Holbrook & Co. (Holbrook’s Worcestershire Sauce)

The “Holbrook” story got its start in the West Midlands of England in the late 1860’s with a company that manufactured vinegar called Tompson, Berry and Co. Also referred to as the Birmingham Vinegar Brewery, the business included three partners; John Tompson, his son, John L. Tompson and Edward Berry. This advertisement for the brewery that appeared in several September 1869 editions of the Birmingham Daily Post, appears introductory in nature, so it’s likely that the business got its start sometime that year.

Four years later, on June 17, 1873, the partnership was dissolved  when the Tompson’s and Berry went their separate ways. The dissolution notice was included in the 1876 “Birmingham & District and Sheffield & Rotherham Commercial List:

After the dissolution, the Tompson’s established John Tompson & Co., to continue the manufacture of vinegar and, on January 15, 1874,  published a notice in (London’s) the Guardian announcing the hiring of W. D. Holbrook.

A year later John Tompson & Co. began to manufacture pickles and sauces under Holbrook’s name and the Holbrook brand, still around to this day, was born.

A legal item published in the June 13, 1888 edition of the (London) Times laid out the early course of events.

In 1875 they commenced to manufacture pickles and sauces, and…it was thought expedient to give a special or fancy name to the sauces and pickles manufactured by the firm, and it was accordingly…arranged that the articles should be labeled and advertised by the name of Holbrook, and the articles became known and acquired a reputation by that name in question.

Interestingly, the business associated the name of “Holbrook & Co. with their products but according to W. D. Holbrook’s testimony in an 1895 court case (Powell v. The Birmingham Vinegar Brewery Company, Ltd.):

there never was a firm “Holbrook & Co. in actual existence.

When the business incorporated in May, 1879 as the Birmingham Vinegar Brewery Company, Ltd., they continued to associate the Holbrook & Co. name in connection with the Holbrook brand. W. D. Holbrook left the business in 1888, but the courts ruled that the Holbrook name, along with the reputation of their products, would remain with the firm.

Their first newspaper advertisements I can find for their Worcestershire Sauce appeared in 1884. This one was published in the June 1, 1884 edition of (London’s) Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper.

Right from the start one of their primary selling points was price and their early advertisements included phrases like “half the cost,” which was an obvious reference to their main competitor, Lea and Perrin’s. Some advertisements, like this 1885 advertisement published in the Christian Messenger, actually went as far as mentioning Lea & Perrin’s by name, albeit in small letters.

A story in the August 1, 1887 British Trade Journal made the same point a little more eloquently.

The high quality of Holbrook’s Worcester Sauce is well known for good keeping qualities, piquancy, and fullness and choiceness of flavor; it is one of the best on the market, while its price is not its least recommendation to popular favor.

The British Trade Journal story went on to say that as early as the 1880’s the sauce was gaining recognition, having won awards world wide.

We may say that by 1883 their sauce has carried off the highest awards at all the principal exhibitions, from Tasmania, Antwerp, Melbourne, and New Zealand, to Edinburgh and Chicago.

The story included this photograph of their display at the Brussels International Exhibition which they described like this:

A prominent object in the British section is the pyramid formed of bottles of Holbrook’s Worcestershire Sauce. It measures about 20 ft. high by 20ft. square, the bottles being arranged upon twenty tiers, the base being protected by turned wood standards and rails and embellished with mirrors and ferns.

The business reorganized in 1897 under the same name; the Birmingham Vinegar Brewery Company, Ltd., and later, in 1901, reorganized again, this time as Holbrooks, Ltd. By the turn of the century, in addition to Birmingham, the business was operating a second brewery in Stourport which they had acquired in 1876 and they maintained facilities in London as well. The prospectus associated with the 1897 reorganization, published in the April 13, 1897 edition of (London’s) Morning Post provided a good description of their facilities around the turn of the century.

The brewery and manufacturing premises in Birmingham are situated in Ashten Row, Dartmouth Street, and Windsor Street, standing on upwards of two acres of land, occupying valuable frontages and intersected by a branch of the Birmingham Canal, which affords direct water carriage to London. Included in the Birmingham premises is a complete printing establishment equipped with modern machinery, which enables the company to produce its own show cards, tablets, wrappers, advertisements, etc.ander its own supervision and control.

The brewery and premises in Stourport occupy an important position on the River Severn at its junction with the Stour, thus obtaining direct water communication with the canal system and the Bristol Channel.

The premises in London of freehold tenure are situated at Nos. 138 and 140 Commercial Street East, forming an imposing block, and having frontages to Commercial Street, Fleur de Lis Street and Pearl Street.

The trade has been of steady growth and is still expanding. To meet its requirements it has been found necessary to acquire a freehold site in Birmingham, adjoining the company’s original premises, and to erect thereon an additional factory, which is now upon the point of completion.

What could be described as the monument to their success was described in the November 26, 1906 edition of the Ottawa (Canada) Citizen. It was their storage vat located at Birmingham.

Thousands of tourists who have visited the famous castle of Heidelberg remember with interest the great vat which stands in its cellars and which was once filled with the delicious wines of the Rhine country. It stands within the heavy walls as a permanent testamonial to the drinking powers of the nobles who inherited the castle in years gone by… For centuries (it) was famous as the largest in the world.

It can no longer, however, claim that distinction, for in England there is one which is three times as large. This is the great vat at the works of Holbrooks, Limited, in Birmingham.

It contains three times more space than the Heidleburg vat and is capable of holding the contents of two and a half millions of bottles of Holbrook’s Worsetershire Sauce, equal to 100,000 gallons. In the picture here given a man standing on a long ladder may be seen clinging like a spider against its side. The famous vat is now, and doubtless will remain, for many years, the largest in the world.

In 1898, their world wide sales were five and a half million bottles annually. That included local sales as well as exports to France, Germany, India, Ceylon, New Zealand and the Australian Colonies, the West Indies and South America and South Africa. What lacked was any significant effort to expand into the United States.

They sought to remedy that in 1898 when they formed a new company called “Holbrook’s Worcestershire Sauce, Ltd.” The company’s prospectus spelled out the reasoning behind it’s formation.

The Company is formed to purchase and acquire all the trading rights in the sale of “Holbrook’s Worcestershire Sauce” for the United States of America and Canada from the Birmingham Vinegar Brewery Company, 1897 (Limited)…

The Birmingham Vinegar Brewery Company, 1897 (Limited), owing to the rapid expansion of their business in the United Kingdom, the Colonies, and elsewhere, have hitherto been unable to direct concentrated attention to the development of the American and Canadian trades. The Directors of this Company believe that, with the support of the Parent Company, a lucrative and increasing business can be speedily founded.

The prospectus went on to name Horace De Lisser as their U. S. vendor. In retrospect, with no apparent experience or connections in the grocery trade De Lisser appears to have been an odd choice. According to his biographical profile published in the July 1, 1919 edition of a publication called “India Rubber World:”

In 1894 he conducted a bicycle tire factory in England, which was later sold to a London syndicate. In disposing of this business he agreed to remain out of the rubber business for five years, and therefore took the United States agency for the Holbrook Sauce Co. of London.

Under De Lisser’s lead, the Holbrook Worcestershire Sauce Co. was listed in lower Manhattan at 90 West Broadway in the early 1900’s. The company’s approach to growing the business in those early years was described by De Lisser’s brother in the September 18, 1901 edition of an advertising publication called “Printer’s Ink.”

We began and are still continuing an elaborate and thorough house-to-house canvass, not only in most of the large cities, but also in the smaller towns and in the agricultural districts. We started by having six very elaborate wagons built – vehicles that cost us, even with the advantages of wholesale prices, a little more than $600 each. They are gorgeous, and manned each by a driver, a tiger and six distributors. Each of this force is attired in a striking uniform, and the horses are gaily harnessed. Soon after the first six had begun their rounds, we added six more, and continued to add wagons and crews until we now have nearly forty. This distribution has been continued steadily ever since except in the summer months. All parts of the country have been visited, except the extreme parts of New England and the South.

While newspaper advertisements during this time were scarce, I did find several in the Brooklyn newspapers that included little poems or jingles. This advertisement in the December 21, 1901 issue of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle was typical.

De Lisser’s attempts to grow the business proved unsuccessful. As early as November 5, 1901, the Solicitor’s Journal and Reporter listed “Holbrook’s Worcestershire Sauce Limited as “in liquidation,” and by 1906 it was no longer listed in the New York City directories. After his five-year moratorium, De Lisser was back in the rubber business where in 1905 he established the Ajax Standard Rubber Company.

