Columbia Bottling Co., 105 & 107 Columbia Street, New York & 734 East 6th Street, New York

The proprietor of the Columbia Bottling Company, Bernard (sometimes Barnett) Sandrowitz was listed in the 1897 and 1898 Trow NYC Business Directory under “mineral water” at 330 Stanton Street.

The Columbia Bottling Company was first listed in the 1900 NYC Corporation and Copartnership Directory at 330 Stanton Street . They also appear in the 1901 New York State Factory Inspection Report with 8 employees. In 1902 the company moved to 734 East 6th Street and remained listed there through 1909 with Bernard Sandrowitz as proprietor.

The January 15, 1909 issue of the “American Bottler” announced that the business had incorporated.

The incorporation is announced of the Columbia Bottling Co 734 East 6th Street New York to bottle water and beverages: capital $ 5,000. The incorporators are: Harry Schiffman No 135 E 115th St, Leon Katz No 1461 Fifth Avenue, Samuel Slonim No 1590 Lexington Ave, all of New York.

In 1910 the business changed their name in the directories to the Columbia Bottling Works but remained at the 734 East 6th Street location. Sandrowitz continued to be listed with the company in the Copartnership and Corporation Directories  so I assume that he continued to run/manage the business.

The company apparently went out of business in 1914. The 1914 directory stated that the company name had been discontinued.

In the 1915 NYC General Directory, Sandrowitz was still living at the East 6th Street location but was employed as a foreman at the Columbia Soda Water Works, located at 375 East 4th Street. Adolph Goldstein was listed as both president and vice president of the company and Frances Sandrowitz (probably a relative) was secretary/treasurer. By 1920, this company was not listed either.

I’ve found two Columbia Bottling Company bottles. One is embossed Columbia Bottling Co with an address of 105 & 107 Columbia Street. This is the same block as 330 Stanton Street, so it looks like the business was located on the northwest corner of Stanton and Columbia. Recognizing that the business moved to 6th Street in 1902, this bottle dates between 1900 and 1901 or possibly a couple of years earlier depending on when Sandrowitz started using the Columbia name. The bottle is quart sized (27 or 28 oz) with an applied blob finish.

The other bottle is embossed with the 724 East 6th Street address, so it probably dates between 1902 and 1909, before they started calling themselves the Columbia Bottling Works, but certainly no later than 1914. The bottle also has the monogrammed initials “BS” embossed on it which must stand for Bernard Sandrowitz. The bottle is also quart sized (27 oz) with a tooled blob finish.

I’ve also seen bottles on the internet embossed Columbia Bottling Co with a Harrison St address in Brooklyn. Their Bottle Registration Notice, printed in the February 18, 1898 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated that they had been in business since 1896 and that they maintained addresses at 117 Columbia Street and 36 Harrison Street in Brooklyn. They were owned and operated by Eugene R Judge. I can’t find any connection between the two companies.

The City Bottling Works of New York, Henry Downes, 1873

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According to his obituary in the December 15, 1905 edition of “The American Bottler” Henry Downes was one of the first makers of ginger ale in the US.

Henry Downes, the veteran bottler, died at his home, 429 Henry Street, Brooklyn on the 23rd, at the age of 72 years.

He was a native of County Clare, Ireland, and came to this country when a young man, and as a pioneer in the soda water business was one of the first manufacturers of ginger ale in this country.

He was one of the original members of the Bottlers’ and Manufacturers’ Association of New York.

Henry Downes was first listed in the 1870/1871 Trow New York City Directory at 411 1st Avenue with the occupation minerals. A year later, he was listed as a bottler at the same address. In 1873-74 he changed his address to 404 E 25th St. (on the same block but on the other side of First Avenue) with the following description:

manufacturer of Belfast Ginger Ale, Honey Mead Soda, Sarsaparilla, Fruit Syrups and Extracts; also original manufacturer of Extract of Ginger Ale.

He was still listed at that address through 1888. In 1890/91 he was listed as a bottler in Brooklyn at 98 Wycoff Street. He was still listed at this address in 1897 but as an agent, not a bottler.

Downes held the rights to at least two patents. One (No. 145139), dated December 2, 1873, and held jointly with Frederick W. Wiesenbrock was for “a fountain for soda water.” The other (196437 A) was for improvements in vent faucets for bottles, Filing Date: May 31,1877, Publication Date: October 23,1877.

