Dr. S. Pitcher’s / Chas. H. Fletcher’s Castoria

Castoria was a  patent medicine and later over-the-counter drug that hit the market in 1868. A version of it is still sold to this day. Originally called Pitcher’s Castoria, its name later morphed into Fletcher’s Castoria around the turn of the century. Typically marketed as a child’s laxative, for years it was heavily advertised with the phrase “Children Cry for Fletcher’s Castoria.”

It’s story begins with  a man named Dr. Samuel Pitcher.

An encapsulated version of Pitcher’s life up to the point where he introduced Castoria to the public, was summarized in the August 10, 1899 edition of the “American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record.”

Dr. Samuel Pitcher, the originator of “Castoria was born in the town of Hyannis on October 23, 1824… Dr. Pitcher, while still quite young, entered upon the study of medicine at the College of Medicine of Philadelphia, finally graduating from the Harvard Medical School. He then entered upon the practice of medicine and about the year 1847 began the various experiments, extending over a period of twenty years, which eventually resulted in the perfection of the formula of Castoria, which he then proceeded to introduce to the public.

Pitcher obtained a patent (No. 77,758) for his formula on May, 12 1868, not specially calling it “Castoria,” but simply referencing  it as an “Improved Medicine.” The following is an image of the patent’s introductory heading, courtesy of googleapis.com.

The patent goes on to say in part:

Be it known that I, Samuel Pitcher, of Barnstable, and State of Massachusetts, have invented a new and useful Composition, to be employed as a cathartic, or substitute for castor-oil, in the treatment of disease; and I do hereby declare the same to be fully described in the following specification.

The ingredients of the composition are senna-leaves, bicarbonate of soda, extract of taraxicum, essence of wintergreen and sugar.

To make the composition, take twenty pounds of senna-leaves, two ounces of bicarbonate of soda, five pounds of essence of wintergreen, one pound of extract of taraxicum, fifty pounds of sugar, and ten gallons of water…

According to a January 7, 1897 story in the “Pharmaceutical Record,”shortly after obtaining the patent, Pitcher transferred his interest in the medicine to several persons who formed the co-partnership of Samuel Pitcher & Co.

As early as 1868 Samuel Pitcher & Co. was manufacturing the “Improved Medicine” in Boston, Massachusetts under the name “Castoria.” The company was listed in the  Boston city directories  between 1869 and 1870 during which time they used two addresses; 71 Cornhill and 25-29 Brattle.

Their earliest newspaper advertisements found in several Fall, 1868 editions of the “New England Farmer,” touted Castoria as:

A PLEASANT AND COMPLETE SUBSTITUTE FOR CASTOR OIL.

The advertisements went on to articulate the medicine’s sales pitch.

Probably no greater general want exists for a harmless yet effectual purgative. The millions of pills annually used in spite of the many objectionable features pertaining to them, and so often felt by the sick, show conclusively that a simple cathartic, adapted to all needs and ages, is really required.

CASTORIA is the prepared prescription of an old Physician, and is simply a well-known purgative, so combined as to render it perfectly palatable, and still retain its laxative properties. Preserved without alcohol, it may be given with perfect safety to the youngest child or most delicate female whenever a cathartic is required, and having all the desirable qualities of Castor Oil without its nauseous taste, it is the mildest yet most effectual Family Medicine offered to the public.

Unlike pills, it is not liable to gripe or its use to be followed by constipation. By gently yet surely curing Costiveness, it prevents attacks of Piles, and for Dyspepsia, Indigestion, Sick Headache Liver and Billous Complaints , and especially for disorders of the Stomach and Bowels in Children, Castoria is a safe, pleasant and effectual remedy. One trial will convince you of its desirable qualities, and its cost is no more than for the cheap physics which flood the market.

Prepared by Dr. S, PITCHER & CO., 29 Brattle St., Boston, Mass. For sale by all Druggists and Dealers. Price 25 cents per bottle.

The 1897 “Pharmaceutical Era” story went on to say that Samuel Pitcher & Co. ultimately incorporated as the Pitcher’s Castoria Manufacturing Company. The company’s certificate of organization, dated March 4, 1870, was  referenced in a court case entitled “Centaur Co. vs. Heinsfurter,” a summary of which was found in the “Federal Reporter, Volume 84, Cases Argued and Determined In the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, February – March, 1898.”  The certificate  described the new company as:

a corporation established at Boston, in said commonwealth (Mass) for the purpose of manufacturing Castoria.

Newspaper advertisements published during this time indicate that the corporation continued to use the Brattle Street address as evidenced by this June 29, 1871 advertisement published in the “Fall River (Mass) Daily Evening News”

The court records go on to say that two years later, on January 22, 1872, the corporation  sold the right to manufacture and sell “Castoria” to Joseph B. Rose, who then made the following assignment to Demas Barnes:

The exclusive right to use the name of the said Samuel Pitcher in connection with the manufacture and sale of the said patent medicine, named Castoria.

Barnes had been in the patent medicine business for many years making his fortune with products that included among others “S. T. Drake’s Plantation Bitters.” Later he served in Congress and was publisher of a Brooklyn newspaper called “The Argus.”

So, as the dust settled, Demas Barnes quietly owned the rights to the name “Pitcher’s Castoria” while Rose, acting as Barnes’ agent, was responsible for the manufacture and sale of the medicine.

Rose partnered with Charles H. Fletcher, who was a former employee of Demas Barnes, and they  moved the manufacture of Castoria to New York City under the company name of J. B. Rose & Co.

NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories in the early 1870’s named both Rose and Fletcher as partners and listed the company’s address at 53 Broadway in lower Manhattan. Later, likely sometime in 1876, the company moved to 46 Dey Street, also in lower Manhattan.