At this point, the company established a Canadian presence but took a different approach in the United States where they began looking for local agents in various parts of the Country. Their classified advertisement in the New York area was published in the November 28, 1906 edition of the New York Tribune. Similar advertisements appeared in Boston and St. Louis newspapers.

It’s not clear exactly who or how many agents they assembled but their Worcestershire Sauce was only listed sporadically in U. S. grocery store and department store advertisements up through the late 1920’s. After that, it’s hardly mentioned at all, so it doesn’t appear that the product ever caught on in the United States the same way it had world wide.

According to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History, in 1954 Holbrooks, Ltd sold their British business to British Vinegars Ltd., a company consisting primarily of Distillers Co., and Crosse & Blackwell.

No longer made in England, today Holbrook’s Worcestershire Sauce is manufactured and sold in Australia by Goodman Fielder.

The bottle I found is approximately 6 oz in size. It’s embossed with the unofficial company name of Holbrook & Co. I also found a glass stopper that fits with the bottle, however the bottle and stopper were found at different times at different locations. Mouth blown, the bottle was likely made sometime after 1898 when the company established a presence in the United States and the late teens, when I would expect a machine-made version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavoris Chemical Co., Minneapolis

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

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

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

Its business is entirely by mail order.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The caption below the rendering read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Guardian of Teeth, Gums and General Health

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

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

Start the Regular Use of Lavoris Today

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

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

The company claimed their essential ingredient was chloride of zinc.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bay Shore Bottling Co., Bay Shore, L. I., N. Y.

This advertisement published in  several editions of Babylon’s South Side Signal between August and November, 1896 identified the Bayshore Bottling Company as a carbonated water manufacturer that produced mineral water, as well as soda, sarsaparilla, ginger ale and root beer.

They also bottled beer as evidenced by this July 7, 1907 advertisement published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that listed the company as a local bottler for Brooklyn’s S. Liebmann Sons brewery (3rd on the list).

A story published in the April 20, 1978 edition of the Islip Town Bulletin identified the proprietor as Lou Smith and listed the company’s location as the “northeast corner of Union Blvd and Fourth Avenue.” The story went on to describe the end of the business.

Lou Smith grew old, as we all do, and when his sons expressed no desire to continue the business, he sold it to Charles Mecklenberg along with the boarding house which went with the property. The year was 1919…

Upon purchasing the Bottling Plant a gas station was erected and a regular oil and kerosene depot emerged.

The story mentioned a boarding house associated with the property. Census records listed Lewis (sometimes Larvis, sometimes Louis) Smith’s  occupation as “hotel proprietor” in both 1900 and 1910. That being said, it’s almost certain that the hotel and bottling operations were connected (which was common back then) and operational from at least the mid 1890’s to 1919.

1870 Census records listed Lewis Smith’s mother, Caroline, with the occupation “selling liquors,” so it’s possible that the roots of the business date back much earlier than the 189o’s.

Courtesy of Google Earth, its evident that today the northeast corner of Union Boulevard and Fourth Avenue remains an operational gas station.

The bottle I found is the Hutchinson style with a tombstone slug plate that fits a late 1800’s to early 1900’s time frame.

Thanks to Howie Crawford, President of the Long Island Antique Bottle Association, for pointing me in the direction of the 1978 Islip Town Bulletin story.

Union Bottling Co., 240 & 242 East 20th St., New York

The Union Bottling Company story starts with Isaac A. Moran who, according to 1860 census records, operated a “public house” in Manhattan where he’s listed in the NYC directories as early as 1845 at East 17th St., corner of Third Avenue.

In 1868, he partnered with his brother Marcius (sometimes Marcus) and they established a soda/mineral water manufacturing and bottling business at 83 Third Avenue (later 91 Third Avenue) under the name Isaac A. Moran & Brother.

Sometime in 1873 they changed the name of the business to the Union Bottling Company and, around the same time, established factories at 240 East 20th Street and 119 East 124th Street. According to this item published in the August 1, 1875 edition of the Daily Herald, at the time the company bottled soda water, ginger ale and cider, as well as beer and ales.

Up through 1888 Marcius and Isaac Moran served as president and secretary of the company respectively, then in 1889 a second company was established with the Moran Brothers associated with both.

The Union Bottling Company continued to be listed in the 1890 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with Peter P. Krummeich now named as president and Marcius Moran, secretary. The company address was solely listed at the 240 East 20th Street location.

The new company, called the Moran Bottling Company, was listed at the 119 East 124th Street address with Issac A. Moran named as president. Initial directors of the company included New York City brewers William and Phillip Ebling, so its possible that the business had been established to serve as a bottler for the Ebling brewery but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

The Moran’s remained associated with both companies until 1894 when they apparently retired. According to an item published in the September 15, 1896 edition of the New York Times, on January 1, 1894 Krummeich partnered with Lorenz Geuken, and bought the Union Bottling Company plant and continued the business as a copartnership. Around the same time, they moved the company to 517 West 25th Street.

Within three years, the business, likely financed by a relative of Geuken’s, was in financial trouble. The New York Times item went on to say:

Lorenz Geulen and Peter P.Krummeich, doing business as the Union Bottling Company, bottlers of beer and beverages at 513 to 519 West Twenty-fifth Street, made an assignment yesterday to James Graham, giving a preference to Cornelia Geuken of Rotterdam Holland, for borrowed money…

They have suffered from hard times and the Raines law, and collections have been very slow. Their liabilities are said to be about $40,000 and nominal assets $54,000, a large part of which consists of the plant.

The Union Bottling Company was still listed in the 1901 Copartnership and Corporation Directory with Lorenz Geuken now named as the sole proprietor, so the business survived its financial difficulties, losing Krummeich along the way.

The next year a New York Corporation named the Manhattan Union Bottling Company, capital $15,000,  was listed at the 517 West 25th Street address with Charles A. Miller and Charles W. Hagemann, named as president and secretary, respectively. Gueken was no longer mentioned. Short-lived, the corporation was no longer listed in the 1906 directory.

The Moran Bottling Company continued to be listed at 119 East 124th Street up through 1904 with several different proprietors including James A. McKain (1901), Charles Polansky (1902) and Julius Goldberg (1903). The last listing I can find for the company was in 1906, with an address of 502 East 118th Street.

The bottle I found is mouth blown. Oddly, it’s not exactly a hutchinson or a pony, but shaped more like a can with abrupt shoulders and a blob finish. It’s embossed with the 240 & 242 East 20th Street address which dates it no later than 1894 when the Union Bottling Company moved to West 25th Street.

 

Carter’s Ink

 

Most accounts credit William Carter as the inventor of Carter’s Ink  sometime in 1858, however, the seeds of the business date back to the 1820’s and his father, Timothy H. Carter. Born around the turn of the 19th Century, according to the May 1908 edition of Walden’s Stationer and Printer:

Timothy H. Carter, was the progenitor of the large family of that name, who occupy an enviable and influential position in the Boston paper and stationery trades today. He is reputed to have constructed the first power printing press in this city and also to have operated the first type foundry in New England. With a Mr. Hendee, he started in the bookselling and publishing business under the name of Old Corner Book Store, whose former home at Washington & School Streets , is yet standing…

Listed in Boston’s 1823 directory at 5 Beacon Street, a July 13, 1894 Boston Globe item written at the time of his death, reminisced:

The death of T. H. Carter recalls the fact that only 70 years ago he, as well as others, pastured cows on Boston Common.

Throughout the late 1840’s and 1850’s T. H Carter was listed in the Boston directories as a publisher with a Water Street address. It was at some point, likely in the late 1850’s, that his son William joined him at Water Street and Carter’s Ink was born. A September 11,1923 story in the Cambridge Tribune begins the story.

William Carter who was engaged in the wholesale paper business on Water Street, Boston, began manufacturing inks as a side line in 1858. He produced a combined writing and copying ink of the gall and iron type. The ink in general use for office work at the time was not adapted to copying, and Carter’s Combined, which not only gave satisfactory copies but flowed almost as easily as a writing ink, marked an innovation in the history of American ink making

In 1860, both William and his brother Edward had joined their father on Water Street and had apparently taken over the business, listing it for the first time in the Boston directories as Wm. Carter & Bro. It was around this time that they likely commenced the sale of the ink as an offshoot of the paper and publishing business. An August 11, 1887 feature on the Carter business in the American Stationer described the fledgling operation like this:

Although the accommodations for this new line of business were not of larger magnitude than an old loft above their store, where a few casks and barrels served as a laboratory, the daily output of that crude factory filled at that time a needed want; and while the demand of those early days was not equal to the wants of the present time, Carter’s combined writing and copying ink of ante-bellum days, crude as it was, possessed the characteristics which have since, with some improvements, won for it a widespread popularity throughout America.

