Peter Hauck & Co., Harrison N. J.

     

Peter Hauck & Co. operated the Peter Hauck Brewery, located in Harrison, New Jersey (also called East Newark) from approximately 1869 until the mid 1920’s. It’s long time proprietor, Peter Hauck, was a German immigrant who learned the business working in and ultimately taking over his father’s New York City brewery. His early background was provided in a biographical sketch included in the “Genealogical History of Hudson & Bergen Counties, New Jersey,” published in 1900.

Born in King Munster, Bavaria, Germany, June 9, 1838, he came to this country with his parents when six years old, and located in New York City, where his father engaged in the brewing industry. There he received a good public school education. After completing his studies he entered his father’s establishment and thoroughly mastered the profession of brewer, acquiring a practical as well as a theoretical experience in every department of the business.

The brewery established by his father, Adam Hauck, in 1844 on Wooster Street, New York, was a small affair, but the plant was enlarged until it became one of the largest of the kind in the city. In 1869 he removed the entire business to Harrison, Hudson County, N.J., where a substantial building was erected, and where it was continued under the most favorable auspices.

The 1849/1850 NYC Directory listed Peter’s father, Adam, at 481 Broome Street with the business occupation “porterhouse.” Located at the intersection of Broome and Wooster Streets, this is likely the brewery referenced in the biographical sketch above . The business must have moved as it grew bigger. Two years later, the 1851/1852 NYC Directory listed the brewery at 89 Sheriff Street; still in Manhattan, but further east. It was still listed at this location in the 1864/1865 Directory.

In the 1867/1868 Directory, Peter, not Adam, was listed at the 89 Sheriff address with the occupation “beer.” This leads me to believe that Peter was actually running the business prior to its move to New Jersey in 1869.

In New Jersey the brewery was located on Harrison Avenue (sometimes Pike’s Rd) between 5th and 6th Streets. Initially it was run as a partnership between Peter Hauck and Frederick Kaufmann called Kaufmann & Hauck. It was listed this way in the Newark directories until 1875 when the partnership apparently filed for bankruptcy. A notice announcing the partnership as bankrupt and requesting that Hauck be discharged from his debts was printed in the August 21, 1875 edition of the New York Times.

Over the next three years, Petr Hauck continued to be listed individually on Harrison Avenue but the business was not listed in either the general directory or the business directory so its not clear whether the brewery was operational during this period or not. The brewery was listed again in the 1878 Newark BusinessDirectory but one year later, on January 13, 1879, it was destroyed by fire. The fire was covered in a story printed in the Boston Globe.

At 1 o’clock this morningPeter Hauck’s Hudson County lager beer brewery, located on Harrison Avenue, East Newark, was found to be on fire. The alarm was sounded, but the firemen, unable to obtain water, could not do anything to save the building, and the brewery was completely destroyed.The loss is as follows: Machinery, $50,000; building and stock, $35,000; and $15,000 worth of malt.

According to the Genealogical History of Hudson & Bergen Counties Hauch rebuilt the brewery after the fire.

In 1879 the brewery was destroyed by fire, but he at once turned his attention to rebuilding, and in 1880 erected and completed a new plant upon a more extended scale, making it a model establishment of its kind.

It appears that the brewery remained operational during construction of the new plant. The Newark directories in the early 1880’s listed two separate brewery sites; the original Harrison Avenue location as well as another location at 281 to 291 Eighth Avenue which I assume served as a temporary brewery during the rebuilding process. By 1884, the Eighth Avenue location was no longer listed.

The Genealogical History of Hudson & Bergen Counties went on to describe the newly constructed brewery complex.

It has a frontage on Harrison Avenue, between Fifth and Washington Streets, of 225 feet, with a depth on Cleveland Avenue of about 100 feet. The main building is a substantial structure, and there is additional accommodation for the malt house, cooperage, bottling plant, etc., the whole being equipped with modern improvements, including a 250 barrel brew kettle, ice machines, cellarage, an artesian well, etc.

The name “Peter Hauch & Co.,” was first utilized in the 1885 Newark Directory. Then, four years later, Peter Hauck & Co. was one of five breweries that were consolidated under a new corporation called “The United States Brewing Company.” A story in the May 14, 1889 edition of  the Buffalo (NY) Commercial provided some details on the consolidation.

Three big lager beer breweries in Newark, one in this city and one in Albany were combined last week in a great brewing corporation, with a capital stock of $4,750,000. The owners of the plants are Gottfried Krueger, the brewer king of Newark; Mrs. Christiana Trefz of Newark: Peter Hauck of East Newark, Adolph Hupfel of this city and the Albany Brewing Company…Krueger’s brewery is the largest in the scheme, and it is understood that it has been taken at a valuation of $2,000,000, and that he is to receive half in cash and the other half in stock. The valuation upon Hauck’s brewery is said to be $1,000,000, and he gets the same terms. Mrs. Trefz’s is valued at $600,000, Hupfel’s at $600,000 and the Albany Brewing Company’s at $500,000. The management of the breweries is to remain entirely in the hands of the former owners…

Peter Hauck managed the business until he passed away on February 21, 1917 after which it continued under the management of his son Peter Hauch, Jr. It was listed in the Newark directories as Peter Hauck & Co. through 1922.

In the early years of Prohibition it appears that the business was making a concerted effort to produce cereal beverages in accordance with the law. On October 14, 1920, notices appeared in many newspapers announcing that the United States Brewing Company had acquired the cereal beverage department of P. Ballantine & Sons, with Peter Hauck & Co., named as one of the brewers. This notice, printed in the October 4, 1920 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was typical.

As late as 1922, the company advertisement in the Newark Directory listed a number of cereal beverages manufactured by Hauck including Hauck’s  Tiger Special – Light, Medium and Dark, Hauck’s Golden Brew, Hauck’s Extra, Hauck’s Special, Hauck’s Vitamaltum and Hauck’s Malt Extract, Malt Extract-Light and Malt Extract-Dark.

This baseball themed Hauck’s advertisement appeared in the August 23, 1921 edition of the “Asbury Park (NJ) Press”

After Peter Hauck, Jr.’s death in September, 1922 the actual management of the brewery is unclear, however, this May 22, 1925 story in the Keyport (N.J.) Weekly made it clear that the brewery continued to operate, albeit illegally.

Newark- Four officials of the Peter Hauch Brewery in Harrison were fined $2,500 each on charges of possessing and manufacturing beer of illegal alcoholic content by Federal Judge Runyon. All pleaded guilty, three changing previous pleas of not guilty. The officials are Isadore Rappaport, Morris Egel, Nathan Levy and William Hobby. The case resulted from a raid on the brewery several months ago by federal agents.

The April 25, 1925 edition of the New York Daily News provided a photograph of what happened to the beer confiscated from the brewery. The caption under the photograph read:

DOWN THE SEWER yesterday went contents of 56,000 barrels of beer seized in Peter Hauck Brewery Company, Harrison, N. J. Agent C. H. Parkes manned the hose.

Ultimately the brewery officially changed hands on October 16, 1925. The announcement of the sale was printed in the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press.

HAUCK BREWERY SOLD

Purchase of the Peter Hauck Brewery by the Harrison Holding Company of Merchantville was announced today. The price was not divulged, but the holding company gave a mortgage of $171,250 to be paid in monthly installments of $1,000.

Subsequently, on January 1, 1926, the Harrison Beverage Company was incorporated to run the business of producing cereal beverages. The article of incorporation was printed in the January 1, 1926 edition of the Camden (N.J.) Courier Post.

The 1926 Newark Directory listing for the Harrison Beverage Co., Inc. included the brewery’s Harrison Avenue address and included the phrase “successors to Peter Hauck & Co., brewers and bottlers Golden Brew and Tiger Special.” Advertisements for their cereal beverages ran in the local newspapers in early 1927.

Prohibition agents however believed that the brewery was actually being run by racketeers and that cereal beverages were just a front for the manufacture and sale of the real thing. A story in the October 30, 1926 issue of the (Camden N.J.) Evening Courier that reported on a raid of the brewery provided the government’s point of view.

When they raided the brewery, which is known as the Harrison Beverage Company, Hudson County detectives say they found eleven kegs and many bottles of “real” beer.” The detectives assert that the brewery has been operating for some time, supplying South Jersey points as well as those in North Jersey, with high powered beer. Manufacture of “near beer” was simply a “blind.”

As the Prohibition years continued, the brewery was raided several more times and the company was constantly in and out of the courts involved in Volstead Act related litigation.

Ultimately in 1933, with Prohibition ending, the Harrison Beverage Company received a permit to brew 3.2 beer. Soon after, they were advertising at least two brands; “Old Heidelberg” and “Golden Brew.” This advertisement for “Old Heidelberg” appeared in the The Long Branch (N.J.) Record on April 8, 1933.

Their brewing permit however would quickly be revoked later that same year. The murder of two racketeers, Max Hassel and Max Greenberg in an Elizabeth New Jersey hotel triggered an investigation into the real ownership of the company, the government contending that Hassel and Greenberg, along with Waxey Gordon, another former bootlegger, were the real owners. As a result of the investigation their permit to brew was revoked on June 30, 1933. Camden N.J.’s “Courier Post” covered the story.

The Harrison Beverage Company, of Harrison, yesterday had its 3.2 beer manufacturing permit revoked.

Hearer Burt W. Andrews, who sat through two weeks of legal skirmishing during the brewery’s revocation proceedings in Newark, yesterday advised Dr. Ambrose Hunsberger, permit supervisor for this area, that the permit had been obtained “through fraud, deceit, concealment and misrepresentation.”