As early as May, 1872, J. B. Rose & Co. newspaper advertisements for Pitcher’s Castoria began appearing in New York City newspapers. By the end of the year the advertisements had spread to New England and several mid-west states as well.

It was also during 1872 when, what would eventually become the company’s well-known slogan: “Children Cry For Pitcher’s Castoria,” began appearing in their advertisements.  One of the earliest I can find was published in the September 13, 1872 edition of The “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

During this time, in addition to Castoria the company also advertised another proprietary product called Centaur Liniment. According to an August 16, 1872 “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” advertisement:

CENTAUR LINIMENT WILL CURE NEURALGIA, BRUISES, SWELLINGS, STIFF JOINTS, STRAINS, RHEUMATISM, and all Flesh, Bone and Muscle Ailments…

Some of the ingredients of this Liniment are equally efficacious for MAN and BEAST, HENCE THE NAME OF “CENTAUR,” which was half horse and half man.

Centaur Liniment – White Wrapper – is for Family use. The Centaur Liniment – Yellow Wrapper – is for Horses and Animals. It will cure SPAVIN, STRAINS, SCRATCHES, SWEENY, etc., and is bound to astonish the world.

Why will you suffer or lose the use of a valuable animal, when you can get Centaur Liniment, a certain speedy and effective cure, for 50 cents and one dollar per bottle…

J. B. ROSE & CO., Proprietors, 53 Broadway, New York

Sometime in the mid to late 1870’s Rose’s involvement with the business ended after which Fletcher connected with the nephew of Demas Barnes, Demas Barnes Dewey, and established  the Centaur Company.  Still located at 46 Dey Street, the 1879 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Centaur with a capital of $25,000 and  named Dewey, president and Fletcher, Secretary.

Throughout much of the 1880’s Pitcher’s Castoria continued to be manufactured and sold by  the Centaur Company  with the NYC directories always naming Demas Dewy as president and Fletcher as secretary. During this time the company listed lower Manhattan addresses of 46 Dey Street (1879-1880); 182 Fulton Street (1882-1887) and 77  Murray Street (1888-1890).

This October 23, 1884 advertisement featuring both Castoria and Centaur Liniment exhibited the company’s Fulton Street address. It was published in the Junction City (Kansas)Tribune.

Centaur’s corporate picture ultimately changed in the late 1880’s when both Demas Barnes and  Demas Dewey passed away; Barnes in May, 1888 and Dewey in December, 1889,  leaving Fletcher in complete control of Pitcher’s Castoria. By 1890 the  NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory named him as the Centaur Company’s president, a title he would hold until his death in 1922.

On a side note: While Fletcher was now running the business, its apparent that the Barnes family continued to hold a healthy financial interest in the Centaur Company. When Demas Barnes died in 1888, his share’s of Centaur Company stock were inherited by his daughter, Cora F. Barnes. Upon her death in 1914, an August 8, 1914 story in the “New York Tribune” announced that the accumulation of profits and dividends on that stock was appraised at $4,952,195.

As Fletcher gained control of the company’s management he was faced with competition from an increasing number of companies attempting to profit from Castoria’s success. Court records from a Canadian case, “The American Druggists Syndicate v. The Centaur Co.,” dated October 18, 1920, succinctly summarized the situation faced by Fletcher.

In 1868 one Dr. Pitcher invented a medicine compounded of various ingredients according to formula for which he obtained a patent for in the United States which expired in the year 1885. This medicine in the United States was commonly called “Castoria,” though it was not so christened by the inventor in his patent…

At the expiration of the life of the patent of the thing “Castoria,” the public were at perfect liberty to compound the substance and sell it under that name in the United States. During all the life of the patent there is one thing certain, that substance was sold under no other name than “Castoria,” and the substance was known to the public as “Castoria.”

When the patent expired, the record shows that manufacturers or dealers to the number of 15 or 18, in the United States, commenced the manufacture and sale of the substance. There was on the market (and I paraphrase the testimony) “Smith’s Castoria” and there was “Brown’s Castoria” and there were many others. The proof will show that possibly in the composition or compounding by these different manufacturers, there was a slight difference, but in all cases the substances were sold as “Castoria.”

While these companies were legally using the word “Castoria,” many were selling it in packaging almost identical to Fletcher’s. In an effort to differentiate his product from the counterfeits, sometime in the early 1890’s Fletcher added his signature to Castoria’s outside wrapper. This had certainly occurred by 1892 when Fletcher ran this advertisement, that appeared more like a news story in newspapers throughout much of the country.

Beware of Imposition

We desire to inform the public that Dr. Pitcher’s Castoria is made and put up in the laboratory of the Centaur Company, New York, in but one size bottle, and on the outside wrapper the formula is printed and the Fac Simile signature of “Charles H. Fletcher, New York.” No other preparation offered as Castoria is genuine. To counterfeit or imitate either in the name or signature is a criminal offense. Dr. Pitcher’s Castoria has become a valuable standard family medicine with the endorsement of some of the best physicians in America. Don’t allow anyone to sell you anything else on the plea or promise that it is “just as good,” and will answer every purpose, etc., etc. Castoria is sold by every respectable druggist and dealers in medicine.

Do not be deceived when you buy it, but look well at the wrapper and see if it has the signature of Chas. H. Fletcher, New York. No other can be genuine. Castoria without this signature is a base fraud 

In 1897 he even ran an advertisement that included a letter of endorsement from Dr. Samuel Pitcher, who declared that the labeled bottle bearing Fletcher’s signature, was in fact the original Pitcher’s Castoria, “the kind you have always bought.”

Ultimately Fletcher filed a trademark application for his signature on May 17, 1905 and it was approved and published in the  Official Gazette of the U. S. Patent Office on September 19, 1905.