Not surprisingly, I can’t find any advertising for their inks prior to 1864 and that fact, coupled with this 1862 advertisement in a newspaper called the New England Farmer, provides evidence that publishing continued to be the focus of the business in the early 1860’s.

Sometime around 1868 the business moved from Water Street to 27 Milk Street and by this time, a second brother, John, and a cousin, John W. Carter, had  joined the business, changing the listed company name to Carter Bros. & Co. This full page Carter Bros. advertisement for their “Combined Writing and Copying Ink” that appeared in an 1869 Directory of Legal Correspondents certainly suggests that, by decade’s end, the ink manufacturing portion of the business had gained traction.

The business operated under the name Carter Bros. & Co. until 1872. At that point, with William Carter now deceased, it was agreed to split the business into two separate companies. William’s son, John Carter, continued the paper business in partnership with C. T. Pulsifer and J. P. Jordan under the original name of Carter Bros & Co. John W. Carter partnered with James P. Dinsmore and together they formed Carter, Dinsmore & Co. to take over the ink manufacturing part of the business.

Dinsmore was a New York City druggist located at 491 Broadway and later 36 Dey Street for much of the 1860’s. During that period he was associated with a number of patent medicines, most notably Peruvian Syrup..

In 1864 he was also serving as an agent for Carter’s Ink as evidenced by a March 21, 1864 advertisement in the New York Times. Months earlier, in December of 1863, Dinsmore was running the exact same advertisement in the Times sans the word “Carter’s,” so it’s likely that his relationship with the Carter business dated back at least as far as late 1863. Both advertisements are shown below (1863 on the left and 1864 on the right).

By 1870, according to a feature in the September 15, 1884 edition of “The American Bookseller,” Dinsmore had purchased an interest in the Carter Business and, shortly afterwards, this 1871 advertisement in A. Roman & Co.’s Fall Bulletin named him as the manufacturer and proprietor of Carter’s Inks in New York, where he remained listed at his 36 Dey Street address.

Unfortunately, the agreement to split the company coincided with Boston’s great fire of 1872. According to the August 11, 1887 American Stationer feature:

Just on the eve of the great Boston fire of 1872 Messrs. Carter and Dinsmore had concluded negotiations with the other partners in the growing business, and had together secured its control; but on the following night the ink factory, with the paper warehouse of Carter Bos. & Co., shared the fate of all those business houses situated in that part of the city which was for so many years after known only as the “burnt district.” The heavy fire losses of that disastrous conflagration ruined the insurance companies and Carter & Dinsmore were somewhat crippled but their faith in Carter’s Ink was as strong as ever, and so, with commendable enterprise, they secured other quarters and went to work again.

Both companies ultimately survived the fire. The paper business of Carter Bros. & Co resurfaced with a listed address of 45 & 47 Federal Street in Boston’s 1874 directory. Carter, Dinsmore & Co. was temporarily listed at 84 Broad and 34 Plympton in 1873 before establishing a permanent facility at 35 & 37 Batterymarch Street where they were first listed in the 1874 Boston Directory.

Around the time Carter, Dinsmore & Co. was established they were offering several different styled inks in addition to their “Combined Ink.” This November, 1873 advertisement for a Milwaukee, Wisconsin stationery store named several, including a “Perfumed Boudoir Ink.”

This December 2, 1882 advertisement indicated that they packaged and sold their ink in a wide array of bottle sizes and types, some of which were decorative in nature and served the dual purpose of pen holder.

This all contributed to the exponential growth of their ink production in the ten years between 1874 and 1884 A feature on the business published in the September 15, 1884 edition of the American Bookseller quantified the company’s expansion during this period.

The immense growth of the business of Messrs. Carter Dinsmore & Co. will be comprehended when it is known that shortly after the great Boston fire their annual product was 100,000 bottles, while at the present time they manufacture annually between 4,000,ooo and 5,000,000. This necessitates the bottling and sale of about 15,000 bottles daily…

Also contributing to the growth of the business during this period was  “Carter’s” Mucilage as well as a high end version of it called “Arabin” that was introduced in 1883. Adhesives, they were described in the May 22, 1884 edition of the American Stationer.

Mucilage is another specialty of this house, and the same standard of excellence found in its inks has made Carter’s mucilage equally as popular. Carter’s Arabin is a later product of the mucilaginous order, and this is a gum preparation that the manufacturers claim can not be equalled for sticking qualities by anything in the market. The Arabin differs from ordinary mucilage in that all of the impurities are extracted from the gum and only its sticking particles are admitted into the preparation.

The 1884 American Bookseller feature went on to mention several ancillary items the company was also producing at the time.

It also manufactures a variety of stationery articles for the desk, such as ink and mucilage stands, adjustable pen-racks, panoramic calendars, etc., the popularity of which has contributed not a little toward the sale of Carter’s Inks.

Ultimately the need for expanded facilities became evident and  plans for a new building, also in Boston, were announced in the Real Estate section of the November 25, 1883 edition of the Boston Globe.

A new building is to be erected by Carter, Dinsmore & Co., the ink manufacturers, on Columbus Avenue. The front is to be modeled after that of the New York Produce Exchange, which is highly praised. It will have sixty-six feet frontage on Columbus Avenue and will be five stories high.

The company moved into the new facility  in early 1884 and they were first listed with an address of 162 to 172 Columbus Avenue in Boston’s 1885 directory.

Descriptions of the building mentioned that the 7,000 square foot cellar had room to store 5,000,000 bottles.

Over the next ten years the company would lose both of their original founders when Dinsmore retired in the late 1880’s and John W. Carter accidentally drowned in 1895. Shortly after Carter’s death the business was incorporated under the name  “The Carter’s Ink Company.” It was managed by the trustees of his estate until 1901 when Carter’s oldest son, Richard B. Carter assumed the presidency. He would continue to serve as president until his death in 1949.

If there was any turmoil during this transitional period it wasn’t evident as the company continued to expand, adding an entirely new line of products. According to the September 11, 1923 Cambridge Chronicle feature:

The Company early turned its attention to products closely related to inks. It’s Photo-Library Paste, introduced in the 90’s when amateur photography first became popular, has become a standard throughout the world. About the same time a line of typewriter ribbons and carbon papers was put on the market and the company has since been a leader in those lines.

The Photo-Library paste, typewriter ribbons and carbon paper were all reflected in the company’s 1899 advertisement in the Boston Directory.

Another Cambridge Chronicle story, this one published in the April 10, 1909 edition, went on to provide a pretty concise description of the company during the first decade of the 20th century.

At no period has the growth of the business been more rapid than in the last eight or ten years. A considerable share of the growth is due to the ribbon and carbon line which was added some years prior to the death of the founder, with the idea that the wonderful growth of the typewriter business might curtail the use of writing and copying inks. No such fear has been realized, as both branches of the business have grown enormously. Everything except the actual manufacturing has been gradually crowded out of the present factory until the move now contemplated became an absolute necessity. The office and factory employees of the company, now located in Boston, number about 200, and there are 35 salesmen with headquarters in the United States who sell the company’s products not only in this country, but in practically every country of the civilized world. The company maintains its own warehouses in New York, Chicago, Montreal (Canada), London (England), and Brussels (Belgium), at which points 50 more hands are employed while various other special agencies and trade connections are scattered all over the globe.

As the above story mentioned, having outgrown their Columbus Avenue factory they were planning another move. The September 11, 1923 Cambridge Tribune picks it up from there.

The company then did as so many others have done. In seeking a location close to the city and yet away from its congestion, where spur track facilities were available and where room for future growth could be acquired at a reasonable figure, the advantages of Kendall Square appeared to the company preeminent. The handsome factory erected on First Street is today, the first building seen in Cambridge when crossing the Cambridge Bridge, and the two huge electric Carter’s Inks signs are now landmarks pointing to Kendall Square.

