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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Santal deMidy, Paris

   

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

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

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

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

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

The story went on to say:

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

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

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

SANTAL MIDY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no measure legally restrictive.

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

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

Santal Midy is advertised as extensively as ever…

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

 

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

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

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

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

R. Sprenger, 203 E 92nd St., New York

The R stands for Rudolph Sprenger who, according to census records from 1900, immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1882. As best I can tell he ran a small beer bottling business located on the east side of Manhattan during the 1880’s and 1890’s

Rudolph Sprenger was first listed in the 1884 NYC Directory and later in the 1885 directory as a bottler at 209 East 88th Street. Sometime in 1885 or  1886, he partnered with Henry C. Timm and moved the business to 203 East 92nd Street. Sprenger & Timm was listed at that address in both the 1886 and 1887 directories.

The partnership apparently dissolved in 1887 or 1888. In the 1888 directory Sprenger was listed individually at 203 East 92nd Street where he remained through 1897, sometimes with the occupation bottler and other times beer.

In 1898 and 1899 he continued to be listed as a bottler but had moved to 172 East 91st Street.

In 1900 he moved again, this time to the west side of Manhattan, at 1725 Amsterdam Avenue, where he was listed with the occupation liquors. The 1900 census records called him a liquor dealer.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with a blob finish that’s embossed with the 203 East 92nd Street address. This likely dates it between 1888 and 1897 when the business was individually owned by Sprenger and located at that address. Note: The 203 East 92nd Street address no longer exists. It’s now located within the footprint of a modern apartment building called the “Easton.”

The bottle was produced or at least supplied by Karl Hutter of New York whose name appears on the base.

According to a paper found on the Society of Historical Archeology’s Historic Bottle Website, written by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey and Carol Serr, Hutter acquired the patent for a bottle closure called the “Lightning Stopper” and was also a supplier of bottles. He used this embossing from 1877 to 1900 which encompasses the period that Sprenger was in business.

On a final note, the name Sprenger was well connected with brewing in the state of Pennsylvania. The J. A. Sprenger Brewery, later referred to as the Sprenger Brewing Company, operated in Lancaster Pennsylvania from the 1870’s up through the start of Prohibition and again after it ended. While the name is rather unique and the timing works, I can’t find anything that connects the Pennsylvania operation with Rudolph Sprenger’s bottling business in New York.

E. W. Hoyt & Co., Lowell, Mass., Hoyt’s German Cologne

E. W. Hoyt & Co.’s signature product was called Hoyt’s German Cologne which they began producing in Lowell Massachusetts around 1870.

The company was named after its founder and initial proprietor, Eli Waite Hoyt. His biographical sketch in the “History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, by D. Hamilton Hurd, published in 1890, stated that he was born in Alexandria, New York in 1838 and moved to Lowell when he was eight years old.

The biographical sketch went on to describe the start of the business.

At the age of about fourteen years he became a clerk in the drug-store of E.A. Staniels, on the corner of Central and Middlesex Streets, and at length was received as partner in the business. Upon the death of Mr. Staniels, in 1861, Mr. Hoyt, then twenty-three years of age, became sole proprietor.

Lowell directories from the 1860’s listed his business as an “apothecary,” located at Central, corner of Middlesex, where they also served as a sales agent for various products. The first newspaper advertisement that I can find for E. W. Hoyt & Co. named them as an agent for “Wilder’s Crow Killer.” The advetisement first appeared in the April 22, 1865 edition of the “New England Farmer.”

According to Hoyt’s biographical sketch, it was around this time, in the mid 1860’s, that Hoyt’s German Cologne was in its infancy.

About 1866 he began, in a small way, the manufacture and sale of cologne, declaring that the first thousand dollars he should earn he would devote to that enterprise. This purpose he fulfilled. In 1870 Freeman B. Shedd, who, for several years had served as clerk in the store, was received as partner, and the firm began the extensive manufacture and sale of “Hoyt’s German Cologne.”

Initial newspaper advertisements for it began appearing in 1871. The first were in Bangor, Maine where it was being sold by someone named Chas. Hight.

Very quickly the business outgrew the old Staniel’s apothecary, such that in 1873 another building was constructed on the adjoining lot. An item announcing the new building was printed in the July 17, 1873 edition of the Boston Globe.