Undeterred the counterfeits continued both before and after the signature was trademarked and Fletcher vigorously fought them all. One of many such cases that illustrate what Fletcher was up against was summarized in the  June, 1904 edition of the “Midland Druggist.”

St. Louis Mo., May 14. In the case of the Centaur Company, of New York City, against the Palestine Drug Co. and John Beck, of this city, in the United States  Circuit Court, an injunction was issued this morning by Judge Adams restraining the defendant’s company from selling Castoria in a wrapper or label heretofore used by it and which is declared to be an imitation of the Centaur Company’s wrapper. The enjoined label is similar to that of the Centaur Company, except where the signature of Chas. H. Fletcher appears on the genuine, the defendant has inserted that of “Alph Arthur,” who is said to be a fictitious person.

With both Fletcher’s advertising and packaging stressing his signature, it wasn’t long before “Fletcher’s Castoria” began to slowly replace “Pitcher’s Castoria” in advertisements and  drug store price lists. As early as the mid 1890’s Fletcher  himself was using both terms interchangeably in his famous slogan as evidenced by the following two newspaper advertisements that both bear Fletcher’s signature. The first, “Children Cry for Fletcher’s Castoria,” appeared in the July 22, 1893 edition of the Dresden (Kansas) Star.

The second, still using the phrase”Children Cry for Pitcher’s Castoria,” appeared two years later in the September 4, 1895 edition of the New Bern (N. C.) “Daily journal.”

That being said, it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that advertised references to Pitcher’s Castoria began to drop off significantly and the product became more widely known as Fletcher’s Castoria.

Whether you called it Pitcher’s or Fletcher’s by the early 1890’s newspaper advertisements suggest that Castoria had become Centaur’s hallmark product. By then advertisements referencing their liniments had become scarce and on the occasion when they were  mentioned appeared more as an afterthought, as evidenced by this February 1, 1891 ad in the Nashville (Tenn) Banner.

Though no longer actively promoted by Centaur, their liniments did continue to sporadically appear in advertised drug store price lists up through the late teens after which they disappear completely. This all suggests  that the product was discontinued sometime prior to 1920..

On the other hand sales of Castoria were growing and a February 15, 1923 feature on the Centaur Company included in a publication called “Printers Ink” put some numbers to this growth.

The product is put up in bottles of one size only. Shipments over a period of years compare as follows: 1910, 11,688,884 bottles; 1914, 12,657744 bottles; 1918, 18,701,136 bottles; 1922, 20,778,192 bottles.

The output has thus shown a substantial growth from 11,688,884 bottles in 1910 to 20,778,192 bottles in 1922, an increase of over 80 per cent. Sales have shown exceptional stability during periods when general business has been unsettled.

Thanks to Castoria’s growth, by 1911 the Centaur Company had expanded to the point where they were operating out of four separate locations in lower Manhattan. At that point it was announced they were consolidating the business in a new eight-story building at 250 West Broadway. A rendering of their new quarters was included in the November 26, 1911 edition of “The New York Sun.”

The move, which occurred sometime in 1912, was featured that year in the September edition of the “American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record”

The Centaur Company, manufacturers of Castoria and the Centaur Liniment, recently moved into their new quarters at 248 and 250 West Broadway, New York. The building, eight stories tall, measuring 50 x 100 feet, was erected in accordance with the plans drawn by Mr. Fletcher, president of the Centaur Company. It contains the very latest and most improved devices for the manufacture, packing, shipping and advertising of the specialties made by this company. The move which was necessitated by the continued growth of the business enables the company to get under one roof all the different departments of their business, which heretofore occupied four different buildings – two on Murray Street and two on Washington Street. Among the most interesting features of the new building are the elaborately equipped manufacturing laboratories and the complete system of carriers, chutes and elevators, which reduce to the minimum the labor of handling the goods in the course of their preparation and shipment….

Less than 10 years later the company was forced to move again, this time to an even larger building at 84 to 90  Varick Street. The announcement was included in a June 5, 1920 item published in the “New York Herald.”

Centaur Company will build a ten story factory, warehouse and offices, 175 x 64.11, to cost $450,000 in the east side of Varick St., from Grand to Watts St. Plans have been filed by Helmie & Corbett, architects.

The company began operations there sometime in 1921.

The February 15, 1923 Printer’s Ink feature credited much of this growth to a heavy dose of advertising.

Charles H. Fletcher’s Castoria has been steadily advertised for about 45 years, newspapers, posters, signs on buildings and other forms of publicity having been utilized for this purpose. Over $6,500,000 has been expended in advertising in the United States and Canada in the last 13 years, 1910 – 1922.

As the above story makes clear Fletcher’s advertising took many different avenues. Not only did they advertise on a national scale using newspapers and magazines but they also kept their name front and center on a local basis using billboards and painted signs on buildings. This photo of one such sign painted on the side of a New York City tenement is courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

Centaur also published what they called “The New York Almanac,” which included some general information along with a heavy dose of advertising. The following excerpt is from the 1903-1904 edition.

In addition to the general public, Centaur also targeted the retail druggist, by running ads in trade publications. This April, 1920 advertisement found in the “Pharmaceutical Record” stated, in part:

The head line CASTORIA has been before the general public for more than forty years, resulting in great profit to the retail trade….

Fletcher’s Castoria has been one of your greatest sellers, and our continued advertising will keep it at the top.

Our Candy Bags and Counter Wrappers will Help You and Save Money.