The building’s location in Cambridge was illustrated in this aerial photograph published in the March 25, 1920 edition of Geyer’s Stationer. Taken from what the photo caption referred to as an airship, the Carter building is located in the left foreground at the end of the bridge (white bldg. on the far side of the bridge).

The company moved into their new factory in early 1910 and shortly afterwards the company began featuring it in their advertisements. The following ad appeared in the 1912 Cambridge directory.

In fact, it’s the building itself that provides one of the best illustrations of just how far the company had come since the “great fire.” Consider this description of the new facility’s bottling and labeling operation:

Throughout the plant every possible operation is done by automatic machines. There are machines which fill eight one-quart bottles simultaneously and others which fill, cork and label small bottles. The battery of labelling machines has a capacity of one hundred thousand bottles per day.

Quite a statement considering that back in 1874, 100,000 bottles was their annual output!

It was in 1913 that Carter’s launched a highly successful advertising campaign that featured Mr. & Mrs. Carter Inx. In an essay written by Fletcher W. Taft, Advertising Manager for the Carter’s Ink Company, that was published in the February 15, 1915 edition of Advertising and Selling, he indicated that the company was endeavoring to inject a “Carter” personality into their product line. According to Taft:

We cast around for some time in our endeavor to secure this and at last solved our problem by the little novelty bottles which we call “Mr. and Mrs. Carter Inx.” They are intended to appeal by their unique appearance and general unusualness to man, woman and child, so that they will be put on the consumer’s desk and connect in the mind of the consumer our publicity with his desk needs.

 

Taft went on to say:

…while playing up the bottles, we emphasized still more strongly the ink itself, so that the publicity would ultimately associate the word “Inx” as the trade name for our entire line.

This 1919 advertisement listed their entire product menu under the “INX” heading, and also illustrated some of their packaging at the time.

In the the mid-teens, it appears that the company continued to increase their focus on products related to ink. As early as 1915 they were advertising an ink eraser called “Inky Racer,” that would “lift bothersome blots from paper, wood and cloth.

Later, this February 23, 1923 item published in a trade magazine called  “Office Appliances,” announced the addition of : “More speedsters in Carter’s Family,” namely, “Spotty Racer” and “Rusty Racer.”

The Carter’s Ink Company, Boston, Mass., has added to its “Racer” family. The “Inky Racer” is already familiar to the trade. The automobile has added greatly to the menace of grease and tar spots in the home. “Spotty Racer” is a new development from the Carter laboratories. It removes grease, road oil, tar, etc., from clothing, rugs, cushions, etc., without leaving a ring, and without a great deal of labor. It is not flammable. There are incidental uses of interest. “Spotty Racer” added in small quantity to the water used for washing windows, paint work, floors and bathroom fixtures will remove grease, oil and grime easily and quickly. A few drops rubbed into the palm of the hands before rinsing with water will quickly excorcise grease grit and grime.

Carters “Rusty Racer” removes rust stains from table and personal linen, whether acquired in the laundry, golf bag or hanging on a hook in humid location. In addition, fruit, coffee and similar stains common  to the household can be cleaned away. “Rusty Racer” is provided with a glass rod for applying.

Both of these new Carter products are put up in attractive packages, retailing for twenty-five cents. They are a magnet which the stationer can employ to attract more attention from women.

Sometime in the mid- 1920’s the company began to advertise pens to go along with their inks and by Christmas of 1927 you could give a Careter’s pen and pencil set and desk stand as a gift.

  

Already producing stamp pad ink, by the end of the decade they were also producing stamp pads, as evidenced by this January 25, 1929 advertisement in Grand Junction, Colorado’s Daily Sentinel.

Twenty five years later, a general product listing of Carter products found in a January 14, 1956 advertisement in the North Adams (Mass) Transcript matched those they were producing in 1930. This suggests that while brand names may have changed from time to time, there was little, if any, additional expansion of their product lines after 1930. The one exception appears to have occurred in the early 1960’s when they introduced the felt marker. This Life Magazine advertisement was published in their March 15, 1963 issue.

Richard B. Carter served as president of the company up until his death in 1949. After which long time employees Samuel G. Wonders (1949 to 1955) and Nathan C. Hubley (1955 to 1976) each served terms as president.

Hubley was still president in 1976 when the company was acquired by the Dennison Manufacturing Co. The acquisition was reported in the July 7, 1976 edition of the Boston Globe.

Dennison Manufacturing Co.of Framingham said it reached an agreement to acquire Carter’s Ink Co., a privately held concern based in Cambridge, for about $17 million in cash. Nelson S. Gifford, Dennison president, said Carter’s will continue to operate under its present management as a separate division…

Dennison Manufacturing merged with Avery International in 1990, forming the Avery-Dennison Corp. Today they continue to market stamp pads and stamp pad ink under the Carter name.

Shortly after Carter’s was acquired by the Dennison Manufacturing Corp., they apparently left Cambridge for Framingham. When exactly is not clear but they had certainly left by the time an October 17,1979 story in the Boston Globe announced the renovation of the Carter Ink building as part of a $200 million redevelopment of East Cambridge. This recent photograph of the building is courtesy of Google Earth.

Now a commercial building at the very top under the “Forsyth” sign there remains a little reminder of its original owner.

Their last Boston building on  Columbus Avenue also remains to this day. A February 25, 1979 Boston Globe story announced the building’s $1.5 million renovation.

On Columbus Avenue, the Perini Land & Development Co. and architect Gary Graham, as joint venture, will recycle the building at 162 into 12 racquetball courts, a light dining room, a pro shop, exercise rooms, saunas and whirlpool baths for men and women.

Now a commercial building with a ground floor restaurant, here it is today, again courtesy of Google Earth.

I’ve found two Carter’s Ink bottles over the years. Both mouth blown, one is cone shaped, the other barrel shaped. The barrel shaped bottle matches one included in an 1880’s advertisement for Carter’s”Koal Black Ink.”

Take note of the cork screw illustrated with the advertised bottle. I’ll end this post with an advertisement disguised as a news item that described the advantages this little detail afforded its user. The somewhat humorous item entitled, “A Yankee Invention,” appeared in the May 20, 1880 edition of the Torborough (North Carolina) Southerner.

On Monday morning we were presented by Mr. H. H. Shaw, our worthy Postmaster, with a bottle of Carter’s Blue-Black Ink. Each quart bottle has a little cork screw attached for withdrawing the stopper. We regard this as a moral invention, as more religion has been lost in removing the cork from ink bottles than any other one thing. It always ended by having to drive the stopper in and then lose your ink by evaporation. The ink is of excellent quality; don’t get thick or stringy, corrode steel pens or freeze. Send to Carter, Dinsmore & Co., Boston.

Whether the corkscrew was actually a Carter, Dinsmore invention or not is open to speculation.

 

 

Dr. J. Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters

Hostetter’s Bitters was an extremely popular patent medicine sold in this country from 1853 up until the early 1960’s. The bitters was named after a third generation Pennsylvanian named Jacob Hostetter who was born on April 18, 1791. A graduate of the Jefferson Medical College, he was known locally in Lancaster, Pennsylvania as an able practitioner.

This December 1892 advertisement published in McBride’s Magazine boldly described the bitters as:

…not only a national but a universal remedy, the round world over.

Their purported benefits were many as evidenced by this July 6, 1855 advertisement in the Monongahela Valley (Pa.) Republican.

Acknowledged to be the best and most pleasant tonic medicine of the age; the best blood purifier in the medical market; is a sure cure for dyspepsia; will remove all flatulency or heaviness from the stomach; keeps you free from costiveness; assists digestion; gives a good appetite, and imparts a healthy tone to the whole system. It is a certain preventative of fever and ague; it disperses bile, and imparts a bracing impetus to the whole system, which alone puts these Bitters at the head and front of all prescriptions of the kind in the market.

According to another advertisement published at around the same time, depending on your ailment, one, two or three bottles was all you needed to do the trick.

Three bottles of Hostetter’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters will cure the Dyspepsia. One bottle will create an appetite, force off the impure bile, purify the blood and invigorate the system. Two bottles will cure the worst form of liver complaint. One bottle will dissipate  that weakness at the pit of the stomach, give color to the countenance, impart tone and strength to the system, and lend cheerfulness to the mind. Every family should have Hostetter’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters. No article is so peculiarly adapted to the depressing effects of summer weather.

An April 1, 1865 ad in the Druggist Circular & Chemical Gazette succinctly summed it up in one line.

