Buffalo Lithia Water

 

The story of Buffalo Lithia Water is centered around a mineral water spring  located in Mecklenberg County, Virginia.

The very beginning of the story, as remembered years later by a long time local area resident, was included in a feature on the spring and the resort that grew up around it published in the August 23, 1874 edition of the Norfolk Virginian.

We have just learned from an old man living near here, who is about seventy-five years old, all about this now famous place, as it was when he was a boy. The valley in which the spring is was a black marsh, having a strong odor of gunpowder, and looked very much like it, and the Spring was known as “Gunpowder Spring.” It was a favorite resort on Sundays for all the Sabbath-breakers of the neighborhood, who congregated here to fight, play cards, etc. A few years after, the farmers who lived some little distance off, appreciating the valuable water, and not living near enough to visit it as often as they wished, commenced to build them cottages around here, and spend most of the summer here. A gentleman by the name of Speed built the first Hotel, and the place was known as “SPEED’S HEALING SPRING.”

Joseph F. Speed announced the establishment of his hotel, formally referred to as “Buffalo Springs” (sometimes “Buffaloe” in the early years),  in an advertisement dated May 24, 1816. The ad which ran in the June 7, and June 14, 1816 editions of the (Raleigh) North Carolina Star, referred to the hotel as “a house of entertainment,” but primarily focused on the supposed healing properties of the spring’s water.

Buffaloe Mineral Springs

The subscriber takes this method of informing the public that he has established A House of Entertainment at the above named springs, for the accommodation of those who may think proper to visit them, either for the benefit of their health, or for pleasure. To those who intend visiting the springs for the benefit of their health, he can say with confidence, that they will find the water efficacious in the cure of intermittent and remittent bilious fevers, acute rheumatism, taints from syphyliptic complaints, glandular obstructions, and is of peculiar efficacy in diseases of the skin and sore eyes. It has been of great service to several who appeared to have hectic, by speedily restoring their strength. Hypocondrical and hysterical cases are much benefitted. In fine’, from the sensible effects of this water upon the intestines, pores and kidneys, it must be useful in very many of those disorders which render life tedious, and man comfortless to his friends.

The announcement certainly appears introductory in nature so it’s likely that the summer of 1816, if not the hotel’s inaugural season, was certainly close to it..

The hotel remained in the Speed family up until the late 1830’s. During this period, annual items announcing the seasonal opening appeared in nearby Virginia and North Carolina newspapers. Based on these announcements, over the years the hotel was leased and run by various individuals. Some were members of Speed’s family but it was predominantly run by a man named David Shelton who, along with Clem R. Kenon, ultimately bought the property sometime in 1840 or 1841. They actually purchased it from John S. Field and Alexander S. Jones who had purchased it from Speed two years earlier in 1839.

An announcement published in the May 11, 1841 edition of the Raleigh (North Carolina) Register identified Shelton and Kenon as the new owners. It’s clear from this announcement that the resort had grown since 1816.

The subscribers (Shelton and Kenon) having become the owners of the property are tending their means of accommodation, and expect, by the opening of the season, to be able to afford comfortable entertainment to two hundred and fifty or three hundred visitors. Their cabins are well furnished, airy and comfortable – their stables good, with a pump of excellent water in the yard. Their bar will be furnished with the best wines and liquors that can be procured, and their table with the best supplies the country will afford. A band of good music will be always in attendance; in fact they intend to spare neither trouble or expense in their efforts to render this establishment a pleasant and fashionable resort for both the healthy and the sick.

Apparently the business continued to grow and prosper under Shelton who, by 1845, listed himself as the sole proprietor. He would remain the resort’s primary owner throughout the 1840’s and 1850’s. During this period his annual advertisements continued to stress the health benefits of the location. This was Shelton’s 1854 sales pitch, printed in the June 24 edition of the Hillsborough (North Carolina) Register.

The prevalence of disease in the middle and southern portions of the United States, during the past winter and spring, admonish the people to look out for some safe summer retreat, where the ills inflicted by winter maladies may be removed, and, at the same time, secure an exemption from the harassing complaints of the hot season of the year. As a locality propitious to this end, I beg leave respectfully to call the attention of the public to my watering place, the Buffalo Mineral Spring, situated in the upper end of Mecklenburg County, Va., several miles west of the town of Clarksville.

The tonic powers of this water, so potent in imparting tone and vigor to the digestive organs, and its diuretic qualities so efficient in purifying and cleansing the blood, renders it a pleasant and useful remedy in a wide range of disease. Its curative powers are more conspicuously manifested in the various forms of dropsy, protracted intermittent fevers, chronic diseases of the skin, functional derangements of the liver, stomach spleen, bowels, and kidneys, and last, though not least, female complaints, and almost every chronic disease of the pelvic organs in both sexes…

Having been the purveyor to the establishment for many years, I can bear testimony to the astonishing effects of the water on the appetite, and the perfect impunity with which quantities of food may be taken, which under other circumstances, would be wholly inadmissible. To meet this exigency, therefore, I can only promise to do my best in the cuisine department, and will pledge myself to the summer voyager to make no charge against him if his appetite or digestion fail him…

DAVID SHELTON, Proprietor

Shelton’s rate schedule permitted a stay by the day, week or month and he was even willing to care for your horse at seventy-five cents a day.

In addition to the resort’s health benefits, it appears you could have a little fun there as well. During Shelton’s tenure the resort added a billiard room, ten pin bowling alleys and in 1857:

For the gratification and amusement of visitors fond of riding out, I’m am preparing and will have completed in due time, a round trotting track upon a fine surface, where they may ride with comfort and safety.

If that wasn’t enough, they organized and hosted social functions, one of which was an annual knight’s jousting tournament held in full costume. The two day affair included the tournament and a “fancy grand ball,” that featured the coronation of a tournament queen by the successful knight, followed the next day by a balloon ascension and a party. Below, is the tournament’s 1855 announcement published in the September 5, edition of the Weekly Raleigh Register.

Based on their annual seasonal announcements, Shelton owned and ran the resort up through at least 1859, but by the early 1860’s he appears to have been slowing down. The June 11, 1862 announcement in the the (Raleigh North Carolina) Weekly Standard no longer named Shelton as the proprietor but instead indicated that the property had been leased to James Williamson who was running the operation that year.

The announcement went on to make this point:

The location is remote from the theatre of war, and yet accessible to travel.

So, surprisingly, it appears that the resort stayed open for at least a period of time during the Civil War.

Shelton ultimately sold the property to T. Paxson in December 1863 and passed away the following June.  Paxson owned and operated the resort up through 1873 at which point he sold a majority interest to Thomas Goode, a former officer in the Confederate army. The sale was announced in the July, 1873 editions of several North Carolina newspapers.

An August 23, 1874 story in the Norfolk Virginian described the accommodations at around the time Goode acquired the property.

The Hotel is a one-story building, containing the ball room, parlor and office – a very admirable arrangement, as no one is so disturbed by the music and dancing. The dining room takes up another spacious building just in rear of the hotel. Scattered all over the grounds and around the edges of the beautiful green, are about 50 cottages, containing some 100 rooms.

It was under Goode that the Buffalo Spring water went from local to global.

Shortly after  Goode obtained the majority interest in the resort area another spring was discovered on the site. Their seasonal announcement opening the resort in 1874 led with the discovery.

BUFFALO SPRINGS MECKLENBURG COUNTY, VA. – RECENT DISCOVERY OF AN ADDITIONAL SPRING, decidedly impregnated with the celebrated “Salts of Lithia.” These springs open for the reception of visitors on the FIRST OF JUNE, 1874.

A June 11, 1874 advertisement in the (Wilmington, North Carolina) Daily Journal described the new discovery like this:

The New Buffalo Spring

Mecklenburg County Va.

The Spring, discovered since the last Summer, is shown by analysis, made by Professor Toury of Baltimore, to contain a HEAVIER PERCENTAGE of the Bicarbonate of Lithia than any other AMERICAN MINERAL WATER. In fact it is the

Only Spring in America

containing Lithia in any substantial quantity. It is the ingredient which has given such celebrity to the “Aix-la-Chapelle,” the Vichy and the Carlsbad waters of the continent of Europe.

By that Fall they were exporting the water beyond the limits of the resort.  This September 26, 1874 advertisement published in the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, makes it clear that by then they were bottling and shipping water from both Spring No.’s 1 and 2 under the “Buffalo Lithia Water” name using the half-gallon size; a unique size they would use throughout their history.

In the Spring of the following year local drug stores in both Raleigh, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia began to include it in their local advertisements. These ads for Meade & Baker, Druggists and Simpson’s Drug Store that appeared in the May 11, 1875 Richmond Dispatch and the April 3, 1875 (Raleigh) Trickett-Weekly Topic respectively, both made mention of Buffalo Lithia Water.

In 1878, Buffalo Lithia Water’s long time trademark of a seated woman wearing a long flowing robe and  holding a pitcher, presumably containing their mineral water, began to appear in advertisements. The earliest ad I could find that included her attendance was published in the June 22, 1878 edition of a publication called the Medical Record.

Around the same time the word “Lithia” began to appear in advertisements for the resort as well, referring to it as”Buffalo Lithia Springs.”

In 1886 Goode gave up management of the Springs, leasing it to a company named the “Virginia Buffalo Lithia Springs Company.” This announcement marking the change appeared in the June 15, 1886 edition of the (Raleigh, North Carolina) Weekly Observer. Their new rates also appeared in several local newspapers.

According to an open letter to the public that was written by Goode and printed in the September 2, 1886 edition of the Richmond Dispatch this new arrangement lasted less than one season.

To the Public:

I have this moment had my attention called to a card in the Dispatch of the 31st ultimo of the “Virginia Buffalo Lithia Springs Company,” referring to a pending difficulty between the company and myself. I do not propose here to make any detailed statement as to the means of that difficulty. Suffice to say that I hold in my possession a letter signed by Charles H. Royce, president of that company, under date of August 20th, in which he virtually acknowledges the insolvency of his company, and states in express terms that he will not be able to pay the rents upon the Buffalo Springs property due September 1st, and also that he is unable to pay an extension of one half the June rents, a note for which matures on the 15th of September, unless I will take from him in payment stocks instead of money, which stocks I deem utterly useless. These acknowledgements of the president of the company, coupled with the fact that he had ordered the accumulation of 10,000 cases of the Buffalo Lihia Water in the offices of the company in New York, induced me to ask the interposition of a court of equity and the appointment of a receiver to take charge of the property.