Charles Fletcher passed away in April, 1922 shortly after which management of the Centaur Company, along with a twenty five percent ownership share, was acquired by Sterling Products Inc. The acquisition, accomplished  under a newly formed corporation called Household Products, Inc.., was announced in the February 13, 1923 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

A syndicate headed by Hornblower & Weeks, will offer tomorrow at $34 a share 275,000 shares of the Household Products, Inc. The company has been organized with capital stock of 500,000 shares to acquire the assets and good will of the Centaur Company, which produces and sells Castoria. Of the 500,000 shares, the Sterling Products, Inc., has purchased 125,000 shares and interests identified with the company 100,000 shares…

The management of the Sterling Products Inc., which which has had a long and successful record in the manufacture and distribution of household remedies, will assume the direction of the Household Products, Inc…

Sterling manufactured Fletcher’s Castoria on a continuous basis for the next 60 plus years except for a period of approximately one year in 1943 and 1944. On May 5, 1943 Centaur ran advertisements in newspapers nationwide announcing that the entire lot of Castoria then on the market was being recalled. The advertisement read in part:

In cooperation with the United States Food and Drug Administration, the Centaur Company of Rahway, New Jersey, manufacturers of Fletcher’s Castoria warns all holders of Fletcher’s Castoria, that is wholesale druggists, retail druggists, country storekeepers and consumers to discontinue the sale and use of the article because it has been discovered that all of such Fletcher’s Castoria which has been shipped since March 1, 1943, contains a foreign ingredient which causes nausea and vomiting.

As neither consumers nor retailers can tell the difference between the packages made before March 1st and those produced thereafter, it is necessary to withdraw and recover all Fletcher’s Castoria outstanding…

The advertisement in its entirety is presented below.

A month later another advertisement, this one entitled “What Happened to Fletcher’s Castoria,” provided some additional information.

After seven weeks of intensive work, laboratory researchers have discovered  the reason why certain batches of Fletcher’s Castoria caused nausea…

…The sugar content of Fletcher’s Castoria was reduced to conserve sugar under war time conditions. A year ago, Castoria was made with this reduced sugar content and was up to standard in every respect. This year, in March we again started production with reduced sugar.

However, at that time a chemical change – harmless in itself –  occurred in the characteristics of the water used in making Castoria. But this change, in combination with the reduced sugar, increased the degree and rate of normal fermentation. The more rapid fermentation retarded normal reoxidation during the aging process, resulting in a product which caused nausea.

Fletcher’s Castoria made it back to the market place in June, 1944, as evidenced by this June 15th story in the “Brooklyn Citizen.”

After an absence of more than a year, Fletcher’s Castoria has been returned to the market, Harold B. Thomas, Vice President of Sterling Drugs, Inc. in charge of the Centaur Company Division which manufactures the product, today announced.

“Most elaborate scientific controls to safeguard proprietary preparation” have been devised, consisting of 138 separate tests of ingredients and products and including chemical, biological, bacteriological and potency standardization testing he stated.

The public, he asserted can immediately distinguish the new package from the old by a quality control number appearing on the label of each new bottle, plainly visible through a window in the carton. Further identification is given the new carton by use of a distinctive green band.

The Sterling Drug Company continued to manufacture and sell Fletcher’s Castoria until 1984 when they sold the rights to the Mentholatum Company. The sale was reported in the “Buffalo News” on September 19, 1984.

The Mentholatum Co., Inc., 1360 Niagara St., has agreed to buy the trademark rights and inventories of 11 over-the-counter medicines owned by Sterling Drug Inc., New York City.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. The products include Fletcher’s Castoria children’s laxative, Cope pain reliever, Astring-o-sol mouthwash, Medi-Quik first aid spray, Caroid tooth powder, Creamalin antacid tablets, Dr. Caldwell’s laxative, Mucilosee laxative, Neucurtasal salt substitute and Fizrin analgesic-antacid.

A spokesman said Sterling has agreed to continue manufacturing the products for Mentholatum for two years…

Another story, this one in the Decatur, Illinois “Herald and Review” shed a little more light on the sale

Liquidation of the product lines, which included Fletcher’s Castoria children’s laxative and Cope pain reliever, was an effort to streamline Sterling’s marketing strategies, said Norma Walter, the company’s assistant director of communication. The firm, she said, chose to concentrate its marketing efforts on its more popular products like Bayer aspirin and Panadol pain reliever…

“We want to concentrate on markets that have the best long-term potential for us.”

A product called Fletcher’s Laxative is still made to this day by the Mentholatum Company, Orchard Park, N.Y.

According to the company’s web site it continues to contain the senna mentioned in Pitcher’s original 1867 patent application:

Fletcher’s Laxative for children works naturally to provide safe, gentle and effective relief from occasional constipation. The natural root beer flavor of the Senna pod concentrate makes Fletcher’s easy to administer. It works as fast as 6 hours. Suitable for children ages 2 and up. Trusted since 1871.

The Manhattan building occupied by the Centaur Company from 1912 to 1921 at 248-250 West Broadway remains to this day. Today’s version, courtesy of “Google Maps,” appears almost identical to the 1911 rendering found in the “New York Sun.”

In addition, the ten story building currently located at 90 Varick Street appears to be the  same one occupied by Centaur beginning in 1921.

All told, I’ve found three Castoria bottles. Each has a double ring finish with a rounded upper ring  and a tapered collar serving as the lower one. The bottles are all identically shaped and contain exactly two ounces. Each is described below along with dating information that is based on a document entitled “Pitcher’s and Fletcher’s Castoria, An Uncommon Study of Common Bottles,” by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schreiver, Carol Seer and Bill Lindsey with contributions by Joe Widman. It can be found on the web site of the Society of Historical Archeology, a link to which is presented below.

http://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/CastoriaHistory.pdf

The first and oldest is blown in a mold with a tooled finish. One side panel is embossed “DR. S. PITCHER’S,” the other, “CASTORIA.”

The base is embossed “A 5,” which suggests two possible alternatives. Either it was  made by the American Bottle Co. during 1905-1906 or it was made in the early 1900’s in one of three batch tanks of the Chantey Glass Co. Either way it most likely dates to the first decade of the 20th Century.

