was actually true or not I can’t say, but, true or not, MacDonald wasn’t shy about stressing the point. In fact, according to a story published in the April 29, 1848 edition of the “Hampshire Telegraph and Naval Chronicle,”  MacDonald, in what was probably a brilliant marketing stunt, presented a cask of his scotch to Queen Victoria, intending it as a 21st birthday gift for her son William, the Prince of Wales. At the time, the future King of England was only seven years old.

We understand that Mr. Macdonald, of the Ben Nevis distillery, has presented a cask of whisky to her Majesty, and an order has been sent from the Treasury to permit the spirits to be removed, free of duty, and deposited in the cellars of Buckingham Palace. We have heard that the great “John” has requested that the cask shall not be opened until his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales attains his majority, which will give it a rest of 14 years!

In 1856 John MacDonald passed away leaving the distillery in the hands of his son, Donald Peter MacDonald. Long John’s death was reported in the October 27th edition of the “Glasgow Herald.”

Death of “Long John.” – Mr. John MacDonald of the Ben Nevis Distillery, familiarly known by the name of “Long John,” died on Sunday last. Mr. MacDonald was an active, hospitable man, well known over all the north, and to tourists and sportsmen frequenting Lochaber. He was above sixty years of age.

While “Long John” may have been active, hospitable and well known, one thing he apparently wasn’t was a good business man. According to an item published in the July 1, 1856 “Courier and Argus,” four months before his death John MacDonald had been declared bankrupt.

So when Donald, typically referred to as “D.P.,” assumed control of the distillery the operation was small and certainly not in a healthy state. By all accounts, it was “D.P”  who turned things around and grew the business. According to a book called “The Whisky Distillers of the United Kingdom,” by Alfred Barnard:

At the death of his father in the year 1856, the present proprietor succeeded to the business, which at the time was the only distillery in the district. Ben Nevis was turning out about 200 gallons per week. In 1864 the trade had so much increased that the distillery was enlarged from time to time, until its capacity reached 3,000 gallons per week.

The growth continued and by 1877 MacDonald was constructing a second distillery nearby called “The Nevis.” The announcement was published under the heading “Fort William” in the February 19, 1877 edition of the “Glasgow Herald.”

A new distillery is to be immediately erected near Fort William by Mr. D. P, MacDonald of the Ben Nevis Distillery. The new distillery, which is to be built just below the Belford Hospital, will be situated on the river Nevis.

Both distilleries, circa 1890, were described in “Glasgow and its Environs.”

The older establishment, “Ben Nevis,” stands at the mountain foot some two miles from Fort William, and covers a space of about four acres. The premises are of substantial construction, and contain every facility for distilling on a large scale. The granary and malt barn are each 120 feet long, and the other departments are in proportion. The tun-room contains six wash backs of 7,000 gallons each, and nearby is a mash tun of 2,000 gallons, an under back of 1,500 gallons, and a cooler of the same capacity. The stills, of which there are five, are of old “pot” type, the two largest being used for the distillation of the “wash” and the others for the “feints.” Their total capacity is almost 4,000 gallons…

This photograph of the Ben Nevis Distillery accompanied the description.

The story went on to describe the recently constructed “Nevis” distillery like this.

“The Nevis,” which is situated about a mile nearer Fort William, is a collosal establishment… The buildings cover an area of eight acres, and consist of an aggregation of large separate blocks, connected by gang ways, and built of concrete made by Mr. MacDonald’s own workmen…The malt barns and grain lofts have no equals that we know of. Seventy thousand feet of malting floors, steeps with a capacity of four hundred quarters, a tun-room with nine wash backs holding a trifling hundred thousand gallons or so, and bonded stores with a total of four miles of guantrees – such are the proportion of this splendid distillery.

A photograph of “the Nevis” was also provided.

According to a story in the December 21, 1880 edition of “The Brewer’s Guardian” with both distilleries now up and running and their export business increasing, MacDonald had recently incorporated a steamer into their operations.

A steamer has recently been launched for the sole purpose of importing coals and grains etc., and exporting the manufactured material to suitable markets. The home trade of Mr. MacDonald is very large, and his foreign and colonial connections are becoming increasingly valuable.

Less than a decade later that single steamer had grown into an entire fleet. According to the 1888 “Wyman’s Commercial Encyclopedia:”

One of the first objects one notes as the steamer glides towards the landing stage at Fort William, is the new pier built by Donald P. M’Donald, proprietor of the Ben Nevis distilleries, for the accommodation of his own fleet of steamers – a couple of which were moored there as we passed. Constructed entirely by his own workmen, and of concrete by his own making, this spacious quay, surrounded by houses also of concrete, occupied by his employees, is the latest of the extensive building operations necessitated by the growth of Mr. M’Donald’s business…

According to “Wyman’s,” by the late 1880’s the two distilleries were putting out between 8,000 and 10,000 gallons per week and their warehouses were more than well stocked.