Thomas F. Goode

This follow-up item in the June 23, 1887 Henderson (North Carolina) Gold Leaf, made it clear that by the following season Buffalo Springs was back in Goode’s hands, although it took a Supreme Court decision to get it done.

By the decision of the United States Supreme Court Col. Thos. F. Goode is again in possession of the noted Buffalo Lithia Springs near Clarksville, Va., and with many improvements in building and furnishing, is prepared to receive a large number of health or pleasure seeking guest. We know from experience, there is no more pleasant place to spend a couple of weeks in August, or earlier.

Legal issues not withstanding, distribution of their litha water increased throughout the decade of the 1880’s, primarily fueled by advertisements jam packed with testamonials from both doctors and supposedly cured patients. By 1882 it was being advertised in New York area newspapers and by the end of the decade advertisements had reached as far west as California.

Around 1890, distribution was aided further by the addition of a railroad depot at the resort itself. Earlier shipments from the Springs required a 13 mile horse and carriage trip to the Scottsville depot on the Richmond Danville Railroad line. The 13 mile journey included a crossing of the Dan River, described in an August 28, 1874 Norfolk Virginian story as being 50 yards wide and 2 to 4 feet deep. The crossing was facilitated by a “flat manned by one oarsman.” Groundings were not unheard of.

Nonetheless, while demand and distribution increased, their bottling operations up through the turn of the century remained relatively primitive. An August 14, 1889 story in the Richmond Dispatch described it like this.

A visit to the packing-house shows two stout negro men hard at work from morning until night, and often until a late hour of the night, filling the bottles and packing them for shipment to all parts of the country. Great care is taken to have the bottles clean and sweet and to pack them so that no loss is had by breakage while en route to their destination.

Ultimately a new modern bottling plant was opened, but not until sometime in 1910. A news story or advertisement, I’m not sure which, that marked it’s opening appeared in late August, 1910 newspapers across the country.

The story/advertisement went on to say, in part:

We beg to announce the completion of a New and UP-TO-DATE plant for handling and bottling the well-known BUFFALO LITHIA SPRINGS WATER in its natural purity and without loss of its health giving properties…

The spring from which these waters flow is chiseled out of solid rock, lined with white tiling, covered with plate glass and the whole surrounded by triple-reinforced cement walls laid in the natural rock. The water is taken from the spring by means of an air tight pump, silver lined and fitted with silver valves, and forced through lines of block tin pipe into glass-lined steel tanks. From these tanks the water is drawn through silver faucets into NEW bottles which have been chemically treated, washed and rinsed with the purest water under high pressure, and sterilized – all in the most thorough manner and with the latest devices and equipment. Even the air which enters the white-walled bottling room is taken from high above the building, filtered and driven out by powerful electric fans, rendering contamination by dust or otherwise, an impossibility.

The Buffalo Lithia Springs Water retains its medicinal properties to a remarkable degree when bottled and for thirty-eight years past this water has been widely prescribed by the medical profession and no remedial agent has received a larger share of medical endorsation of a high order. Most of this endorsation was given to the use of the bottled water, comparatively few of these eminent physicians having used the waters at the Springs.

Goode passed away in 1905 and by 1908 springtime advertisements confirm that the hotel and bottling business were both being conducted under the name “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water Company.” At the same time, the company began calling the water “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water.”

The formation of the company was likely in response to Goode’s death, however, the American Medical Association, in their June 14, 1914 Journal, suggested that the name change from “Buffalo Lithia Water,” to “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water,” was clearly in reaction to the Food and Drug Act of 1906.

One of the best known, because most widely advertised, of the so-valled lithia waters is Buffalo Lithia Water – or what used to be called Buffalo Lithia Water. After the Federal Food and Drug Act came into effect, by which falsification on the label was penalized, the name of Buffalo Lithia Water was changed to Buffalo Lithia Springs Water. The reason for this change was that when Buffalo Lithia Water was subjected to examination by the government chemists it was found to contain so little lithium that the amount present was unweighable – it could be demonstrated only by the spectroscope. It was evidently, therefore, not a litha water in that it did not contain – at least in quantities that could be consumed – an amount of lithium that would give the therapeutic effects of lithium: Possibly the company imagined that by changing the name from “Buffalo Lithia Water” to “Buffalo Lithia Springs Water” it had cleverly evaded the federal law. Their argument was to this effect: The springs from which the water is taken are known as Buffalo Lithia Springs; therefore, it is not a misstatement of facts to call this Buffalo Lithia Springs Water.

In December of 1910, the federal government formally declared the water misbranded and on February 16, 1914, after years of court proceedings the water was ruled mis-branded by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. The ruling was later upheld by the Court of Appeals in December of 1915.

Ultimately this resulted in another name change, this time to the Buffalo Mineral Springs Water Company. Short-lived, the company defaulted and the property was sold at public auction in April of 1920. The (Newport News) Daily Press reported on the sale in their April 10, 1920 edition.

BUFFALO MINERAL SPRINGS SOLD TO RICHMOND CORP.