He said that officers advanced by brewery counsel as owning the beverage company were “mere dummies for racketeers, among whom was Max Hassel, slain gangster.”

And Dr. Hunsberger promptly ordered the permit revoked.

As far as I can tell, after their license was revoked, the brewery continued to operate until sometime in August of 1933. At that point it was shuttered for good and put in the hands of a receiver. Six months later, the February 3, 1934 edition of the (Hackensack N.J.) Record announced the sale of the brewery at public auction.

Women’s Lock-Stock-Barrel Bid Tops Harper Offer For Brewery

Harry C. Harper, Hackensack’s man of many moods and myriad enterprises, was one of the more than 100 bidders who journeyed to Harrison yesterday for the receivers sale on the old Peter Hauck Brewery, more lately known as a Waxey Gordon brewery.

But it was a woman, Mrs. Lillian Bennett, said to be the daughter of a Columbus, Ohio, brewer named Tenion and said to live in a New York City hotel, who surprised the bidders, the crowd and the receiver by bidding $45,000 for the entire plant and equipment. Among other things included in the mysterious Mrs. Bennett’s bid were 4,000,000 empty bottles and 14,000 barrels of 3.2 beer.

After the sale, it appears that the brewery was leased to a newly formed corporation called the Harrison Brewing Company. The formation of the new company was announced in a May 20, 1934 story printed in the Central New Jersey Home News.

Articles of incorporation of a new firm, the Harrison Brewing Company, were filed today by Harold Simandl, in an attempt to reopen the plant of the Harrison Beverage Company, closed by the Federal Government.

The old plant was closed after charges during the 3.2 beer days, that the brewery was racketeer controlled.

Simandl was counsel for the old firm. The incorporators are listed as Lucile Andreach, Selma Gerbinsky, and Frances Noviteh.

The company was apparently attempting to capitalize on the name and reputation of the former Hauck and later Harrison brand called Golden Brew. According to this advertisement, printed in several New Jersey newspapers in July,1934, they reintroduced the brand around that time. “Saturday you can try it all over town”

The resurrection must have failed because less than half a year later, the company was bankrupt. A notice announcing the sale of the company assets, including barrels, boxes and bottles was printed in the January 30, 1935 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

By 1937 the Peter Doelger Brewing Corporation had leased the brewery and was listing both their brewery and executive offices in Harrison, New Jersey.

Peter Doelger remained there until 1948 at which time, according to this April 13 item in the (Bridgewater (N.J.) Courier, the company was declared bankrupt.

BREWERY BANKRUPT

Federal Judge Thomas F. Meaney yesterday declared the Peter Doelger Brewing Corp. of Harrison bankrupt and ordered it liquidated.

After the demise of Doelger, the brewery was taken over by the Camden County Beverage Company. From the wording in this July 13, 1949 story in the (Camden N.J.) Evening Courier it’s not clear whether they purchased or leased the plant.

Camden Brewery Enlarges, Buys Harrison Plant

The Camden County Beverage Co., brewers of Camden Beer at the Camden Brewery, announced yesterday it had acquired the Harrison brewery and will operate it as Plant No.2.

Fred A. Martin, president of the beverage firm, stated a North Jersey outlet was necessitated by increased demand for the Camden product in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the surrounding metropolitan area in North Jersey.

Leasing of the Harrison brewery will permit the Camden plant to use its entire output for its clients in South Jersey, Washington, several southern states and to reenter the Pennsylvania market.

Three years later, in July, 1952, a fire swept through the Harrison plant. The resultant damage described in this July 16, 1952 story leads me to believe that this could very well have marked the end of the brewery facilities.

Harrison, July 16 – A rampaging fire wrecked the Camden Brewery near the heart of the city’s business district today, sending up sheets of flame and clouds of smoke that were visible fo 15 miles around.

The general alarm blaze raged out of control for more than two hours, but no one was reported injured.

Police said the top of the five story brick building at 504 Harrison Avenue caved in and some of the debris toppled into the street. There was no one in the building when the fire broke out shortly before 3:30 a.m…

Fire officials said they didn’t immediately know the cause of the fire. The blaze started on the upper floors of the building which occupies almost an entire block. Flames ate their way down to the lower portion of the structure and firemen battled to prevent any further spread.

Camden County Beverage continued to operate into the early 1960’s but I don’t see any mention of a Harrison location after the fire.

Today the brewery site is home to the Washington Middle School.

The bottle I found is 13 oz and champagne style. The company name “Peter Hauck & Co. Harrison N.J,” embossed on the bottle was utilized from 1885 to the early 1920’s. The bottle however is machine made so that puts it in the latter half of the period, say 1910 to 1922.

A labeled version of this bottle recently appeared on the Internet. It contained the brand “Hauck’s Extra.”

        

 

 

Stewart Distilling Company

  

The Stewart Distilling Company was in business from 1909 until the mid-1920’s but the company’s roots date back much earlier to an Irish immigrant named Robert Stewart. According to 1900 census records, Stewart was born in 1836 in County Antrim, Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1854. His July 10, 1901 obituary in the Baltimore Sun stated:

When a lad of 18 years he came to this country and settled in Baltimore. In 1886 he started a distillery in Highlandtown.

Between 1887 and 1894 Robert Stewart was listed with the occupation distiller in the Baltimore city directories. His distillery was located at the southeast corner of Bank and 5th and the office was at 32 S Holliday.

In 1894 his business incorporated under the name “Robert Stewart Distilling Company” The incorporation notice was printed in the January 15, 1894 edition of the Baltimore Sun.

Certificate of the incorporation of the Robert Stewart Distilling Company was put on record in the clerk’s office at Towson. The company is formed to continue the distilling business already established by Robert Stewart at Canton. The capital stock is $125,000, in shares of $100 each, and the directors are Robert Stewart, Benjamin Bell, Isaac W. Mohier, Jr., Diedrich Wischhusen and Thos. W. Donaldson.

During this period, the distillery produced a whiskey called “Robert Stewart Rye.” Their agent, at least in New York, was the well established firm of H.B. Kirk who included their brand in several of their advertisements between 1893 and 1895. This December 6, 1893 advertisement in the New York Times stated that it was “bottled at the distillery,” and referred to it as the “Best Eastern Rye.”

Robert Stewart continued to run the business until December, 1897 when he sold the business and retired. The December 31, 1897 edition of the Baltimore Sun ran a story announcing the sale.

A Highlandtown Distillery Sold

The Robert Stewart Distilling Company have transferred to Daniel H. Carstairs and J. Haseltine Carstairs, of Philadelphia, the plant and equipment of their distilling business and three lots of ground on Bank Street and Eastern Avenue. The price paid is not stated. A mortgage for $40,000 for part of the purchase money has been given.

Another story, this one in the January 14, 1898 edition of the Baltimore Sun provided some additional information:

The distillery has a capacity of 1,200 or 1,500 gallons of whisky daily, which will be increased to about 3,000 gallons daily by an addition to the plant now in course of construction.

The Carstairs Brothers served as proprietors of the distillery between 1898 and 1908 which was still listed at Bank and 5th in the Baltimore directories. Many of their early 1900’s advertisements included an aerial view of the distillery, which I assume by this time included the additions mentioned in the 1898 story above.

At the same time the Carstairs Brothers were managing the distillery they were also managing the firm of Carstairs, McCall & Co., a business that their family had been connected with as far back as the late 1700’s. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the company was heavily involved in the wine and liquor trade as importers, exporters and wholesale dealers.

A story on Carstairs & McCall in the October 6, 1908 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer described the early history of the business.

The present firm style was adopted in 1867, in which year the late James Carstairs and John C. McCall associated themselves as general partners. They were both recognized as imminently enterprising and progressive men of affairs, and under their aggressive management the interests of the house were considerably broadened and extended. The death of Mr. Carstairs, in 1893, was followed by that of Mr. McCall, in 1894, since which time the business has been conducted under the management of Messrs. Daniel H. Carstairs and J. Haseltine Carstairs, sons of the late James Carstairs, who entered the firm in 1885, and representatives of the fourth generation of the Carstairs family in continuous connection with the house.

The Philadelphia headquarters of the firm were located at 222 South Front Street for many years, but were removed in September, 1904, to the commodious and modernly equipped four-story and basement double building now occupied at 254-256 South Third Street. New York offices are maintained in the Park Row Building.

The story went on to say that while the distillery of the firm was located in Highlandtown, the business was done altogether in Philadelphia. This leads me to believe that while they may have been separate business entities, Carstairs Brothers and Carstairs & McCall were in effect operating as one.

During this period they called their whisky “Stewart” Pure Rye Whisky.” A January 12, 1905 item printed in the “Wine & Spirit Bulletin” described it like this:

Carstairs Bros. – A Fine Whisky

The absolutely essential elements for a fine blending whisky are a heavy body and strong character and flavor. The same characteristics are equally attractive, after proper aging, in a fine bar whisky.

Among the best in this line either for blending or bar use or for bottling in bond is the “Stewart” pure rye whisky, made by Carstairs Brothers, of Philadelphia Pa., at their distillery at Highlandtown, a suburb of Baltimore Md.

The Carstairs Brothers are gentlemen of a remarkably high order of intelligence and ability and character. They, as well as their goods, are thoroughly reliable, which fact will be attested by the trade at large wherever they have had dealings and that covers nearly every section of the country where fine rye whiskies predominate.

The 1908 Philadelphia Inquirer story called Stewart Pure Rye Whiskey their oldest and most well known product and demonstrated that it had grown quite a bit since being acquired by Carstairs.