Another obituary, this one in the November 25, 1905 issue of the New York Sun, said that Downes was a writer and lecturer, and for many years was connected with the Bottlers Gazette.

Today this area of First Avenue in Manhattan is heavily occupied by NYU. Their College of Dentistry occupies the former 411 First Avenue address. The 25th Street address is just east of First Avenue and is also occupied by a modern building.

The bottle I found is a pony style with an applied blob finish. Its embossed  with the date of 1873 which puts it on the bubble between the First Avenue and East 25th Street locations. I’ve seen bottles embossed with the Wycoff Avenue address on the Internet but have not found one.

California Bottling Co., 142 King St., Brooklyn, N.Y.

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The first listing I can find for the California Bottling Co. was in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens however, based on the patent application below it appears that the business started around 1920. This is confirmed in a June 10, 1920 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that described an accident involving a truck owned by the California Bottling Co. The business continued to be listed in various Brooklyn Directories up to and including 1931.

According to 1922 issues of the “Beverage Journal” and the “Soda Fountain” under the heading “soft drinks and syrups” the California Bottling Co patented the design and the word “click” for non-alcoholic, non-cereal, maltless beverages sold as soft drinks and syrups for making same. Used since: February 1, 1920, Filed: February 28, 1922, Published: July 18, 1922 and Registered: October 17, 1922.

california-ad

Starting in the mid-1920’s through 1931, the Click Cola Bottling Company was listed in various directories with the same address and telephone number as the California Bottling Co.

I’ve seen bottles on the Internet embossed Click Cola (in script) Bottling Co., with the 142 King Street address looking very much like a classic Coca-Cola bottle. An Internet bottle site stated that Coke sued them for infringement and put them out of business. I can’t confirm this.

Today 142 King Street is a one story building with two garage door size openings. Property Shark.com states that it was built in 1931 so it was most likely not utilized by the business.

The bottle I found is machine made (8 oz) with California Bottling Co embossed inside a large horseshoe. There is no mention of “Click” Cola. It fits with a mid 1920’s time frame.

Bruckner Bros., 408 to 412 E 161st St., New York

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The NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed the Bruckner Brothers as John A and Henry Bruckner. The business bottled mineral water and soda. Henry was also a prominent Bronx politician serving as an Assemblyman in 1901, Commissioner of Public Works from 1902 to 1912, a Congressman from 1913 to 1917 and Bronx Borough President from 1918 to 1933. Bruckner Boulevard and the Bruckner Expressway were named after him.

An early Bruckner Bros bottle listed on the Internet is embossed “Successors to Stephen Garland.” Garland was listed as waters in the Directories between 1875 and 1892. He was located at East 163rd Street near 3rd Avenue through the mid 1880’s, and at Elton Avenue and E 162nd Street until 1892. Bruckner Bros was first listed in the 1894 NYC Directory in the same neighborhood at 668 East 161st Street so they must have purchased and moved the business sometime in 1892 or 1893.

Sometime between 1906 and 1908 they moved to 408 East 161st Street and continued to be listed at that address throughout National Prohibition. In the 1940’s they were still located there but had changed their name to Bruckner Beverages. Henry Bruckner died in 1942 but the business survived through most of the 1950’s. In 1957 they were listed at 450 Thompson Place.

The “American Bottler” contained the following story of a robbery that occurred at the business in July, 1917. The story gives a little insight into Henry Bruckner’s sense of humor.

The Uses of Adversity

Sweet are the uses of adversity. Sometime during the night of July 28th last, burglars forced an entrance to the soda water plant of Bruckner Bros., at 412 East 161st Street, New York City, and blew a large safe in the office on the second floor, securing $1,000 in cash and a number of checks. They then went to the private office of Congressman Henry Bruckner and blew the safe there, securing a number of checks.

Turning his misfortune to advertising account Mr Bruckner immediately furnished the local newspapers with the following copy.

Burglars recently robbed the safe in the establishment of Bruckner Bros. The cracksman drank several bottles of ginger ale before departing. It must be good. Try it. Sold by first class grocers, delicatessen dealers and confectioners in the Bronx.