The Buffalo Mineral Springs Company’s properties in Mecklenburg County, including the hotel, cottages, water bottling plant, and all mineral rights were yesterday sold at public auction to the Prudential Realty Corporation of Richmond, at a figure said to be in excess of $200,000. H. L. Denoon of Richmond, is president of the corporation. Hotel and cottages it is understood, will be operated by the new owners this summer.

Under the new management the resort was now called the Buffalo Lithia Springs Hotel, but their sales pitch stayed pretty much the same stressing the health value of the waters as well as the resort amenities which, by then, included tennis as well as boating and bathing on a ten acre lake. In the late 1920’s they would add a nine hole golf course.

In addition to operating the resort, the company also continued to bottle and distribute the spring water. Updating the trademark, they now called it “Buffalo Mineral Springs Water.”

Some advertisements now referred to it as a delightful table water and words like therapeutic and helpful had replaced the word cure. One 1922 advertisement put it like this:

For a half-century it has been recognized by physicians the world over for its known therapeutic qualities. It is helpful in the treatment of Bladder and Kidney troubles, Nausea, etc. It is an active antacid Diuretic.

Buffalo Mineral Springs Water is one of nature’s gifts to man – a boon to Scientists and a water of known purity for table use.

The resort would assume new ownership again in May, 1930 when it was acquired by a newly formed corporation called the Virginia Buffalo Springs Corporation. The July 25, 1930 edition of The (Danville Va.) Bee reported planned improvements were in the works.

To Improve Springs

The Virginia Buffalo Springs Corporation, a recently organized company, has taken over from a Richmond bank the property known as Buffalo Lithia Springs in Mecklenburg County and plans to develop this well-known resort into a health sanatorium equal to any in the middle Atlantic states. Roger B. Williams, of New York, heads the newly formed corporation.

The optimistic plans for development never materialized and in 1939 the resort and bottling operation were acquired by a local group that included C. Brooke Temple, along with two partners, George and Ellis Penn. According to a July 31, 1939 story in The Bee:

Announcement was made Saturday of the purchase of the famous Buffalo Springs by C. Brooke Temple of Danville for $25,000. Mr. Temple has made no definite plans concerning the operation of the property as a resort or of the bottling and sale of the famous Buffalo Springs water.

While the $25,000 purchase price as compared with the $200,000 purchase price in 1920 tells you all you need to know about the health of the business, it appears that the bottling operation was still viable, at least to some extent. The July 31, 1939 story went on to say:

Despite the fact that Buffalo Springs water has not been consistently or extensively advertised for over a decade large amounts of it have been bottled and shipped to various points throughout the nation. It can be bought in Danville drug stores today.

Temple apparently kept the resort going, at least for a while. The resort’s opening night dance in 1940 was advertised in the June 10 edition of The Bee.

The following year a story in the August 25, 1941 edition of the Bee announcing an antique auction in the ballroom of the Buffalo Springs Hotel mentioned that the hotel was “open to accommodate guests for meals and lodging.” Whether it operated after 1941 is unclear.”

Temple also continued with what appears to be a scaled down version of the  bottling business. According to an October 17, 1939 item in The Bee:

The Buffalo Mineral Springs Company has been granted a charter to bottle and sell mineral water, by the State Corporation Commission at Richmond. The sum of $30,000 is set at maximum capital for this springs recently purchased by C Brooke Temple of Danville.

At around the same time, this October 9, 1939 advertisement in The Bee promised to soon deliver his water locally in five gallon containers.

He delivered on that promise and between 1940 and 1945 it was advertised locally in the larger bottle. The advertisement below was printed in the June 30, 1943 edition of The Bee.

Now simply called Buffalo Mineral Water, as late as 1943 it was still running afoul of the federal food and drug laws. On December 11, 1943 a judgement of condemnation was ordered against one of their shipments. According to the notice of judgement:

On October 21, 1943 the United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina filed a libel against 37 5-gallon bottles of Buffalo Mineral Water at Wake Forest, N. C., alleging that the article had been shipped on or about June 21, 1943, by the Buffalo Mineral Springs Co., Inc., from Buffalo Springs, Va.; and charging that it was misbranded.

Examination disclosed that the article was a lightly mineralized water.

The article was alleged to be misbranded because of false and misleading statements appearing in the leaflet entitled “Perhaps…You Might Wish to Know,” which represented and suggested that the article would improve or restore health; and that it was an unexcelled diuretic and would be of great benefit  in the treatment of kidney disorders, diabetes, renal calculi (stone in the bladder), inflammation of the bladder, Bright’s disease, constipation, stomach disorders, indigestion, gastro-intestinal disorders, jaundice, liver disorders, alcoholism, rheumatism, neuritis, arthritis, disorders of the nervous system, influenza, colds, and children’s diseases.

Finally, a May 27, 1944, a story in The Bee announced that Temple had bought out his two partners and had become the sole owner. The story went on to say that by then he had sold most of the resort buildings.

Regarding the bottling portion of the business it said:

Temple proposes, after the war to develop a bottling works there. Spring No. 5 has been found to be suitable for carbonization and this, he says is to be further developed.

In September, 1945, Temple went so far as to advertise for an operating manager for his bottling plant.