The second is machine made and embossed with Chas. H. Fletcher’s signature on one side panel and “CASTORIA” on the other.

Embossed with a solitary “C” on the base, it was likely made by the Charleston, West Virginia plant of the  Owens Bottle Machine  Co. sometime between 1912 and 1917,  prior to the reorganization that created the Owens Bottle Co.

The third also exhibits Chas. H. Fletcher’s signature on one side panel and “CASTORIA” on the other, while the base is embossed with a circled “P” and the number 16. The circled “P” on a cork finished bottle indicates it was likely made in the 1932 to 1935 time frame.

Dixon & Carson, 41 Walker St., N. Y.

James Dixon & John Carson were partners in a mid-19th Century New York City soda water manufacturing and bottling business located in the area now called Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street) in Lower Manhattan. .

According to 1870 census records John Carson was born in Ireland, circa 1814. At some point he immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City where directories first list him in 1852 with the occupation of “soda water,” and an address of 41 Barclay Street. Then sometime in the mid-1850’s he moved to 41 Walker Street and was joined by James Dixon, forming a partnership that initially appeared in the 1856 directory.

The business remained at 41 Walker Street until 1865 or 1866 at which time the company apparently relocated down the street to 28 Walker Street where they remained through 1869.

Census records in 1870 list Carson’s occupation as a  “Retired Dealer in Soda Water,” likely signaling the end of the business.

The bottle I found is a small mouth blown pony with an applied blob finish. Its embossing includes the 41 Walker Street address dating it between 1856 and 1866 when the business was located at that address.

ON A FINAL NOTE – The building located  at 41 Walker Street today does not date back to the time of the Dixon & Carson business. In fact it was likely construction of the present building there, in 1867, that forced Dixon & Carson’s 1866 move to 28 Walker Street. More on the history of 41 Walker Street can be found on the following web site.

http://tribecacitizen.com/the-history-of-tribeca-buildings/the-history-of-39-41-walker

 

W. G. Geety, Inc. Apothecary, Broadway and 138th St., New York

 

Wallace Gillespie Geety was a long time New York City pharmacist and chemist who operated drug stores in Upper Manhattan for well over 60 years.

Born in 1873, sometime in his teens he started his career, not in New York, but as a drug clerk in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 1892, a story in the August 25th edition of the “Harrisburg Daily Independent” announced that he was leaving Harrisburg to attend the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

Wallace Geety, of Forney & Knouse’s drug store, will leave for Philadelphia tomorrow to attend the college of pharmacy in the Quaker City.

Graduating in 1894, according to the May edition of “The American Journal of Pharmacy” the subject of his graduate thesis was “Mistura Glycyrrhizae Composita.”

“King’s American Dispensatory,” published in 1908, described  Mistura Glycyrrhizae Composita as a “compound licorice mixture” that included among other things powdered extract of licorice, powdered gum arabic, camphorated tincture of opium and tincture of bloodroot. “King’s American Dispensatory” went on to say that it

forms an excellent cough mixture, and may be used in catarrhal affections after the subsidence  of the more active symptoms, and when expectoration is present.

Whether Geety simply studied the preparation or actually cococted it during his college years is unclear.

All that aside, after graduation Geety relocated to New York City where Volume 31 of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy’s Alumni Report (1894-1895) announced:

Wallace G. Geety, “94” is now with F. K. James, 700 Eighth Avenue, New York City.

As late as 1897, the New York City directories listed him as a clerk, suggesting he was still employed at James’ pharmacy at that point. Shortly after however he apparently left James to start his own drug store, and the following year, in 1898, he was initially listed as a druggist with an address of 2090 Eighth Avenue, at the corner of 113th Street.

Geety remained in business on Eighth Avenue until 1910 when the March 28th edition of “The American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record” announced that he had sold the drug store to his previous employer, F. K. James.

The F. K. James Company has succeeded to the business of the store at 113th Street and Eighth Avenue, hitherto conducted by W. G. Geety.

Not long afterwards, Geety formed W. G .Geety, Inc. and opened a store at 3399 Broadway, on the corner of 138th Street. The incorporation notice was published under the heading “New Corporations,” in the October 12, 1912 edition of a publication called “N.A.R.D. (National Association of Retail Druggists) Notes.”

W. G. Geety, Inc., Manhattan, N.Y., $25,000.

As early as 1914 (I don’t have access to 1913) the company was listed in New York City’s Copartnership and Corporation Directory with Wallace G. Geety named as president, and Charles M. Lalor and Edward A. Kelly, named as vice president and secretary respectively. Not simply a retail druggist, Geety also patented at least one new medication, as evidenced by this 1915 patent application for an “Alkaline Antiseptic and Non-Toxic Prophylactic Preparation.’

Sometime in the early 1920’s W. G. Getty, Inc. began listing what was likely a second drug store, at 4181 Broadway. Both locations continued to be listed in the Manhattan telephone book up through 1946 after which  the 3399 Broadway location was dropped. The location at 4181 Broadway continued to be listed up through at least 1960 and possibly longer.

The bottle I found is a small medicine, 5-1/4 inches tall, that exhibits the Broadway and 138th Street location (3399 Broadway). Mouth blown it almost certainly dates to the first few years of the 1912 to 1946 time period that Getty operated a drug store at that address.

Today 3399 Broadway (600 West 138th St) is a 6-story residential building with a commercial store at street level.

According to streeteasy.com it was built in 1908, approximately four years before Geety opened his drug store there. As a result, the current street level store shown almost certainly housed Geety’s pharmacy at one time. In fact the bottle likely passed through the front door 100+ years ago.

 

 

 

 

F. Dieterich, Agt, Richmond Hill, L. I.

 

The first initial ” F.” stands for Frederick Dieterich who, according to 1910 census records, arrived in the United States from Germany in 1881. By the early 1900’s he was living in New York City’s Borough of Queens where the first directory listings I can find for him were in Trow’s  1903, 1906, 1907 and 1908 business directories. He appeared under the heading: “wines, liquor and lager beer saloons,” at two locations:

– Williamsburg Rd. ( now Metropolitan Ave.) corner of Hillside Avenue, Richmond Hill and

– Hillside Avenue c. Cottage (now 131st Street), Jamaica

Hillside Avenue serves as the border between Richmond Hill and Jamaica in this section of Queens, suggesting that these two locations were very close, maybe across the street from each other.

Later, New York State’s list of liquor tax certificate holders for years ending September 30, 1909, 1911, 1914, 1915 and 1917 all include Dieterich’s address as “Junction of Hillside Avenue, Williamsburg Road and Cottage Street.” At the same time, the Queens telephone book listed Fred Dieterich with the occupation “hotel” with an address of simply “Hillside Ave.”

All this suggests that Dieterich was the proprietor of a hotel that likely included a saloon located on the border of Richmond Hill and Jamaica, Queens in the early 1900’s.

In 1920, Dieterich is listed in the Queens telephone book without an occupation, likely a victim of National Prohibition.

The bottle I found is a champagne style beer with a blob finish. It likely dates on the earlier side of the 1903 to 1920 range.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. D. Jayne’s Expectorant, Philadelphia.

Dr. D. Jayne’s Expectorant was a patent medicine on the market for well over 100 years from the mid-1830’s up through the 1940’s and possibly longer. Much of that time its ingredients included small doses of the drug opium.

An early  advertisement, published in 1854, touted it as:

A Safe and Standard Remedy for all Pulmonary and Bronchial Complaints.

The advertisement went on to provide some detail on the medicine’s purported benefits.

Recent Coughs and Colds, Pleuritic Pains, etc., are quickly and effectually cured by its diaphoretic, soothing, and expectorant power.

Asthma it always cures. It overcomes the spasmodic contraction of the air vessels, and, and by producing free expectoration, at once removes all difficulty of breathing.

Bronchitis readily yields to the expectorant. It subdues the inflammation which extends through the wind tubes, promotes free expectoration, and suppresses at once the cough and pain.

Consumption –  For this insidious and fatal disease no remedy has ever been found so effectual. It subdues the inflammation, suppresses the cough and pain, and relieves the difficulty of breathing, and by causing an easy expectoration, all irritating and obstructing matters are removed from the lungs.

Hooping-Cough is promptly relieved by this Expectorant. It shortens the duration of the disease one-half, and greatly mitigates the sufferings of the patient.

In all Pulmonary Complaints, in Croup, Pleurisy, etc., it will be found to be prompt, safe and reliable.

Fifty years later, in the early 1900’s, the patent medicine was still being advertised as having the ability to cure your cough as evidenced by  this item published in the September 6, 1906 edition of the”Philadelphia  Inquirer.”

Generally sold as a liquid, in 1912 it was introduced in tablet form as well. Directed at retail pharmacists, this introductory advertisement for Dr D. Jayne’s Expectorant Tablets appeared that year in the February edition of “The Practical Druggist.”

Three years later, in response to enactment of the Harrison Narcotic Tax Act that regulated the production, importation and distribution of opiates and cocoa products, a notice published in the March, 1915 edition of “The Practical Druggist”  announced that both the liquid and tablet forms of the Expectorant contained a small amount of opium.

While the notice went on to say that “the new law in no way affects the sale or possession” of the Expectorant, by 1920 the opium had been replaced as an ingredient. The change was announced in an advertisement published in the July, 1920 edition of “The Practical Druggist.”

After several months of research work we have succeeded in replacing the very small amount of opium in these preparations with a non-narcotic equivalent that does not impair in the slightest degree the efficiency of these remedies.

This will eliminate the former necessity of keeping a record of each sale and therefore greatly facilitate the handling of these preparations by the druggist.

Recommend these Remedies to your customers. Aside from using a substitute for the opium the formulas have not been changed.

Subsequently, the tablets were advertised to the general public under the brand name JANEX. This advertisement for JAYNEX appeared in the February 25, 1921 edition of the “Philadelphia Inquirer.”

As you might expect, as the 20th Century progressed  the curative claims associated with Jayne’s Expectorant softened quite a bit such that by the late 1930’s it was pitched as nothing more than a cough medicine. This wording in a February 23, 1938 advertisement in Allentown Pennsylvania’s “Morning Call” was typical of the era.

The favorite for a century. Colds and coughs strike without warning. Be prepared to fight. Keep Jayne’s Expectorant handy. It soothes the tender throat, losens the irritating phlegm and helps to expel it. Just what’s needed. Get it now.

Specific newspaper advertisements promoting Dr. D. Jayne’s Expectorant vanished by the early 1940’s, but it continued to be listed sporadically in drug store advertisements up through the end of the decade. As late as February 12, 1948 you could still get it at “Peck’s Cut Rate Drugs” in Port Huron Michigan (2nd last).

While it’s not clear exactly when the expectorant was discontinued, newspaper references to it completely disappear by 1950.

The expectorant’s original formulator and namesake was a man named David Jayne.

His story gets its start at the turn of the 19th century when, according to his March 6, 1866 obituary published in Philadelphia’s “The Evening Telegraph,” his initial occupation was not as a druggist, but as a school teacher.

Dr. Jayne was born in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, on the 22nd day of July, 1799…He was the son of the Rev. Ebenezer Jayne, a Baptist clergyman, and received the most of his education under the auspices of pious parents. When quite a youth he removed to Cumberland County, New Jersey, and commenced life as a poorly paid school teacher.

Jayne’s obituary went on to say that in the early 1820’s he switched his focus to medicine.

About 1821 he commenced the study of medicine under the tutelage of Dr. E. Shepherd, a practitioner of marked ability and influence. He pursued his studies with untiring industry, and in due time was admitted to practice.

Whether Jayne actually graduated from medical school is not exactly clear (at least to me) as his rather lengthy obituary makes no mention of it. In addition, the 1850 edition of his  annual advertising vehicle, “Jayne’s Medical Almanac,” also leaves the issue open with this vague statement in Jayne’s own words:

I would here take occasion to remark that I was a student of one of the best medical institutions in the United States (the University of Pennsylvania) and have now had over thirty years experience in an extensive and diversified practice….

All that aside, his obituary went on to say:

He performed the duties of country physician for some years with eminent success, but had the ambition to desire a wider field of usefulness.

Early newspaper advertisements suggest that it was during his time as a country physician in New Jersey that he began to manufacture his own line of patent medicines. This early newspaper advertisement for what’s most likely his first concoction, “Jayne’s Carminative Balsam,” appeared in the July 30, 1834 edition of the “Alexandria (Va.) Gazette.” The endorsement at the bottom of the advertisement was dated May 4, 1831 suggesting that Jayne had begun the manufacture of his balsam by that time.

In 1836, advertisements for his expectorant, originally called “Dr. D. Jayne’s Indian Expectorant” also began to appear in newspaper advertisements. One of the earliest was published in the November 3rd edition of Newport Rhode Island’s “Herald of the Times.”

Less than a year after the above advertisement was published Jayne picked up and moved his entire operation to Philadelphia where he initially settled at 20 South Third Street. Notices announcing his arrival began appearing in Philadelphia newspapers as early April, 1837.

By June, with his medical practice now up and running in Philadelphia, Jayne’s notices began to include Philadelphia references.

That being said, it’s clear that Jayne continued to focus on his patent medicine business as well. According to his 1866 obituary, when Jayne arrived in Philadelphia

he commenced as a practicing physician, but after a short time found himself gradually becoming a leading druggist and from that time to the present has been entirely engaged in that line of trade.

The transition from physician to druggist, if not complete, had certainly made significant progress by 1840 when the number of patent medicines associated with the Jayne name had increased to five. Now referred to as “Doctor Jayne’s Family Medicines,” they were listed in the December 9, 1840 edition of the “Lancaster (Pa.) Examiner.”

It was also around this time, actually 1843, when Jayne began the annual publication of “Jayne’s Medical Almanac and Guide to Health,” in which he shamelessly pitched the use of his patent medicines. Early versions state in Jayne’s own words:

…It contains a vast amount of valuable information suited to the wants of all; among which will be found a Catalogue of Diseases, with suitable directions and prescriptions for their removal, together with the full and explicit directions for the use of my various preparations…

In 1845 Jayne moved up the street, relocating from 20 South Third Street to 8 South Third Street. Again, notices announcing the move appeared in the Philadelphia newspapers beginning in May of that year.

Other than offering “advice gratuitously,”the ad doesn’t mention medical services suggesting that by then Jayne was no longer a practicing physician. Now, apparently fully invested in his drug business, he was not only manufacturing and  selling his “Family Medicines,” but, according to the ad, acting as a wholesale dealer for “everything usually kept by dealers in drugs and medicines.”

The business grew rapidly, and  according to his “Evening Telegraph” obituary, by 1849 he was planning another move. ”

 His immense business forced him to seek more extensive quarters, and in 1849 he commenced the erection of his magnificent Quincy granite structure, in Chestnut Street, below Third. The center building was finished in 1850 and the wings added in 1852.

As early as 1852 the cover of Jayne’s Medical Almanac and Guide to Health” featured the completed center building…

…and later almanacs featured the completed building, including the wings.

The “Jayne” building, sometimes referred to as Philadelphia’s first skyscraper, was initially listed with an address of 84 Chestnut Street. Shortly afterwards, what appears to be a revision to the numbering system, changed the address to 242 Chestnut Street.

This description of the new building was included as part of a feature on Philadelphia, published in the  March 15, 1852 “Pittsburgh Post.”

The next place of interest in Philadelphia to visit is Dr. Jaynes great building on Chestnut Street. It is 42 feet in width, 135 feet in depth, and is eight stories high. The height of the building above the pavement is 96 feet, and the height of the cupola 33 feet, making the elevation above the pavement 129 feet, to which may be added 27 feet for the stones under ground, or foundation, which makes the entire altitude, from bottom to top, 156 feet! The material of which this immense structure has been constructed is granite, from the Quincy quarries in Massachusetts. The front of this building has numerous columns, which inclose Gothic windows, and the whole is crowned with Gothic cornice. I was also taken through the building from foundation to turret, by one of the polite clerks of the establishment. From the top I had (a) magnificent view of Philadelphia and its environs, the shipping, navy yard, Camden, etc., etc. The cost of Jayne’s building exceeds $350,000 -the ground alone cost $144,000.

This early photograph the building is courtesy of the New York Public Library’s Digital Collection.

As you might guess, constructing a building of that size in 1850 had its issues, not the least of which, according to the December 11, 1850 edition of Philadelphia’s “Public Ledger,”  was fire protection.

The Jayne Palace – In a few days, the Diligent Engine Company will make an attempt to throw water to the top of Dr. Jayne’s new building in Chestnut Street… The effort will be made at the request of Dr. Jayne, in consequence of one of the Insurance Companies refusing to insure the property if the feat cannot be accomplished.

The successful attempt took place the following spring and drew quite a crowd. It was described in the April 18, 1851 edition of the “Public Ledger.”