Messers. E.W. Hoyt & Co., druggists, have recently erected a large four-story brick edition to their store, on the corner of Central and Middlesex Streets. This addition is to be used by this firm for the manufacture of their celebrated German cologne.

Ultimately, Hoyt and Shedd sold the retail portion of the business so that they could focus entirely on the manufacture of their cologne. According to Shedd’s obituary in the March, 1913 issue of “American Perfumer:”

In 1877 Hoyt & Shedd’s German cologne had become so high in popular favor throughout the world that the drug business was given over to the two head clerks and the attention of the two partners was given entirely to its manufacture.

Based on the 1880 Lowell Directory, the clerks were named Charles H. Crowell and A. J. Harrison and the drug store continued in business on Central Avenue under the name of Crowell & Harrison.

Shedd’s obituary goes on to say that E. W. Hoyt & Co. outgrew their  Central Avenue building and in 1884 constructed a new building at Church and George Streets. By then, the company had also established a branch in Montreal, Canada.

By the mid to late 1880’s, in addition to Hoyt’s German Cologne, the company was also manufacturing several new products, the most notable being  Rubifoam for the Teeth. This advertisement, printed in the 1890 edition of “Keesling’s Book of Recipes and Household Hints,” touts both Hoyt’s German Cologne and Rubifoam.

Eli Hoyt passed away in February, 1887 after which Shedd continued to run the company until his death in March, 1913. At that point, according to a March 17, 1913 story in the Boston Globe, the estate sold the business to his secretary, Alexis D. Sargent.

(to) Alexis D. Sargent, his secretary, he left his business, to be paid for at an assessed valuation, but no charge will be made for the good will.

Around the time that Sargent assumed control of the company their address in the Lowell directories changed to 295 Central, Room 8. I assume, but cannot confirm, that this was an office address and the manufacturing continued to occur at their facility at Church and George. Between 1901 and 1914 the company also included an address in New York City where they used local perfumers named A. B. Calisher & Co as their agent.

Lowell directories continued to list Sargent as manager of the business until his death in September 1926. Afterwards, the directories associated a Mary Sargent with the company so it appears that the business remained closely held by the Sargent family. The company was listed in Lowell, with Mary as manager, up through 1952. That year it was still listed in the Lowell business directory under the heading “Toilet Preparations – Mfrs.”

Other than it’s name, the cologne had no connection with Germany whatsoever. According to the “statement of facts” in  court records associated with a trademark case that occurred years later:

The name “German”had been selected merely to give a definite title to the cologne, and they did not intend to offer it as bearing any semblance to German cologne.

The court records went on to say that:

They designed three sizes of bottles for this cologne, calling them large, medium and trial size, which retailed for $1, 50 cents and 25 cents respectively. The large and trial size they designed in 1870, and the medium in 1876.

Later, in the early 1900’s the company introduced Hoyt’s Nickel and Ten Cent colognes as well. Apparently the name was more of a size designation than an indication of cost because there were a lot of deals to be had out there. One 1908 advertisement for a store called Efird’s in Concord, North Carolina offered up nickel and dime bottles for three and seven cents respectively. Better yet in Washington, D.C., in 1911 at Goldeberg’s, you could get a ten cent bottle for a nickel and a coupon!

     

The company was a big believer in advertising through the use of trading cards and, taking it a step further, they soaked their cards in perfume. An example that recently appeared for sale on the Internet is presented below.

They apparently made these cards available to both the general public as well as in bulk to their retail agents.  One advertisement, in the June 1888 edition of “Atlantic Monthly” aimed at the general public, actually promoted  the perfume as well as the card  which they would send to you if you provided them a two cent stamp.

Another advertisement, this one, aimed at dealers and printed in “Weeks and Potters Revised Catalog of Foreign and Domestic Drugs -1879,” offered to include the dealer’s business card information on the trading card.

We will send free of charge, to any dealer who applies to us, a supply of cards advertising “Hoyt’s German Cologne,” and perfumed with it, and in order that the distribution of them may be mutually profitable, we print the business card of the party on these cards…

According to www.cliffhoyt.com the company produced over 50 unique trading cards related to “Hoyt’s German Cologne.” In addition to trading cards, over the years the company also produced calendars and cardboard fans with advertising material printed on them. Visit www.cliffhoyt.com for some great photographs and additional information on E W Hoyt & Co. and their advertising materials.