As far as I can tell, the Spring No. 5 plans never materialized beyond that point.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown example of their characteristic half-gallon size and includes their embossed “robed sitting lady” trademark. It was likely made around the turn of the century.

Also embossed with the words “Buffalo Lithia Water,” you would think it contained the water from Spring No.2, however, this may not be the case. According to an article in the November 8, 1900 edition of The (Richmond, Va. Times) they were still bottling the water from both Springs No. 1 and 2 at that time.

The article which was focused on the unlawful refilling of their bottles, described how to make the distinction:

Some unscrupulous dealers seeing the opportunity of enriching themselves at the expense of the public, and to the detriment of their customer’s health, have resorted to refilling Buffalo Lithia Water bottles with ordinary water…

It should be borne in mind that Buffalo Lithia Water is sold in half-gallon bottles and no other way, and that water sold from the siphon, or in goblets, or in any other way whatsoever, is not the genuine. Every cork of the genuine Buffalo Lithia Water is branded either Spring No.1 or Spring No. 2 and upon each cork is the seal which bears the trade mark and again the number 1 or 2, according to the Spring from which that bottle has been filled.

In addition to the cork the respective Spring No. was also indicated on the label. A fully labeled bottle that recently appeared for sale on the Internet clearly indicates Spring No. 2 on the label.

How long they continued bottling water from both springs is not clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof Callan’s World Renowned Brazillian Gum

Prof Callan’s Brazilian Gum was, as far as I can tell, a rubber cement sold around the turn of the century. Advertising stamped on the cover of one of their wooden shipping crates touted it for:

Repairing Rubber Boots And Shoes And For Putting Rubber Soles On Leather Boots & Shoes.

Their trade mark, also stamped on the crate, consisted of what appears to be a bespectacled old man carrying a boot and top hat.

A labeled bottle, recently offered for sale on the internet, also included the  bespectacled old man.

The back label of the bottle included these directions for use:

Have the boot or shoe thoroughly clean; scrape with a knife or file to make it rough around the part where the patch is to be put and apply the gum; put the gum on the patch also; let them each dry separately from 10 to 20 minutes after which put the patch on the hole, press firmly together and then hammer lightly. Two coats may be necessary. This will make old boots and shoes as good as new.

I haven’t been able to identify a company associated with the product or a an exact time frame, but I’ve seen it mentioned in publications as early as 1892 and as late as 1908, so that is certainly a safe time frame.

In the 1878 New York City Directory, there was a Thomas A. Callan listed at 180 South Street with the occupation “gum,” and he was listed with the occupation “rubber” dating back to 1875. As a result, it’s possible that Prof Callan’s Brazilian Gum dates back to that time and place but I haven’t been able to make a definite connection.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with a roughly one inch square cross section and an elongated neck. It fits with a turn of the century manufacture date.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Their advertisements called it:

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

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

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

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

The story then went on to describe the operation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winsor & Newton, London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The advertisement went on to say in part:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Colgate & Company, New York

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PALMOLIVE, COLGATE MERGER IS PLANNED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colgate – Palmolive Plant in N. J. to Close

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

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

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

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

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

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calder’s Dentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Troubles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Montauk Wine & Liquor Co., 2043 Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y. & 96 Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, L.I.

 

The Montauk Wine & Liquor Company was apparently active from the late 1800’s until at least 1917 or 1918. Their Brooklyn address was 2043 Fulton Street in the East New York section.

The company was not listed in Brooklyn’s general directories but was listed in Lain’s Brooklyn Business directories and later, the Brooklyn Phone Books from 1899 to 1917. They were not listed in the 1892 Business Directory suggesting that they started in business sometime between 1893 and 1898 (I don’t have access to the business directories for those years). At times they were listed under the heading “Wine & Liquor Dealers – Wholesale” and other times under the retail heading of “Wines, Liquors and Lager Beer,” and still other times under both headings.

The company was apparently quite small, incorporating with capital of $3,000. in 1908. Their incorporation notice, printed in the January 25 edition of the (Brooklyn) Daily Standard Union named A. DeWillers and Isaac Weinoten of Brooklyn and Isaac Sobel of New York as directors. By 1914, the Brooklyn and Queens Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Max Weinstein as the sole director, with no mention of the original 1908 directors.

The company maintained a liquor tax certificate at the 2043 Fulton Street address up through at least September 30, 1916 and was still listed in the February 1917 Brooklyn-Queens section of the NYC Telephone Book. They were not listed in 1920 suggesting that they did not survive the advent of Prohibition.

Ultimately the corporation was included on a list of 2266 Brooklyn corporations dissolved under a proclamation signed by Governor Alfred E Smith on January 13, 1926. The list appeared in the March 9, 1926 edition of the Brooklyn Standard Union under the following heading:

PROCLAMATION STATE OF NEW YORK EXECUTIVE CHAMBER ALBANY

Pursuant To section one hundred and seven of the stock corporation law, as added by chapter three hundred and nine of the laws of nineteen hundred and twenty-four, I, Alfred E. Smith, Governor of the State of New York, do proclaim and declare the corporations named in the following list, which has been transmitted to me by the Secretary of State, are dissolved and their charters forfeited by reason of their failure to report as required by the statute aforesaid.

The company also included the Rockville Centre, Long Island address of 96 Village Avenue on the embossing of the bottle I found.  I haven’t been able to connect the Montauk Wine & Liquor Company name with this Rockville Centre address, however that address did maintain a liquor tax certificate for several years in the mid-teens (1911 to 1917) under the name Meyer Hecker. It’s possible that Hecker was Montauk’s Long Island agent during part or possibly all of their existence.

On September 1, 1917, Meyer Hecker’s name was included on a list of businesses that were refused a liquor license for the upcoming year beginning October 1, 1918. Regardless, it appears that several members of the Meyer family continued to operate the business, albeit illegally, at 96 Village Avenue up through at least 1920. A story in the May 14, 1920 edition the Brooklyn Standard Union described a federal raid on their operation at that time.

Prohibition agents Connolly, White, O’Leary and Scanlon visited the wholesale liquor house of Herman Hecker, 96 Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, and seized tweet-five barrels and 117 cases of Gugenheimer bonded whiskey and arrested the proprietor and his son, David Hecker.

The arrest was made because of an alleged sale of a quart of wine, for which a marked bill was given as payment. Following the alleged illegal sale, the son, David Hecker, was charged with possessing the liquor, in that he took the quart of wine and wrapped it up for delivery.

The revenue men then entered and seized the entire stock found on the premises and will bring action against another twenty-five barrels of bonded whiskey in Government storehouse for violating the dry law.

Federal Commissioner McCabe held father and son for hearing later.

The case was included in a “Listing of Cases Disposed of Since the Volstead Law Went Into Effect” that was printed in the April 3, 1921 edition of the Brooklyn Standard Union. It indicated that David Hecker had been acquitted but that Meyer Hecker, obviously still head of the operation, had received a jail sentence of 15 days. (The list did not include Herman Hecker.)

The bottle I found is a flask roughly one pint in size. It exhibits both the Brooklyn and Long Island locations of the business. Mouth blown it was likely made on the earlier side of the 1899 to 1917 period that the business operated legally.

M. Bacci, Italian-American Bottling Co., 451-455 Pearl St., N.Y.

According to census records, Michael Bacci (Michele Baoci) immigrated to the United States from Italy sometime between 1875 (1900 census records) and 1880 (1910 census records). He operated a local business in lower Manhattan, near what is now Foley Square, for over 40 years.

He was first listed in the New York City directories in the late 1880’s as a grocer located at 88 Park Street (1889 to 1894) and later 46 Park Street (1896 to 1897) in Manhattan. (Note: Park Street in Manhattan no longer exists having been de-mapped in the 1900’s. A one-block section of it still exists today as Mosco Street.)

In 1898 his occupation, as listed in the directories, changed to “liquors” and his address changed to 504 Pearl Street. Census records from 1900 indicated that he was the proprietor of a “saloon.”

In 1902, his son, Frank Bacci, joined him in business and between 1902 and 1907 the NYC Copartnership and Corporation directories listed the company as M. Bacci & Son naming both Michael and Frank as partners.  In 1908 Frank apparently left the business. Afterwards, until 1912, the business continued to be listed as M. Bacci & Son but Michael was now named as the sole proprietor in the directories.  During this period the business continued to be listed as “liquors” at 504 Pearl Street.

In September, 1913 Michael Bacci filed plans for the construction of a new building at 451 Pearl Street, the address embossed on the bottle that I found. An item announcing the new building was published in the September 20, 1913 issue of a publication called the “Engineering Record,”

New York, N.Y. – Plans have been filed for erection of the following buildings: 6-story brick tenement and store at 451 Pearl St. for Michael Bacci, cost $30,000. Matthew W. Del Gaudio, Archt., 401 E. Tremont Ave…

Bacci was first listed at 451 Pearl Street in the 1915 NYC Directory and subsequently both lived and ran a grocery business out of that location. The Orrin Thacker 1917 Directory of Wholesale Grocers listed him as a wholesale grocer focused on Italian products and over the 14 year period from 1915 to 1929, NYC directories associated him with several related occupations that included “wholesale grocer,” “food products” and “importer.”

Census records from 1930 listed Bacci’s wife as a widow so he apparently passed away sometime in 1929 or 1930.

While I can’t find any mention of the Italian American Bottling Company in the NYC directories, Bacci was bottling beverages dating at least as far back as his early 1900’s saloon business. I’ve seen bottles pictured on the internet embossed “Italian American Bottling Company.” whose embossing also includes the company name, “M. Bacci & Son.”

The bottle I found is a champagne style beer bottle embossed with the more recent building address of 451-55 Pearl Street which puts its manufacture no earlier than 1914 or 1915. It has a blob finish so it likely wasn’t made much later than that. It must have contained a brew favored by the Italian community.

 

 

Santal deMidy, Paris

   

Popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Santal Midy consisted of distilled sandalwood oil in capsule form. It’s popularity stemmed from the fact that it was marketed as a cure for gonorrhea and all forms of urethritis. A February 1893 advertisement aimed at retail druggists described the product in a nutshell.