It has a production of over 15,000 barrels per year and is sold all over the United States. A market for it abroad has rapidly increased of late years and many barrels are forwarded to London, Paris and Bremen every year.

Sometime in early 1909 a newly formed company called the Stewart Distilling Company was incorporated in Pennsylvania to consolidate the operation of Carstairs Brothers’ Stewart Distillery and the business of Carstairs, McCall & Co. A story in the April 25, 1909 edition of the Baltimore Sun covered the new corporation’s acquisition of the distillery.

The Stewart Distilling Company, of Pennsylvania, has purchased from Messers. Daniel H. Carstairs and J Haseltine Carstairs, of Philadelphia, trading as Carstairs Brothers, the distillery at Highlandtown, located on Eastern Avenue and Bank Street. The conveyance was recorded yesterday at Towson.

The deed transfers 13 lots, 10 in fee and 3 leasehold: also the entire plant, machinery, tools, etc., office fixtures, furniture, whisky brands and trademarks known as “Stewart” brands, formerly owned by the Robert Stewart Distilling Company.

Four days later the Philadelphia Inquirer covered the acquisition of the facilities owned by Carstairs, McCall & Co.

The two buildings at 254-56 South Third Street have been conveyed by J Haseltine Carstairs to the Stewart Distilling Company for a consideration recited as nominal. On a combined lot 50.10 x 180 feet the buildings are four-story brick structures assessed at $30,000.

The new corporation remained under control of the Carstairs brothers with Daniel serving as president and J. Haseltine serving as vice president and treasurer.

The company remained listed at the former Carstairs, McCall & Co., South Third Street address through 1918, changing their Philadelphia address to 301 Bellevue Court Blvd. in 1919. In New York their address was listed as 21 Park Row in 1909 and 1910 and 2 Rector Street from 1911 to 1919.

The brand I see advertised the most during this period was called “Carstairs Rye.” A series of advertisements printed in several of the NYC newspapers over the course of 1911 mention that its “the oldest American Whiskey,” dating back to 1788, which is certainly a reference to the first generation of Carstairs.

A labeled bottle found on the internet confirms that they continued to produce the Stewart brand as well, now called “Stewart Pure Old Rye”

By 1921 the Stewart Distilling Company was no longer listed in Philadelphia but the distillery in Baltimore survived for several more years.

On April 22, 1919, a “liquidation sale” was held at the distillery to dispose of the entire plant, including real estate and equipment as well as the trade name of “Stewart Pure Rye.” Notices announcing the sale were printed in several April editions of the Baltimore Sun.

The day after the sale a story in the Baltimore Sun announced that J. Haseltine Carstairs had purchased the plant in an effort to protect his own interests.

Philadelphian Buys Plant to Protect Interests

J. H. Carstairs, of Philadelphia, was the purchaser of the plant of the Stewart Distilling Company, Eastern Avenue and Fifth Street, at Highlandtown, at public auction yesterday afternoon for a consideration said to have been $125,000. The property has said to have been acquired by Mr. Carstairs to protect his own interest, the transfer involving no immediate solution to the future of the big plant.

The property includes four blocks of ground, with nine bonded and free warehouses, , besides the equipment, and is said to have been appraised at $1,150,000 before adverse legislation closed its doors.

Edward Brooks, Jr. attorney for the Stewart Company, said yesterday that after July 1, should the Prohibition law go into effect, a portion of the floor space will continue to be devoted to the storage of liquor now on hand. It is possible, he said, that the remaining buildings will be torn down to make room for improvements for some other line of business.

Sometime in 1921 it appears that the business was reorganized and the Carstairs were no longer involved. In 1922, the Stewart Distilling Company was listed in the Baltimore directories with Arthur Benhoff named as president. A year later in 1923, Robert Pennington and Vincent Flacomio were listed as president and secretary-treasurer respectively.

During this time the distillery may have been producing whisky for medicinal purposes but it was certainly storing liquor in their warehouses. This was evidenced by an incident that occurred in February, 1923 that was covered in newspapers across the country. A condensed version of the story was printed in the February 8, 1923 edition of the New York Daily News.

Discovery that bootleggers have got at least 100 barrels of whisky by tunneling from an unoccupied house to the Stewart Distillery was made today when a bootlegger had bared the plot to authorities. The tunnel is 150 feet long and large enough for a man to crawl through. Barrels in the distillery warehouse were tapped and the liquor pumped through a one and a half inch hose to containers in the unoccupied house.

The Baltimore Sun covered the story in much greater detail and actually provided a sketch associated with the theft.

According to a story in the April 18, 1924 edition of the Reading (Pa.) Times this wasn’t the only whisky vanishing from the Baltimore distillery.

Indictments charging two distillery officials with illegal sale of liquor were returned by a special federal grand jury here today.The men indicted were Jacob Katz, vice president and manager of the local warehouse of the Stewart Distillery, Baltimore, and Morris G. Waxler, local manager of the Sherwood Distillery.

The indictment against Katz contains thirteen counts alleging illegal sale of 3,000 cases of whisky and twenty-five barrels in September 1922 and with maintaining a nuisance where the whisky was stored…

Ultimately the end of the distillery came in the mid-1920’s. A story in the August 5, 1925 edition of the Baltimore Sun, stated the distillery property changed hands again.

Title to the old Stewart Distillery property on Bank Street between Fifth and Seventh Streets was conveyed by the Stewart Distilling Company to W. Guy Crowther, Jacob Ott and Herbert A. Megrow, through the Title Guarantee and Trust Company. The consideration was $75,000.

A month later, this advertisement in the September 6, 1925 edition of the Baltimore Sun announced that the distillery was being dismantled and that much of its contents and equipment was for sale.

Finally a June 15, 1927 Baltimore Sun article stated that the distillery property had been sold sold to the Crown Oil and Wax Company.

The former Stewart Distillery property on Bank Street, including eighteen two-story leasehold brick dwellings at 3804 – 3838 Bank Street and machinery, equipment, lumber, etc., was acquired at public auction yesterday by the Crown Oil and Wax Company. The consideration was $25,000 subject to mortgages totaling $54,566.22. Purchase was from Henry Goldstone, trustee, through Sam W. Pattison & Co., auctioneers. No plans for the property have been made by the purchasing Company, it is said.

The last listing I can find for the Stewart Distilling Company was in the 1926 Baltimore City Directory. As far as I can tell, their corporate charter was ultimately forfeited for failure to pay franchise taxes in 1925 and 1926.

Toward the end of Prohibition several different organizations were planning to revive some of the well-known Carstairs trade names. One, actually calling themselves the “Stewart Distilling Company,” was chartered June 14, 1933, and another calling themselves the “American-Stewart Distilling Company,” was a revival of the previously forfeited Stewart corporate charter.

D.H. and J.L. Carstairs brought suit to restrain them and two other companies, the “Carstairs Rye Distilleries, Inc.,” and the “Maryland Stewart Distillery Company” from using the Carstairs trade name.

An article in the March 15, 1934 edition of the (Allentown Pa.) Morning Call announced that the U. S. District Court of Maryland had ruled in favor of Carstairs in the case against Carstairs Rye Distilleries. I have to assume that they ultimately came down with similar rulings against the other companies as well because all three were included on a list of delinquent corporations that had forfeited their charters that was printed in the February 11, 1937 edition of Baltimore Sun.

The Morning Call article summarized the situation like this:

Carstairs rye whiskey, a favorite with drinkers since colonial times, is off the market unless the famous Philadelphia family bearing the name decides to re-enter the liquor business.

Based on this advertisement for Carstairs Rye, “Back In Baltimore Again,” that appeared in the September 6, 1934 edition of the Baltimore Sun  the family did re-enter the liquor business as Carstairs Bros. Distilling Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There’s no mention of Stewart.

The bottle I found is machine made with what looks like a double ring lip. It’s embossed with this rather awkward phrase in small letters  around the shoulder:

“LICENSED ONLY FOR USE ON PATENTED VALVE MECHANISM HERE OF BOTTLES WHEN FILLED BY US. RE-USE PROHIBITED. STEWART DISTILLING CO. ONE FIFTH GAL.”

The bottle is consistent with the non-refillable bottle that the company introduced in 1914 calling it “The Supreme Achievement of Standardized Quality, insuring delivery of contents unchanged to the purchaser.”

    

This most likely dates the bottle no earlier than 1914 and and no later than 1919 and the start of Prohibition.

 

 

 

John Wyeth & Bro., Philadelphia

The business of John Wyeth & Brother originated in 1861 when John and Frank Wyeth formed a partnership and opened an apothecary store in Philadelphia.  The company and its several successors have remained in business for over 150 years, ultimately becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer in 2009.

A graduate of the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy, prior to founding John Wyeth & Brother, John Wyeth had partnered with Henry C. Blair under the name of Blair & Wyeth, in a Philadelphia pharmacy business located at Eighth and Walnut Streets. His brother Frank Wyeth, also a Philadelphia School of Pharmacy graduate, worked for the business as chief clerk.

On July 1, 1861 the Blair & Wyeth partnership was dissolved and the brothers formed a new partnership under the name John Wyeth & Brother. Notices for both the dissolution of the old business and establishment of the new business were printed in the July 2, 1861 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

This change must have been in the works for a while because on July 1, 1861, the same day the above notices were dated, the brothers opened their own store and laboratory at 1412 Walnut Street.

A feature on the company, printed in the January 16, 1908 issue of “The Pharmaceutical Era” picks up the story from there.

From the beginning the business proved successful, and requiring greater facilities the adjoining property 1414 Walnut Street was added. Their preparations soon became recognized by the medical profession and their laboratory was enlarged by the addition of another property, No. 1416 Walnut Street, the firm soon thereafter entering regularly into the wholesale manufacturing business.

Their entrance into drug manufacturing appears to be driven by the increased need for drug related supplies as a result of the Civil War. Wyeth’s obituary, in the April 1907 edition of a pharmaceutical magazine called “The Spatula,” stated:

When the Civil War broke out he secured a big contract to furnish the Government with medicinal supplies, and from this began the manufacturing of pharmaceutical articles.

Early in their history the business became famous for their sweetened tinctures which they called elixirs. A story featuring Wyeth in the March 28, 1881 edition of the Montreal Gazette described their elixirs like this:

The elixirs are drug compounds, made up in an elegant and palatable shape; drugs which are nauseating in the ordinary form are in this guise cordials which a patient can take with relish and which the weakest and most sensitive stomach will not reject.

This 1872 advertisement, printed in the Charleston (S. C.) Daily News listed a menu of over 35 elixirs that they were manufacturing at that time.

  

They were also pioneers in the manufacture of medicines in pill and tablet form and in 1872 developed a rotary tablet machine that allowed the mass production of pills with pre-measured doses. Excerpts from a letter written years later discussed in the company’s own words their early history in this field. Dated January, 1913, it was written to the U. S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Chemistry in response to a request for information on tablet compressing machines and printed in the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association.

We have no prepared data or printed matter on hand of tablet compressing machines; from our books we glean that in about 1872 we constructed the first rotary tablet machine in our own shop by our chief mechanic; the machine was what is styled a disc machine with several dies, and improvements were constantly added and machine perfected until we had some machines that had as many as thirteen dies in rotating disc and some of these machines are still in use at the present time in our laboratory.

We are also the originators of the compressed hypodermic tablets and compressed tablet triturates, also compressed medicinal lozenges; these three variations were introduced by us during a period of 1877 to 1880 and other combinations of compressed tablets followed quickly according to demands made upon us by the physicians and trade. Prior to 1877 the formulae that were sold in tablet form were very few. They consisted of simple chemicals principally, such as potassium chlorate, ammonium chloride, etc., and after 1877 combinations followed. Physicians saw the convenience of this form of medication and at various times submitted different compound formulae which were made into either tablets or compressed lozenges…

Throughout the 1870’s the business was growing and by 1879 that growth had reached Canada where the Montreal firm of Perry Davis & Son & Lawrence was serving as their agent. Interestingly they didn’t ship their products to Canada but instead, according to a March 28, 1881 story in the Montreal Gazette, shipped their chemists to Canada instead.

Nearly every preparation included in the Pharmacopia is manufactured under the direction of this firm (Wyeth) in the establishment of Messrs. Perry Davis & Son & Lawrence. The method in which it is done is this: Messrs. Wyeth & Bro. send on their representative from Philadelphia at certain periods of the year and a large number of hands are engaged. The manufacture is proceeded with on a large scale and as soon as the stock is regarded as sufficient for the time being for the Canadian market operations cease. When the stock runs low again the manufacture is renewed.

In Philadelphia they remained at the Walnut Street location until 1889 when their entire plant was destroyed by fire. The fire was described in the March 6, 1889 issue of “Chemist & Druggist,” and a diagram of the fire was included in the next day’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

It brief we may state the fire originated just before noon on February 10 in the cellar of Frank Morgan’s drug store, which was part of the main building, a handsome marble structure, occupied by John Wyeth & Brothers. The fire raged fiercely. Great plate glass windows cracked as if they had been egg-shells. In a few minutes the gable roof of John Wyeth & Brothers’ store was on fire. The flames crept stealthily back and joined the blaze on the roof of the marble front. The roof fell killing a fireman in its descent and when darkness came a mass of ruins marked the spot where a few hours before stood one of the handsomest drug stores in the country. Great sympathy is felt for Messrs. Wyeth Brothers who commenced business in Walnut Street twenty five years ago, and during that time have made a significant collection of apparatus, especially that for making compressed tablets, the loss of which cannot be represented by money.

After the fire it wasn’t long before the business was up and running again. On June 19, 1899 a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer announced:

John Wyeth & Brother have purchased the property at the southeast corner of Eleventh Street and Washington Avenue where they will establish their chemical laboratory.

Six weeks later on August 1, 1899, another Philadelphia Inquirer story announced planned alterations to the building.

Builder McPherson will erect a number of new buildings. Among them can be mentioned the extensive alterations to be made to the building of John Wyeth & Bro., at Eleventh and Washington Avenue. A new fourth story is to be added and extensive interior alterations made, which will cost at least $20,000.

The January 16, 1908 feature on Wyeth in the “Pharmaceutical Era” noted that they moved into their Washington Avenue location in November that year. What appears to be a rendering of the original Washington Avenue building, including the new fourth floor addition, was incorporated into a Wyeth advertisement printed in the October 22, 1899 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Pharmaceutical Era feature went on to say that subsequent additions made over the next ten years tripled the capacity of the original plant.

Additions and innovations to their product lines continued as well; one example being an entire line of “chocolate coated” compressed tablets introduced in 1901.

We trust the introduction of a line of Chocolate-coated Compressed Tablets (Compressed Pills) will meet with the same favor that has been accorded to our Plain and Sugar-coated Compressed Pills, and which we do not hesitate to claim as one of the greatest advances in pharmacy of the age and a distinct innovation in the manufacture of pills. As no excepient enters into their composition, they do not become hard by age and are less liable to be affected by any climatic influences. Their lenticular shape renders them much easier to swallow than the ordinary round pills. In fact, they offer so many decided advantages they must commend themselves to every practitioner.

The business incorporated on October 27, 1899 under the name John Wyeth & Brother, Inc. The incorporation notice printed in the October 28, 1899 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer named John and Francis H. Wyeth along with E.T. Dobbins, W.A. Sailor and H.G. Starin as the initial directors.

John Wyeth served as president until his death on March 30, 1907 when he was succeeded as president by his son Stuart Wyeth. A year later in 1908 his brother Frank retired as Vice-President and was succeeded by his son Maxwell Wyeth.

The business remained in the Wyeth family until Stuart Wyeth’s death on December 30, 1929. A bachelor, he left the bulk of his estate, approximately $5,000,000, to Harvard University which at the time was the largest sum ever left to Harvard. A story in the May 28, 1931 edition of the Boston Globe summarized the ownership in the Wyeth business after the dust settled.

In early 1930 45 to 50 percent of the Wyeth stock was willed to Harvard University by Stuart Wyeth. Other than 5 percent owned by employees of the company, the balance rests with two Philadelphia institutions, serving as trustees, the Fidelity-Philadelphia Trust Company and Pennsylvania Company for Insurance on Lives and Granting Annuities.

Less than two years later the business was sold to American Home Products. The basics of the sale were included in the July 8, 1931 edition of the Oakland Tribune:

Purchase by American home Products corporation, of John Wyeth and Brother of Philadelphia for about $4,000,000 in cash, will increase the per share earnings of American Home Products approximately $1…The transaction approved by the directors in May will be financed out of current funds and with bank accommodation.

Still headquartered in Philadelphia, at the time the business was sold it had become nation-wide and had also established their own laboratory in Canada.  A story in the December 19, 1933 edition of the The Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Record provided a snapshot of the business just after the sale.

The firm has its main office and a manufacturing laboratory in Philadelphia, a laboratory in Walkerville, Ontario, with branch warehouses and offices in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Denver, St. Paul, San Francisco, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Portland, Atlanta and Dallas, Texas…

It employs 600 workers in its manufacturing plants and offices and it has 100 traveling salesmen covering Canada, the United States and the outlying territories.

As a subsidiary of American Home Products, the business continued under the name John Wyeth & Brother up until 1943. During this period, long time Wyeth employee Frank F. Law served as vice president and general manager and later president of the company. Then in 1943 American Home Products reorganized the drug piece of their business under the name Wyeth, Inc. A September 30, 1948 story in the Wilkes-Barre Record that featured Frank Law touched on the 1943 reorganization.

In 1943 American Home Products merged five companies into an ethical drug division, using Wyeth as the nucleus and with Harry S. Howard, then head of AHP as president. The new firm was called Wyeth Incorporated and Law became vice president in charge of pharmaceuticals and penicillin manufacture and president of John Wyeth & Brother Incorporated of Canada.

The story went on to say:

Wyeth was among the first to grasp the revolutionary potentialities of penicillin and under Law’s direction the company was a leader in the manufacture of the new wonder drug.

This photograph, printed in the August 5, 1945 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer actually shows the nobel prize winning discoverer of penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming at a Wyeth laboratory.

Wyeth was also heavily involved in the manufacture of other important vaccines as well; smallpox and polio to name a few. This story was printed in the April 25 edition of “The (Schuykill Pa.) Call”

The Marietta plant of Wyeth Laboratories, Inc. has been kept quite busy the past few days as a result of an increased demand from New York City for small pox vaccine to combat an outbreak in that city.

Dr. John H. Brown, production director at the laboratories, reported that over 100 members of his staff were very busy processing and packing small pox vaccine in order to fill New York City’s request for 2,000,000 inoculations.

In 1961, Wyeth moved from their long time facility on Washington Ave to the Philadelphia suburbs. According to a story in the October 13, 1960 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Wyeth Laboratories’ new $8,000,000 pharmaceutical facility near Malvern which will replace its 12th St. and Washington Ave. plant here, will be ready for occupancy in six months, it was announced Wednesday by Herbert W. Blades, president.

The new structure located on a 90 acre tract in East Whiteland township, just off Route 30, will have more than 12 acres under roof. The building cost $2,500,000 and manufacturing and laboratory facilities will cost an estimated $5,500,000.

Some 750 persons, including scientific, technical and administrative workers, will be employed at the plant. The facility will turn out prescription drugs and also serve as a national warehouse for Wyeth.

According to another article written around the same time, by then the company was headquartered in Randor Pennsylvania and had 21 manufacturing and distributing centers throughout the country.

In 2002, their parent company, American Home Products, actually changed its name to Wyeth. Having made the decision to focus on prescription drugs and health care they were in the process of selling off unrelated companies. According to Robert Essner, their president and chief executive officer at the time:

We are changing our name to reflect an important transition in the company’s history. Over the years we have strategically evolved from a holding company with diversified businesses to a world leader in research based pharmaceutical products. The Wyeth name, with its long and well respected association with the health care community, better conveys the skills of our people, the promise of our science, the quality of our products and our position as a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2009 Pfizer acquired Wyeth in a $68 billion deal.

Wyeth’s presence in New York City dates back to the early twentieth century when they opened what appears to have been a sales office in 1914. The announcement of the opening was carried in the September, 1914 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Era.”

John Wyeth & Bro., Philadelphia have opened a New York office at 449 West 42nd Street, with Charles Howard as their representative.

Over the next 40 years they maintained an office and most likely warehouse facilities at a number of NYC locations. Specific listings I can find include: 12 East 22nd St. (1919 to 1922), 7th Ave & 10th St. (1925), 117 7th Ave. South (1933) and 154 11th Avenue (1942 to 1946).

In 1948 it appears that much of their New York operation moved to 34 Exchange Place in Jersey City, N.J., however, they did continue to list a New York office until at least 1960. That year they were located in the Empire State Building.

I’ve found two Wyeth bottles over the years, both cobalt blue. One is a small mouth blown oval shaped pill bottle.

The other is a square machine made  bottle with a timed dosage cap that fits over the top (the bottle and cap were found in different locations at different times.) According to embossing on the base of the bottle it was patented on May 16, 1899. A recent labeled example exhibited on the Internet contained sodium phosphate; “A mild and pleasant Laxative Employed in the Treatment of Constipation, Obesity, Children’s Diarrhea, Rickets, Jaundice, etc.

        

United Wine & Trading Company – Pearl Wedding Rye

The United Wine and Trading Company was in business from 1899 through the early 1920’s. A news item in the June 30, 1899 edition of the Boston Evening Transcript announced the start of the company and the reasoning behind it.

Several hundred New York liquor dealers formally organized a combine yesterday and pledged themselves to support a movement which practically looks to the elimination of the middleman. Presiding officer Henry von Minden said:

“This movement will spread to other cities and in time it will control the trade permanently and effectively.”

He also announced that the capital stock of the company would be $700,000, of which about $300,000 is already subscribed. The company is to be known as the United Wine and Trading Company, and its purpose is to establish distilleries and manufacture spirits for its stockholders and for the trade. No one except retail liquor dealers are eligible for membership, and the maximum stock which any one person can hold is $2,000, the minimum is $500. The actual business of the company will be directed by a board of twelve, and in addition to dividends, it is expected that subscribers will also receive rebates.

A July 5, 1902 news item in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated that by then the company had 305 stockholders.

The business was listed in the New York directories at 424 Greenwich Street from 1900 to 1906 and at 321 West 13th Street from 1908 to 1919.  A complete listing of the directors was included in this 1902 advertisement (I count 13 directors not 12).

Henry von Minden served as president of the company from its onset until his death on December 7, 1918.

On November 28, 1899, several months after their incorporation, the company registered the label for Pearl Wedding Rye Whiskey and one other brand, Old Reliable Rye Whiskey, with the United States Patent Office.

This September 27, 1902 advertisement printed in the “Tamany Times,” a local N.Y. political publication, described Pearl Wedding Rye like this:

Pearl Wedding Rye Whiskey, Extra Special, is guaranteed to be more reliable and uniform in quality than any other whiskey offered to the public; its reputation for purity and excellence will always be sustained. It is made by a process employed only in the distillation of the finest whiskies and is from eight to ten years old, being thoroughly matured before it is bottled and placed on the market.

I can’t find many newspaper advertisements for Pearl Wedding Rye but apparently they used other advertising media such as billboards. This item, which appeared in the October 1902 edition of “The Advisor,” a magazine dedicated to the interests of advertisers, implied that the company advertised quite a bit.

Pearl Wedding Rye Goes

Before Pearl Wedding Rye was advertised its sales were 200 cases a month. Now more than 2000 cases are sold each month. Advertising did it.

One advertising poster, depicted likenesses of ex-Senator and ex-Governor of New York, David B. Hill; Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, the current Senator from New York, Chauncy Depew, New York City Mayor Seth Low and New York County District Attorney, William Travers Jerome, all supposedly at a banquet and drinking a toast with Pearl Wedding Rye.

The ladies of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) filed a protest against the advertisement and all the participants denied that they had endorsed the brand but the entire saga had made the newspapers and attracted lots of attention. To capitalize on all the publicity, the company republished the poster in newspaper advertisements under the headline “W.C.T.U. Conflicts with U.W.T.C.” and included the following announcement:

The ladies of the W.C.T.U. have filed their protest against the use of the above poster by the United Wine and Trading Company, proprietors of Pearl Wedding Rye Whiskey.

They have decided that the poster pictures are remarkably lifelike portrayals of five prominent Americans and that the pleased, satisfied expression which illumines their faces is particularly to be condemned.

One young woman proposed that the W.C.T.U. draft resolutions requesting its members to boycott Pearl Wedding Rye, but after a portentous silence the motion was hurriedly withdrawn.

Much more was said, which serves to provoke the query, Why do many of our greatest statesman, judges and army and naval officers drink Pearl Wedding Rye?

The answer is simple.

A “man who knows” knows best a good whiskey.

Pearl Wedding Rye is a most perfect whiskey and a healthful stimulant, free from fusel oil, delicately flavored, rich and mellow with age.

It is worthy of statesmen, worthy of the army and navy, worthy of the judiciary.

It bears the endorsement of some of our most famous physicians because of its medicinal qualities. It is an almost infallible cure for gout and rheumatism, and used as a preventative will invariably ward off attacks of colds and la grippe.

A bottle of Pearl Wedding Rye kept in the house and judiciously used will save many a doctor’s bill.

Those are some of the why’s.

The company was still listed in the directories during the first few years of Prohibition; in 1922 at 276 West 11th Street (with Hyman Reber named as president) and 1925 at 348 West 14th Street. After that I can’t find a listing for them.

According to streeteasy.com the building at 321 West 13th Street was built in 1907. That makes the United Wine & Trading Company an original occupant.

Zillow.com states that the current building at 424 Greenwich Street was built in 1915 so it doesn’t date back to the business.

The bottle I found is a half-pint mouth blown flask with screw threads and a ground finish. Remarkably, the cap was still attached and in relatively good condition.

Pearl Wedding Rye was sold in three sizes: Quart (or Fifth), pint and half-pint. The shape and cap design of the half-pint bottle I found matches the smallest of the three labeled bottles in this advertisement from several 1903 editions of “The Wine & Spirit Bulletin.”

     

Ayer’s Sarsaparilla, J. C. Ayer Company, Lowell, Massachusetts

 

The founder and initial proprietor of the company was James Cook Ayer.

Always located in Lowell, Massachusetts, his business began in a little apothecary shop and by the time of his death in 1878, had culminated in an immense patent medicine manufacturing establishment.

His success and notoriety were eloquently  summarized in a newspaper article, written near the time of his death, in the March 24, 1878 edition of the Boston Globe.

The name of Dr. James C. Ayer and his various compounds for nature’s ills are known throughout the whole length and breadth of the land. It may be safely said that there is not a second during the whole twenty-four hours but what, in some part of the inhabitable globe, the sun is shining upon his printed name…

Dr. Ayer was very justly recognized as one of the leading business and commercial men in Lowell and it is not any exaggeration to say that no single individual has ever done more to contribute to the city’s prosperity and renown.

The article went on to describe the general premise on which he based the business.

Thirty years ago, when Lowell was in its commercial infancy, Dr. Ayer commenced his business career as a drug clerk, and it was while serving in this capacity at a moderate salary that he struck upon the idea of curing the sick without the aid of physicians. At the time the settlement of the Western country had just commenced, and the Doctor argued to himself that in those wild sections there would be much sickness and very few physicians to deal with it, and that cheap and effective medicines for the common complaints of humanity would at once spring to popularity.

Ayer’s business career began in 1841 when he bought the apothecary shop of Jacob Robbins where he had been working as a clerk since 1838. The start of the business was described in the “History of Lowell and its People – Vol II,” by Frederick W. Coburn, published in 1920.

In April, 1841, he bought the Robbins drug store, borrowing from his uncle, James Cook, the purchase price – $2,486.61, thus beginning business life at the age of twenty-three with borrowed capital. But he had an asset even beyond his learning and youth. The drug store, which stood on Central Street, corner of Hurd Street, had been practically in the young man’s charge for some time, Mr. Robbins going to Europe. While in charge the young man experimented considerably, and had compounded the remedy for pulmonary complaints, which was afterward placed upon the market as Cherry Pectoral. He had induced physicians to try it in their practice, and the favorable reports received convinced him that he had found a valuable remedy. This fact nerved him to make the purchase and burden himself with a debt which he agreed to pay off in five years. It was paid in three.

His first remedy, Cherry Pectoral, was sold as a cure for coughs, colds, hoarseness, bronchitis, whooping cough, croup, asthma and consumption. Although it was being compounded by Ayer in his shop in the early 1840’s, newspaper advertisements for it did not begin to appear until 1845. These early advertisements from the late 1840’s/early 1850’s, like most Ayer advertisements over the years, were followed by written testimonials.

     

As the demand for his Cherry Pectoral continued to increase, so did the need for more space to manufacture it. Consequently in 1852, he built his first factory. According to Colburn’s “History of Lowell:”

For a time he continued at the old Robbins shop but the demand for his Cherry Pectoral increased so fast that he needed more room to install necessary machinery. He rented quarters in the Hamilton building, corner of Central and Jackson Streets. There he remained until 1852 when, driven out by the insistent demands of his trade, he moved to the large brick building he had caused to be erected on Jackson Street, adjoining the Fiske block.

Lowell city directories of the time confirmed this progression. He was listed at the original Robbins shop at Central and Hurd up through 1844 and subsequently the Hamilton building, at 84 Central, from 1845 to 1851. By 1853 the directories listed James C. Ayer & Co., Central, corner of Jackson where he remained  listed through 1858.

Shortly after establishing the new Jackson Street facility, Ayer’s introduced sugar coated pills called “Ayer’s Cathartic Pills” or sometimes just “Ayer’s Pills” as a second Ayer product.

Introductory newspaper advertisements, including one from the December 10, 1853 edition of the “New England Farmer,” described them as:

A new and singularly successful remedy for the cure of all Bilous diseases – Costiveness, Indigestion, Jaundice, Dropsy, Rheumatism, Fevers, Gout, Humors, Nervousness, Irritability, Inflammations, Headache, Pains in the Breast, Side, Back, and Limbs, Female Complaints, et., etc. Indeed very few are the diseases in which a Purgative Medicine is not more or less required, and much sickness and suffering might be prevented, if a harmless but effectual Cathartic were more freely used… Hence a reliable family physic is of the first importance to the public health, and this Pill has been perfected with consummate skill to meet that demand…

The addition of Carthatic Pills contributed to the growth of the business such that Ayer needed help, so, sometime in 1855, Ayer’s brother Frederick joined the business and by 1856 they had formed an official copartnership. A notice announcing the copartnership was printed in the December 4, 1856 edition of the “Burlington (Vermont) Weekly Sentinel.”

Around the same time two new “Ayer” preparations appeared on the market in rapid succession. Colburn’s “History of Lowell” identified them as:

….In 1855 Extract of Sarsaparilla was placed on the market, ague cure following in 1857.

Newspaper advertisements for both began appearing in and around 1858.

Their Sarsaparilla was described in advertisements as:

a combination of vegetable alteratives – Stillingia, Mandrake, Yellow Dock – with the Iodides of Potassium and Iron, and is the most effacious medicine yet known for the diseases it is intended to cure.

Its ingredients are so skillfully combined that the full alterative effect of each is assured, and while it is so mild as to be harmless even to children, it is still so effectual as to purge out from the system those impurities and corruptions which develop into loathsome disease.

Those diseases intended for its cure were many.

“Ayer’s Ague Cure,” was warranted as a cure for:

Fever and Ague. Intermittent Fever, Chill Fever, Remittent Fever, Periodical or Billious Fever, etc., and indeed all the affections which arise from malarious, marsh or miasmatic poisons.

According to Colburn’s “History of Lowell,” the manufacture of these remedies taxed the Jackson Street building beyond its capacity and in 1857 they erected a large building on Market Street. Later, in 1872, they purchased a school building on Market street and included it as part of their facility. Lowell directories listed the addresses of these locations as 103-105 Market Street and 98 Middle Street respectively. During this period, they began manufacturing Ayer’s Hair Vigor (1869) and acquired Hall’s Hair Renewer by purchase (1870).

On  July 3, 1877, J. C. Ayer passed away at the age of 60 and subsequently, on October 16, 1877, the business incorporated with Frederick Ayer named as the company’s first treasurer and general manager. Under his leadership the business continued to prosper through the 1880’s. A retrospective look  back at the year 1885, printed in the 1886 New Year’s Day edition of the Boston Globe provided this snapshot of a growing company that had become a world-wide operation.

At the J. C. Ayer Company about three hundred persons had employment in the office, laboratory, printing room and bindery. The managers claim that forty thousand persons do business with them and their sales have been greater this year than ever. To advertise their business the company prints almanacs in ten different languages and the last edition issued was over 14,000,000. Pamphlets are also issued in twenty different languages, and 40,000,000 circulars are also printed.

According to the biography of Frederick Ayer, included in the “Biographical History of Massachusetts,” he held the office of Treasurer until 1893 when the pressure of other interests forced him to resign. (According to his New York Times obituary, he was one of the organizers and for several years Treasurer of the Lake Superior Ship Canal and Railway and Iron Company and at the time of his death he was a Director of the Columbian National Life Insurance Company, the American Woolen Company, the International Trust Company, the J. C. Ayer Company, the Tremont and Suffolk Mills, the Boston Elevated Railroad Company and the Lowell and Andover Railroad Company.) After 1893 the Lowell directories, listed him as president of the Ayer business  but he had obviously left the day to day management of the business to others.

In 1894, it appears that the company either moved or expanded again, changing their main address listing in the Lowell directories from 98 Middle Street to 176 Middle Street. By this time they apparently owned a significant amount of property in the block between Middle Street and Market Street.

At the turn of the century, the company was still making additions and improvements to the their facility and operations. On April 23,1900 the company hosted a full day celebration to showcase one such series of improvements. An article describing the day’s festivities was printed in the April 24, 1900 edition of the “Boston Globe.” The article’s author participated in a tour of the Ayer facilities and his description of that tour, quoted below, provides a first hand perspective of the business at the time. So now sit back and enjoy the tour!

From the main office the sightseers were conducted downstairs to the printing office, which is prepared, as the foreman said to the reporter, “to turn out anything from a visiting card to a Bible.”

The next stopping place on the march was the new engine room on the Market Street side of the building, one of the handsomest engine rooms in the state. It was brilliantly lighted by more than 60 incandescent lamps. The engines of 80 horsepower each were the center of attraction.

Upstairs again following their guides, the guests found themselves in the first office of the fine new building on Market Street where Dr. Stowell presides over the medical department. This office as well as the one connected with it is in charge of Mr. Robinson.

Above these offices are two similar rooms, the sanctums of Mr. Kirkland, under whose supervision the renovating process has been brought to completion, and of Mr. Frank G. Rose, head of the publication department. Another flight took the visitors to the electrotyping department, where all the plates used in the advertising are cast.

Then followed a sight of the storeroom, drug mill, built exclusively for the company, the old tank room now superseded by the new, through passage and apartment, amid the clink of bottle and whir of machinery to the mixing room, the head center of the house of Ayer. The great room contains 7,000 square feet.

In one corner is the experimental laboratory – sacred to chemist Flynn, who said that last year they found it necessary to add over 13,000 gallons to the capacity, which now aggregates over 28,000 gallons.

A visit to the pill room on the same floor gave the visitors a glimpse at a business-like machine which mixed away at the compounds for dear life, turning the product over to a neighbor which rolled and cut the soft mass, delivering it in the form of handfuls of pills, black as the traditional hat, and pouring by thousands into the receptacle at the base. Thence the pills are placed in huge copper cylinders, where they roll into coats of sugary whiteness, to be withdrawn, hardened in the drying kilns, recoated smoothly and sent along to be packed.

The filtering room, where the sarsaparilla and pectoral compounds from upstairs are filtered and cleansed from sediment was seen. In the bottling room below, the Ayer products, sarsaparilla, cherry pectoral, ague cure, etc., are made ready for the market – bottled and labeled with careful swiftness. An inspection of the hair vigor department was next in order.

A further descent revealed the advertising exhibit, showing Ayer advertising in 21 different languages as one of the novelties. Through the stock room, piled high with boxes containing the finished product, the visitors were led, downstairs to the shipping room, where the methods of sending out goods for foreign and local markets were set forth. Each trade has its own style of packing, and each preparation as well.

In the basement are stored in one part rows upon rows of barrels filled with drugs, and in another hundreds of cases of glassware in which the preparations are packed. Then the guests were lifted again to the office level. They were quite ready for a rest. The house of Ayer contains a floor space of 107,000 square feet, and they had traveled a considerable part of it.

After Frederick’s death in 1918, J. C. Ayer’s son, also named Frederick, was listed in the directories as president until 1924 when he also passed away. At that point, Charles F. Ayer (a son of the elder Frederic (as best I can tell) was named president.

The company remained listed at 176 Middle Street in the 1939 Lowell Directory. Also listed in 1939, at the same address, was the Mass Pharmaceutical Corp. In 1943 (the next directory I have access to) The Mass Pharmaceutical Corp. was still listed at the same address but the Ayer Company had vanished from the directory. In 1944, neither company name was listed.

Advertising was one of, if not THE, key to the success of the company over the years. J. Walter Thompson, a famous advertising executive, whose company worked with the Ayer company for over 20 years beginning around 1870, was interviewed around the time of Frederick’s death in 1918. In the interview, presented in the March 21, 1918 edition of “Printers Ink, he mentioned both their almanac, which began publishing in 1852, and newspaper/magazine advertisements as focus points of their advertising.