Steadies the Nerves and Tends to Prolong Life.

So what formula was able to accomplish such wonderful results? Well, if you believe the 1865 Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette advertisement:

Hostetter’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters is of botanic derivation. Its remedial elements comprise some of the most effacious vegetable juices known to medical botany, harmoniously combined by careful scientific processes, with a purified spiritous basis, pronounced by competent analysis free from all hurtful contamination.

What they fail to mention is that the spiritous base mentioned above resulted in a preparation that contained a significant percentage of alcohol. According to the  Journal of the American Medical Association, dated May 29, 1920, the Bitters alcoholic content varied over its life span. In 1906 the state chemists of North Dakota reported finding 43%; in 1907, when the Food and Drug Act went into effect the label declared the presence of 39% and by 1914 it was 25%. The 1920 Journal report included the following chart  which was self explanatory.

Applying the same logic to the earlier 43% alcoholic content would almost double those numbers, so its no surprise that the Bitters was not only available at the local drug store, but according to their early advertising:

It can be had at any of our first class hotels and restaurants.

Who originally developed the formula for the Bitters is open to debate. Jacob Hostetter, a druggist named Charles Green or possibly a team effort between the two are all possibilities. What we do know is that in 1851, according to an item published in the December 13 edition of the (Lancaster Pa.) Express, Green had just arrived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and had set up an office on South Prince Street. Within several months of his arrival, Green was advertising a product called “Dr. Charles Green’s Celebrated Aromatic Homeopathic Bitters.”

Sometime in 1852 Green and Hostetter established a company called Dr. Green & Co. whose directors included Green and Jacob’s son David. The company produced what they called a “Temperance Stomach Bitters,” as evidenced by this advertisement for Dr. Green & Co. that appeared in several January, 1853 editions of Lancaster’s Saturday Express.

The business, after apparently establishing a local following, ultimately dissolved on March 22, 1853. The dissolution notice was published in the March 23, 1853 edition of the Lancaster Examiner.

Green continued to manufacture and sell bitters in Lancaster, while at around the same time the Hostetter’s partnered with George Smith and a local banker named Charles Bougher to manufacture bitters under the firm name of Hostetter, Smith & Co. By the end of the year, their company had established a factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This December 22, 1853 advertisement in the Pittsburgh Daily Post listed their address as 276 Penn Street. It’s also the earliest advertisement I can find that associated the Hostetter name with the Bitters.

Two years later, on November 29, 1855, with Bougher no longer involved in the business, Jacob bought out his son David and the name of the business was changed to Hostetter & Smith. The announcement was published in the December 27, 1855 edition of the Pittsburgh Daily Post.

David Hostetter continued to be associated with the company as a confidential agent and a little over two years later, on February 17, 1858, with Jacob’s mental condition deteriorating, he sold his entire interest in the company to David. Jacob would pass away the following year.

Throughout the 1850’s the business had apparently grown leaps and bounds based primarily, if not exclusively, on this one product. Five years after their start in Pittsburgh, Hostetter’s Bitters  was appearing in newspaper advertisements in almost every state east of the Mississippi River and had made its way to California as evidenced by its inclusion in a  February 24, 1857 advertisement for a Sacramento, California drug store named Alban, Thomas & Co.

In New York City, a July 11, 1859  advertisement in the New York Times mentioned that in addition to their principal depot at 13-15 Park Row, the bitters was available in Manhattan from over 30 wholesale druggists.

Certainly driven by this increasing demand the company moved to a new location in 1858. The move was announced in an item published in the March 2 edition of the Pittsburgh Gazette.

This new facility was described several years later in the company’s 1867 Illustrated Almanac. The almanac quoted an April 17, 1866 Chicago Post story that, while a little lengthy, provides a good feel for the size of the operation, which at the time was employing approximately 40 hands.

Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters are prepared in a vast laboratory by one of the most efficient and experienced chemists in the United States. The establishment is in Pittsburgh, and covers all the space occupied by the immense stores and warehouses at Nos. 58, 59 and 60 on Water and First Streets, in that wide awake and progressive city. The buildings comprise four stories of immense height, and the outside measurement in front is 75 by 190 feet.

On going over the building, which is almost of cathedral dimensions, we found that the uppermost story was the laboratory, in which the ingredients were carefully measured and concocted for the distillation of the bitters. The herbs were of the rarest and some were quite new to us.

When the herbs and other compounds are ready for use, they are deposited in the twenty-one enormous tanks, which measure five feet in depth by forty-eight feet in circumference. The liquor with which the Bitters are mixed is brought up from the basement by means of an elevator, and, when it has undergone the proper chemical process, it is conducted by pipes to the third story, which is the same size as the other; indeed they are all alike in this respect. These pipes are connected with ten immense receivers, which are nine feet deep and eighteen feet broad, where the liquor which is brought from the mixing room above is clarified. There is another chemical process, and it remains a secret with the manufacturers. As soon as it is prepared, however, it is conveyed by other pipes to the bottling room…

A July 1887 advertisement in Harpers Magazine offered a glimpse of their facility’s interior. A rendering captioned: This cut represents one floor of our vast laboratory,” was likely a view of their 10 – nine foot deep receiver tanks.

Much of their expansion was driven by a healthy dose of advertising, which, in addition to ads in newspapers across the nation, also included their annual publication of “Hostetter’s United States Almanac.”

The 1867 edition was typical and contained feature stories/glorified advertisements with titles like: “Prevention of Disease by the Increase of Vital Power.” Interspersed with these stories was general information like sun and moon rise, humorous anecdotes and wise old sayings:”Small faults indulged are little thieves that let in greater.”

David Hostetter, along with George W. Smith, managed the business as a partnership from 1858 up until Smith’s death on October 30, 1884.  At that time  the partnership was dissolved and  David Hostetter continued to manage it under a new name; Hostetter & Co. The dissolution notice, dated December 1, 1884, was published in the December 4 edition of the Pittsburgh Post.

David Hostetter passed away four years later on November 5, 1888. Shortly afterward, in April 1889, his widow, Rossetta Hostetter along with his surviving children incorporated the business. The notice of incorporation was published in several March and April editions of the Pittsburgh Dispatch.

Hostetter’s sons, D. Herbert and Theodore R. Hostetter were named president and vice president respectively, and, according to a brief feature on the company published in the June 23, 1934 edition of the Pittsburg Press, the company would remain under the control of the Hostetter family for a fourth generation as well.

Theodore R. Hostetter died in 1902 and D. Herbert Hostetter Sr., in 1924. Upon the death of the latter, Frederick G. Hostetter, and D. Herbert Hostetter Jr., sons of the deceased, were elected president and vice president respectively. Frederick G. Hostetter died in 1931, and his brother, D. Herbert Hostetter, Jr., succeeded him as president.

The 1934 feature went on to say that the company’s business peaked sometime in the early 1870’s but up through 1920 was still doing quite well.

From the early sixties the business developed from several hundred thousand dollars until 1872, it had reached the million dollar mark. During the eighties and the nineties, the gross business fluctuated around the half-million mark, and so continued for the succeeding thirty years until 1919 and 1920, when the gross business for each of these years exceeded the million mark.

In 1903 the business began listing a second company address, 60 First Avenue, in the Pittsburgh directories.

The company remained active during the Prohibition years and Hostetter’s advertisements, though now less numerous, continued to appear in the newspapers.

             

This 1920’s advertisement, though toned down, delivered a similar message as those from the mid 1800’s.

HOSTETTER’S Celebrated Stomach Bitters tone up the digestive organs, stimulate the appetite and promote a feeling of physical fitness.

Whether it was lack of management after the death of D. Herbert Hostetter, a reduction in the alcohol content to 25%, or likely a combination of both, the prohibition years were not kind to the business. By the early 1930’s they had dropped the Water Street address from the Pittsburgh directories, apparently consolidating at the newer location. Then, in 1936, with the Hostetter family apparently no longer involved, the company initiated a stock offering. The reasoning behind the 78,200 share offering was explained in a July 28, 1936 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The offering is being made at $2.50 per share by Charles E. Doyle & Co., New York, principal underwriter, which firm was instrumental in greatly strengthening the management of Hostetter Corporation.

Advertising expenditures of the predecessor Hostetter companies totaled over $4,425,000 in the period from 1889 to 1920, and the present Hostetter Corporation announces that of the net proceeds from the sale of this issue, which will total $150,562, $90,000 will be devoted to an advertising program. The balance will be devoted to raw materials, plant equipment, machinery improvements, organization expenses, working capital, etc.