Court records from a 1918 trademark case stated that Santal Midy had been produced for over 40 years, dating it back to the late 1870’s. A French product, it was originally manufactured by F. Rigaud and later by his son Emile Rigaud under several different company names: Rigaud & Dusart, Grimault & Co., Rigaud & Chapoteau, Rigaud & Clermont and Rigaud-Vial. (Apparently Riguad changed the company name each time he associated with a new chemist.) Each company listed 8 Rue Vivienne, Paris, as their address.

Rigaud’s career as a pharmacist was capsulized in a June 14, 1897 story in the Pharmaceutical Era.

Born at Riom (Puy-de-Dome) less than 60 years ago, he came to Paris in 1859, and secured a position in the employ of the renowned Dorvault, author of “L’Officiene ou Repertoire General de Pharmacie Pratique.” When Dorvault’s business was divided, the pharmaceutical portion of it was transferred to Grimault & Co., of which firm Mr. Rigaud became a member. He finally bought out Mr. Grimault, and marked out the lines on which the subsequent successes of the firm were attained…

He realized the value of expert chemical assistance, and employed such men as Dusart, Vial Armaund, Sauthier and Chapoteaut. Gradually his firm absorbed the leading French specialties of established merit and brought them to the knowledge of medical men and pharmacists of every nationality and language throughout the globe.

The story went on to say:

His commercial travelers who visited all parts of the globe were instructed to investigate new drugs and send samples to his laboratory, and many drugs now found in the pharmacopeias were introduced in this way.

I have to believe that Santal Midy was one such drug. It apparently had its origins with a French chemist named Midy who operated a drug store at 113 Faubourg St., Honore, Paris. Later when it was manufactured by Grimault & Co., advertisements continued to name Midy’s drug store as the products’s French depot.

By 1880, Santal Midy had made it to the United States where for several years it was apparently marketed exclusively in the French inhabited New Orleans. The first United States newspaper advertisement for Santal Midy that I can find appeared in the February 21, 1880 edition of The (New Orleans, La) Times Democrat. It was included in a menu of several products being manufactured by Rigaud & Dusart and sold through the local agent St. Cyr Fourcade.

SANTAL MIDY

These capsules contain the extract of citrine sands of Bombay in all its purity. Numerous experiments, made in hospitals of Paris, have demonstrated that citrine sandal possesses greater curative powers than cupaiba and essence of turpentine. They cure in two or three days the most painful and obstinate cases, without giving any smell to the urine. They do not cause nausea, coil, diarrhea, and are very effectual against catharral affections of the bladder and emission of blood.

Another  advertisement, this one printed in several December, 1882 editions of The (New Orleans) Times Picayune referred to it as a “New Discovery in Medicine.”

It wasn’t until 1883 that newspaper advertisements for Santal Midy began appearing in other parts of the country. It was around this time that their advertisements began to identify the New York City drug firm of E. Fougera & Company as their sole agent in the United States.  Over the next 50 plus years, E Fougera & Co., the Rigaud companies and Santal Midy would remain intimately connected.

Established in 1849, E. Fougera & Co. was first listed in the New York City directories at 26 to 30 North William Street where they remained until 1905 when they moved to 90 Beekman Street. . Originally called E.& S. Fougera the initial  proprietors were Fdmund and Stanislov Fougera. An item in the January 11, 1918 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle referred to the company as “the largest wholesale importing house for French and foreign medicinal preparations and specialties in the United States.”

This December 1895 advertisement in the “Western Druggist” listed a menu of their products that  included both “Grimault & Co.’s Preparations” as well as Midy’s Capsules of Santal.”

As far as I can tell, Santal Midy was produced in France with E. Fougera & Co. acting as Rigaud’s importer and American agent until sometime in the early 1900’s when its manufacture apparently shifted to the United States under the company name of Dr. Ph Chapelle. The firm of Dr. Ph Chapelle was first listed in the New York directories in 1915 so I suspect that it was around this time that the transition occurred.

A July 7, 1922 “Letter to the Editor,” written by M. M. Sterling, then president of Fougera, to a publication called “Drug & Chemical Markets” confirmed that the Chapelle firm was also owned by Henri Rigaud.

Mr. Rigaud is also owner of the business Ph. Chapelle, formerly known as Rigaud & Chapoteau, Grimault and Vial, makers of Santal Midy, Chapoteau’s Wine, Apioline, Morrhuol and Creosote, and other well-known proprietary remedies.

The firm of Dr. Ph. Chapelle (sometimes Phillip Chapelle) was listed in the New York City directories from 1915 through the early 1920’s with an address of 92 Beekman which was at or adjacent to Fougera’s 90 Beekman Street address. The 1919 New York City Copartnership and Corporation Directory continued to name E. Fougera & Co. as Ph Chapelle’s agent.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s Rigaud  continued to manufacture Santal Midy in the United States under several different names, each still very much French sounding. In the 1925 directory they were listed under the name Laboratorie de Pharmacologie, Inc., and were still located with Fougera at 90-92 Beekman Street. 

Then, according to court records in New York’s Southern District (Etablissments Rigaud, Inc. v. Hey), on July 27,1933, Laboratorie de Pharmacologie, Inc. merged with Rigaud’s perfume company, Parfumerie, Rigaud, Inc, to form Etablissments Rigaud, Inc., with Fougera subsequently serving as the sole sales representative of the merged corporation.