The immense bonded warehouses held, at the time of our visit, upwards of 15,000 casks, or more than a million and a half of gallons, and every gallon of the present season’s distilling was sold before they commenced to work.

It was also under D. P. MacDonald,  that a subtle change in the whiskey’s name occurred. “Long John” newspaper advertisements published between the early 1860’s and early 1880’s indicate that somewhere along the line a letter “f,” was lost, morphing the phrase “Dew Off Ben Nevis,”…

…to “Dew Of Ben Nevis.” The subtle change was reflected in a series of 1884 advertisements found in the The “Airdrie Coatbridge Advertiser,” and was pretty much the norm by then.

As far as I can tell  D. P. MacDonald passed away in the early 1890’s at which time management of the distillery passed to a third generation of MacDonald’s. As early as 1893, advertisements in the “Birmingham Post” were naming the proprietor as D. P. MacDonald & Sons.

The Ben Nevis Distillery survived a major fire in 1895 and both distilleries  continued under the management of D. P.’s son, John MacDonald, who, in 1911, dropped the “a” in the family name and incorporated the business as D. P. McDonald & Sons. Ltd. Around the same time McDonald sold the “Long John” brand name to W. H. Chaplin & Co., Ltd.

Established in 1867, W. H. Chaplin & Co. were wine and spirit merchants located in London at 48 Mark Lane. According to their listing in the 1920 edition of “Harper’s Manual, The Standard Work of Reference for the Wine & Spirit Trade,” D. P. McDonald & Sons  was one of a long list of companies whose brands were owned by the Chaplin company (bottom of the list).

D. P. McDonald & Sons, Ltd.’s listing in the same publication continued to associate them with the “Long John” brand as well.

This indicates that the whisky was still being produced for Chaplin by D. B. McDonald & Sons, Ltd. at the Ben Nevis Distilleries in Fort William. A fact confirmed by the labeled bottle pictured in this advertisement also published in the 1920 “Harper’s Manual.”

“““

Now advertising two brands, “Black Label and Red Label,” they were apparently producing a blend at this point.

It was also the Chaplin company that began using the bottle design featured at the beginning of this post. The first advertised image of the bottle that I can find was run by a local Scottish grocer and wine merchant named J & A Miller. It’s depicted on the left side of this ad published in the December 11, 1926 edition of the “Strathearn Herald.”

Ten years later the same bottle design was still appearing in Miller’s annual holiday advertisement.

In 1936 Seager, Evans & Co. acquired  the “Long John” brand in an acquisition process that was essentially complete by October, as evidenced by a speech given by Seager, Evans chairman, Sir Allan Horne, at the company’s annual general meeting. The speech was published in part in the October 22nd  edition of a Gloucester, England newspaper called “Citizen.”

That brings me to your company’s acquisition of Messrs. W. H. Chaplin and  Co., Limited, who have always held a pre-eminent position in the wine and spirit trade. We believe, as our Chaplin colleagues believe, that this coordination of interests will enable the respective companies to be in a particularly favored position to obtain the highest quality of wines etc., at exceptionally favorable terms.

As far as I can tell, at this point, the  “Long John” blends were being produced by a subsidiary of Seager & Evans called “Long John Distilleries.” At the time Seager and Evans owned distilleries in Strathclyde and Glenugie so it’s likely that they made up all or at least a part of Long John Distilleries.

Shortly after the acquisition, the bottle design was changed again as evidenced by Miller’s 1937 holiday advertisement that depicted a “Long John” bottle that exhibited a more elongated shape (left side).

In 1957, Schenley Industries acquired Seager Evans. The acquisition was referenced in the May 30th edition of London’s “Daily Telegraph.”

Schenley Industries, a large American distilling concern, which recently acquired the British Seager Evans group and several Scottish whiskey distilleries aims to “go out after leadership of the world’s liquor market.” said the chairman, Mr. Lewis Rosenstiel, today.

Scotch whisky sales in the United States were growing constantly. Within three years they might increase by as much as 150 percent. He added:

Schenley was embarking on a large expansion program. This included a new whisky distillery in Strathclyde…

The company’s new activities include the production and distribution of Seager Evans Long John Scotch Whisky and the marketing of Scottish Majesty Whisky in the United States.