U-NO-US

Henry Bruckner, Sole Proprietor

Interestingly, Henry listed himself as sole proprietor in the above story but two years later, the 1919 Copartnership and Corporation Directory continued to list both Henry and John as principals. The 1925 NYC Directory listed the business as Bruckner Bros., but only named Henry Bruckner. I guess it’s safe to say that John left the business at some point during this period.

In 1921 they registered the U-NO-US slogan as a trademark (No.148198; Published Date Sept. 27, 1921) although they claimed to have been using it since 1896. They describe the product as non-alchohlic, non-cereal maltless beverages sold as soft drinks. This was their big seller during the prohibition years. I’ve seen bottles listed on the Internet with “U-NO-US”embossed in large letters below the shoulder and the company name and address in smaller letters near the base.

bruckner-patent

408 to 412 East 161st Street is located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, about 10 blocks east of Yankee Stadium. The former addresses are now encompassed by a new apartment building that takes up the west end of the block on the south side.

The bottle I found is a 28-ounce, machine made crown. It has the 408 to 412 address embossed on it but does not have the U-NO-US trademark. They were using this trademark as early as 1916 and it apparently was popular during Prohibition. This leads me to believe the bottle was made before the trademark really caught on; say sometime between 1915 and 1920. It was found with the porcelan stopper still in place but no wire bail.

Beadleston and Woerz, Empire Brewery, New York

 

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The history of Beadleston And Worez is best told in the obituary of Alfred N Beadleston who died suddenly while on vacation in 1917. At the time, he was serving as president of the company. I found the obituary in the January-June 1917 Issue of the ‘Western Brewer and Journal of Barley Malt and Hop Trades”. Excerpts relating to company history are presented in the following paragraphs.

  • Beadleston and Woerz was the outgrowth of the small brewing business started in Troy NY in 1825 by Abraham Nash, called Nash and Co. In 1837, Ebenezer Beadleston, a relative of Nash living in Troy moved to NYC to serve as the company’s NYC representative. Three years later in 1840 the company became known as Nash, Beadleston and Company. In 1845 they purchased the old state prison property in NYC bounded by Washington, Charles, West and W 10th The prison had been first occupied in 1797 but upon completion of Sing-Sing in 1828 the convicts were removed to the more modern establishment. The site was in what was then called the Village of Greenwich (now called Greenwich Village) and the substantial stone buildings were fitted up for brewing and malting purposes. The plant was put into operation as the Empire Brewery.
  • Until 1856 the Troy and NYC businesses were operated jointly, NYC as a branch of the Troy brewery. In 1860 Nash retired and was succeeded by W. W. Price an employee of the business. In that year Ernest G.W. Woerz took charge of the practical and technical part of the business.
  • Ebenezer Beadleston retired from active participation in the business in 1865 and the firm name became Beadleston, Price and Woerz, the members being Ebenezer Beadleston, W.W. Price, Alfred N Beadleston (Ebenezer’s son) and E.G.W. Woerz. Price died in 1876 and in 1878 the firm name was changed to Beadleston and Woerz. Around this time they upgraded the plant, building a new and larger brewery building (some of the existing prison walls were incorporated into the new building). The business was incorporated under the Beadleston and Woerz name in 1889 and Alfred N Beadleston served as president until his death in 1917.

In 1879, Beadleston and Woerz was the 14th largest brewery in the United States producing 78,000 barrels.

The earliest newspaper advertisements for Beadleston & Woerz that I could find date back to 1887. One such advertisement, printed in the October 27 issue of the New York Sun stated:

Physicians predict increase of popularity of the “Imperial Beer” and “Culbacher” which they commend for purity.

Advertisements for Bradleston and Woertz’s Imperial Beer appear in several 1894 magazine issues including Puck Magazine and Life Magazine.  They claim it to be the King of Beers (long before Budweiser).

beadleston-ad

They apparently sold a number of different beers under their “Imperial” Label. One called “Imperial German Brew” was introduced as a new brand in 1897. A printed notice in the May 25, 1897 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle described the new product.

Old Fashioned German Beer – Popular taste, like fashion, shows a pronounced tendency nowadays to return to the good old customs and enjoyments of our forefathers. This is particularly noticeable among customers of lager beer, who as a class, are showing preference, akin to an affection, for the old-fashioned German brewing. To gratify this growing demand Beadleston & Woerz, of New York, one of the largest breweries in the United States, have just introduced a new brand called Imperial German Brew, in which, by their strict adherence to malt and hops, exclusively, for the ingredients, the purity, flavor, color and body of the old-fashioned lager beer is reproduced to a degree of perfection that makes it identical to the product of fifty years ago. For the purposes of giving an immediate opportunity to persons desiring to try it Beadleston & Woerz will deliver it direct from the brewery, 291 West Tenth St., New York.