J. C. Ayer & Co., were one of my first clients and continued with me for more than twenty years. I probably did not meet Frederick Ayer more than two or three times during this entire period, although he was the directing force of the business. The man I dealt with was Mr. Whyte – I think that was the way his name was spelled – who had charge of the advertising and made the contacts with agents and publishers.

Ayer’s Almanac was, I believe, the first and most widely distributed advertising medium employed by the firm. I have seen a statement somewhere, that the sum of $300,000 a year was annually spent on this publication. It was issued in some forty different languages and dialects, the several editions aggregating several million copies.

      

The Ayer remedies were extensively advertised in the newspapers as well as in the magazines. Mr. Whyte himself, used to go about the country, making contracts with the newspaper publishers. The rates he paid were down to bedrock and were ofter ridiculously low. The contracts were prepared a sufficiently long time in advance to have them include every possible provision that would insure their exact fulfillment. I do not remember the amount spent bt the Ayers in advertising in the magazines and newspapers, but it was not less than $200,000 and may have run as high as $500,000.

Their newspaper advertisements were supported by a large number of written testimonials that attested to the success of their products as well as endorsements from well-known individuals. This early advertisement, printed in the November 21, 1857 edition of the “New England Farmer” included endorsements from the Governor of Massachusetts, the Catholic Bishop of Boston and a professor of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City among others.

Another, printed in the April 7, 1860 edition of the “New England Farmer” included endorsements from over 25 named mayors of both U. S. and foreign cities.

The “Printers Ink” interview went on to say that Ayer was one of the first companies that provided their goods to retailers on consignment.

It was Frederick Ayer who inaugurated what was at the time a brand new system of distribution. He was not satisfied with the old methods – they were shown to be inadequate. He believed that there were hundreds of stores in the smaller towns not covered by his salesman that ought to sell the Ayer products. After studying the situation thoroughly he hit upon a plan that enormously increased the business. A large number of handsomely painted and decorated wagons, drawn by one and two pairs of fine looking horses and carrying large stocks of Ayer remedies were sent out along the highways into nearly every state. The salesman who accompanied the wagons called on every retailer, whether grocer, druggist or general store keeper, in every town, and, whenever possible, left with him an assortment of goods. The coming of these wagons, which because of their snappy smart appearance created great interest wherever they went, was an event, and the dealers in front of whose stores the teams stopped felt highly honored. The remedies were left on consignment. Three months or perhaps four months later, when the distributing wagons made their next trip, the retailers paid for the goods sold since the last visit. In this way Ayers built up a great distribution. You could hardly find a town anywhere in which the firm’s products were not sold. This sales plan was employed for many years , but was finally abandoned when transportation facilities became abundant.

Today, the building at 176 Middle Street almost certainly dates back to the time of the business. A sign denoting the “J. C. Ayer Co.” is still prominently visible on the side of the building that fronts Middle Street. Now, converted to condominiums the building is now called the “Ayer Lofts Condominiums.”

     

The bottle I found is a mouth blown sarsaparilla bottle that matches the bottles shown in advertisements from the late 1800’s.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian Remedies

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

INDIAN MEDICAL INSTITUTE

No. 36 Bromfield Street, Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The company couldn’t advertise Nervura enough. A quick non-scientific study of newspapers.com revealed that between 1887 and 1904, they ran newspaper advertisements in 41 of the 45 states in the union at that time, neglecting only Washington State, Nevada, Wyoming and Colorado. They weren’t small advertisements either, many taking up half a page and more than a few encompassing an entire page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREEN’S NERVURA AGAIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co., New York

Valentine Loewer was the founder and initial proprietor of V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co. He named the brewery after Gambrinus, who, according to the old Encyclopedia Britannica was:

“A mythical Flemish King who is credited with the first brewing of beer in 1261. His portrait had the place of honor in the Brewers Guild Hall in Brussels.”

Valentine Loewer’s obituary, in the November 1, 1904 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review,” provided some general information about him and his business.

He was born in Leiselheim, near Worms, Germany, and came to this country in 1860. In 1868 he established a weiss beer brewery in New York, which in 1879 was converted into a larger beer brewery, growing rapidly in output until the present annual production of 250,000 barrels was reached. Loewer’s sons, Jacob and George, were associated in business with him, the former being secretary and the latter treasurer of the company.

The original brewery was first listed in the 1867/1868 NYC Directory as Loewer & Josy, with an address of 605 West 51st Street in Manhattan. Loewer was listed as a partner along with Jacob Josy. Their partnership was short-lived and in 1870/1871 Loewer was listed individually as a brewer at the same location. The next year, in the 1871/1872 directory, he was listed at 529 West 41st Street, where the business remained well into the 1940’s.

It’s not clear what changes were made to the brewery in 1879 but the obituary specifically used the word “converted.” This leads me to believe that the brewery was converted to include production of the bottom fermented lager beer, which was gaining popularity in the U. S. at the time. Prior to that, the brewery was producing weiss beer, which is top fermented.  This is supported, at least in my mind, by this May 16, 1915 advertisement in the (New York) Sun for their lager beer which states “Loewer’s has been in business since 1879.”

It wasn’t until 1887 or 1888 that the business began using the “V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co.,” name in the directories. In 1889, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Valentine Loewer, president; his son, George Loewer, secretary and Charles J. G. Hall, treasurer. By 1900 George had become treasurer and Jacob Loewer, was secretary. Throughout this entire period their address continued to be listed as 529 West 41st Street.

Around the turn of the century, the brewery apparently implemented significant upgrades and additions. An item in the May 20, 1901 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review” described the changes that were taking place.

The V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewing Co. of New York, has built a boiler and engine room, 50 x 30 feet; a new office 20 x 60 feet, three stories high, all brick and iron, equipped with all modern improvements. Four new boilers, 200 horse power each, and two ice machines of 215 and 70 tons respectively, have been put in. A new brew-house and a malt storage house have been contracted for. The brew-house will be 50 x 60, all brick and iron, equipped with all modern machinery and apparatus. The malt storage house will have a capacity of 20,000 bushels.

By the time the dust settled, their office, brewery and cold storage facility were all located adjacent to each other in the block from Tenth to Eleventh Avenues, between 41st and 42nd Street; the office at 528 – 532 West 42nd Street and the brewery and cold storage facility at 521-533 West 41st Street. Their bottling plant was on the other side of 41st Street at 536-538 West 41st street.

This advertisement, included in the Commemorative Book of the 11th Convention of the U. S. Brewmasters Association in 1899, appears to be a rendering that showed the future 1901 improvements in 41st Street looking west toward the Hudson River. The Brewery is on the right (north) side of 41st Street.

Later, on February 3, 1911, The brewery gained permission from the City of New York to “install, maintain and use a 15 – inch pipe “under and across” 41st Street connecting the brewery and the bottling department.

the said pipe to be used to contain a small pipe for the transmission of beer, ale and other malt liquors between the said premises for bottling purposes.

After Valentine Loewer’s death on October 10, 1904 his son George was listed in the directories as president until his death on January 30, 1915. At that point, the younger son, Jacob took over.

During Prohibition it appears that the V Loewer Gambrius Brewery Co. stayed in business making non-alcoholic beverages for which they registered a number of trademarks. Three that caught my eye, filed and published in 1919, were for a brand name called T.N.T.

Around the same time, Jacob Loewer also established a second corporation called the Loewer Cold Storage Corporation to take advantage of his refrigeration facilities. The notice of incorporation was published in the February, 1920 edition of “Ice and “Refrigeration.”

The Loewer Cold Storage Corporation, Manhattan N. Y., capital stock $30,000. Incorporators: J. Loewer, H. D. Muller and H. D. Muller, Jr.

Both the brewery and cold storage company listed their address as the brewery office address of 528 West 42nd Street during the Prohibition years.

As Prohibition ended Loewer’s was back in the business of brewing beer. An article in the March 24, 1933 edition of the (New York) “Daily News” entitled “Orders Deluge Brewers and Hundreds Get Jobs” mentioned several breweries including Loewer’s, stating:

Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewing Co., 528 W. 42nd St., has put all its men back on full time and expects to increase the force.

The optimism expressed in this article was apparently short-lived. After Prohibition was repealed the brewery continuously operated at a deficit. At the annual meeting of the company, held on March 28, 1941, it was reported that the loss for that year alone was in excess of $70,000 and the latest report of Dun Bradstreet read:

Comparative fiscal statements for a like period have reflected an unbalanced financial condition, a growing current debt and a substantial deficit.

On January 8, 1943 an involuntary petition of bankruptcy was filed against V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co., and subsequently, on April 22, 1943, the court approved a sale of the brewery by the trustee to Brewery Management Corporation at a price of $100,000. The brewery closed five years later in 1948.

Today, there’s no sign of the brewery buildings.

I found a machine made export beer bottle embossed, “V Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co. New York” in small letters around the shoulder. The bottle is similar in shape and size to this labeled example that recently appeared for sale on the Internet.

     

The number “1918” is embossed in large type on the base of the bottle. Other examples of this bottle that I’ve seen exhibit similar numbers in the 1930’s range.  This leads me to believe that it most likely indicates the year the bottle was produced.

F. Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The advertisement said, in part:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    

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

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

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

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

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

The Passing of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

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

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

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

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

 

Christo Bottling Co., Washington D.C.

      

The Christo Bottling Company was in operation from 1917 to 1927. It’s primary founder was Herbert Guggenheim, who, according to 1920 census records, was born in 1886 and a native of Washington D.C.