Schenley continued to operate both Seager, Evans & Co. and Long John Distilleries as subsidiaries and according to a 1960 “Long John” advertisement the scotch was still being produced at Glenugie.

Shortly afterwards Schenley opened a new Scottish distillery at Tormore-on-Speyside. The October 8, 1960 edition of New York’s “Daily News” announced the opening.

Tormore-on-Speyside, Scotland – The first whisky distillery ever built here with U.S. capital was opened today. It can produce 40,000 gallons of whisky a year, and belongs to Long John Distillers, Ltd., a subsidiary of Schenley Industries, Inc., of New York. The enterprise includes 40 acres of modern housing for distillery workers.

Over the next 40 plus years the brand changed hands several more times, including a stint with Whitbread in the 1980’s. Today the “Long John” brand is owned by Pernod Ricard and primarily marketed in France. Their website indicates that the distillery at Tormore continues to “form the heart of the blend.”

One of the best selling whiskies in France, Long John is a classic blended scotch with sweet and smoky notes. Crafted from a selection of 30 Scottish Highland and Island malt and grain whiskies, spirits from the Tormore distillery form the heart of the blend and lend it its distinctive toasted almond sweetness. Long John has been part of the Pernod group since 2005.

It’s not exactly clear, at least to me, how popular “Long John” was in the United States, however, based on an unscientific review of their U. S. newspaper references I suspect that the brand never made a big splash on this side of the Atlantic.

Under the MacDonald family, despite a fleet of steamers it doesn’t appear that much of their whisky made its way to America. This is supported by the fact that newspaper references to their scotch in these early years were few and far between. Of the few references I did find, and the earliest, dates back to 1874 in a newspaper called “The Madisonian,” published in Virginia City, Montana. Touted as a tonic, it read:

Another, in 1880, advised that a shipment of “Long John” had just arrived in Ogden, Utah.

The absence of any mention in large metropolitan areas, suggests that the MacDonald’s lacked an American agent/distributor. This likely resulted in a cumbersome process that required the distillery to deal directly with individual retailers located in the U.S..

Under W. H Chaplin “Long John” pre-prohibition newspaper advertisements continued to be almost non-existent, with the only  newspaper ad I can find appearing in 1913. It ran on a limited basis in New Jersey, Arkansas and Salt Lake City newspapers.

As prohibition was coming to an end W. H. Chaplin turned their U. S. efforts up a notch, appointing Austin Nichols & Co., Inc. as their American distributor. According to the December 28, 1933 edition of the Buffalo (N. Y.) News:

The company (Austin Nichols) recently announced its appointment as general distributor of Long John Scotch whisky…

Connections with the transportation, hotel and restaurant trades should provide favorable outlets for liquors and it is not improbable that a worthwhile earning power will be developed from this source

Throughout much of the 1930’s the brand’s exposure was limited to the northeast states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut where it was primarily included in the price lists of liquor store advertisements. Several, including this June 29, 1934, advertisement in the New York Daily News, pictured the subject bottle.

A little over a year after W. H. Chaplin was acquired by the Seager, Evans group the bottle  design made its last public appearance in a January 28, 1938 advertisement published in the Yonkers, New York “Herald Statesman.” .

During the 1940’s, U.S. newspaper advertisements, including listings in liquor store ads, were almost non-existent, likely the result of World War II.

Later, primarily in the late 1950’s and 1960’s, there was some resurgence under Schenley’s ownership. Along with their inclusion in liquor store advertisements, there were some promotions as well. One, in June, 1965, was a father’s day contest advertised in the “Chicago Tribune.” First prize was a trip to Scotland.

Another, in the March 28, 1963 edition of the  Fort Lauderdale News, suggested you visit “Colonial Liquors and Lounge” where you could meet “The Long John Scotch Girls” (upper right in the ad).

All things considered, the company itself may have unknowingly summed up the success of their American marketing efforts in one of their last U.S. advertisements. Found in several 1971 Texas newspapers the ad read in part:

Nine reasons you should spend more for a scotch you’ve probably never heard of.

The bottle I found is machine made and almost certainly dates between the 1923 patent date and 1938 when it’s design disappeared from pictured advertisements. The bottle does not include the phrase “Federal Law Forbids the Sale or Re-Use Of This Bottle,” required on all liquor bottles sold in the U.S. between 1935 and 1964. This suggests that the bottle illegally arrived in the United States during prohibition, or within the first year or so after its repeal, likely further limiting the end date to 1934.

On a final note: In 1885 a drink called the “The Ben Nevis Punch” was included in a London publication entitled “New Guide for the Hotel, Bar, Restaurant, Butler, and Chef.” In case you’re interested, here’s the recipe: