Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Kidney Liver and Bladder Remedy, Binghamton, N.Y., U.S.A.

Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Kidney, Liver and Bladder Remedy was one of the late 19th/early 20th century’s most popular and, at the same time, most notorious patent medicines. A September 3, 1904 item in a publication called “The Rural New Yorker,” described it as a cure for a wide range of ailments that even included a hangover.

Dr Kilmer’s Swamp Root, the great kidney remedy, fulfills every wish in promptly curing kidney, bladder and uric acid troubles, rheumatism and pain in the back. It corrects inability to hold water and scalding pain in passing it, or bad effects following use of liquor, wine or beer, and overcomes that unpleasant necessity of bing compelled to go often during the day and to get up many times during the night. The mild and the extraordinary effect of Swamp Root is soon realized. It stands the highest for its wonderful cures of the most distressing cases.

Its manufacturer, the Dr. Kilmer Company was, at the turn of the century, Binghamton, New York’s leading industry. Originally established by S. Andral Kilmer; later it was his brother Jonas Kilmer and nephew Willis Sharpe Kilmer who ultimately catapulted the business into national prominence, becoming two of Binghamton’s most influential citizens along the way.

The extent of their wealth and power was documented in a May 11, 1912 story published in Collier’s Magazine.

Two Kilmer’s – father and son – Jonas M. and Willis Sharpe, manufacture and vend Swamp Root. It is today the leading industry of the lively and progressive little city where it is made, Binghamton, New York. The fortune derived from it is variously estimated at from ten to fifteen millions, all accumulated in the last twenty years. The Kilmer house is the most expensive in Binghamton. The two Kilmer buildings are the finest business blocks in the city, with one exception. The Kilmer’s newspaper, the “Binghamton Press,” has the largest circulation in that part of the state. The People’s Bank (Jonas Kilmer, president; Willis Sharpe Kilmer, vice president) is a strong and growing institution. Jonas Kilmer has been police commissioner of the city. Willis Kilmer has had congressional aspirations. In every phase of existence in Binghamton, except perhaps in the social phase, the Kilmer’s are powerful – and feared.

Then, pulling no punches, the story went on to say:

All this wealth, all this power, all this influence rests on a foundation of pure fraud and knavery; has been built up by a business acumen as disreputable as that of the card sharp, as ruthless as that of the burglar who will kill, if need be, in order to make his haul.

That being said, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so let’s go back and start at the beginning with S. Andral Kilmer.

The “History of the Kilmer Family in America,” published in 1897, stated that he was born in Cobbleskill, New York, in December, 1840, and began the study of medicine at the age of 18. It goes on to say:

After a successful tour of medical lectures and practice in the West, Dr Kilmer settled in Binghamton buying and building a residence on the plot where the extensive Kilmer Medicine Works are now located. He was first employed in visiting surrounding cities on advertised days, in which practice he was so famous and successful that he was soon enabled to commence the erection of his laboratory buildings for the preparation of his remedies…

The first listing I can find for him in the Binghamton directories was in 1871, when he was listed as a physician living in the Mechanics Hotel. I suspect that he settled in Binghamton around that time and initially lived in the hotel prior to establishing his residence and laboratory. Located at the corner of Chenango and Virgil Streets, this photograph of his first laboratory appeared years later as the early half of a “now and then” item published in the March 13, 1988 edition of Binghamton’s Sun and Press Bulletin.

The Kilmer History goes on to say that his younger brother, Jonas M. Kilmer joined him in business in 1878 and they became equal partners in 1881.

It was around this time that the two began to manufacture and market a wide range of remedies attributed to Dr. Kilmer. A partial list of these early remedies was included in an item promoting his medical practice that was published in the 1884 edition of nearby Syracuse University’s “The Onondagan.”

A story written years later, by Jerome B. Hadsell, a long time executive of Dr. Kilmer & Co., included this recollection of the fledgling business in the late 1880’s. The story was published at the time of Willis Sharpe Kilmer’s death in the July 13, 1940 edition of the Binghamton Press & Sun.

…it was what you might call a modest establishment. Neither J. M. nor his brother had much capital. Neither had any advertising experience or much experience in promotion. J. M. was a good salesman, but promotion and advertising were not then the sciences they have since become.

They were manufacturing everything at the time. I say everything; it seemed like everything. Swamproot, then as later, was the outstanding product. But they had cancer medicines, consumption medicine, pills, ointments – practically a full line of home remedies for all sorts of complaints.

Their merchandising methods were limited to the consignment basis. Goods were billed out and paid for as they were sold by storekeepers with remittances every 30 days. There was no particular incentive on the part of the storekeepers to move the merchandise, and collections were not exactly good.

Up to that time the advertising of Kilmer’s remedies was done exclusively on a local basis, predominantly consisting of painted wooden signs, posters and packaged circulars. The only newspaper exposure that I can find was a series of 1883 advertisements that appeared in neighboring Carbondale Pennsylvania’s local newspaper, The Advance. Each advertisement contained S. Andral Kilmer’s likeness and featured one of his remedies. One was Swamp Root; another was”Dr. Kilmer’s Ocean Weed Heart Remedy. Both are shown below.

 

Things began to change in 1892 when S. Andral Kilmer sold his share of the patent medicine business to Jonas. Now, as the sole owner, Jonas put his son Willis Sharpe Kilmer in charge of advertising. According to Hadsell this was the turning point of the business.

Jonas M. Kilmer was comfortable enough but the business was not exactly thriving. As a matter of fact the real expansion, development and prosperity of the business dated from the time when Willis Sharpe Kilmer became actively interested in it.

Hadsell’s story went on to say:

Willis began to buy space in country weeklies in this section, and to turn out, at first under his father’s direction, the sort of advertising copy which was later to make the business grow by leaps and bounds. At first just a few newspapers in the Southern Tier were used but that advertising showed almost immediate results. It was a fascinating thing for all of us to see the power and pull that could be developed by the use of ingenuity, patience and black and white type.

Within a few years, and I would say no more than eight after he started, we were beginning to ship out in carload lots all over the eastern United States.

The company remained at their original location until 1900 when a fire gutted the facility, forcing a move to temporary quarters. The fire and resultant move were reported in the August, 1900 edition of the National Druggist.

The fire which destroyed the immense Swamp Root medicine plant of Dr. Kilmer & Co., July 1, was the most disastrous which has ever occurred in Binghamton. However, the Kilmer’s resumed business next morning, though not at the old stand, which is a heap of smoldering ashes. While the firemen were yet pouring water on the burning Chenango Street establishment, the Kilmer’s were arranging to do business somewhere else.

That this great industry might not be crippled for a moment, through the courtesy of other prominent firms and citizens, the large factory and adjoining buildings on South Street were vacated for the benefit of the Swamp Root people, and possession was taken immediately, and here, by Monday, July 8, this new temporary factory will be turning out Swamp Root, the great Kidney Remedy, in quantities of about 60,000 bottles per day, and in two or three weeks’ time the full capacity of more than four times that amount will be produced. The immense demand for Swamp Root will thus in no way be interfered with.

At the same time, according to Hadsell, the new and what turned out to be long time home of the Dr. Kilmer Company was being planned.

Immediately after we burned out at Virgil and Chenango Streets J. M. and Willis made arrangements for the purchase of the Lockwood property, on the corner at Lewis Street and the viaduct, now occupied by Dr. Kilmer & Co. There was no viaduct there then, and the lot was occupied by a wooden structure which had been a residence.

While under construction, a story in the December, 1902 edition of “Farmers Review” referred to the new building as “The Largest and Most Complete Laboratory in the World.”

The story described the eight story building as “tall and towering,” and went on to say:

It will stand for centuries. It has the finest of modern steel construction, with fireproof masonry and cement arches, not a piece of wood is used in the entire structure. It is situated on the most central and commanding site in the city, and has a frontage of 331 feet on Lewis Street, 345 feet on Chenango Street and 407 feet on Lackawana Avenue; its floor space amounts to the astonishing four and one-half acres.

A convenient switch connecting with the main lines of all railroads entering the city runs direct to the doors of the shipping department.

The building was occupied in the Fall of 1903. That year this rendering of the completed structure appeared in Binghamton’s Board of Trade Publication.

Hadsell’s recollections included this description of the business at about the time the building opened.

Of course the business had expanded considerably to justify the new building which was the leading structure in Binghamton at that time and has always been one of the ranking business establishments ever since. Before we moved to South Street we had started to ship in carload quantities and the trade had spread to the general line of the Mississippi River. Tariffs established some barriers to Canadian trade, but we had a flourishing field in practically the entire eastern United States with the growing emphasis south of the Mason Dixon Line.

By the early 1900’s, in addition to their Binghamton headquarters, company advertisements also listed a Kilmer office in Chicago as well as foreign offices in Rio De Janero, Brazil and Kingston, Jamaica.

According to Hadsell, advertising was fueling much, if not all of this growth.

I should say that shortly after we moved into the new building we were doing about $800,000 worth of advertising a year, with a great many page spreads, and that the business which had started so modestly was growing more than $2,000,000 every 12 months.

By the early 1900’s newspapers in every state of the nation were running Kilmer’s advertisements, many of which were taking up more than half of an entire page. One, published in the January 30, 1901 edition of the Detroit Free Press was typical of their advertising style. It lead with an eye catching headline.

It followed that with text that sold the idea that all disease was rooted in the kidneys and that if you heal the kidneys with Dr. Kilmer’s all of your other health issues will follow suit.

Kidney trouble is responsible for more sickness and suffering than any other disease, and if permitted to continue fatal results are sure to follow. Kidney trouble irritates the nerves, makes you dizzy, restless, sleepless and irritable. Makes you pass water often during the day and obliges you to get up many times during the night. Unhealthy kidneys cause rheumatism, gravel, catarrh of the bladder, pain or dull ache in the back, joints and muscles; makes your head ache and back ache, causes indigestion, stomach and liver trouble, you get a sallow yellow complexion, makes you feel as though you had heart trouble; you may have plenty of ambition, but no strength; get weak and waste away.

The kidneys filter and purify the blood – that is their work. So when your kidneys are weak or out of order you can understand how quickly your entire body is affected, and how every organ seems to fail to do its duty.

If you are sick or “feel badly,” begin taking the famous new discovery, Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root, because as soon as your kidney’s are well they will help all the other organs to health. A trial will convince anyone.

In taking Swamp Root you afford natural help to nature, for Swamp Root is the most perfect healer and gentle aid to the kidneys that is known to medical science. Swamp Root is pleasant to take and for sale the world over in bottles of two sizes and two prices – fifty cents and one dollar.

If you still weren’t convinced their advertisements typically suggested this (later debunked) simple test.

If there is any doubt in your mind as to your condition, take your urine on rising, about four ounces, place it in a glass or bottle and let it stand twenty-four hours. If on examination, it is milky or cloudy; if there is brick-dust settling, or if small particles float about in it, your kidneys are in need of immediate attention.

The rest of the page was filled with testimonials.

   

By the early 1900’s, increasing public awareness was leading to the investigation and ultimate exposure of the patent medicine industry’s plethora of false claims. In 1906, this resulted in legislation that prohibited false representation of a medicine’s benefits, forcing a change in Swamp Root’s labeling.

According to the 1912 Collier’s story written by Samuel Hopkins Adams and published under the heading: ” The Fraud Above the Law:”

Under the interpretation of the law, forbidding false representations on the label, Swamp Root dropped from its carton the legend: “Kidney, Liver, and Bladder Cure.” The claim of cure was untrue, and the Kilmer’s knowing it to be untrue, did not dare face the issue…

In the grand parade of confession which the food and drug law set a marching, Swamp Root was a conspicuous penitent. Applying the parallel column treatment, its admitted mendacity fairly smells to the skies:

Was ever a change of claim more significant! The revised label sedulously refrains from any misstatement of fact. Incidentally, and by omission, it admits the lies that the old label carried….

An unscientific review of the Kilmer bottle as it was depicted in newspaper advertisements that were published in the Buffalo (N.Y.) Inquirer reveals that the label change occurred sometime in 1908. The first, pictured below, appeared as late as April, 1908 and exhibited the word “cure,” the second, in December, 1908; remedy.

          

The Collier’s story didn’t stop there, also listing the ingredients of Swamp Root

What is Swamp Root? Essentially it is alcohol, sugar, water and flavoring matter, with a slight laxative principle. According to its label, it “contains the active medicinal properties of Swamp Root, Field Herbs and Healing Balsams.” But these ingredients are of such inconsiderable potency in the small amount contained, that they are practically negligible. Alcohol is the chief drug constituent of the mixture, the alcoholic strength being 9 percent, about that of champagne…

Collier’s questioned recommending alcohol for liver problems and sugar for diabetic trouble ultimately concluding:

While there is nothing in Swamp Root which will cure the patient of any disease specified in its promises, there are at least two main ingredients which will, in afflictions for which the nostrum is prescribed, give the sufferer a helping hand toward the grave.

Colliers even exposed the 24 hour urine test recommended in much of their advertising as a total scam. Described earlier in this post, their advertisements stated that any deposits found in a urine sample after it was left standing for 24 hours required immediate attention. According to Colliers anyone who performed the test would conclude they needed Swamp Root.

All urine deposits a sediment after standing twenty four hours. Yet the Kilmer’s deliberately circulate this falsehood in millions of homes in this country, endeavoring to frighten sound and well people into believing themselves endangered, in order to lure into the toils the readily impressionable. And the damnable feature of the matter is that it is actually possible to scare a certain type of person into becoming ill. Hence we see Swamp Root in another phase of devil work; not only preying on the sick, but even trying to inspire disease from which to wring blood money.

By the time the Collier’s story was published in 1912 U. S. sales of Swamp Root were beginning to decrease, so you’d think that this exposure would have signaled the end of the company, but you’d be wrong. Protected by wealth and political influence, and backed by the voice of their own newspaper, the business survived in what the Collier’s story concluded was “a copartnership of quackery, blood money and fraud nurtured journalism.”

The Kilmer family remained in control of the business throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, during which time Willis Sharpe Kilmer was serving as president with Jonas having passed away back in 1912.

They continued to advertise heavily in the newspapers up through the mid 1920’s, and while the curative claims of Swamp Root had been toned down by then, the company’s advertising ethics remained questionable, as evidenced by this March 24, 1925 advertisement that connected Swamp Root with the ability to obtain insurance.

Below this headline the advertisement reported:

An examining physician for one of the prominent Life Insurance companies, in an interview of the subject, made the astonishing statement that one reason so many applicants for insurance are rejected is because kidney trouble is so common to the American people, and the large majority of those whose applications are declined do not even suspect that they have the disease. Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root is on sale at all drug stores in bottles of two sizes…

By the late 1920’s and 1930’s the company’s newspaper advertising had decreased significantly, and sales were certainly in decline. That being said, Swamp Root continued to be well represented in local drug store advertisements.

      

Ultimately, in July, 1940 Willis Sharpe Kilmer passed away and shortly afterwards his estate sold the business. The Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin reported the sale in their April 18, 1941 issue.

Dr Kilmer Co. Purchased by N.Y. Concern.

The business of Dr. Kilmer & Co., Inc. makers of the proprietary medicine, Swamp Root, was sold today by the executors of the Kilmer estate to Ardibold, Inc., a recently incorporated New York City firm.

The purchasing firm, it was announced, will continue the business in the Kilmer building which has been the Kilmer & Co. headquarters since it was built in 1903.

Their commitment to remain in the Kilmer Building was short-lived. Less than a year after the acquisition, a September 3, 1941 story in the Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin reported that the company was leaving their long time home in Binghamton.

Carlova Moves Into Swamp Root Building

Carlova Co., perfume and cosmetic manufacturer, moved into the Swamp Root building at 39-45 Lewis Street today, as A. Alexander, vice president and secretary of the concern, announced plans for the employment of between 500 and 800 persons at the Lewis Street building.

Occupancy of the building will be completed about Jan. 1, 1942, when Mr. Alexaner said, International Business Machines Corporation and Kilmer & Co., which now occupy space in the building move out…

A deed transferring the property from the estate of the late Willis Sharpe Kilmer to the perfumery and cosmetic concern was filed in the county clerk’s office today. Federal revenue stamps attached indicated a purchase price of approximately $140,000.

Apparently they continued to operate under the Kilmer & Company name after the acquisition. Advertisements for Swamp Root between 1942 and 1959 located the business in Stanford Connecticut, with some including the street address of 370 Fairfield Avenue.

Their first newspaper advertisements, published in 1942, now referred to Swamp Root as a stomachic and intestinal liquid “tonic.”

This October 13, 1959 newspaper advertisement is one of the last I can find. By then their message was simply:

Chances are that Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root medicine can help you the way it has helped millions of other people.

By the early 1960’s, the business was located in Plainview, on New York’s Long Island. According to a 1968 Cincinnati Enquirer story regarding patent medicines:

We are told that “Swamp Root” is still made by Kilmer & Co. at Plainview N. Y., and costs $1.35 for an 11-ounce bottle containing 10 1/2 % alcohol.

At this point I lose track of them so it’s not exactly clear how long the sale of Swamp Root extended beyond the late 1960’s.

The Kilmer Building located at the corner of Chenango and Lewis Streets still remains to this day. Opened in 1903 it’s exterior has changed little if at all over the years as evidenced by the following two photographs. The first appeared in Collier’s 1912 story. The second is current, courtesy of Google Earth.

A reminder of its original use still exists on today’s building facade.

According to the “Then and Now” feature in the March 13, 1988 edition of the Binghamton Press and Sun, their initial laboratory location at Virgil and Chenango Streets was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for an apartment complex.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and its embossing exhibits the word remedy, not cure. This dates it from approximately 1908 when they made the change from cure to remedy and sometime in the mid-teens when I’d expect a machine made bottle.

Around this time they were advertising both a 50 cent and one dollar size bottle. I suspect that this was the 50 cents size. I’ve also found a larger size, also mouth blown, that although not embossed, matches embossed examples found on the internet.

 

This suggests that it was either a labeled version of Kilmer’s larger size or produced by a knock-off company, a common occurrence back in the day.

On a Final Note: In 1892, after selling his share of the patent medicine business, S. Andral Kilmer continued to maintain a medical practice treating cancer patients. According to his January 15, 1924 obituary in the Oneonta (N.Y.) Star:

He had for many years been a resident of Binghamton, where for several years he was associated with his brother, Jonas M. Kilmer, in the proprietary medicine business. Later he retired from this business and was from 1892 largely engaged in the treatment of cancer, at first at Sanitaria Springs, later in Binghamton, and just before his death in the new Sanitarium at Sanitaria Springs, which he opened only last Thursday.

Also a brazen advertiser, his 1904 Binghamton Directory advertisement referred to him as the “Greatest Cancer and Tumor Doctor in all the World.”

During the course of his cancer practice, Dr. Kilmer & Company continued to imply through their merchandising that he was still associated with their patent medicine business. This resulted in a court battle between the two brothers. A story in the October 31, 1911 edition of the (Elmira N.Y.) Star Gazette laid out the issues that S. Andral Kilmer had with his former business.

KILMER CONCERNS FIGHT IN COURTS

Dr. S. Andral Kilmer avers that for more than 30 years (actually closer to 20 years) he has not been associated with Dr. Kilmer & Company, but has practiced in Binghamton, and for ten years past he has made a specialty of treating cancerous growths and allied diseases.

Dr. Andral Kilmer further contends that there is no “Dr. Kilmer” connected with Dr. Kilmer & Company at present, but that the latter company opens and puts to its own use letters addressed to “Dr. Kilmer,” “Dr. Kilmer Company,” etc., which are addressed and intended for him.

Dr. Andral Kilmer also objects to the use of his signature and photograph on the cartons of the Kilmer Company’s medicines, which he says is detrimental to his business.

In 1919, after eight years of litigation, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Dr. Kilmer & Company. As late as the 1960’s S. Andral Kilmer’s likeness and signature appeared on their packaging as evidenced by this 1960’s example bearing the Plainview New York location on the label.

 

“Antidol” For Rheumatism

Antidol was a proprietary medicine advertised around the turn of the century as a headache remedy and pain reliever. Not just another quack medicine of the day, the compound contained aspirin (salicylates) and caffeine, the main ingredients in today’s pain reliever Anacin.

Application No. 20,619 for “Certain Named Remedies,” that included the word “Antidol” was filed with the U.S. patent office by a Boston druggist named Albert D. Mowry on December 15, 1891.

The product along with its uses were described in an advertisement that appeared more like a news item, published in the March 1, 1892 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Era.”

ANTIDOL’S VIRTUES

The Boston Medical Fraternity are unanimous in their praise for that valuable little remedy named Antidol, as an instantaneous cure for headache and neuralgia. For several years they have prescribed it, and in treating the most obstinate cases they claim that it reduces fever, allays nervousness and pains of the most obscure origin, whether accommodated by fever or not. It is said to be perfectly harmless and does not contain opium, morphine or any of those narcotics that are so injurious to the nervous system. Antidol comes in the form of a gelatin capsule, which makes it very pleasant to take. Dr. Draper, a physician well known throughout New England, says: “Antidol as a specific for headache has no peer.” The retail price is 25 cents. Every druggist should stock this preparation. Communicate with the manufacturers, Wheeler Pharmacal Co., Boston Mass.

The patent holder, Albert D. Mowry, and the Wheeler Pharmacal Company were closely related, if not one and the same. As early as 1885 Mowry was listed as a druggist in the Boston directories and between 1892 and 1899 Mowry’s drug business and the Wheeler Pharmacal Co. were both listed with the same two addresses; 329 Warren St. and 476 Blue Hill Ave. This leads me to believe that Mowry was writing prescriptions for Antidol in the late 1880’s and by the early 1890’s had formed the Wheel Pharmacal Co. in an effort to manufacture and market Antidol, which they did locally. Advertisements in the New England Magazine and Boston Globe appeared quite regularly between 1891 and 1894. The following advertisements appeared in New England Magazine in the Fall of 1892.

 

Sold only in capsule form it was packaged in what they called small “vest pocket” bottles. A December 13, 1891 Boston Globe advertisement described the bottle like this:

Antidol comes in little pleasant tasting capsules put up in small bottles about the size of a fat, but short lead pencil.

This photograph of their “vest pocket” bottle is provided courtesy of the New Hampshire Historical Society. https://www.nhhistory.org

Medicine bottle, Wheeler Pharmacal Company, Boston, MA.

By 1900, the Wheeler Pharmacal Company was no longer listed in the Boston directories, however, as late as November, 1904, the Merck Report continued to name them as the manufacturer of Antidol in their  “Dictionary of Remedies, Synonyms, and Various Proprietary Preparations.” Mowry’s drug business continued to be listed through 1907 at which time, an item in the December 16, 1907 edition of the Boston Globe announced that he had passed away.

Another trademark for Antidol was filed with the United States Patent Office in 1920 by William Schapira. A New York City druggist, Schapira was located in Manhattan, at 182 First Avenue (corner of 11th St.) from 1898 up until his death in March, 1924.  The application claimed that it was first used in 1904, about the same time it was disappearing up in New England.

The timing fits, so it’s possible that Schapira, obtained the rights to Antidol from Mowry, however, that being said, the “Practical Druggist and Review of Reviews,” in their March, 1905 issue, included it on a list under the heading “Latest New Remedies” (3rd one on the left hand side) and indicated  it was a remedy for rheumatism as well as headache.

Based on this its not apparent whether this was a re-launch of Mowry/Wheeler’s Antidol or a new compound altogether.

What is apparent was that at some point Schapira began manufacturing Antidol in liquid form. Recognizing that the bottle I found is mouth blown and not machine made, this likely occurred within several years, if not at, its start with Schapira in 1904/1905.

Schapira was certainly manufacturing it in liquid form by the early 1920’s as evidenced by the following two advertisements. The first, aimed at the general public, appeared in the December 28, 1922 edition of the Brooklyn Citizen. The second appeared in the April, 1923 edition of the “Druggist Circular.”

An item in the April, 1924 edition of the Practical Druggist announced that Schapira passed away on March 20, 1924. The Wm. Schapira Pharmacy was still listed at 182 First Avenue in 1933 under different ownership (C. Pellicione and P. Nardi).

A compound under the name Antidol is still made today in pill form.  It’s advertised uses are not much different than they were a century ago.

ANTIDOL 500 MG COATED TABLETS

Systematic relief of occasional mild or moderate pain, such as headache, dental pain, muscle pain or back pain.

Manufactured by the CINFA Group, it’s not currently available in the United States.

The bottle I found is a brown mouth blown medicine, maybe 12 ounces in size. It’s simply embossed “Antidol” for Rheumatism. While the embossing doesn’t specifically include Schapira’s name and address, it’s similar in size, color and style to a bottle recently offered for sale on the internet that does.

     

Both bottles likely date to the first decade of Schapira’s business, say 1905 to 1915.

Schapira’s long time location in Manhattan at 182 First Avenue was located on the northeast corner of 11th Street. Today, courtesy of Google Earth, the building at that location is a 19th century walk-up whose ground floor likely accommodated the business.

Note: Streeteasy.com indicates the building at that address was constructed in 1920 but recognizing that Schapira’s pharmacy utilized the address continuously from 1899 through 1933 I suspect streeteasy is likely interpreting  a building permit for renovations as original construction.

I. Goldberg, 171 E. Broadway, Houston Cor. Clinton St., 5th Ave. Cor. 115th St., New York City, Graham Cor. Debevoise St., Pitkin Cor. Rockaway Ave., Brooklyn.

The New York City wine and liquor business 0f Isaac Goldberg began in the mid to late 1880’s at a single Manhattan location. By the time National Prohibition was enacted it had grown to include store locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx as well as a Brooklyn distribution center.

According to 1910 census records Goldberg, a Russian Jew, immigrated to the United States in 1885. He was first listed in the New York City directories in 1888 with the occupation “wines,” at 138 1/2 Division Street in Manhattan. At the time he was associated with his brother-in-law, Phillip S. Spero of Philadelphia, manufacturing wine for religious purposes.

In 1889 Spero was on trial in Philadelphia for selling the wine, some of which had fermented and contained 16% alcohol, without a license. The coverage of the trial in the May 19, 1889 edition of The (New York) Sun included some background and the early history of the business.

Phillip S. Spero of 701 South Sixth Street was yesterday brought into the Old Court House and tried before Judge Finletter on the charge of selling Passover wine without a license. Spero is a Russian Hebrew and has been in this country only three years. He is in partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. Isaac Goldberg of New York City, engaged in the manufacture of what the Hebrews call “raisin wine” or “Passover wine,” which is used in the Hebrew-Russian ceremony three times on their Sabbath (Saturdays) and during the whole time of the Passover. The cannons of the church require that the wine be unfermented.

Lawyer Singer of the firm of Furth & Singer, represented the defendant. He called the accused, who testified through interpreter Samson, that he had been in the country only three years, and that he formerly lived with his father in England, from whom he obtained the recipe for making the wine. He had made it in England after his father died, and when he came to this country he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Isaac Goldberg of New York, for the purpose of manufacturing and selling this wine to the Russian Hebrews in New York and Philadelphia. He said the wine was not intoxicating, and he had no intention of breaking the law.

His brother-in law, Goldberg, next took the stand and told how the wine was made. He said it was made of California grapes, raisins, sugar, blackberries and water. He did not know whether it fermented or not.

The jury found Spero guilty but recommended mercy. The Sun story went on to say:

Mr. Singer, counsel for the defendant, made an appeal to the court for mercy on the ground that the law had not been violated knowingly or with any intent to break the law. He stated that the defendant had given up the business after the arrest, and if the Judge would discharge him on his good behavior there would be no further cause of complaint.

Assuming Spero held to his word, this marked the end of the business in Philadelphia, however, it was apparently just the start in New York where it would continue up until the start of National Prohibition.

As early as 1890 Goldberg’s clientele had certainly begun to expand beyond New York’s Russian-Hebrew community. That year he was listed at 7 Allen Street, with an occupation that now included both “wine” and “liquor.” The next year he relocated to 133 East Broadway where he remained listed as a wholesale liquor dealer through 1901.

In 1902 he moved his operation to 171 East Broadway and the following year he listed his second Manhattan location, a store at 3 Clinton Street. By the end of the decade he had added another Manhattan store at 1390 Fifth Avenue (1905), as well as two in Brooklyn; one at 1691 Pitkin Avenue (1907) and the other at 28 Graham Avenue (1909). Each of these branch stores was located at an intersection corner in an obvious effort to maximize street-level visibility.

Goldberg’s business was unique in that a significant portion of his work force was deaf. A March 18, 1907 story picked up by several different U. S. newspapers provided some details.

Isaac Goldberg, a wholesale liquor dealer of 171 East Broadway, who is prominent in charitable movements on the lower East Side, says he has solved one problem of labor.

In his bottling department the entire force of workmen are mutes and Goldberg says that they accomplish three times as much work and are 50 percent less troublesome than twice their number of ordinary workmen. Goldberg inaugurated the reform several weeks ago. About six weeks ago, Hyman Sadolsky, 16 year old, mute, went into Goldberg’s place and asked for assistance. He made known to the proprietor that he was anxious to get employment, and Goldberg resolved to try him. He was put to work in the bottling department where conversation is detrimental to the best interests of the establishment.

After the boy had been there a week Goldberg found that he did a great deal more work than anybody else in the shop, and resolved to get more like him.  There was some trouble at first between the boy and the other employees, but as a vacancy occurred it was filled with a deaf mute, until finally the entire department was operated by mutes, there being fifteen in all.

Referred to as the “Lead Pencil Club,” another story, this one published in the July 5, 1907 edition of the The Sun, related the meaning behind their name.

The reason for the name the “Lead Pencil Club” is that everyone goes about his business with a lead pencil behind his ear and carries a book. When the boss wants to send a messenger in a hurry somewhere he puts down a few words on a piece of paper and if the workman wants to ask a question down comes his pencil and he writes a question on a piece of paper.

The group even had its own internal organization within the business and was certainly treated with respect. The July 5th Sun story drives home both points with the following description of their 4th of July festivities.

The Lead Pencil Club, which is made up of deaf mutes who are employed in Isaac Goldberg’s wholesale wine and liquor store at 171 East Broadway, celebrated the Fourth quietly.

Twenty of these deaf mutes started the day by a feast in the basement of the store. At the head of the table sat the president, Abraham Eiseberg, and Sam Rosenberg, the vice-president, who read the Declaration of Independence by signs. When he showed them by signs and motions July 4, 1776, all the deaf mutes raised flags and waved them.

After the feast the deaf mutes went to Staten Island for a baseball game with the employees of Goldberg who can talk. The deaf mutes of Goldberg beat the employees who can talk by a score of 8 to 1.

It appears that the business peaked in the early-teens having added two locations in the Bronx at 878 Prospect Avenue and 1575 Washington Avenue as well as what was referred to as a distribution department on 41st Street in Brooklyn. It was around this time that the business incorporated in New York as I. Goldberg, Inc., with $100,000 capital. The 1915 N.Y.C. Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Isaac president, with sons Joseph, Samuel and Shepard named vice president, treasurer and secretary, respectively. Two years later Shepard was listed as the president and Isaac was no longer included in the company listing having either passed away or retired.

Prohibition almost certainly put an end to the business at which time the sons apparently scattered. On October 24, 1918 the New York Times published an announcement that two of Isaac’s sons, Shepard and Samuel, had incorporated a food product company under the name I. Goldberg’s Sons using the 171 East Broadway address. I Goldberg, Inc. remained listed at the Pitkin Avenue address but by 1920 their occupation was changed to “drugs.”

The bottle I found is a mouth blown fifth or quart. The main body includes eight flat panels deisgned to accommodate embossing. Five of these panels include the company name, I. Goldberg as well as the company’s three Manhattan locations (171 E. Broadway, Houston cor. Clinton St. and 5th Ave. cor. 115th St.) and two Brooklyn locations (Pitkin cor. Rockaway Ave. and Graham cor. Debevoise St.). This dates the bottle’s manufacture to no earlier than 1909 when they began including their second Brooklyn location, Graham Avenue, in the Brooklyn directories.

Three panels on the bottle are vacant suggesting that it was made before the first Bronx location was listed in the directories, sometime around 1913. This narrows the bottle’s manufacture to the roughly five year period between 1909 and 1913.

On a final note, the bottle also includes an embossed statement on the shoulder indicating that the company was established in 1873.

It’s likely that Goldberg took some marketing liberties utilizing this 1873 date, as he’s apparently referencing back to the wine making days of Phillip Spero and his father in England.

 

H. Busch & Son, 116-118 Blum St., Union Hill, N. J.

 

H. Busch & Son were the proprietors of a turn of the century bottling business located in Union Hill, New Jersey. The business, by all appearances, was a small, local operation.

Herman Busch, a German immigrant, established the business, likely called H. Busch, sometime in the first decade of the 1900’s. Prior to that, 1900 census records listed Busch as a teamster living in West Hoboken.

In 1910 census records listed Busch’s occupation as the owner of a beer bottling business and his seventeen year old son, Herman Busch, Jr., was listed as a helper in the business. Digitized directories that include Union Hill are scarce, however, one I did find, the 1915 Hudson County Business Directory, listed H. Busch & Son as bottlers at the address listed on the bottle, 116 Blum Street. So, based on this listing, Herman, Jr. was viewed as a partner in the business no later than the mid-teens. In 1920, census records listed both father and son as bottlers of soda.

By 1930 Busch Sr. had retired and Busch Jr. was a truck driver living in Jersey City so the business apparently dissolved sometime in the 1920’s.

Union Hill merged with West Hoboken becoming Union City, New Jersey in 1924. Three years later, in 1927, Blum Street was renamed 36th Street. Shown below is 116 36th Street in Union City, courtesy of Google Earth. Assuming the street numbering system remained unchanged, this could be where the business operated. According to Trulia.com the el-shaped building includes office space, warehouse space, a loading dock and a parking area in front; everything you need to operate a bottling business. Sadly there’s no information on when it was built.

The bottle I found is a 28 oz., mouth blown tooled crown that fits with the early years of the business.

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters, Moses Atwood, Georgetown Mass.

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters had its origins with Moses Atwood, who originally manufactured it north of Boston, in Georgetown Massachusetts. In the early days the preparation went by a number of different names including: “Atwood’s Bitters,” “Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters,” “Atwood’s Jaundice Physical Bitters,” “Atwood’s Vegetable Physical Jaundice Bitters,”and “Atwood’s Dyspeptic Bitters.” Regardless of the name used, it was touted as a cure for just about anything and everything.

ATWOOD’S JAUNDICE PHYSICAL BITTERS!

HAVE YOU USED IT? If not go at once and procure a bottle – it is warranted in every case to cure the Jaundice, Headache, Dyspepsis, Liver Complaint, Dizziness, Worms, Loss of Appetite, General Debility, Costiveness, Fever and Ague and such other diseases as arise from a disordered state of the stomach, and impurities of the blood. It cleanses the blood from humors, moistens the skin, invigorates the whole system, and imparts new life and energy in the disease wasted frame. It is a powerful cathartic if taken in large doses.

For Sick Headache, it is an infallible cure. It has also become greatly celebrated of late for its remarkable success in curing the most obstinate cases of Fever and Ague. No family should be without this most valuable preparation.

Drug store advertisements that referenced it began appearing in the mid-1840’s, so it was certainly being manufactured and distributed locally by that time. The following newspaper advertisement for the Bennington Laboratory in Bennington, Vermont included Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters on a long list of “just received” items. The ad appeared in several March, 1846 editions of the Vermont Gazette and is the earliest newspaper reference I’ve been able to find.

In the late 1840’s Moses Atwood began to sell off certain pieces of the business and by 1855 he had completely sold out and left Georgetown for Iowa. It’s around this time that things got complicated, such that by the mid 1870’s a number of different entities were manufacturing some form of Atwood’s Bitters. They fall into the following general categories:

Carter & Dodge et. al. – Several businesses were spawned out of a partnership called Carter and Dodge. Carter and Dodge acquired their rights as a result of contracts with Moses Atwood that date back to the late 1840’s and early 1850’s. In 1875 all of these businesses were acquired by the Manhattan Medicine Company.

Lewis H Bateman –  He worked with Moses Atwood in Georgetown as early as 1842 and claimed Atwood left him the formula when he moved to Iowa. His rights were also acquired by the Manhattan Medicine Company in 1875.

L.F. Atwood – Atwood’s father, Levi and his brother Levi F, manufactured a version of the preparation called L. F. Atwood’s Bitters in portions of New England, a territory not included in Moses Atwood’s agreement with Carter & Dodge. Later, L. F. Atwood’s Bitters would continue to be manufactured in Maine By H. H. Hay & Co.

Nathan Wood and later Nathan Wood & Son – They claimed to have acquired the Maine rights to the bitters from Moses Atwood’s son, Moses F. Atwood, in 1861.

Charles H. Atwood – A Boston druggist, he began producing a product called Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters around 1860. As far as I can tell, other than his name he had no direct connection with Moses Atwood. Later, Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters would be manufactured by Alvah Littlefield & Company and subsequent to that, by Gilman Brothers.

Not surprisingly this situation resulted in disputes that centered around the use of the Atwood Bitters name and trade marks. One such dispute resulted in a court case, Manhattan Medicine Company v. Nathan Wood, whose records reveal much about how this early history unfolded. I’ve tried to summarize it below, beginning with an 1848 agreement between Moses Atwood and Moses Carter.

At the time Atwood made an agreement with Moses Carter to sell him certain bills outstanding against local agents, and the rights to sell the medicines in certain specified places. From the original contract, it seems that Moses Atwood retained the preparation of the medicines to himself, and the contract does not show that he did, or agreed to, disclose his formulae to Carter. The medicines were, under the contract, sold to Carter by the barrel and gallon. Among these medicines was one called Attwood’s Jaundice Bitters. When these medicines were sold to Carter, he had the right to sell them in certain named places.

Another agreement between the two, this one in September, 1852, makes it clear that by then Carter had obtained the right to put up and compound the bitters as well as to sell it in specific territories that included a large part of Massachusetts and portions of other states. To accomplish this, Carter had formed a partnership with Benjamin Dodge called Carter & Dodge. A September 8, 1853 advertisement that appeared in several editions of the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal named Carter & Dodge as “wholesale dealers” of the preparation.

Moses Atwood worked in concert with Carter & Dodge until 1855 when he sold his remaining interest in the business to them and moved west to Iowa. Around the same time Carter’s son, Charles, joined the partnership changing its name to Carter, Dodge & Company. The new company name was reflected in this November/December, 1856 advertisement, also published in the Poughkeepsie Journal. No longer just wholesale dealers, the company now referred to themselves as “proprietors.”

Several years later, in 1858, the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent and the Carter’s and Dodge went their separate ways. The Carter’s continued the business in Georgetown operating at times under the name M. Carter and Son and at others as M. Carter & Sons.

Meanwhile Dodge moved to Rowley, Massachusettes where he set up shop and sold the bitters for about five years after which he sold the rights.

…during the existence of the firms M. Carter& Sons and M. Carter & Son, Dodge sold a right to one Will B. Dorman, who also carried on the business of selling this medicine…B.S. Dodge also sold a right to Noyes & Manning of Mystic Bridge Connecticut and they also carried on the same business.

Confused? Well it gets worse! While all this was going on a man named Lewis H Bateman was also selling Atwood’s Bitters in Georgetown Mass.

All this time from the year 1855 to 1871, in the same village of Georgetown, L. H. Bateman carried on the business of compounding these bitters in competition with the Carter’s and Dodge, and when he died in 1871, his son continued the same…

Bateman’s advertisements claimed:

L. H. Bateman of Georgetown, in the county of Essex, Mass., commenced the manufacture of Atwood’s Bitters in connection with Moses Atwood, the inventor, in 1842, and has continued their manufacture to the present time.

The Carter’s challenged Bateman’s claim and brought suit against him but their request for an injunction was denied and the suit was never brought to completion.

The court records go on to say that as time went on competition between the different entities grew:

After M. Carter & Son, Bateman, Dodge, Dorman, and Noyes & Manning were all running their own businesses on these medicines, they became competitors in the business. When the different sales were made to Dorman, Noyes, Manning & Co. and when Dodge separated from the Carters, it appears that certain divisions of the territory originally owned by Carter & Dodge, were made among them. Soon, however, these territorial divisions were disregarded, by them all, and they all sold on each others territory, and wherever they could. Bateman did the same.

As you might expect, this competition was especially fierce between the Carter’s and Bateman whose operations must have been within shouting distance of each other in Georgetown. Both were listed in the 1870 Georgetown Directory, Bateman as “druggist,” and the Carter’s as “patent medicines.” This led in some cases to each calling the other’s business a fake. An example can be found in the 1874 editions of the Davenport Iowa newspapers. Advertisements run by Batemann included his claim that his relationship with Atwood extended back to 1842 and that he legally possessed the original recipe. The ads went on to say:

L. H. Bateman has continued to put the genuine Atwood Bitters in half-pint glass bottles with the words “Atwood’s Jaundiced Bitters, Moses Atwood Georgetown Mass.,” blown on the bottles. And, hereafter, to prevent all mistake, upon the directions on the label of each bottle will be printed with RED INK, a fac-similie of the signature of L. H. Bateman. All dealers and consumers are cautioned not to purchase, and above all, not to take as medicine, bitters called Atwood’s Bitters, not put up and designated as above.

M. Carter & Son responded with their own advertisement, headed with the phrase “Important for all to Know,” that claimed that their bitters was the “only genuine.”

CAUTION Fraud Exposed. Everyone should know that the market is flooded with worthless imitations, purporting to be made and put up by Moses Atwood, who has not manufactured any bitters since we bought the business of him, or lived in Georgetown since 1855. So do not be deceived by worthless imitations.

This situation continued up until 1875 when each of the entities were bought out by the Manhattan Medicine Company.

At the beginning of the year, 1875, the titles of the Atwood Medicine business stood in Luther F. Carter (a son of Moses Carter), William P. Dorman and Noyes & Manning, (said parties being the successors of Carter, Dodge & Co.), and the Bateman heirs. All those several parties, by proper instruments of conveyance, duly conveyed to the appellant (Manhattan Medicine Co.) all of their respective rights, titles and interests therein; the Bateman heirs, January 1, 1875, Noyes & Manning, April 21, 1875, William B. Dorman, March 30,1875 and Luther F. Carter, April, 1875.

This unified most of the claimants to the Moses Atwood business under the Manhattan Medicine Company umbrella. The exception was in the territory of Maine which will be covered a little bit later in this post.

The Manhattan Medicine Company was established in 1875, the same year they acquired the rights to Atwood’s Bitters, however, its roots date back to a long time New York City druggist named John F. Henry. In 1873 he enlarged his operation when he organized the firm of John F. Henry, Curran & Co. An item in the October 4, 1873 edition of the Brooklyn Times Union announced the formation of the new business.

Mr. John F. Henry has very considerably enlarged his business by associating with him in partnership Mr. Theo Curran of the firm of A. L. Scovill & Co., of Cincinnati and this city, and Henry Bowen, Esq., publisher of the Brooklyn Daily Union.

This copartnership gives the new house a working capital of nearly one million dollars, and the ownership of something like a hundred proprietary articles, including the well known list of A. L. Scovill & Co., and the control of many more, among which are Brown’s Ginger, Marshall’s Catarrh Snuff, Heimbold’s Buchu, Murray’s English Fluid Magnesia and many other standard preparations.

It is the intention of the firm to add drugs to their stock, as a profitable method of employing their surplus capital…

The business will be continued under the name and style of John F. Henry, Curran & Co.

The company operated a large New York City facility called the United States Medicine Warehouse located at 8 College Place in Manhattan (later a revision to the Manhattan numbering system changed the address to 24 College Place).

It’s pretty clear that Henry and Curran used some of their new found capital to establish the Manhattan Medicine Company and acquire Atwood’s Bitters. This 1876 advertisement named the Manhattan Medicine Company as proprietors and John F. Henry, Curran & Co. as wholesale agents.

Based on this advertisement I think its safe to say that the Manhattan Medicine Co. owned the rights to Atwood’s Bitters but John F. Henry, Curran & Co. manufactured and distributed it. Recognizing that Henry had an interest in both companies and that each company was listed with the same College Place address, it’s likely that in practice, they operated as one business.

While ownership of the bitters had changed, this 1877 advertisement in the Boston Globe revealed that the marketing message had not.

John F Henry, Curran & Co. only operated until January, 1878 when the business failed as a result of their association with a banker named E. J. Dunning. The story appeared in the January 17, 1878 edition of “The Independent.”

Another heavy failure has occurred in Wall Street. E. J.Dunning. Jr., a commercial note broker well known in the drug and chemical trade, has made an assignment to Mr. E. Y. Bell…The cause of the failure is said to be the unexpected calling in of a large loan by one of the banks. The immediate effect of the failure was to cause the suspension of Messrs. John F. Henry, Curran & Co. and Messrs. Hegeman & Co….

The business ultimately reemerged as J. F. Henry & Co. and their relationship with the Manhattan Medicine Company apparently continued. The 1890 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory still listed both companies at 24 College Place and John F. Henry was named a principal in each.

John F Henry passed away in May 1893,  and within several years J. F. Henry & Co. was no longer listed in the  NYC directories. Subsequently, likely soon after Henry’s death but certainly by the early 1900’s, the long established New York City drug and cosmetics firm of Hall & Ruckel assumed the manufacturing and distribution rights to Atwood’s Bitters.

They were still listed as the manufacturer of Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters on a 1917 list of proprietary medicines prepared by the Analytical Laboratory of the Connecticut Experimental Station.

Sometime in the late teens or early 1920’s, the manufacturing rights passed from Hall & Ruckel to O. H. Jadwin Sons, Inc., who was identified as the sole agent of the Manhattan Medicine Company in this November, 1923 item published in the Druggist Circular.

The last reference I can find that connects the Manhattan Medicine Company with Atwood’s Bitters was a November, 1926 advertisement that appeared in several editions of The (Coshocton, Ohio) Tribune. At that time, though no longer listed in the N.Y.C. directories, you could still find the Manhattan Medicine Company in New York City at 11 Vestry Street where, if you sent in this coupon, you could obtain a free bottle of Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters.

Ultimately, late in 1929 American Home Products acquired the entire capital stock of the Manhattan Medicine Company, including their rights to Atwood’s Bitters. Established in 1926, two of American Home Products’ operating entities, the Whitehall Pharmacal Company (part of the original incorporation) and John Wyeth and Brother (acquired in 1931) were both named as manufacturers on Atwood’s Bitters labels in the 1930’s.

   

“Atwood’s Bitters” was included in drug store advertisements up through the 1940’s and into the early 1950’s. By then the reference to the product was completely generic so who actually manufactured it is unclear, though it’s likely one or both of the Wyeth/Whitehall duo.  This 1940 reference was included in a 1940 Doan’s Drug Store advertisement from Ithaca, New York.

Heading back to 1875, the court records made it clear that the territorial rights to Maine and parts of New Hampshire were not included in the Carter & Dodge agreement with Moses Atwood and were instead reserved for his father, Levi Atwood, and brother, L. F. Atwood.

Localities almost without number were excepted out of the general grant, and uncontradicted proof is that the original proprietor made reservations in favor of his father, Levi Atwood, and his brother Levi F. Atwood, of Maine and part of New Hampshire.

It’s possible that L. F. Atwood was manufacturing a version of the bitters called L. F. Atwood’s Bitters  as early as the 1850’s in the Town of Fairfield, Maine (Kendall’s Mills) where he’s listed under “apothecaries”in the Maine Register as early as 1856. At some point he apparently sold the rights to a local Portland Maine druggist, named Henry H. Hay. Located at the intersection of Fore and Middle Streets, according to their 1863 advertisement in the Portland Maine directory, Hay was the wholesale dealer for a wide variety of drug related products.

By 1868, H. H. Hay & Co. referred to themselves in advertisements as the “Sole General Agent” for L. F. Atwood’s Bitters.

Meanwhile,  in 1861 Atwood’s son, Moses F. Atwood, was back in Georgetown and, while working with Bateman, sold the rights in the same area to Nathan Wood. 

That Bateman had the original recipe, and that Moses F. Atwood, the son of the original proprietor, when in the employment of Bateman as a selling agent, sold the recipe for compounding and preparing the Atwood Bitters in the State of Maine in 1861.

As early as 1844, Nathan Wood was listed in the Portland, Maine directories as a “dealer in botanic medicines.”  When he acquired his right to Atwood’s in 1861 he was listed as “patent medicines,” with an address of 135 Commercial.

By the late 1860’s H. H. Hay and Wood were certainly in competition as evidenced by two H. H. Hay advertisements that appeared in several 1868 editions of the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier.

One headed “Stop Thief,” stated in part:

The public are hereby cautioned against a base imitation of “L. F.” Atwood’s Bitters by a manufacturer of proprietary medicines in this city, who not only copied the label, in part, and adopted the same style bottle but states on his label that he has purchased the right…

Another, with the heading “The Rightful Medicine,” actually mentioned Wood by name.

I have never given information to anyone respecting my ATWOOD’S BITTERS, or the mode of compounding the same, neither did I sell my recipe, or any part of it to one “Wood,” or any other person or persons or persons whatsoever, excepting to H. H. Hay, Druggist, of Portland Maine…

As far as I can tell, both Hay and Wood continued to manufacture and sell Atwood’s Bitters well into the next century.

Nathan Wood was later joined by his son John T. Wood and by 1875 the business was listed in the Portland directories as Nathan Wood & Son, with an address of 202 Fore St.  Sometime in the early 1880’s the business changed their address to 424 Fore and by the late 1880’s was listing a factory location as well, at 464 Fore St.

The company incorporated on January 1, 1920 and remained listed in the Portland directories up through 1932. By that time Arthur Wood, possibly a third generation of the Wood family, was named as the principal.

While I can’t relate any specific newspaper advertisements to their business, Wood’s Atwood’s Bitters was included in a Druggist Circular price list as late as 1911.

H. H. Hay on the other hand, advertised their L. F. Atwood’s Bitters quite heavily. This July 14, 1876 item in the Vermont Union with the heading “Read Quickly Ye Sufferers,” proudly claimed, among other things:

…highly concentrated, is warranted to contain more Medical properties in a 38 cent bottle than any other “Invigorator” or “Sarsaparilla” sold for a dollar…

By the early 1900’s advertisements referred to it as both L. F. Atwood’s Bitters and L. F. Atwood’s Medicine. This September 21, 1903 advertisement in the Bangor Daily News specifically referenced both names.

Over the next several years the word bitters was dropped from their advertisements and in 1910 the name of the manufacturer included in their advertisements changed from H. H. Hay to the L.F. Medicine Company.

I can’t find the L. F. Medicine Company listed in subsequent Portland, Maine directories, while H.H. Hay remained listed in Portland well into the 1950’s and possibly longer, as H. H. Hay & Son and later H.H. Hay Sons. As late as 1917, published price lists continued to name H. H. Hay Sons as the manufacturer, so it appears that Hay continued to manufacture it under the L. F. Medicine Company name. Newspaper advertisements for the L. F. Medicine vanish by the mid-1930’s.

The final piece of the puzzle, Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters, got its start in Boston, likely in the late 1850’s. Early newspaper advertisements naming Charles H. Atwood of 19 Central Street as the proprietor began appearing in 1860. The following appeared in the October 11, 1860 edition of the Bangor Daily Whig and Courier.

As far as I can tell, Charles H Atwood did not claim any connection with Moses Atwood. The story he’d like you to believe appeared in an advertisement disguised as a newspaper item published in the September 6, 1860 edition of Vermont’s Green Mountain Freeman.

We again call attention to the excellent qualities of Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters, so well adapted to the wants of the debilitated and the dyspeptic. Mr. Atwood, who is a highly respected importer of choice chemicals, medicines, etc., at the suggestion of prominent physicians, and on their representations of the need of a judicious preparation of this character, was induced to devote several months’ time and much energy to producing a tonic stimulant which would justify the confidence of both physician and sufferer.

The newspaper item went on to take what appears to be a veiled jab at the other “Atwood’s Bitters” products without specifically mentioning them by name.

Throwing aside all empirical claims of recently discovered remedies, his researches among the standard agents of the Materia Medica, revealed the fact that many of the most highly prized stomachics and tonics of former years have been of late neglected. Combining the choicest of these with Quinine, thus securing all the virtues of the Peruvian Bark in a condensed and refined form, he has succeeded, after many experiments, in achieving a result in the shape of the Quinine Tonic Bitters, which is now rewarding him for his endeavors. The compound has already acquired a prominent position in the scanty list of reliable remedial agents, backed by the endorsements of most of the eminent physicians of our city.

At some point, likely in the mid 1860’s but no later than 1871, Charles H. Atwood transferred the rights to his bitters to a druggist names Alvah Littlefield who maintained a drug store under Boston’s United States Hotel (Beach corner of Lincoln) for upwards of 40 years. This advertisement sponsored by Littlefield ran in the May 3, 1871 edition of the New England Farmer.

Sometime in the mid-1870’s Littlefield apparently sold the rights to Gilman Brothers who are named as proprietors in this June 28, 1876 advertisement published in the (Montpelier) Vermont Watchman and State Journal.

Newspaper advertisements for Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters disappeared by the early 1900’s, however, I’ve seen it included in a Druggist Circular price list as late as November, 1920.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and roughly six ounces. It has the typical twelve paneled design and is embossed:

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters, Moses Atwood, Georgetown, Mass.

The 12 paneled bottle design dates back to the days of Moses Carter but the fact that our bottle is not pontiled or crudely made all but guarantees it was made after the Manhattan Medicine Company entered the picture in 1875. They continued using the above embossing up until at least 1883 when the United States Supreme Court ruled against them in their suit against Nathan Wood; the Court taking exception to their use of Moses Atwood’s name and their claim that it was manufactured in Georgetown, Mass when in fact it was manufactured by the Manhattan medicine Company in New York City.

The Court’s reasoning is presented below in their own words.

Mr. Justice Field speaking for the court said: “If one affix to goods of his own manufacture signs or marks which indicate that they are the manufacture of others, he is deceiving the public, and attempting to pass upon them goods as possessing a quality and merit which another’s skill has given to similar articles, and which his own manufacture does not possess in the estimation of purchasers. To put forth a statement, therefore, in the form of a circular or label, attached to an article, that is manufactured in a particular place, by a person whose manufacture there had acquired a great reputation, when, in fact, it is manufactured by a different person at a different place, is a fraud upon the public which no court of equity will countenance.”

This precipitated a change in embossing to the following:

Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters, Formerly Made By Moses Atwood, Georgetown Mass.

When exactly they made the change in embossing is not clear but I suspect it was shortly after the ruling dating the bottle no later that the mid-1880’s.

 

Eau Minerale de Soultzmatt (Soultzmatt Mineral Water)

 

The Soulzmatt mineral springs are located in the Alsace region of France near its border with Germany and Switzerland. Written records of the springs date back to 1272 and the chronicles of a Franciscan monk named Tschamser de Thann. Visitors began enjoying its thermal baths sometime in the early 1600’s when spa facilities began to develop around the springs.

This late 1700’s/early 1800’s description of the springs appeared in an 1867 document entitled “Description Geologique et Mineralogique du Department Du Haut-Rain” (Geological and Mineralogical description of the Haut-Rain Department).

These springs sprung up at the southern foot of the Vosges sandstone mountain of Heidenberg, upstream from the village of Soultzmatt. Previously, in 1779 until 1838, according to Dr. Palm, they were the number of six gathered on a very small space.They (appeared) as pools in stone, the overflow of which flowed into the neighboring river. These sources were designated by the numbers and the following names: 1. acidule source (Sauerwasser); 2. copper source (Kupferwasser); 3. sulphurous spring (Schwefelwasser); 4. purgative source (Purgirwasser); 5. source of money (Silberwasser); 6. source of gold (Goldwasser). But all these waters held the same properties and were of the same nature…

Visited primarily by the locals for its curative effects, in 1839 Louis Nessel acquired the site and under his management it ultimately developed into a destination for those seeking cures from all over Europe. According to an 1888 Travel Guide entitled, “A Travers Les Vosges,” (Through the Vosges) by Fritz Ehrenberg:

The following illnesses have been cured by drinking or bathing the waters of the Nessel spring: Inflammation, nervousness in the stomach, liver, kidneys, bladder, and respiratory organs; inflammatory rheumatism, swollen joint, female diseases, bronchitis…

This description of the Soultzmatt spa and its surroundings during Nessel’s ownership was included in an 1853 publication called “Des eaux gazeuses alkalines de Soultzmatt” (Soultzmatt Alkaline Carbonated Waters).

A few hundred of steps to the west of this town (Soultzmatt), the valley narrows between two mountains that rise and seem to defend the entrance. These two opposite mountains, which rise, so to speak, side by side, and which, by the equality of their proportions and the symmetry of their forms, appear as two gigantic twins, seem to have received two very different consecrations in the past. One to the north, is Heidenberg, or mountain of the Gentiles, the other, covering the valley to the south, bears the name of Gros pfingtsberg , mountain of the Pentacost.

At the foot of these two mountains, on a narrow horizontal space which covers the junction of their bases, the establishment of the baths rises solitary at the bottom of the valley and detaches its white walls on a magnificent curtain of greenery.

This sketch included in Fritz Ehrenberg’s 1888 travel guide adds the visual perspective to this elegant verbal description.

The 1853 publication went on to describe the spa complex.

The buildings that compose it extend on the four sides of a rectangular courtyard.

Those of the north are dedicated to the bath houses and cover the basins of the sources.

On the opposite side is the main building, it is wide spacious and convenient, its exposure to the South is most favorable to the sick. A large dining room and elegant living room occupy the grounds.

To the east, an avenue of tall and bushy trees announces and seems to veil this delicious retreat.

In the west, the center of a well distributed garden, wild vines entwining their vigorous vines form a green and shady gallery around the pool with a jet of water, which keeps this place pleasantly cool.

On December 1, 1853, at around the same time this description was written, an imperial decree authorized the bottling and marketing of Soultzmatt water under the name Source Nessel. According to an inventory of the “Vosages Valleys of the Haut-Rhin” found on the French website grandest.fr., as early as 1855 Nessel sold 55,000 bottles of his mineral water. This description of the Nessel sources, now numbering eleven, focused on the single source used for bottling. It appeared in an 1859 publication called “Des principales faux minerales de’l Europe” (Of the Main Mineral Waters of Europe)

The sources are eleven, six old and five new. The most carbonated, the main source, is used exclusively as a drink, and only supplies the exported water. It is therefore necessary to take special care of it, all the others being used for external use.

Main Source – In front of the corridor door, at the end of the courtyard of the establishment is the source, whose tap, 1 centimeter in diameter at its opening, is sealed 20 centimeters from the paving at the bottom of the wall of the part intended for the various bottling jobs. We arrive at the source praetorium, 1 meter 60 centimeters below the ground, through a glass door opening onto a sort of vestibule 3 meters long by 2 meters wide, which leads to a stone staircase of nine steps. A wooden grid painted green surrounds the courtroom area, 2 meters long by 1 meter wide, and supports a shelf with compartments for drinkers’ glasses.

The flow of the source is only 1 liter three quarters per minute, 98 liters per hour, or 2,352 liters per day. It is collected at times when the refreshment bar is not frequented, in bottles consumed in the surroundings, and especially in the many countries where there are deposits.

The water is clear, limpid, transparent, colorless, and reveals by its taste and its smell the large quantity of dissolved and free carbonic acid gas with which it is charged, and which soon settles in numerous and shiny pearls on the walls of the glass. It’s flavor is fresh, sour, very pleasant; it is also used as a drink during meals.

The Vosages Valleys’ inventory went on to say that in order to meet growing demand Nessel undertook collection work on the other side of the road at the foot of the Heidenberg rocks such that by the mid 1860’s he was selling 400,000 bottles annually.

When Louis Nessel passed away in 1875, he was succeeded by his son Jacques.  By this time they  had established a business relationship with Antoine Brun, forming Nessel, Brun et Cie. This advertisement for their waters appeared in several 1877 issues of a publication entitled “Gazette hebdomadaire de medicine et de chirugie” (Weekly Gazette of Medicine and Surgery).

Translated (courtesy of Google Translate), it reads :

The mineral source to which the just reputation of Soultzmatt waters is due is that of baths belonging to Messrs. Nessel and Brun. More Carbonated than the water sold under the sole name of Soultzmatt, it can be recognized by the following brands: “Nessel,” “Soultzatt Mineral Water,” and “Soultzatt Carbonated Alkaline Water,” at the bottom of the cork in the glass on the tar.

The bottle is sold for 60c. the bottle taken back for 15c. at the depot 18 Rue de Choisent, Lescun house, in pharmacies and depots. Require the brand.

In 1891 the facility was partially destroyed by fire after which it was purchased and rebuilt by Joseph Brun who, along with his sisters operated it under the name Brun & Cie.

This entry in an 1897 English publication entitled “Health Resorts Of Europe – A Guide to Mineral Springs, Climates, Mountain and Sea Side Stations of Europe,” by Thomas Linn, M.D., was very complimentary of the Brun & Cie product. By this time the Nessel Spring, through its various catchments was producing 15,000 quarts per day.

Soultzmatt

These bi-carbonate of soda, gaseous, alkaline digestive waters, are found in Haute Alsace, near Colmar, and were declared of public utility by the French Government in 1865. The Nessel Spring, from which they come, gives now over 15,000 quarts of the water per day, and its chemical analysis shows that it is of great purity and highly charged with carbonic acid gas; this gas is natural to the spring and is not added to the water in bottles, as is the case in many table waters.

From personal experience we can state that these waters are without a rival as Table Waters, and they are the most agreeable and hygienic that we have tasted, having nearly any metallic principles in them; this absence of iron makes them eminently digestive, and allows of their perfect conservation in bottles.

The 1904 edition of the same publication, “Health Resorts of Europe,” made it clear it was still being touted as a cure as well.

Indications. – Chronic inflammatory troubles of the stomach; nervous diseases. Very diuretic, and given in liver, kidney and bladder troubles, gout, rheumatism.

Brun & Cie was liquidated in 1921, replaced by the Societe des Eau Minerale de Soultzmatt (Soultzmatt Mineral Water Company). Around this time, the company drilled new wells and after adding carbon dioxide marketed a new product under the name Lisbeth. This place mat recently offered for sale on the internet highlighted their Lisbeth Carbonated Water as well as their Nessel Mineral Water.

Again thanks to Google Translate:

Nessel Natural Mineral Water

Nessel mineral waters are indicated in disorders of the stomach, liver intestines, kidneys and bladder.

Lisbeth Carbonated Table Water

The most pure, the most pleasant of table water which keeps gas better.

Today a company called “Sources De Soultzmatt” continues to sell sparkling water under the Lisbeth name and mineral water under the Nessel name.

According to the company’s web site, their products are currently exported to the United States as well as Canada, Australia and several European countries (United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Holand, Greece, Poland…).

The bottle I found was mouth blown in a turn mold and includes a a blob seal exhibiting one of the trademarks presented in the 1877 advertisement.

Recognizing it was blown in a turn mold, I suspect it was made sometime around the turn of the century after Brun & Cie was established.

Recognizing that I found this bottle on Long Island, N.Y. it’s likely that Nessel mineral water was being exported to the United States by the turn of the 20th century and possibly earlier. That being said, I can’t identify any specific company as their U. S. agent, nor can I find any reference to their mineral water in American medical publications or general magazine and newspaper advertisements. So, I suspect their U. S. imports were minimal, probably limited to local retailers.

 

Armour and Company, Chicago (Armour Laboratories)

Established in the mid 1860’s by Phillip Danforth Armour and John Plankinton, Armour and Company was a meat packing business that by the turn of the century had grown into one of the largest companies in the United States. For many years its presence in Chicago’s Union Stock Yards contributed, in no small way, to that city’s reputation as the capital of the American meatpacking industry.

Not only a meat producer, the company was heavily involved in the manufacture of by-products utilizing materials that were typically wasted in the slaughtering process. According to an October 20, 1901 story in the Buffalo (N.Y.) Times:

It is a saying in Chicago that the house of Armour & Co., in the slaughter of hogs, “loses nothing but the squeal of the hogs” when they are led to the slaughter. Employing many thousands of men in the varied industries growing out of their vast slaughtering business, the firm has found it immensely profitable to utilize all portions of the raw material by the firm.

The story went on to provide this menu of  products manufactured under the Armour name at the turn of the century. The list would grow well into the hundreds by the 1920’s

The business got its start with John Plankinton, not in Chicago but further north in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His biography, available on wisconsinhistory.org tells the story.

John Plankinton was a meat packer and businessman. In 1849 he began the packing of beef and hog products, and in 1852 formed a partnership with Frederick Layton under the firm name of Layton and Plankinton Packing Co. In 1861 Layton withdrew and Plankinton continued the business alone until 1863, when he was joined by Phillip D. Armour, and the firm became Plankinton, Armour and Co. (Plankinton & Armour)

Armour had arrived in Milwaukee by way of California where he had been lured by the gold rush.  Whether he made any money on the west coast is apparently open to speculation. According to his biography published in “A History of the City of Chicago,” published in 1900:

Mr Armour returned to the East in 1856, after having a varied experience in mining enterprises, and it was conjectured at the time that he brought back with him considerable of the golden dust, but the facts of this interesting matter are known only to himself.

Another biography, this one published in the January 7, 1901 edition of Chicago’s “Inter Ocean,” described Armour’s Milwaukee years leading up to his association with Plankinton.

Mr. Armour went to Milwaukee, where he had a friend, Frederick S. Miles, who was engaged in the wholesale grocery and commission business, and soon became his business partner, the style of the firm being Miles & Armour. The firm was prosperous, but in 1863 Mr. Armour withdrew from it to engage in the shipment of wheat, in which he saw more money. He purchased the largest grain elevator in the city, and was again as successful as could be desired.

In the meantime the pork-packing firm of Plankton & Layton was dissolved, and John Plankinton formed a new firm, in the same business with Mr. Armour, under the style of Plankton & Armour.

       

It appears that shortly after his association with Plankinton the financial foundation for the Armour business was laid. His “Inter Ocean” biography went on to say:

The firm was successful from the first, and suddenly amassed a great fortune, all through the brilliant management of Mr. Armour. This happened in the spring of 1863, when the war of the rebellion was drawing to a close. At that time pork was selling at $40 a barrel, and the New York operators were buying it recklessly under the impression that it would go to $60. Mr. Armour believed that the war would soon end, and that pork would decline to $20 or less. He laid his plans before his partners, who gave him their approval, and then went posthaste to New York, where he sold pork short for $40 as long as anybody would buy it. Sure enough, pork soon fell to $18, and Mr. Armour and his partners were made millionaires.

In the meantime Phillip’s brother, Herman O. Armour, had started a grain commission business in Chicago sometime in 1862 and by 1864 the two brothers along with Plankinton had joined together in that city under the name H. O. Armour & Co. In 1868 they began packing pork under the name Armour & Co. and by 1870 all the business transacted in Chicago was  done under the Armour & Co. name.

According to a story written years later in the December 2, 1951 edition of the Tribune, the Chicago operation moved to the Union Stock Yards in 1872 where it would remain until the late 1950’s.

The first Armour hog plant was the old Bell house in the Archer Avenue packing center which had been built up during the Civil War. About 1868 packers began to move south to the area just west of the stock yards and Armour followed in 1872.

As early as 1865 Herman left another brother, Joseph, in charge of the Chicago operation and opened an office in New York under the name Armour, Plankinton & Co. The office was first listed in the 1866/1867 New York City directory at 129 Broad Street in Manhattan.

By the end of the decade the Armours had also established another plant, this one in Kansas City run by a fourth brother, Simeone Armour, under the name Plankinton & Armours.

As early as the mid-1870’s a story in the Kansas City Times clearly viewed their operation as the leader in the country and world’s meat packing industry.

Thoroughly identified with the packing business of the whole country, there are no names in the United States more familiar to the trade than those of the Plankinton’s and the Armours, there being two of the former-father and son-and four of the latter-brothers. These six gentlemen stand at the head of beyond all comparisons the heaviest beef and pork packing business of the world…

A May 10, 1880 story published in the The (London) Times featured the American bacon and pork industry and included this description of the Armour business.

A few hogs are slaughtered and salted by the farmers, but the great bulk pass to the packers…

Messrs. Armour & Co. handle nearly 1,000,000 hogs annually at Chicago, and have similar establishments at Milwaukee and at Kansas City, at each of which upwards of 400,000 are slaughtered and packed. From small beginnings in 1860 their business has steadily increased; within six years it has doubled. At the Chicago works at the stock yards, 10,000 pigs are frequently killed daily in summer; 20,000 constitute a full day’s slaughtering in winter. Two thousand tons of meat are sometimes dispatched in a single day from the railway sidings which are conveniently brought into the premises. The work covers 14 acres; the buildings are four stories high, and are being constantly added to. There are six lifts, and hydrants and fire hose are fixed at convenient points on every story. A trained fire brigade is recruited from among the operatives. The premises are insured for a million dollars, the annual premium on different parts of the works varying from 1 to 1 3/4  percent. Two thousand men are employed in summer and 3,500 in winter.

The raw material which keeps this great establishment moving is conveniently found in the contiguous market where 60,000 hogs are sometimes pitched (sold) in a morning, and on one occasion last summer the number ran up to 80,000… Messrs. Armour have large pens and yards where their purchases are fed and watered until required. No fasting is practiced as in England. The grunter has his breakfast even if he is doomed before dinner time.

An advertisement published in the March 18, 1882 edition of the (New Orleans) Times-Democrat, for one of Armour’s agents, McCloskey & Henderson,  provided this list of canned meat products being  produced and shipped out of Chicago by Armour at the time. By this time the business included beef and even chicken soup, as well as pork.

Over the course of several years during the early 1880’s the Armours and Plankinton severed their various business relationships, apparently amicably. As the dust settled, the resultant situation was summarized in the October 26, 1884 edition of the Kansas City Times.

As appears from a dissolution notice published in the advertisement column of THE TIMES this morning, the partnership which has existed for twenty-five years between Mr P.D. Armour and Mr. John Plankinton, has been dissolved, Mr. Armour retiring from the Milwaukee house and Mr. Plankinton from the Kansas City house, which will in the future be known under the firm name of the Armour Packing Company.

The dissolution does not effect either the Chicago or New York houses, as Mr. Plankinton has not been connected with the former business for several years and a few weeks ago sold his interest in the New York house to Mr. H. O. Armour retaining an interest in but one establishment, that of Milwaukee, of which he is the chief owner.

It was during the remainder of the 1800’s that the Armours laid the foundation for much of the company’s expansion into industries related to their meat packing business, adding a glue factory, soap works and a pharmaceutical department among others to their operation.

A story in the January 1, 1886 edition of the Chicago Tribune announced the acquisition of the Wahl Bros. glue factory.

In a circular-letter to the trade, dated December 21, 1885, they announce the purchase of Wahl Bros’ extensive glue factory (which covers eight acres) in this city, together with the good will and all appurtenances. They will continue to produce glue in all it’s varieties, and all other products that their predecessors did, including gelatin, brewers’ isinglass, size for papermakers, bone-meal, neatsfoot oil, etc., etc. The regular packing business of the firm furnishes them with a fresh daily supply of materials, which is such an essential feature in securing superior qualities and perfect results… They employ 300 hands in the glue factory.

Ten years later, another item published in the Chicago Tribune, this one on May 5, 1896, announced the formation of their soap works.

Commencing this day the firm of Armour & Co. has added another feature to their business, to be known as the Armour Soap Works. The new building and plant are situated at Thirty-first and Benson Streets. With the inauguration of the soap works Armour & Co. now utilize everything in the way of raw material from the hog and steer.

An April 17, 1897 advertisement For Oshkosh Wisconsin’s “Kruschke’s” Department Store, confirmed that less than a year later the soap works was manufacturing at least three different soap brands.

Both the glue works and soap works were included in this May 28, 1897 advertisement in the Chicago Chronicle.

By the early 1890’s a pharmaceutical department had also been established  as evidenced by this excerpt from an April 10, 1892 Chicago Tribune article.

In the downtown office of Armour & Co. are several rows of shelves filled with bottles and at first sight a stranger would think the “old man,” as P.D. Armour is called by his employees among themselves, was running a drug store on the side to make both ends meet. In these bottles are a great and unique variety of preparations extracted from animals killed at the yards. The man who manages this department is a duly licensed druggist and physician, and the big packer’s hobby when receiving visitors is to invite them to sample his dried bullock’s blood or desiccated ox gail.

It’s likely that the above mentioned licensed druggist and his department were the very beginning of  Armour Laboratories. According to a November 13, 1949 Tribune story:

One of their earliest (products) was pepsin, a commercially valuable compound recovered from the stomach linings of hogs. For many rears the rudimentary laboratories at Armour’s were called the “pepsin department.”

On April 15, 1900 Phillip Armour formed a corporation that included most, though not all, of the Armour businesses. His reasoning was explained in a February 18, 1900 Chicago Tribune story.

The business of Armour & Co always has been carried on as a partnership. The recent death of Phillip D. Armour Jr., and the illness of Phillip D, Armour, the founder and head of the firm, are said to have supplied the reasons for deciding to put the business in a stock company. For several months the elder Armour has been ill, but it was not believed his illness was sufficiently grave to warrant any change in the management of the business. The death of his son was a severe blow, however, and is said to have determined the plan of incorporation.

The new corporation included the packing houses (excluding the Armour Packing House of Kansas City),  glue factory and soap factory, as well as a felt and hair factory and rail car shops.

The factories that will be taken into the stock company are large concerns. The glue factory is one of the largest in the country. The soap factory of Armour & Co., a more recent establishment, is also an important plant. The hair factory has an output which is said to be unequalled by that of any similar institution. The car factory is used to manufacture and keep in repair the hundreds of cars used in the transportation of the meat and other products of the various Armour industries.

In addition to the manufacturing plants, the packing house includes the large cattle interests of the firm. The agencies of Armour & Co. also will fall into the corporation. In every city of any size in the United States Armour & Co. has an agency for the distribution of dressed beef and the other packing house products of the firm. There are besides agencies in foreign countries. These are to be found in every port of consequence in Europe. In Asia and Africa the firm also carries on its widespread business.

The stockholders of the new corporation were Phillip D. Armour (50%), his son, J. Ogden Armour (25%) and the estate of his deceased son Phillip D. Armour, Jr. (25%). Shortly after the business incorporated, Phillip Sr. also passed away and J. Ogden Armour assumed the presidency. It was J. Ogden Armour who, according to an August 17, 1927 Chicago Tribune story, developed the business into a world wide organization.

Expansion in this country was followed by invasion in the South American field. In 1909 Armour & Co. acquired an interest in an Argentine packing plant. Now (1927) it has in that country five large plants whose products go to the world meat trade.

In the teens their food product menu extended well beyond the by-products of their meat packing business.  A product list published in 1919 bears this out.

According to the February, 1917 edition of a journal called “Advertising & Selling,” their food product line alone had reached over 300 items that were being distributed by 350 branch houses throughout the country. So it was out of necessity that around this time they unified much of their advertising under the “Armour Oval Label”

According to the 1917 story in “Advertising and Selling:”

About two years ago (1915) it was adopted as a permanent trademark for all Armour top grade products, and since then has appeared in all the advertising of these products; newspaper, poster, magazine, window display, booklet advertising, alike, all have the Oval Label as a prominent and permanent feature of the copy. (A label committee , composed of representatives from the selling, operative and executive departments, decides upon the eligibility of a product for the Oval Label, only the highest quality products being admitted to this class.)

Armour Laboratories had also grown significantly from the fledgling department of the early 1890’s.  An advertisement published in the 1919 edition of the “Modern Hospital Year Book,” included the laboratory’s pitch to the medical community.

We are headquarters for the organotherapeutic agents. Our abattoirs supply enormous quantities of glands and membranes from which digestive ferments and endocrine gland preparations are made. Raw material is selected with rigorous care. Nothing but healthy normal material is employed, and this is put into process before any deterioration has set in.

The laboratory is conveniently located. All desiccating is done in vacuum ovens at a low temperature, which prevents injury to active principles.

The advertisement went on to provide a descriptive list of their preparations.

The post World War I years brought pressures on the business that would ultimately, in the 1920’s, transition it from a company closely held by the Armour family to a publicly held company. A feature on J. Ogden Armour published at the time of his death in the August 17, 1927 edition of the Chicago Tribune described the influence of World War I on the corporation.

During the war American packers carried tremendous meat supplies, both for the American armies and for those of European allies. Prices of live stock and meat joined the wartime inflation.The business of Armour & Co. increased sales to around $1,000,000,000 a year…

With the abrupt ending of the war American packers and the allied governments alike had vast quantities of meat on hand. The wartime demand faded. Governments cancelled contracts and threw their surplus stocks on the market for whatever they would bring. Prices of live stock and meat dropped. With the post-war depression the currencies of Europe also plunged down in value.

The result of all this was that the large inventories of American meat packers lost tremendously in value. Their stocks in Europe were paid for in constantly depreciating currencies. It is estimated that Armour & Co. lost around $125,000,000 in two years.

Ultimately in 1923 a refinancing of the business was effected that ultimately resulted in J. Ogden Armour both relinquishing the presidency and selling the majority of his stock.

The Associated Press announced the organizational change on January 3, 1923.

Armour & Co. for the first time since it was organized in 1862, today operated without a member of the Armour family in the president’s chair.

Instead F. Edison White, a worker from the ranks, occupied the controlling station made vacant by the resignation of J. Ogden Armour yesterday, who became chairman of the board of directors.

However, members of the Armour family will retain important positions with the company. Phillip D. Armour III who has been a vice president of the company was designated first vice president, and Lester Armour was continued as a member of the board of directors.

A Chicago Tribune Story, dated February 14, 1925 revealed that the refinancing plan also included an option to purchase the bulk of Mr. Armour’s stock holdings within five years. The story went on to say that the purchase began at that time with a third of his holdings.

Armour & Co., largest of the packing concerns, will be owned by a large body of investors and will cease to be a family corporation with the working out of plans made known yesterday.

It is understood that about one third of the total stock holdings of J. Ogden Armour will be bought by the banking group, which conducted the financial reorganization of Armour & Co. two years ago, and then offered publicly to investors. Later on and as market conditions permit, further offerings of stock will be made.

J. Ogden Armour’s 1927 Chicago Tribune obituary mentioned that Armour’s stock holdings at the time of his death were not large, so it appears much of his remaining stock was sold over the next two years. Four years later in January, 1931 P. D. Armour, the grandson and namesake of the founder, resigned as first vice president. He would be the last member of the Armour family to hold an executive position in the corporation.

Overall the company had its ups and downs but continued to grow through the 1930’s and early 1940’s as evidenced by this financial snapshot included in the Chicago Tribune’s January 23, 1943 edition.

Stockholders were given a glimpse of company progress as indicated by a comparison of balance sheets of last year and of 1923, after a reorganization. Funded debt was reduced from 144 million to 62 million dollars during the 20 years, and sales increased from slightly more than 800 millions to 1 billion 300 millions.

Around this time they were contributing significantly to the World War II effort, so much so that an April 11, 1943 Chicago Tribune story announced that 90 to 95 per cent of Armour’s total production was devoted to war production. As a result, the army and navy awarded their E flag to company officials.

Notice that Armour & Co. had been elected to the award came in a letter from Robert P. Patterson, Undersecretary of War. The letter read in part; “You men and women of Armour & Co. are making an outstanding contribution to victory. You have every reason to be proud of the record you have set, and your practical patriotism stands as an example to all Americans.

Among the company’s specific accomplishments in aiding the war, (Armour)President Eastwood cited the following: “The development of wood veneer drums to replace metal drums, such as are used in the shipment of lard; a new method of smoking ham and bacon for army use which takes 96 hours instead of seven days; the telescoping of lambs to save shipping space.”

He also pointed to a new product “Tushonka,” a canned pork popular with Russians; to a new style of “stuffing horn” for packaging of ground beef; and, finally to the formula for “Pemmican,” an emergency ration carried by airplanes and ships.

The award also recognized the achievements of Armour Laboratories.

Brig. Gen. C. C. Hillman, acting Surgeon General, Washington D. C., said in his statement of the award to Armour Laboratories that they had “given a rich endowment, not only to the war effort but to the entire field of medicine. Listed on the chart of Armour’s achievements will be their production of ligatures, insulin, and other medical supplies for the military service. In addition to this, your conversion of facilities for the absorption of great production loads all shall be listed on the war chart victory.”

After the war the company continued to introduce new products and innovations. In 1948 the company introduced their famous brand, DIAL deodorant soap.

An August 11, 1948 Chicago Tribune advertisement bragged that the soap was so popular that after being introduced, it immediately sold out.

In the mid-1950’s Armour became the first company to vacuum package their bacon as well as other meats. A May 5, 1956 Chicago Tribune feature provided the details.

Armour was the very first to discover how to keep bacon slicer-fresh from packing house to your pan. Old style packages of bacon usually lost freshness after a week or 10 days, so Armour research set about developing a package that would maintain freshness for three weeks.

Since air was known to be the villain that made bacon lose flavor, the obvious solution was to remove the air and pack bacon in a vacuum.

Obvious? Well not exactly. While vacuum packed jars and cans have been used for years, the requirement that a bacon package be both flexible and transparent gave the problem new complexity.

Several hundred kinds of materials, and nearly as many different shapes and types of packages were tried and discarded.

Finally, a new plastic was tested and found to have just the right combination of strength and pliability for use in newly developed vacuum packaging machines.

Subsequent taste tests revealed that bacon packaged the new way keeps fresh much longer than was once thought possible. This fundamental research on bacon packaging was so successful that it soon led to vacuum packaging of many other products.

Armour Laboratories was also making significant advances during the late late 1940’s and 1950’s. Some were enumerated in a December 2, 1951 story.

Recently the science of animal utilization has reached its highest point at Armour & Co., which is now headed by Frederick Specht. The company views its laboratory accomplishments primarily from a humanitarian, rather than a money making angle.

The outstanding achievement was development of the pituitary hormone , ACTH, which was ordered into production in the early summer of 1949. It has been used in treating arthritis and 20 other diseases. A later development is trypsin, which has the ability to turn dead flesh into liquid without damaging live tissue. Trypsin, like the insulin used by diabetics, come from a meat animal’s pancreas.

Hormones are not the only medical products of meat packing. Liver extracts are used in treating anemia, many products are made from animal blood, and a stomach lining substance is used for ulcer.

As the 1960’s approached the overall corporate picture was apparently beginning to lose some shine. In 1959 Armour discontinued all slaughtering operations in Chicago. A story dated June 9, 1959 in the Chicago Tribune detailed the facts and reasoning behind the decision.

Armour & Co. announced Monday that it will discontinue all slaughtering operations at six plants, including the one at Chicago…

Approximately 5,000 employees will be affected at all plants, including 2,000 in Chicago. Armour employs nearly 3,000 persons in its Chicago unit, but not all of them work in slaughtering operations. Such Chicago operations as refining of fats and oils, wool pulling, soap manufacturer, and sales and distribution will be continued. In addition, Armour will continue to buy cattle on the Chicago market for its eastern plants…

The company said there were several basic causes for its inability to reverse substantial losses encountered at these plants. These include obsolescence of buildings, many of which were constructed more than 50 years ago; shifts in live stock numbers sectionally; declining receipts of live stock at some markets; and a general and widely recognized condition of excess production capacity in the meat packing industry.

Ultimately Armour was acquired by the Greyhound Corporation in 1970. This strange marriage is explained by company histories.com.

The country’s leader in the motor coach industry since 1930, Greyhound under chairperson and CEO Gerald H. Trautman had begun to diversify its operations in the 1960’s in response to declining bus ticket sales. As automobiles and airline tickets became less expensive and bus line profits dwindled, Greyhound acquired small companies in the fields of automobile leasing, money orders, insurance, and catering. Greyhound board members were approached by Armour in the late 1960’s when General Host threatened Armour with a hostile takeover, and Greyhound was persuaded to add Armour to its subsidiaries. The 1970 $400 million purchase was Greyhound’s first major acquisition. To reduce its investment, Greyhound immediately sold $225 million of Armour assets, retaining only the meatpacking and consumer products subsidiaries. The meatpacking operation was renamed Armour Foods, while the consumer products operation was renamed Armour-Dial.

Less than a year later, and after more than 100 years, the Arizona Republic announced that, now a subsidiary of Greyhound, the Armour headquarters was leaving Chicago for Phoenix Arizona.

Greyhound Corp. the nation’s 29th largest firm, and its big subsidiary, Armour and Co., are moving from Chicago to Phoenix.

Gerald H. Trautman of Paradise Valley, chairman and chief executive said the move will affect ” a few hundred”employees of the headquarters staffs of the Greyhound Corp. and of these subsidiaries:

Armour and Co., Greyhound Bus Lines, Greyhound Leasing and Financial Corp., and Greyhound Computer Corp., except its service center personnel.

The largest of Greyhound’s subsidiaries is Armour and Co., acquired in 1970. From its start in meat packing, that firm has diversified into a modern industrial complex.

 

Today Armour meat products continue to be sold by Smithfield Foods and are still marketed under an oval label.

Over the years I’ve found two Armour bottles, both small and mouth blown. One embossed “Armour Laboratories,” is colored brown and approximately one ounce in size. The Armour Laboratory Pharmaceutical List, published in the 1919 “Modern Hospital Yearbook” included a one ounce bottle size for both pepsin and pancreatin powders.

The second bottle is approximately two ounces in size and embossed “Armour and Company,” not “Armour Laboratories,” which leads me to believe its not a pharmaceutical bottle. Armour produced lemon, orange and vanilla flavoring extracts in several size bottles, including two ounces, so I’m leaning in that direction.

 

Gowdy’s Medicated Beer, Manufactured 10 Ormond Place, Trademark L&S (Smith & Layton)

 

The L&S trademark embossed on the bottle represents the Brooklyn, N.Y. business of James E. Smith and Elbert (sometimes Albert) Layton. The roots of the business date back to 1875 when Smith was listed individually in the Brooklyn City Directory at 10 Ormond Place with the occupation of “root beer.”

Layton apparently joined Smith in business sometime in the early 1880’s and the partnership of Smith & Layton was first listed at the Ormond Place address in 1883. It remained listed in the Brooklyn directories up through 1911, always with the 10 Ormond Place address.

Their bottling notice was published in several February and March, 1889 editions of the Brooklyn Citizen.

The letters “L&S,” trademarked on July 24, 1890, and the pictorial representation of a five-pointed star highlighted in the notice are clearly visible, embossed on the subject bottle.

An August 7, 1892 story in the Brooklyn Citizen featured the business and their products.

It is often a question of a great many people during very warm weather such as we have been experiencing during the past two weeks, what it is best to drink…

While he is making his examination it would be well for him to remember that there is nothing more refreshing than a drink that is impregnated with carbonic acid gas. At the same time such a drink is quite healthful, and provided the flavoring extracts are not injurious, there is no reason why a carbonated beverage should not be the one chosen by the seeker after healthful, and at the same time refreshing drinks. Among the manufacturers of these carbonated beverages is the firm of Smith and Layton, whose establishment is at No. 10 Ormond Place. They have established a reputation that is more than local, because of the delightful flavor of the goods they turn out, and above all, because of the purity of the flavoring extracts with which they impart the palatable flavor that has helped to make their goods so popular. Then the water used by this firm is all filtered and distilled, and thereby is freed from the possibility of its being impure from organic matter or microbes. They manufacture lemon soda, ginger ale, sarsaparilla, root beer, and have recently placed a new drink on the market which they call Neopolitan cream.

Later that decade, a company advertisement in the February 13, 1898 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that their mineral waters had won an award at Brooklyn’s annual Food Show.

As early as the late 1880’s the company’s territory had expanded beyond Brooklyn, reaching east to parts of Long Island as evidenced by their inclusion in this July 1, 1889 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement for the Northport (Suffolk County) business of Green & Wheeler.

While the company could certainly have served as the bottler for a brewery (PABST was making a medicated beer in the 1890’s), there’s no mention that I can find for a Gowdy’s brewery. That, coupled with the fact that the business was always listed in the directories as a manufacturer of mineral water and soda, leads me to believe that their medicated beer was actually a root beer. A description of root beers in a July 2, 1875 Brooklyn Union Times Story seems to bear this out, referencing medicated beer as a class of root beer.

Of root beers there is an endless variety of names, but they are much the same in composition. Birch beer, spruce beer, root beer, Ottawa beer, medicated beer, Green Mountain beer, Otaki beer, Madoc beer, and scores of others are of about the same taste, chiefly compounded of essential oils of sarsaparilla, sassafras, birch, dandelion, dock, wintergreen and other healthful botanical substances. They are ready for use in a few days after brewing, as yeast which is the “working” principle operates very speedily upon the whole mass. Molasses and sugar are used for sweetening , and the compounds are either manufactured in the shops where they are sold, or exported from the factories in store bottles and kegs, and placed on draught. Root beers are generally healthful, but should, like all fermented drinks, be used moderately as they are liable to exercise a purgative influence.

Whether the name Gowdy’s was their brand or the brand of another business that they manufactured and bottled for is unclear.

The Smith & Layton business dissolved in July, 1911. The Dissolution Notice, published in the July 25, 1911 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle indicated that neither original partner was still associated with the business at that time.

As fas as I can tell, Wilson Smith was the younger brother of James E. Smith and William Marquart was a grocer whose store was listed within several blocks of Smith & Layton at 1165 Fulton Street.

Note: Elbert Layton was no longer listed in the Brooklyn directories by 1907 so its possible he retired, moved or passed away around that time with his place in the firm being taken by local businessman Marquart. Smith was still listed individually in 1910 but not in 1914 so his younger brother may have inherited the business in 1911 with no interest in continuing it. (All conjecture on my part.)

Ormond Place, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, was later renamed Claver Place. According to street easy.com, the current building at 10 Claver Place was built in 1930 so it doesn’t date back to the days of Smith & Layton.

The bottle I found is approximately 27 oz. with a tooled blob finish. It fits the time frame from 1890 (registration date embossed on the bottle) to 1911 (dissolution of the business).

Holbrook & Co. (Holbrook’s Worcestershire Sauce)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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