Another advertisement, from the November 19, 1909 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, actually implies medicinal qualities associated with their “Imperial Stout,” stating: “Is ideal for those who are recovering from illness or whose systems require a healthful and sustaining stimulant”

An recent archeological study done for the brewery site states that Prohibition shut the plant down permanently in 1920 but the business transitioned into real estate because of all the properties they owned. Apparently they didn’t waste much time. The December 16, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune contained the following story.

A large section of the Beadleston & Woerz Empire Brewery property, a landmark at 158-166 Charles Street, has been leased to the Reynolds Whitney Warehouse Co., Inc., for twenty years at an aggregate rental of $600,000. The warehouse company also secured an option to lease the buildings at 674 and 676 Washington Street and 287-303 West Tenth Street.

I’ve found two bottles, both tooled crowns probably in the 1900 to 1910 range. I’ve seen similar bottles on the Internet with their labels still present.

     

Bajorath, Long Island City

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Charles Bajorath appears to have been a small-scale bottler of lager beer that worked out of his residence. According to the 1910 census records he immigrated to the U.S. in 1886 but the first mention of him in the NYC Directory was in 1892 as a bottler with just a home listing at 428 E 92nd Street. Subsequently, he was listed sporadically (1903 Trow Business Directory and 1909 City Directory are the only listings I could find) as a beer bottler at 1735 Second Avenue.

In 1910 he moved to 461 Washington Avenue in Long Island City. The 1910 Census Records indicated that he had a beer bottling business that he ran out of his house and the 1912 Queens Business Directory listed him as a bottler of lager beer at the Washington Avenue address. In addition, the Annual Report of the State Commission of Excise listed him as a liquor tax certificate holder for the years 1911 and 1913. He was listed in the 1920 Census Records (name spelled incorrectly) but at this point he’s in his 70’s and did not list a business or occupation.

Washington Avenue was later renamed 36th Avenue in Long Island City. I can’t relate the No. 461 to any specific block.

The bottle I found is a brown champagne style bottle. It has “L. I. City” embossed on it, dating it to after his move to Long Island City in 1910. Interestingly it is machine made but has a blob finish (almost all machine made beer bottles that I’ve found have a crown finish).

A. Busch Bottling Co., Brooklyn NY

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The company started on June 7, 1897 when the Thimig Bottling Company officially changed it’s name to the A Busch Bottling Company. I have to assume that Anheuser-Busch had purchased Thimig around that time.

A notice announcing the proposed name change was printed in the May 5, 1897 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Prior to that, Anheuser-Busch had used local distributors to bottle and sell their product in New York and the Thimig Bottling Company was one of those distributors.

Thimig’s relationship with Anheuser-Busch dated back to at least 1884. An advertisement that year in the April 26 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle listed Anheuser-Busch as one of the beers they sold on draught and in bottles.

Then in a May 18, 1890 advertisement Thimig was named as their sole agent and bottler (I assume for the City of Brooklyn).

Herman Thimig was first listed in the Brooklyn directory in 1871 as a bottler on Atlantic Avenue. He had several Atlantic Avenue addresses: 276 Atlantic (1871); 288 Atlantic (1875 to 1889) and finally 433-435 Atlantic (1892 to 1897). He also maintained a 50 Bergen Street address for a while as well.

The first mention of the A Busch Bottling Co in the NYC Directories that I could find was in the 1899 Trow Business Directory of Brooklyn at 433-435 Atlantic Avenue, the former address of the Thimig Bottling Company. A year prior, Alfred Busch was listed in the 1898 General Directory at that address.

The A Busch Bottling Co continued to be listed in all of the Brooklyn City Directories and Telephone Directories I could find between 1902 and 1917 at 433-435 Atlantic Avenue. The 1913-1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens listed the Business as a NY Corporation with E A Faust as President; J Alfred Piper as Vice Pesident and H P Hof as Secretary and Treasurer.