The cliffhoyt website goes on to say that around 1918 the company dropped the word “German” from the name of the cologne, changing it to Hoyt’s Eau de Cologne.

This was certainly done in an effort to disassociate the product from its perceived German connection as a result of World War I. The need to do this, while obvious, was exemplified by a news story about a U.S. soldier who survived a gas attack during the war. Printed in the July 8, 1918 edition of the Chattanooga (Tennessee) News, it was entitled: Whiff of “German Cologne,” Now Recovering.

Fred L. Schwab, of the 117th engineers in France, is Chattanooga’s second boy to be gassed “over there.” In a letter to his mother, Mrs. J. M. Schwab, 220 East Main Street, he tells of his experience with a whiff of “Hoyt’s German Cologne,” as he pleasantly calls the gas bomb.

“Dearest mother,” he says in a letter dated June 1, “I am in the hospital now. No, nothing serious – just a whiff of German perfume. Don’t be alarmed, for I am O. K. now…

Believe it or not, Hoyt’s Cologne is being manufactured again today by Indio Products, Inc. According to their web site Indio maintains manufacturing, packaging, logistics and wholesale distribution facilities in Commerce, California. Indio has over 10,000 products and various trademarks, one of which is “Hoyt’s Cologne.”

Indio describes themselves as “the world’s most complete manufacturer and distributor of religious, spiritual, mystical and decorative products,” and their site implies that the cologne delivers good luck. One of their distributors, Wisdom products, Inc., describes it like this:

Hoyt’s Cologne developed in 1868 is truly an old fashioned fragrance reminiscent of early American colognes. A clean and refreshing scent with fragrance notes of citrus and floral. Hoyt’s is widely believed to bring good luck. Splash on your hands and body before playing games of chance.

I’ve found two Hoyt bottles, both mouth blown and about 3.5 inches tall.  Their appearance matches a description provided in the trademark court records.

In 1870 the plaintiffs (Hoyt) designed a bottle of peculiar shape, having a depression or panel upon one side of it, in which were blown in the glass, in block letters, the words “Hoyt’s German Cologne, E. W. Hoyt & Co., Lowell, Mass.”

I suspect that both bottles are the 25 cent trial size.

On a final note, the trademark case previously referred to in this post made its way through the courts between 1885 and 1892 and involved E. W. Hoyt & Co. and a Philadelphia based company called F. Hoyt & Co. At the time, both companies sold cologne in three sizes of bottles whose appearance and labeling were very much alike except that the wording embossed on F. Hoyt’s bottles was “Hoyt’s Egyptian Cologne, F. Hoyt & Co., Philada., Pa.” In fact, F Hoyt & Co. went even further, also imitating E. W. Hoyt’s pictorial cards and the wooden boxes in which the bottles were packed. E. W. Hoyt & Co. brought legal action against F Hoyt & Co. based on the premise that:

many people are liable to be deceived thereby, and buy the defendants goods under the belief that they are getting those of the plaintiffs.

The lower courts granted E. W. Hoyt & Co. an injunction restraining the other Hoyt from imitating their bottles, boxes or labels and later, went further, restraining them from  associating the word Hoyt’s with their cologne.

Ultimately however, the lower court decisions were overturned by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court based on the fact that their indented panel bottle design was not patented and , in fact, the bottle could actually be purchased, off the shelf, “by anyone who fancied its use.” Likewise, their cap label was not originated or patented by them and their adoption of it gave them no title to it.

The entire case history is summarized in a document entitled “Weekly Notes on Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the County Courts of Philadelphia and the United States District and Circuit Courts for the Eastern district of Pennsylvania, January 29, 1892.”

As a result of this decision, imitation of E. W. Hoyt’s packaging by F. Hoyt & Co. continued into the next decade as evidenced by this October 7, 1907 advertisement in a publication called “Fancy Goods and Notions,” where F. Hoyt & Co. went even further, calling their cologne “Hoyt’s Genuine German Cologne.”

Most drug and department store price listings printed in newspapers during the early 1900’s simply list “Hoyt’s German Cologne,” so it’s not really clear which brand they were actually selling.