During much of the 1940’s, the address of Etablissments Rigaud, Inc. was listed as 79 Bedford, while Fougera had moved to 75 Varick Street. Both were registered as New York corporations. Records from another court case (Etablissments Rigaud v. Federal Trade Commission) described the relationship between Rigaud and Fougera at this time.

Rigaud is a New York Corporation engaged in compounding perfumes and cosmetics which it sells solely to Fougera, another New York corporation. Some of the merchandise thus sold by Rigaud is delivered to Fougera in New York, while some is shipped to the latter’s customers on its order. The goods Fougera has so purchased it sells throughout the United States. The various ingredients used to make up the perfumes are combined by Rigaud with one another and with domestic alcohol at its place of business at 79 Bedford Street, New York City. When the ingredients are thus compounded they are bottled and packaged for sale. Some of Rigaud’s officers and five of its eight directors reside in Paris and to a considerable extent direct the business policy of the company, but Rigaud does not maintain any office there as a corporation.

Etablissments Rigaud, Inc. was still listed in the Manhattan Telephone Book in 1949, after which I lose track of them. The company was not listed in 1959.

Although Santal Midy was certainly being manufactured in the United States by 1915, it was clearly the aim of Rigaud and Fougera to continue marketing it as a French product. Their labeling in the late teens included the phrase quoted below which certainly implied French production while in smaller type they mentioned its U.S. manufacture.

L. Midy, Pharmacien de lre Classe Paris Depot Dans Les Principales Pharmacies Dr. Ph. Chapelle Ancienne. Maison Grimault & Cie, 8 rue Vivienne, Paris.

This caught the attention of the United States Food and Drug Administration who accused them of mis-branding. One judgement against the company in 1919 summed it up like this.

It was alleged that said labeling was false and misleading in that the statement in French, quoted above, indicated that the article was a foreign product, whereas, in truth and in fact, it was not a foreign product, but was a domestic product, and which said false statement was not sufficiently corrected by the statement on the said label in inconspicuous type, “Bottled in the New York Laboratories of Dr. Ph. Chapelle.

Location of manufacture was not their only issue. As early as 1909 the American Medical Association took exception to the curative claims presented in the Santal Midy advertising and labeling. The issue was summed up in an item in the September 25, 1909 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Referring to E. Fougera & Co., it stated:

One of the preparations which this firm advertises to the public is “Santal Midy.” “Cures in 48 hours” the advertisements used to read, but since the Journal called attention to the fact that promising to cure gonorrhea in two days was rather a large order, this has been modified – in American advertisements – to “relieved in 24 hours.”

Newspaper advertisements from the period bear this out. The following two advertisements were from 1907 and 1909 respectively. The 1909 advertisement reads:

In 48 hours Gonorrhoea and discharges from the urinary organs arrested by Santal Midy Capsules without inconvenience.

 

By mid-1909 the advertising copy had changed to “Relieved in 24 Hours.” The following advertisements that appeared in 1910 reflect this change.

Advertising adjustments notwithstanding, in 1919 and 1920 a number of Fougera’s Santal Midy shipments from New York to other states were intercepted and declared mis-branded as a result of their curative claims. The notice of judgement associated with one such shipment into Maryland in May, 1919 stated:

the curative and therapeutic claims made for the treatment of gonorrhea, fleet, etc., were declared false and fraudulent. In September, 1919, the court entered judgement of condemnation and forfeiture and ordered the product destroyed.

Another judgement associated with an April 17, 1919 shipment to West Virginia stated in part:

…the article contained no substance and no ingredients and no combination of ingredients capable of producing the effects claimed.

The following Fougera advertisement, printed in the June, 1923 edition of the Western Druggist and directed toward the retail trade, was certainly an indication that all of this negative publicity was taking its toll on sales. In part the advertisement made the following plea to retail druggists:

When a Customer Asks for Santal Midy Capsules do not hesitate to supply them.

There is no measure legally restrictive.

Nothing in its recommendations by advertisement, literature or label precludes its unrestrained sale or use as such.

Don’t let a misunderstanding of this fact cost you profitable sales.

Santal Midy is advertised as extensively as ever…

At the same time however they continued to tone down their advertisements to the general public. These early 1920’s newspaper advertisements no longer mentioned a time frame for relief, instead, they used phrases like “Easy to Take – Quick to Relieve” and “Popular Remedy.”

 

In the late 1930’s, the product results were described with phrases like “helps to relieve pain and soreness” and “let soothing Santal Midy help you.”

The above advertisement, circulated in 1938/1939, was the last newspaper advertisement for Santal Midy that I can find. How much longer Santal Midy was manufactured and sold after 1939 is not clear. Some later Santal Midy labels name Gallia Laboratories, 254 W 31st Street in New York City as a distributor so it’s possible that at some point after the 1933 merger Rigaud gave up the pharmaceutical piece of their business to focus on perfume but that is simply conjecture on my part. Rigaud perfumes are still made today.

E Fougera & Company also exists today as a division of Fougera Pharmaceuticals. Located in Melville New York, they make generic topical steroids, antibiotics and anti-fungals for both prescription and “Over the Counter” markets.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown, 10-sided vial embossed Santal deMidy, Paris. Recognizing it’s mouth blown it likely dates no later than the early 1900’s and was most likely imported from France.