The promised advertising campaign materialized in 1937 with newspaper advertisements focused primarily on Pennsylvania as well as a number of midwest states.

Apparently the stock offering and advertising campaign didn’t do the trick and by 1939 the extent of their advertising had been reduced to three lines in the classified sections.

Their advertisements disappear completely in the early 1940’s but the company remained active, though just barely. Then, in 1954, this March 21 item in the Pittsburgh Press announced an attempted revival along with a change in name to Hostetter’s Tonic.

A famous old product name in Pittsburgh has changed hands, and is scheduled to again become big business.

It is Hostetter Stomachic Bitters, first made here more than 100 years ago, and now headed for distribution as Hostetter Tonic.

Charles G. Brown and Associates of Pittsburgh have purchased Hostetter Corp. In announcing acquisition of the almost dormant company, Mr. Brown said labeling and packaging of the medicine would be modernized, but the ingredients would remain the same as they were for more than a century…

Fifty million bottles of the packaged medicine have been sold since Dr. Jacob Hostetter first wrote the prescription in 1853. Produced in only small quantities in the past 15 years however, output is being stepped up rapidly.

This April 5, 1960 advertisement in the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News for Hostetter’s Tonic is one of the last ones I could find.

The business came an end, at least in Pittsburgh, sometime prior to 1967. That was the year that the Hostetter Building on First Avenue was demolished. A humorous story in the April 26, 1967 edition of the Pittsburgh Press described the publicity stunt associated with the official end of the Hostetter era.

When it comes to building demolition, Pirate Pitcher Vernon Law had better stick to baseball.

He threw a dozen baseballs, then had to resort to rocks today before he was able to “strike out” a large plate glass window in the Hostetter Building at First Avenue and Stanwix St., downtown.

It was all part of a publicity gimmick marking the start of demolition of the structure to make way for Equitable Life Assurance Society’s new Gateway Center 6 office building.

“I guess I’ve got too much control for this sort of thing.” drawled the big right hander.

It took him 12 baseballs to make only five holes in a second floor window. He kept firing them through the same holes.

At the suggestion of several onlookers, he scooped up half a dozen rocks from the street and was able-finally- to shatter the glass.

Law finally left the “mound” to let a “relief” demolition crew take over the chores.

They got better results with their 1,000-pound, crane mounted headache ball, painted white with black seams to resemble the horsehide sphere Law is used to hurling.

Equitable’s new building, a 23-story, 400,000 square foot structure will rise on the site

A photograph of the building under demolition appeared in the May 20, 1967 edition of the Pittsburgh Press. Today, courtesy of Google Earth, the 23 story tower (black on the right) is visible in its place.

 

The bottle I found is a typical Hostetter’s bottle; brown with a square cross section. Advertisements as far back as 1854 describe the same bottle design: full quart with Dr. J. Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters blown in the glass.

At one time the bottle also included a paper label that included the company trademark, St. George and the Dragon. This labeled example recently appeared for sale on the Internet.

According to this October 1890 advertisement in the Overland Monthly, the trademark dates back to the start of the business as well.

For the last 35 years it has heralded the curative powers of the great tonic HOSTETTER’S STOMACH BITTERS.

John Fennell, Boston

Beginning in 1879 John Fennell managed a wholesale wine and liquor business in Boston Massachusets. He owned the business for over 30 years from 1886 to 1919.

Census records indicate that Fennell was born in Ireland sometime in the early 1850’s and by the mid-1860’s had relocated to Canada where he became associated with Thomas Furlong. Furlong ran a wholesale and retail liquor business in St John, N. B. where he was listed in the St. John and Fredericton Business Directory as early as 1862. That directory also included an advertisement touting  his wines, liquors and a product called “Allsop’s Ales.”

When Furlong opened a branch location in Boston he named Fennell as his manager. The notice announcing the opening of Furlong’s Boston branch appeared in the March 14, 1879 edition of the  Boston Globe.

MR. THOMAS FURLONG, the well known wine merchant of St. John, N. B., has opened a branch of his establishment at 161 Devonshire Street and 22 Arch Street, under the management of Mr. John Fennell, who has been with Mr. Furlong for twelve years, and in whom he reposes every confidence. He has just issued a neat and comprehensive catalogue, embracing the wines of Spain, Portugal, France and Germany… Mr. Furlong has had experience of twenty-five years in the wine trade, and his selections can be relied upon as of the very best.

It wasn’t long before Furlong was advertising in the local newspapers. Advertisements for “Furlong’s Irish Malt Whiskey” began appearing as early as the March 30, 1879 edition of the Boston Globe.

The Boston branch continued to operate under Furlong’s ownership and Fennel’s management up until October 16 1886 when Furlong turned the business over to his long time manager. Fennel announced the change in ownership in the October 17, 1886 edition of the Boston Globe.

161 DEVONSHIRE STREET, October 16, 1886.

Mr. Thomas Furlong has relinquished the wine and spirit business carried on by him at 161 Devonshire and 22 Arch Streets, Boston, through me and under my superintendence for a number of years past. I have, therefore, the pleasure of announcing that I have opened at the old stand, and that in the future the business will be conducted as heretofore, but in my name solely.

My stock of wines, Cognac brandies, whiskeys, etc., is a very extensive one; and all goods being personally selected, I am in the position to give my customers, as in the past, the same pure and reliable goods at reasonable prices. Soliciting a continuance of the support given in the past, I am most respectfully,

JOHN FENNELL

An advertisement that appeared in several 1893 editions of the Fall River (Mass) Daily Herald provided a general overview of Fennell’s wine and liquor menu along with his related sales pitch.

FINE WINES – Having visited most of the wine-producing districts of Europe last summer, and personally selected a large line of fine wines, that are not held at fancy prices, but are honestly graded according to age and quality, I would call particular attention to my stock of sherries and ports. They embrace every variety, from the sound young wine to the rare old vintage of 1847, and ranging in price from Eight to Fifty dollars a dozen and from $2.50 to $10 a gallon.

OLD BRANDIES – have been selected from leading houses of Cognac, and I am in a position to offer my customers pure and reliable goods from the celebrated vintage of 1858, costing $48 per dozen, and fine champagne brandies from $6 to $14 per gallon.

PURE WHISKIES – that are stored in sherry wine casks have a mellowness not found in other whiskies, and being honestly aged are free from those heating qualities usually found in so called old goods. Buying all whiskies from the distillery direct, I can sell fine goods from $8 a dozen up to the celebrated O.F.R., costing $30, and ordinary and special, in wood from $8 to $10 pre gallon.

As evidenced by this March 24, 1887 Boston Globe advertisement, he also continued to sell the same “Allsop Ales” that Furlong marketed back in 1862.

Up through 1902 the company address continued to be listed as 161 Devonshire and 22 Arch Streets. Actually one location, the building occupied the short block between Arch and Devonshire with addresses on both streets. Then, sometime in 1903 or 1904 their address changed to 177 Devonshire and 38 Arch Street.

Fennell’s 1904 liquor license notice described the property like this:

No.s 177 Devonshire St., 38 Arch St., and elevator entrance to cellar at 40 Arch St. in said Boston, in two rooms, first floor, cellar for stock only, of said building.

The company remained at that location until, according to this May 29, 1919 story in the Boston Globe, they closed the doors for good, a victim of Prohibition.

Prohibition claims its first victim in Boston today, when John Fennell will lock up for all time his long-famed wine shop at 175 Devonshire St. and 34 Arch St…”Prohibition is coming and you can’t stop it,” mused Mr. Fennell yesterday amid the mellow atmosphere of jugs, dust laden bottles and ambrosial liquids. “It’s coming like a great wave headed for the bow of a ship and its going to break soon. But it’s going to miss me.”

Here’s some information. Whisper it about. In the past year $200,000 in liquor has passed out of the Fennell shop – and not all, certainly, for immediate consumption. Are the bugs loading up?

“Why look here,” said the veteran liquor merchant, “six weeks ago I said to myself I never could unload my stock by this time. But here I am cleaned out. Not a bottle in the shop.”

Nine years later John Fennell passed away while on a trip to England. According to his obituary published in the June 2, 1928 edition of the Boston Globe:

Mr. Fennell went to England in April and was taken ill on the trip across. He recovered while on a visit to relatives in Liverpool but then had a sudden relapse and died Thursday.