Rubsam & Hormann Brewing Co., Staten Island, New York

 

     

Rubsam & Horrmann was founded in 1870 when two German immigrants, Joseph Rubsam and August Horrman took over the brewing operation of Krug & Bach. The business incorporated in 1888 under the name “Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Co.”

Their brewery, located in Stapleton, Staten Island was called the Atlantic Brewery. According to a document called “One Hundred Years of Brewing,” published in 1901, the origins of the brewery date back as far as 1854.

…In the succeeding year (1854) brewery vaults were built at Stapleton, S.I., and used for storage by Bernheimer & Schmid of Four Corners, until 1865. Krug & Bach then commenced to brew beer upon their site, the vaults and the brewery being the foundation of the plant now conducted by the Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company. The firm of Rubsam & Hormann was formed in 1870.

An early depiction of the brewery complex was included in “One Hundred Years of Brewing.”

This original plant consisting primarily of wooden frame structures was destroyed by fire in 1878. This March 22, 1878 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle described the fire and resultant damage.

The large brewery of Rubsam & Horrmann, at Stapleton, Staten Island, which was destroyed by fire yesterday morning caused damage to many houses that were injured by fire and water. The wind was high at the time and sparks were carried a great distance setting fire to several buildings, among others to Mr. Rubsam’s residence which was destroyed. The brewery and two ice houses were burned and the ice was spared simply because it could not burn. The loss is estimated at $250,000 partly covered by insurance. Mr Rubsam’s loss on his residence is $15,000. The loses are partly covered by insurance. The fire broke out in the mill used for grinding malt, and is supposed to have been caused by the undue heating of the malt. The brewery building was situated about a half a mile distant from the ferry landing , between Boyd and Canal Streets.

The 1886 Staten Island directory, the earliest I have access to, continued to list Rubsam & Horrmann on Canal Street so apparently the brewery was restored rather quickly and at or near the same location. The restored brewery is shown in these two old photographs, the first is dated 1895 and the second from a slightly different angle is undated.

One feature not visible in the photographs was the brewey’s storage vaults  that according to “One Hundred Years of Brewing” pre-dated the plant. Fortunately, they were described in a 1908 feature on Rubsam & Horrmann published in the May 23, 1908 edition of the Staunton (Virginia) Daily Leader.

They are huge caverns burrowed in the side of Boyd’s Hill, the imminence on which the plant stands. Here 40,000 barrels are always in storage, which insures proper aging of the beer.

The brewery also featured three artesian wells.

The water is the purest. It is secured from three artesian wells sunk on the grounds and is of the fine quality for which Staten Island is famous.

The Staunton Daily Leader feature went on to describe the beers produced by the brewery at the time.

Three grades of beer are brewed, the regular lager, the “Standard,” a dark brew, and the “Pilsner,” a light. For the “Standard” only hops, malt, yeast and water are used. In the lighter beers rice is an element. Upward of 70,000 pounds of imported hops are required for these brews every year.

The output is now (1908) 160,000 barrels a year more than half of which is marketed outside the Borough of Richmond, throughout the other four boroughs of New York, in New Jersey, Connecticut and up-State in New York. The extent of the Atlantic Brewery plant is indicated by the fact that it employs, including the bottling works, no less than 150 hands.

This 1915 advertisement still mentioned the three brands: Pilsner; Standard, now called Bavarian Standard, and Premium, which I assume is the regular lager mentioned in the story above.

During much of prohibition Rubsam & Horrmann continued to operate manufacturing ice and near-beer. This 1923 advertisement, one of a series that appeared in New Jersey newspapers, was for two of their near beer brands being sold at the time, Pilsner and Wurzburger.

In 1930 the brewery was once again damaged by fire. The September 5, 1930 edition of the Asbury Park Press described the fire.

A century-old brewery, which since prohibition had manufactured ice and near beer, was wrecked by fire last night with a loss estimated by the owners at $1,500,000.

The plant known as the Atlantic Brewery and owned by Rubsam and Horrmann, covered an acre in the heart of Stapleton, S. I. Only the brick walls of the seven-story building remained. Included in the destruction was a tower housing a huge clock which with faces in four directions furnished time to residents for almost 75 years.