Around the time the A Busch Bottling Company was established they were bottling several different Anheuser-Busch brands. An advertising item in the October 11, 1900 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle named them as wholesale dealers for the following bottled beers: Budweiser, Faust, Black & Tan, Anheuser Standard, Export Pale, Exquisite and Pale Lager.

Other advertisements in that time frame mentioned Michelob as well.

Another product they distributed early on was a tonic called “Malt-Nutrine, the helpful food drink to promote appetite, restore health, build body and brain.”

During the early 1900’s, Anheuser-Busch and primarily the Budweiser brand was growing leaps and bounds. This growth was documented by A Busch Bottling Company advertisements that indicated that Budweiser sales went from 83 million bottles in 1902 to 130 million bottles in 1904.

 

From their inception, up through 1905, the A Busch Bottling Co. was the only wholesale distributor in the NYC vicinity I’ve seen listed with Anheuser-Busch products but by then it appears that they could no longer handle the growing local demand. In 1906, the Anheuser-Busch Agency located in New York City was listed in the advertisements as a second distributor and by 1909 the Anheuser-Busch Newark Agency was listed as a distributor as well.

The A Busch Bottling Company was not listed in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens so it appears that they did not survive even the beginning of National Prohibition. Anheuser-Busch was still marketing products in New York at that time, including a tonic version of Budweiser and Anheuser Busch Ginger Ale, but in early 1920’s advertisements they listed the Anheuser-Busch Ice & Cold Storage Co., Inc. as their distributor. An advertisement from July 1, 1924 listed that company’s address as 48 Warren Street in Brooklyn. Other advertisements also listed a 166th Street address in NYC.

Later, Anheuser-Busch listed Anheuser-Busch Inc. at 515 West 16th Street as their distributor for their “Budweiser Barley Malt Syrup.” that was first marketed in 1926. According to a June 1933 advertisement, that location was serving as the Anheuser Busch-New York Branch when Prohibition ended.

Today, 433 to 443 Atlantic Avenue is a series of renovated apartment buildings. They don’t appear old enough to be associated with this business but the other side of Atlantic Avenue appears older.

I have found two champagne style bottles both with tooled crowns. They are embossed with the A Busch Bottling Co. name and the Anheuser Busch trade mark insignia. I’d say they fit within the first half of the 1897 to 1920 time frame of the business..

 

C.T. Hurlburt & Co.

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C T Hurlburt stands for Charles T Hurlburt. The company, established in 1852 was primarily engaged in the preparation of homoeopathic remedies. The company was also known as the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy.

Charles Hurlburt was the sole proprietor until 1893 when he formed a partnership with his son. The partnership was announced in the Society and News section of the 1893 issue of the “North American Journal of Homoeopathy”as follows:

We notice that the old established house of C T Hurlburt, the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy, which has been under his sole management since 1852 has been changed to a partnership under the firm name of C T Hurlburt & Co. The firm consists of Mr C T Hurlburt and his son, Mr Chas F Hurlburt, who has a long experience in homoeopathic pharmacy under his father’s direction and who is now associated with him as a partner.

The business was active until approximately 1915 occupying several locations over it’s life span. The original location was 437 Broome Street and later, in 1868, the business moved to 898 Broadway between 18th and 19th Street. Advertisements during this period mentioned medicines, vials, cases, books and toilet and fancy goods.

During the late 1870’s they moved to East 19th Street. Here they were first listed at 15 East 19th Street in 1880/81 and by 1886 were listed at 3 East 19th Street where they remained until 1901. Between the mid 1880’s and early 1900’s the business also maintained a 125th Street location. 52, 59,61 and 108 W 125th Street were all listed during this period.

An article in an 1896 issue of the Phamaceutical Era described the business and it’s products during this period:

This firm also known as the American Homoeopathic Pharmacy is one of the oldest houses engaged in preparing alcoholic tinctures of green plants and other supplies used by the Homoeopathic School of Medicine. They are the proprietors of a number of special preparations well known to the general drug trade as “Hurlburts” which have secured a large sale through their own merits, curative qualities and the established reputation and long experience of the manufacturers. These medicines are the result of scientific skill and medical knowledge. One of the oldest and most celebrated is their remedy for Croup coughs and Bronchial troubles, called Hurlburt’s Trachial Drops, prepared both in syrup and tablets – a remedy unqualified for the household in providing safety against that dread of mothers – the croup. Hurlburt’s Rubini Camphor Pills for Colds, Grippe and Dirreha were originated by this firm as the most convenient and desirable way of taking an efficient yet pleasant dose of camphor. They have many imitators, but to secure the genuine buyers should see that the label bears the trademark of the firm. Circulars and prices of these and other valuable remedies can be obtained by addressing Messrs Hurlburt and Co. who offer the trade very advantageous terms.