The bottle I found is a cylinder that likely contained a fifth of whiskey. Blown in a three piece mold it’s embossed John Fennell, Boston, so it was likely manufactured no earlier than 1886 when Fennel took over the business.

Note:

Fennell’s obituary stated that he was born in St. John, N.B. This conflicts with census records from 1880 through 1920 that list his birthplace as Ireland. For purposes of this post I chose to accept the census records.

Higgins Inks, Brooklyn, N. Y.

Higgins Ink was manufactured in Brooklyn, New York from the early 1880’s up through the late 1960’s and possibly longer. Still available today, it’s bottled and packaged in Leeds, Massachusetts by Chartpak, Inc., and still bears the name of its founder, Irish immigrant and long time Brooklyn resident, Charles M. Higgins.

An October 23, 1929 Brooklyn Times Union feature on Higgins provided some background.

Born in Moluch Brach, County Roscommen, Ireland, on October 4, 1854, Mr. Higgins came to America at the age of 6. Arriving here with his brothers and sisters, he joined his parents, who had proceeded them. They settled in Brooklyn’s Park Slope section where he lived all his life.

In the mid to late 1870’s, Brooklyn city directories listed Higgins as a patent solicitor living on Hoyt Street and later Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. In the early 1880’s he set up shop in Manhattan where his patent business was first listed at 10 Spruce Street. By 1883 he had moved the business to 5 Beekman Street where it would remain listed through 1900. His business card appeared in the February 3, 1887 edition of the American Stationer.

It was during his early years as a patent solicitor that Higgins Ink got its start. An article summarizing the Higgins business written years later in the September 8, 1941 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle provided this early history.

Mr. Higgins secured his first patent as early as 1875 when he was but 19 years old. He drifted into the drafting position and after several years opened his own offices to conduct a patent solicitation business. Meanwhile his spare times and evenings he spent in his sister-in-law’s kitchen, on Brooklyn Heights, conducting experiments in ink making. He produced many articles and in 1880 concluded an agreement with a Manhattan firm to act as a selling agent for distribution of Higgins Inks.

At the outset ink sales were scant so that for several years the fluid was manufactured at home while Mr. Higgins carried on his patent business. However, in 1885 a copartnership between Mr. Higgins and his brother-in-law, John Gianella was formed to make the ink under the name of Charles M. Higgins & Co. After several years Mr. Higgins devoted his entire efforts to the new business and the first plant was erected and placed in operation at 168 8th St., Brooklyn.

New York City directories support and add to the above story and also serve to better establish time frames. It was in 1883, the same year he moved to 5 Beekman Street,that the directories mention inks for the first time. That year his occupational heading in the Manhattan and Bronx Directory read “Patent Solicitor and Manufacturer of Carbon Inks.” The business of Charles M. Higgins & Co. initially appeared two years later in the 1886 directory, also at the 5 Beekman Street address.

While Higgins maintained his patent office in Manhattan for another 15 years or so, by 1888 he had moved his ink operation to Brooklyn. Located between Third and Fourth Avenues, his factory building and yard occupied the entire 75 foot wide footprint between 168-172  Eighth Street and 197-201 Ninth Street.

Over the course of the next twelve years the company expanded until, according to the 1941 Brooklyn Daily Eagle story, they were forced to move to new quarters located one block away between Fourth and Fifth Avenues:

Shortly thereafter the selling agent failed and the Higgins firm inaugurated the policy of selling directly to the trade leading to great expansion. The company line was added to with various other types of inks and commercial pastes. Between 1890 and 1900 Mr. Higgins was granted 21 patents relating to manufacture of inks and adhesives. The next year new quarters at 244-248 8th Street were erected and occupied.

At around the same time that Higgins erected the factory at 244 Eighth Street the company began to list their main office at 271 Ninth Street. Like their previous location, the back to back properties encompassed the entire area between Eighth Street and Ninth Street. By the early 1900’s the company was advertising London and Chicago offices as well as the main office in Brooklyn.

In 1904, no longer in need of their former site at 168 Eighth Street, they offered it up for sale. The classified advertisement, published in the February 28, 1904 edition of the Brooklyn Citizen, certainly made it clear that their Brooklyn location, with its nearby transportation facilities was, in no small way, a contributing factor to the the company’s expansion. So it’s no surprise that the company’s new facility remained in the same area.

By the time the company had settled into the new location, their product line included a line of adhesives in addition to their inks. A feature on the Charles M. Higgins Co. published in the September 1910 edition of “Dun’s Review” highlighted several adhesives including Higgins’ Office Paste, describing it as:

A pure opalescent white paste for general office and home use and the fine stationery trade. This spreads with great ease and smoothness, catches quickly and dries quickly and does not strike through or warp the paper.

Several other brands of paste and glue that were manufactured during this period were listed by this newspaper and magazine advertisement that appeared throughout much of the early 1900’s.

Ink however was their mainstay and the company produced both drawing inks and writing inks. According to the 1910 “Duns Review” feature their drawing inks were the ink of choice for those involved in the development of technical drawings.

Higgins’ American drawing inks are used by leading artists, architects, engineers, schools and colleges, and the manufacturers state three-fourths of the professional draftsmen use no other drawing ink. This ink is made in black and in twelve colors, the black ink being of two kinds – waterproof, which is insoluble when dry, and general, which is soluble when dry.

     

A price list found in the August 1910 edition of W. & L. E. Gurley’s “Manual of the Principal Instruments Used In American Engineering and Surveying” illustrated the ink’s menu of colors.

The company’s writing inks were manufactured under two names: Higgins’ “Eternal” Ink and Higgins’ “Engrossing” Ink. Both names were registered as trademarks on March 6, 1883.

      

An article written under the heading “Industrial Progress,” and published in a 1910/1911 edition of a publication entitled “Architects and Builders Magazine,” suggested that the inclusion of carbon in their writing inks was the secret to their success.

The ordinary ink of commerce is made of iron and nutgalls and within a short time turns a dim brown, or yellow, but the ink manufactured by the Chas. M. Higgins & Co. is made of pure carbon in solution, the only permanent everlasting coloring matter.

The writing in ancient manuscripts hundreds and thousands of years old is today as black and clear as when first written. This is because the inks were not chemical inks, were not made from iron and nutgalls, but were made from PURE CARBON.

An ink that would write a true black from the pen point, that would stay black forever, proof to effects of age, air, sunshine, chemicals and fire, the unchangeable ink of the ancients, has been considered a lost art.

And it was lost until by careful research and experiment Mr. Chas. M. Higgins mastered the secret of holding carbon in permanent suspension or solution, as was necessary in making a practical carbon writing ink.

The “Duns Review” feature explained the distinction between the “Eternal” and “Engrossing” brands.

For writing ink the firm manufactures the Higgins’ “Eternal” ink, which always remains black from the instant it leaves the point of the pen and is proof against age, air, sunshine, chemicals and fire. The ink can be diluted for use in fountain pens, while it is furnished in just the right consistency for bank, legal and corporation use, business and general correspondence and official records. For the last purpose, however, as well as for engrossing and fancy penmanship, the firm manufactures a dense black indestructible ink known as Higgins’ “Engrossing” ink.

Charles Higgins passed away in October, 1929 after which his son,Tracy Higgins, assumed the presidency.  According to the elder Higgins’ October 23, 1929 obituary, he had been “ailing for eight years,” so it’s likely that Tracy was managing much, if not all, of the business for some time prior tp Charles’s death.

In 1941 Tracy changed the name of the business to the Higgins Ink Co. The reasoning behind the name change was explained in a June 11, 1941 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The firm founded by the Higgins family in 1880, and operated for 60 years under the name of Charles M. Higgins & Co., will be known in the future as Higgins Ink Co., Inc., it was announced today.

The change in corporate title, it was explained by Tracy M. Higgins, president of the firm, at his office, 271 9th St., signifies no changes of ownership or policy, but is merely an effort to use a shorter name more easy to remember.

The A. W. Faber-Castell Pencil Co., Inc. acquired the Higgins Ink Company in 1964. The acquisition was reported in the October 8, 1964 edition of the (Passaic, N. J.) Herald News.

Two of the oldest and best known firms in the drawing materials industry have been combined.

The 121-year-old A. W. Faber-Castell Pencil Co., Inc., of Newark announced yesterday it has acquired the 84-year-old Higgins Ink Co., of Brooklyn.