The story went on to say that the fire was confined to the main building of the plant. Subsequently, the building, including the clock tower, was rebuilt and made operational again. Years later that clock tower would welcome home GI’s from World War II. According to the June 28, 1945 edition of the New York Daily News:

New York Harbor is getting Redder, Whiter and Bluer with every coat of paint, and the star spangled look of it thrills homecoming GI’s (clock tower of the R&H Brewery at Stapleton, S.I., has blossomed out with eight-foot letters spelling out “Welcome.”

The 1933 Staten Island Directory still listed the brewery office with a Canal Street address. By that time, recognizing Prohibition was coming to an end, a March 24, 1933 New York Daily News article indicated that improvement plans were in the works.

The Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Co., 191 Canal Street, Staten Island, is awaiting action at Albany before determining how many new men to hire, but is planning to spend $250,000 for new equipment.

Less than three months later, the company’s brands were being advertised as far away as California under the heading “Old Friends Are Best.” This advertisement appeared in the June 17, edition of the Bakersfield Californian.

It appears Rubsam & Horrmann was one of the first companies that advertised through the sponsorship of television shows. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s they sponsored sports related shows with titles that included: “Rates Highest,” hosted by Jack McCarthy and “Powerhouse of Sports,” hosted by Jimmy Powers. “Rates Highest” would appear before N.Y. Giants baseball games  but apparently tackled topics that appealed to fans of all three New York baseball teams. This July 9, 1948 advertisement that appeared in the New York Daily News previewed a show that tried to answer the question “Who has the best second baseman – Yanks, Giants, Dodgers?”

They didn’t confine themselves to sports either. In 1950, they sponsored the broadcast of the St Patrick’s Day Parade.

In December, 1953 Piels bought the Rubsam & Horrmann’s brewery as well as their R & H label. The sale was reported in the December 14, 1953 edition of the (Allentown Pa.) Morning Call.

Piel Bros., one of New York’d oldest brewers has acquired Rubsam and Horrmann Brewing Co. of Staten Island. Piel plans to use new plant capacity to serve distributors in lower New Jersey.

In 1962 Piel Bros was acquired by Drewery Limited U.S.A., Inc. and the old Rubsam & Horrmann plant fell victim to the resultant reorganization. According to the May 28, 1963 edition of The South Bend (Indiana) Tribune:

Drewerys Limited U.S.A., Inc., incurred a first-quarter consolidated loss of $419,212, or 68 cents a share, Carleton S. Smith, board chairman, told stockholders at their annual meeting here today…

Smith attributed the decline in earnings to reorganization plans begun in October, 1962, with the closing of the company’s Edelweiss plant in Chicago, followed last January with the closing of the Staten Island plant of Piel Bros.

The liquidation sale notice signaling  the end of the brewery was printed in several July, 1963 editions of the Wilmington Delaware News Journal. The sale appeared to have included the brewery’s machinery, equipment and contents.

Today, the area between Canal and Boyd in Stapleton includes a relatively recent development of attached residences. Other areas are vacant. As far as I can tell, there is no sign of the former brewery buildings.

I’ve found two R & H bottles. The first is a mouth blown champagne, actually embossed 11 3/4 oz., with a blob finish.

The second is machine made, 12 1/2 oz champagne style. The style and embossing exactly match the bottles shown in the 1923 prohibition era advertisement pictured previously.

   

The bottle most likely dates no later than the prohibition era. Post prohibition advertisements no longer feature the champagne style bottle but exhibit the export and stubby style instead. The advertisements below were from 1935 and 1939 respectively.

 

John Wyeth & Bro., Philadelphia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story went on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        

United Wine & Trading Company – Pearl Wedding Rye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pearl Wedding Rye Goes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The answer is simple.

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

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

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

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

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

Those are some of the why’s.

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspaper advertisements for both began appearing in and around 1858.

Their Sarsaparilla was described in advertisements as:

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

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

Those diseases intended for its cure were many.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian Remedies

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

INDIAN MEDICAL INSTITUTE

No. 36 Bromfield Street, Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREEN’S NERVURA AGAIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

F. Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The advertisement said, in part:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    

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

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

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

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

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

The Passing of Brown’s Essence of Jamaica Ginger

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

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

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

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