An advertisement printed in the October 2, 1892 issue of the New York Sun referenced the Tracheal Drops and Rubini Camphor Pills as well as several other products.

 

In 1902 the business was listed at 575 Madison Avenue and by 1906 they were at 7 Barclay, where they stayed until 1911.

In 1912 they were first listed as a NY Corporation with Charles F Hurlburt as President, and an address of 45 Lafayette. They were listed again in1913/14 but in 1915 Hurlburt’s Pharmacal Co was listed with Theo Stemmler as President. I’m not sure whether this is a continuation of the original company or not.

The business apparently sold their products outside of the New York area as well. “Midland Druggist” a publication located in Columbus, Ohio, announced in their December 15, 1899 issue:

C T Hurlburt & Co of New York City issued a new price list reducing the trade prices of their goods to the rates which prevailed before the war tax was imposed (I assume the was a tax associated with the Spanish American War that occurred in 1898).

The 7 Barclay Street address is located in the current footprint of the Woolworth Building. The site for the building was acquired in 1911 and the building was built and opened by 1913. Hurlburt’s move to Lafayette Street in 1911 was certainly necessitated by the acquisition process for the new skyscraper.

The bottle I found is a small (1-2 ounce), square medicine bottle with a tooled finish (maybe Hurlburt’s Trachial Drops??). It’s embossed: C T Hurlburt & Co., so it was made after the partnership with Charles was formed in 1893. The maker’s mark TCW & Co is embossed on the base of the bottle indicating it was made by the T C Wheaton Glass Co. According to various Internet web sites, this specific mark was used between 1888 and 1901. This dates the bottle between 1893 and 1901 and ties it to the E 19th Street location.

Fred’K S. Steinmann, Apothecary, 92nd St. & Lexington Ave., New York

 

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NYC Directories and the ERA Druggist Directories of the US, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Manila and the Hawaiian Islands indicate that Steinmann operated a pharmacy at 1402 Lexington Avenue (at 92nd Street) from 1907 to approximately 1917 -1920. He also operated a pharmacy in Bronxville NY from 1913 to 1925.

Frederick Steinmann’s story is best told in a letter he wrote to his friends and customers announcing that he was selling his pharmacy business. The letter was printed in the May 8, 1925 issue of the Bronxville Press. I’ve summarized parts of it below.

  • Frederick Steinmann was a graduate of the 1899 class of the New York College of Pharmacy and was manager of drug stores until 1907 when he entered business for himself at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Several years later he established a branch at 152nd Street and Convent Avenue, New York City, and in 1913 he opened a Bronxville branch in the Colonial Building.
  • He talked about how early on the Bronxville store was a losing proposition and how the opening of the rail line and station and movie theatre improved things. During this period, he sold the NY stores (A 1917 directory in the Druggist Circular still lists both the Lexington Avenue and Bronxville locations) and moved from Long Island to Bronxville to devote his energies to building the Bronxville business.
  • Ultimately, on May 1, 1925, he sold out to I Bernitz, a successful pharmacist of New York City who had sold his NYC store several weeks prior. Steinmann announced he was leaving pharmacy and entering the real estate brokerage field.
  • In a reflective piece of the letter he talked about serving the community during the influenza period and during the strain of the weeks of constant call to duty when compounding of prescriptions and medical supplies were in most urgent demand. Digalen, thermometers and caffeine benzoate were unobtainable in New York or in other places but we were fortunate enough to have brought our surplus stock to this store. It seemed a matter of fate to have helped save many lives. Then again, the pleasant duties of serving the healthy as well as the sick recompensed one for all the effort and strife and cares of a business.

The Fred’k S Steinmann name carried on into the 1990’s. In October 1968 the Fred’k S Steinmann Apothecary ltd of Ossining New York filed for incorporation in New York State and on July 1, 1997 the company was dissolved.

Today, 1402 Lexington Avenue is a five-story walk-up with a street level commercial store. According to apartments.com it was built in 1920 (it looks older to me) so it doesn’t date back to the business.