Beginning in 1907 and up through 1911 he was listed in the Washington D.C. directories as a “wholesale liquor” dealer with an address of 1636 9th Street, nw. The directory listings did not associate him with a specific company but a newspaper advertisement printed in the January 1, 1910 edition of the Washington Times called his business the Phoenix Liquor Company.

Between 1912 and 1917 Guggenheim was listed as a “salesman” or sometimes “solicitor,” and then, sometime in 1917, he partnered with Sydney E. Gunst and established the Christo Bottling Company. The 1918 and 1919 Washington D.C directories listed their business address as 931 C Street, nw, with both Gunst and Guggenheim named as proprietors. In 1920 Gunst was no longer included in the listing, apparently retired.

The business remained at the C Street location until 1924 at which time it was listed at 209-11 11th Street, nw., where it remained through 1927.

Primarily operated during the prohibition years, the business dealt in non-alcoholic beverages. They apparently served as a local agent for the Richmond, Virginia based Christo Manufacturing Company, bottling and distributing Cristo-Cola and Cristo Ginger Ale. In addition, they must have held contracts with other beverage companies as well. This advertisement, printed in the November 20, 1917 edition of the (Washington D.C.) Evening Star, named the Christo Bottling Co. as a distributor for “Moer-Lo,” a beverage manufactured by a company named Moerlein of Cincinnati, Ohio.

 An invigorating and non-intoxicating beverage with sparkle, tang and individuality.

In addition to selling Christo Ginger Ale, by 1918 or 1919 the company was also selling another brand of ginger ale as well called “G & G.” Using the “G & G” trade name got Guggenheim into a legal battle with long time ginger ale manufacturer Cantrell & Cochrane who sold their ginger ale under the brand name “C & C” and claimed copyright infringement. According to the appellate court records:

At first defendant conducted his ginger ale business exclusively under the name of Christo Bottling Company. He testified that “the prominent name of his business in 1917 and 1918 was the Christo Bottling Company”; that “he began to use the G & G bottle about 1918 or 1919.” From that time he manufactured and sold both Christo ginger ale and the G & G brand. He widely advertised the G & G brand, or caused it to be advertised, but under the name of the G & G Bottling Company, and never under the name of Guggenheim & Gunst. Although all other witnesses were familiar with the C & C brand, defendant disclaimed any knowledge of it at the time he adopted G & G as his mark. He was asked why he could not sell the G & G ginger ale under the name of the Christo Bottling Company, and replied: “Well, we prefer to have a distinctive name for it.”

There’s no record of the G & G Bottling Company that I can find in either the Washington D. C. general or business directories so it appears that the company existed in name only. This is supported by an advertisement for G & G Ginger Ale in the April 21, 1921 edition of the Washington Times in which the G & G Bottling Company used the Christo Bottling Company’s C Street address.

Not surprisingly, in a decision dated January 4, 1926, the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals found in favor of Cantrell & Cochrane.

G & G more nearly approximates C & C both in appearance and sound, than any other two letters, and their continued use inevitably would result in the reaping by the defendant of the benefits incident to the long established and widely advertised business of the plaintiff. The decree is affirmed, with costs.

The Christo Bottling Company was not listed in the 1928 directory but Guggenheim was; as the proprietor of the Guggenheim Company, a bottling business located at 3301 K Street, nw. Whether or not this change in company name was related to the court case is not clear. The Guggenheim Company remained listed through 1934, always at the K Street address.

The bottle I found is a 7 1/2 ounce machine made bottle that dates to the 1917 to 1927 time frame of the company. It’s a good guess that it either contained Christo-Cola or Ginger Ale. How and why it ended up on Long Island…who knows?

Westchester County Brewing Co., Mount Vernon and Pelham, New York

      

The Westchester County Brewing Company, sometimes referred to as the Westchester Brewing Co. or the Westchester County Brewery,  was established in late 1909 and maintained facilities in both Mount Vernon, New York and across the Hutchinson River in Pelham, New York. The company founders were William H. Ebling, Jr. and William Hobby. According to his December 10, 1910 obituary, Ebling came from a family of New York City brewers.

Mr. Ebling was the son of William Ebling, who with Phillip Ebling, established the brewery at 156th Street and St.Ann’s Avenue, The Bronx, years ago. He was associated with his father and uncle until the brewery was sold. Two years ago he and William Hobby organized the Westchester County Brewing Company.

Ebling’s partner, William Hobby, was the proprietor of the Hobby Bottling Company located in Mount Vernon, N.Y., a business that, according to a notice printed in the March 15, 1898 edition of the New York Times, incorporated around that time. The advertisement below, from the 1902 Mount Vernon Directory, listed their address as 21-25 Prospect Avenue, an address they maintained from 1899 up through 1912.

Ebling and Hobby established the Westchester County Brewing Company sometime in late 1909. The January 1, 1910 edition of the “New Rochelle Pioneer” reported the formation of the new corporation.

BIG BREWERY NEAR HERE

Will Be Located at Pelham and Employ One Hundred and Fifty Men

The Westchester County Brewery has just been incorporated with a capital of $400,000 to take over the defunct Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant at Pelham and the bottling business of William Hobby of Mount Vernon. The company will install a brewing plant to have a capacity of from 50,000 to 60,000 barrels of beer a year and an artificial ice plant with an output of 100 tons a day.

In the prospectus it is interesting to note the statement that Westchester County consumed more than 500,000 barrels of beer per annum of which it produces less than 10 percent. The only beer brewed in the county at present is in Yonkers.

The company will operate under what is known as a co-operative plan; that is the retailers will be interested financially in the venture.

The Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant had been listed in the Pelham directories dating back to 1902. Early maps show that it was located adjacent to the Hutchinson River near Sparks Avenue. This advertisement was included in the 1907 Pelham Directory.

The first directory reference for the Westchester County Brewing Co. was in 1910 and it indicated that the new business continued to use the properties of the combined companies.. That year they listed their office (and bottling department) address as 21-23 Prospect Avenue, the address of the Hobby Bottling Company  and they listed two locations for their brewery and ice plant; one at  Sparks Ave, Pelham, the former location of the Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant and the other at Pelhamdale and Riverside Aves and E 4th, Mt Vernon. Ebling was named president and Hobby, secretary/treasurer. After Ebling’s death, the 1911 directory named Hobby, president and Sydney A. Syme, secretary treasurer.

The future brewing plant mentioned in the February 1, New Rochelle Pioneer story was ultimately constructed on the property of the former Pelham Hygia Ice Plant. The May 1, 1911 edition of the Brewer’s Review announced that it was fully operational.

The Westchester County Brewery in Pelham, N.Y., is now in full operation, with an annual capacity of 80,000 barrels. The refrigeration plant has a capacity of 120 tons daily The value of the building, land and outfit is estimated at $500,000.

The formal opening was announced in the June 15,1911 edition of the “American Bottler.”

The Westchester County Brewery, North Pelham, New York, was formally opened on June 2nd, when about 500 visitors were shown through the buildings and entertained with an old-fashioned New England clam bake, served on the lawn.

The new plant is up to the minute in its equipment and President William Hobby, who is also proprietor of the Hobby Bottling Works, Mount Vernon, N.Y., says that its products will be the finest that skill, experience and high-grade  materials can manufacture.

This image, taken from one of their advertising signs, depicts the new brewery as well as the Mount Vernon office and bottling department shown in the upper right hand corner.

Apparently, Ebling and Hobby had financially overextended themselves building the new brewery and not long after its formal opening the business was in financial trouble. In his September 9, 2018 blog, the Town Historian of Pelham, Blake Bell, detailed their financial difficulties. Portions of his blog are presented below and the entire write-up can be found at www. pelhamplus.com.

In the months leading up to the completion of the main facility and its opening, the pair touted the new business as a sure “bonanza” and sold stock in the venture to investors throughout Westchester County and New York City.

Although the United States economy was healthy in 1910, Ebling and Hobby over-extended themselves and their new business with debt at precisely the time the U.S. Economy moved from a twenty year period of rapid growth to a twenty year period of modest growth…

In less than a year the new business was in trouble. On September 12, 1911, bankruptcy proceedings were commenced as a voluntary petition for dissolution of the business was filed. In reality, the bankruptcy was merely a move to fend off creditors. There were more than twenty lawsuits pending against the company at the time of filing with some nearing judgement.

As the proceedings dragged along, the brewery continued to operate under receivers including William O. Hobby (the remaining living founder). Hobby’s own financial situation, however, grew increasingly bleak. In March, 1915, Hobby filed for personal bankruptcy.

The company continued to be listed in the directories up through 1918, at which time their financial difficulties combined with looming prohibition forced the sale of the brewery. The planned sale, to the Knickerbocker Ice Company was announced under the heading “Icy Items” in the January 1919 edition of “Ice and Refrigeration.”

It is reported that negotiations for the purchase of the Westchester Brewing Co.’s plant in North Pelham, N.Y., by the Knickerbocker Ice Co., are pending and that a deal will likely be consummated within a short time. The Knickerbocker Ice Co. has been furnishing considerable natural ice to the residents of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and their environs, but it is stated there has become a profound preference for artificial ice, and the company being desirous of conforming with the consumers’ wants, the ice manufacturing equipment in the brewing company’s plant will enable them to manufacture sufficient ice for this section.

The 1920 directory listed the Knickerbocker Ice Company at the Sparks Avenue location so apparently the sale closed sometime in 1919. Ultimately, the old brewery building was razed in the early 1950’s.

The bottle I found is a machine made, export style, bottle with the company name embossed in a logo on the shoulder. Mount Vernon, N.Y. is embossed at the base of the bottle in small letters. The bottle certainly dates to the operational period of the business; say 1911 to 1918.