Harry U. Bittman, president of Faber-Castell, said Higgins Ink will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary but retain its identity and maintain its headquarters and factory in Brooklyn.

Peter O. Everson, president of Higgins Ink, and Tracy Higgins, executive vice president, will continue in their present positions.

Irish-born patent solicitor Charles M. Higgins founded Higgins Ink in 1880. He developed a formula for ink which is still the basis of the firm’s present production of 4 million bottles a year.

Higgins Ink Co. was still listed at their Brooklyn location in the late 1960’s (1967 is the last directory I can find). It’s not clear exactly when the company left Brooklyn but it was likely sometime in the 1970’s.

Higgins Inks continued to be associated with Faber-Castell up through at least the mid-1990’s as evidenced by this August 31, 1994 advertisement in the Baltimore Sun.

Today Chartpak, Inc. owns the Higgins brand and you can still buy their drawing inks as well as their “Eternal” writing ink.

Their long time Brooklyn office and factory buildings still exist to this day. The office building at 271 Ninth Street is actually a three story mansion that, according to Brownstoner.com was originally built in 1857 for a banker named William Cronyn.

The factory, built at the turn of the century and located behind the office at 244 Eighth Street is now a residential apartment building.

The bottle I found is a small mouth blown ink bottle with “Higgins Inks, Brooklyn, N. Y. embossed on the base. It matches the drawing ink bottle included in several late 1800’s/early 1900’s advertisements.

 

Today their drawing ink bottle, though now made of plastic, still pretty much maintains the same shape as it did back then.

On a final note, an article written by Fred N. Holabird entitled: “The Original Higgins Ink, A Nevada Invention,” published in the Spring, 2003 edition of “Bottles and Extra’s,” speculates that there might be a connection between the Higgins Ink of Brooklyn and Rufus L. Higgins of Virginia City, Nevada whose inks date back to the 1860’s. Rufus left Virginia City in 1876 after his grocery store burned down, never to be heard from again.

The fact that both share the Higgins name and that Charles, a patent solicitor, came up with his ink recipe around the time Rufus disappeared certainly fuels that speculation. Holabird writes:

The coincidence of Charles Higgins “inventing” his ink just after R. L. Higgins made his in Virginia City, only to have his business and inventory destroyed by fire, is remarkable. Both events happened within a year of each other. Were the two relatives? Did a depressed and broke Rufus give away the formula to his relative? Do Charles original notes contain Rufus’ name? Did Rufus quietly move to the East Coast to help Charles?

In our research, we were unable to locate Rufus in the West or New York after 1876, nor able to construct a family tree of either man. Meanwhile, the coincidence of timing, product commonality and surname certainly point to shared knowledge…Only more advanced research will answer these questions.

 

Henry N. Clark, Southampton, L. I.

Henry N. Clark ran a bottling business and later a grocery store in Southampton, Long Island around the turn of the century.

Born in Connecticut, upon moving across the Sound to Long Island he first lived in nearby Bridgehampton where, according to his obituary, he operated a plumbing business. His move to nearby Southampton was announced in a September 30, 1896 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Henry C. Clark has bought the property and bottling works of Harvey C. Halsey at Southampton and will shortly locate in that village.

That following summer, he was certainly up and running as evidenced by this advertisement published in the July 8, 1897 edition of Southampton’s  Sea-Side Times.

A May 5, 1898 story in the Sea-Side Times, described the business as being entirely focused on non-alcoholic beverages.

Every few weeks he introduces a new specialty which usually hits the mark and has a good run. The latest he has introduced is champagne cider, a delightfully refreshing drink, which notwithstanding its suspicious name is a thoroughly temperance drink, containing neither champagne nor cider nor any trace of alcohol. In fact all Mr. Clark’s beverages are temperance drinks.

It appears that it wasn’t long before Clark was well established in Southampton.The May 5, 1898 story mentioned that in addition to many small scale customers Clark had contracts to furnish all the soft drinks for the Golf Club as well as several nearby hotels. It went on to say that the business was in the process of expanding.

Mr. Henry N. Clark, manufacturer of carbonated beverages is building a large addition to his bottling works. The addition is 44×14 feet extending from the original building almost to the Main Street front, more than trebling his former space.

The enlargement of his quarters is made necessary by his rapidly increasing business. He is to be joined by his brother Mr. Orrin A. Clark, now of Amagansett, as a partner in business, on June 1.

Two new bottling machines have been added to the outfit which will give a capacity of many hundreds of bottles per day. The new machines use the crown seal, a new device for sealing bottles which is far superior to any of the older methods.

After these improvements are complete Mr. Clark will have one of the largest bottling works in the county.

In March, 1901 Clark bought a bicycle business, also in Southampton. The purchase was reported in the March 8, 1901 edition of the Sea-Side Times.

Grundy & Co. have sold their bicycle business to Henry N. Clark. It is said that Mr. Clark will form a partnership with Merton L. Packard, who recently bought Grundy & Co.’s repair department.

That summer Clark apparently maintained both businesses as evidenced by these two August 1901 advertisements from the Sea-Side Times. The advertisements, one for the bicycle business and the other for the bottling business appeared in the August 1 and August 8 editions of the  Sea-Side Times respectively.

   

Sometime in late 1901 or early 1902 Clark apparently sold the bottling business to James Allen Smith whose advertisements began appearing in the Sea-Side Times in April of 1902. The advertisements specifically mentioned that they were “Successors to Henry N. Clark.”

By 1904 Smith was advertising the business as the Southampton Bottling Works.

Recently a bottle from that era (with a crown finish) embossed “Southhampton Bottling Works” that included the embossed name of “James Allen Smith” recently appeared for sale on the internet.

   

Meanwhile Clark continued advertising his bicycle business until 1904 when a March 26 item in The (Sag Harbor) Corrector announced that he was back in the bottling business albeit in Mystic Connecticut.

Henry N Clark, the Southampton bottler, has purchased a bottling business in Mystic, Conn. He will move to that place about April 1.

Its not clear if he actually established the Mystic Connecticut business because, as reported in the October 26, 1905 edition of the Sea-Side Times,  within a year and a half Clark was back living on Long Island.

Mr. Henry N. Clark and family returned to this village last week from Mystic Conn., where he has been for the last year and is at his house on North Main Street where he expects to reside hereafter.

Subsequently the April 11, 1907 edition of the Sea-Side Times announced that Clark had purchased a local grocery business.

Mr. Henry Clark has bought the stock of goods which Mr. William Henry had in his store on North Main Street and will continue the grocery business at the old stand.

Advertisements for his grocery store ran in the Sea-Side Times from April, 1907 through December, 1908. The advertisements specifically mentioned soda water so it’s likely that he was manufacturing and bottling it as part of  grocery business.

   

Advertisements for the grocery store disappear from the local newspapers in December of 1908, and around the same time a November 19, 1908 news item in the Sea-Side Times announced that Clark was going to spend the winter in Florida.

Mr. Henry Clark has decided to go to Florida for the winter. He will leave here within a few weeks and go to Lake Wier, near Sanford, where many Long Island and New England people are located, and if he finds a favorable opportunity he expects to purchase a tract of land there with a view to spending future winters in the south hoping that his health will be benefitted by the change..

Over the next several years local newspaper items indicated that Clark spent the winter months in Florida, however, he continued to list his occupation as “proprietor – grocery store” in 1910 census records. Based on this it’s not clear how long the grocery remained active under his ownership.

He ultimately moved to Florida full time and passed away there on September 3, 1923. His obituary was published in the September 6, 1923 edition of the Southampton Press.

The bottle I found is a Hutchinson soda. Based on the May 5, 1898 newspaper story quoted above he was converting to crown finish bottles at that time so the bottle likely dates back to the first year or so of the business in late 1896 or 1897.

In closing….a little bit of American History.

The following news item regarding Henry Clark’s nephew, Orrin (I’ve also seen it spelled Orin and Oren) Clark’s son –  appeared in the July 23, 1909 edition of the (Sayville L. I.) Suffolk County News.

President Taft has appointed Walter Eli Clark, son of Orin A. Clark, formerly of Bridgehampton and Amagansett, and a nephew of Henry N. Clark of Southampton, to be governor of the territory of Alaska. Mr Clark was born in Ashford, Conn. in 1869.

In fact, he was the First governor of the Alaskan territory.

Wm F. Kidder, New York

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

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

       

       

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUSINESS TROUBLES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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