The bottle I found is a small (4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish that has the Amsterdam Avenue and 92nd Street address embossed on it. Embossing on the base indicates it was made by Whitehall Tatum Company (W.T. Co). The fact that there’s no ampersand (between the T and Co) indicates it was made after that business incorporated in 1901. A web site article on Whitehall Tatum puts the specific embossing in the 1901 to 1924 time frame. This confirms that the bottle fits within the 1907 to late teen’s time period that the business was at the Lexington Avenue address.

J. S. Seabury

 

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The J stands for John S Seabury. Born in 1811, he was a druggist and patent medicine proprietor from the 1830’s to at least 1882. He died in 1888. His obituary, printed in the November 1, 1888 issue of the ‘Pharmaceutical Record” states” John S Seabury, a well known druggist of Jamaica, New York and also in former years of this City, (NY) died at his home a few days ago. He began in business at New Rochelle, was later at Jamaica, and at one time was a member of the firm of Pinchot, Bruen & Seabury of this City (located on Fulton Street). He had an excellent reputation as a druggist and a citizen. He was 77 years of age.

It’s not clear when Seabury moved from New Rochelle to Jamaica, but J. S. Seabury & Co. of Jamaica was listed as an authorized agent for “Brandreth’s Pills” in the August 20, 1839 issue of the Long Island Star so he was doing business in Jamaica by then.

Around this time he was involved with at least two different proprietary products. One was for “Vestamental Soap” advertised in a July 1840 issue of the Long Island Farmer. It stated:

For removing grease spots, paint, etc. from woolen cloths. This is a new article lately invented by Mr. John S Seabury, Druggist, New Rochelle. The proprietor contents himself with merely stating in the label upon each bottle, the purpose of which it is intended, and the method of application; leaving those who choose to give it a trial to judge of its merits. We can say that we have never seen anything half so well adapted to removing spots from woolen garments as the Vestamental Soap. Price 25 cents a bottle. For sale at the New Drug and Book Store, by C. S. Watrous.

The other was called Hawkshurst’s Opodeldoc or Rheumatic Embrocation. The 1841 advertisement in the Long Island Farmer stated:

an effectual and speedy remedy for rheumatism, cramps, sprains, bruises, wounds, stiff joints, sore throat, pains in the chest, side back, etc. prepared for many years by the late John Hawkshurst of Newtown Long Island. The subscriber having procured the original recipe for preparing this embrocation, the genuine article will in future bear his written signature on the directions accompanying each bottle…Certificates of the most respectable character to the efficiency of the above medicine might be procured but the subscriber deems it unnecessary, as he authorizes every vendor of the article to refund the money for any part of a bottle of the embrocation which may be returned, should it not prove as represented.

By 1849 he owned a drug store in Jamaica called “Seabury’s Hall of Pharmacy”. According to an advertisement in the L I Farmer in the early 1850’s it was advertised as a general store as much as a pharmacy, selling an assortment of products such as paints, books, stationary, window glass and lamps in addition to drugs and medicines.

 

Over the years, this store was turned over to an employee named George Peck, first operating under a partnership of Seabury and Peck. Ultimately around 1865 Peck became sole proprietor and changed the name to the “Hall of Pharmacy”

Seabury apparently continued in business on Long Island at other Jamaica locations until at least 1882. He was listed in Curtain’s Long Island Directory of 1868-1869 under patent medicines in Jamaica on Fulton St near Washington Ave and there’s an advertisement for Seabury’s Cough Balsam in an 1871 issue of the Long Island Farmer. The advertisement names Seabury as the sole proprietor in Jamaica.

seabury-ad

Finally, in 1882, Seabury is looking to retire. An 1882 issue of the “Druggist Circular and Chemical Gazette” carried the following item headlined as a Rare Business Opportunity:

Desirous of retiring from active business, I offer for sale a first class drug store in the Village of Jamaica L I, also a well established fire insurance agency representing some of the best companies in the State. I would also sell one or all of my popular proprietary medicines. The above would be sold together or separately as desired. Address for particulars J S Seabury, Jamaica L I.

It’s not clear if and when he sold out.

The bottle I found is a small (approximately 2 oz) medicine with an applied finish and only the Seabury name embossed on it. It probably contained a proprietary medicine (maybe cough balsam?) from the Fulton St location.