A Great Feat. – An attempt to throw water over the cupola of Dr. Jayne’s granite palace in Chestnut Street was successfully performed yesterday with the Diligent Engine, in the presence of a great throng of persons attracted to the spot by the great novelty of the undertaking. The engine was manned by about fifty men, a large portion being members of the Good-Will Engine, who had volunteered for the occasion. The gallery stream was first tried with a 1-1/8 inch nozzle, and the stream was thrown above the cupola with perfect ease. Several persons were standing in it, and probably deemed themselves above all the efforts of the fireman, but they soon found themselves deluged, one of the gentlemen having his hat washed off by the sudden gush of the watery element. He acknowledged the triumph of the engine, by waving a very wet handkerchief, amid the cheers of the spectators below. The breastwork of the cupola is 134 feet above the Chestnut Street pavement, and the height to which the water was thrown was therefore fully 140 feet. The water was next forced through two side streams with 7/8 inch nozzles, and each of these streams went over the cornice, which is 96 feet above the pavement. The whole power of the engine was then applied to a single side stream, and though the pipe was held by a person standing on the ground, this stream was thrown at least twelve feet above the top of the cupola, attaining an actual height of 146 feet….The Diligent has in this instance handsomely sustained the reputation it has hitherto borne of being the most powerful engine attached to the fire department.

On a side note: Ironically, 20 years later, on September 4, 1872, the building was partially destroyed by fire when firemen were unable to get water to the cupola. A story in the March 7, 1872 edition of the “Carlisle (Pa.)Weekly Herald” reported:

…after burning for twenty minutes the cupola collapsed inside the building.

In 1850, just as the new building was about to open, Jayne formed a business partnership with family members to run the wholesale drug piece of the business.  According to an 1896 publication entitled “Men of the Century:”

…Dr. Jayne formed a partnership with his son, David W. Jayne, and his nephew, Eden C. Jayne, to conduct the wholesale drug business. This attained large proportions, but was not so remunerative as desired, and was discontinued in 1854, a new partnership being formed in 1855, including the three partners named and John K.Walker, Dr. Jayne’s brother-in-law, under the firm name of Dr. D. Jayne & Son.

According to Eben Jayne’s obituary, published in the November 21, 1900 edition 0f the “Lewiston (Pa) Journal,” the 1855 partnership was established to consolidate the wholesale drug business with Jaynes patent medicine business.

Under the new partnership, the menu of Jayne’s Family Medicines continued to grow and by the late 1850’s had more than doubled. This expanded list of medicines appeared in the 1865 Philadelphia City Directory.

Shortly after forming the partnership David Jayne turned the day to day management of the business over to his partners. Now focused on real estate, David Jayne went on to build several more iconic buildings in Philadelphia before passing away in 1866. After his death ownership of the company passed on to his estate while it continued to operate under the management of his brother-in-law, John K. Walker and nephew, Eben C. Jayne. (David Jayne’s son, David W., had previously passed away in 1863.)

It was under their management that the company survived the March 1872 fire, announcing in the March 6, 1872 edition of the “Philadelphia Inquirer” that they were temporarily resuming business at 622 Chestnut Street…

…and less than six months later, on August 24, 1872, another “Philadelphia Inquirer” notice announced they were back in business at 242 Chestnut Street

It was also under their management that the business continued to grow. In the late 1860’s/early 1870’s newspaper advertisements for Jayne’s medicines were appearing throughout much of the northeast and mid-west as well as California suggesting that the company’s reach was nearing national proportions; an amazing fact considering the mode of distribution described in a December 19, 1877 “Lancaster (Pa.) Intelligencer” story.

A valuable old mare, the property of Dr. D. Jayne & Son, has just reached Philadelphia in good order after having traveled eleven months a year for the last six years, through Virginia and Pennsylvania, traveling during this period the immense distance of 46,500 miles by actual measurement. From the record of her driver, William Shall, while collecting for the firm she was always driven with a mate; a new one however, had to be supplied every year.

It was also in the mid -1860’s that the company was shipping their medicines overseas to agents in places like England and Australia.This advertisement for Dr. D. Jayne’s Expectorant that appeared in the October 21, 1865 edition of a British publication called the “Cambridge Weekly News,” identified their London, England agent as Francis Newberry and Sons, 45 St. Paul’s Churchyard, London.

By the turn of the century their medicines had even made their way to China where in 1899, and possibly earlier, agents for the company were being listed in “The Directory & Chronicle for China, Japan, Cores, Indo-China, Straits Settlements, Malay States, Siam, Netherlands, India, Borneo, the Philippines, etc.” This business card advertisement was included in the 1909 edition of that publication.

Highlighting their world wide reach was a notice to druggists promoting Jayne’s 1910 Almanac. It pointed out that not only were seven million copies being printed but it was being published in seven different languages.

David Jayne’s brother in law, John K. Walker, passed away in 1881 after which his nephew, Eben C  Jayne, continued as head of the firm until his death in November 1900. That being said, as late as 1926 the company was still being managed by the Jayne family, with a grandson, J. Maxwell Bullock, listed in the Philadelphia directory as “General Manager.”

In 1927 the company announced that they were moving from their long time home in Chestnut Street’s Jayne Building to a new location along the Philadelphia waterfront. Also owned by the Jayne estate, the property was located at Delaware Avenue and Vine Street. The move, announced in concert with a plan to standardize both their bottle type and size (5 ounces) was announced in the June, 1927 edition of the “Practical Druggist.”

For many years almost from the foundation of the business, Dr. D Jayne & Son have put up their preparations in various sizes and styles of bottles, but today with the greatly increased manufacturing costs and with the impossibility of advancing prices to the public, Dr. Jayne & Son decided to adopt a uniform size and style bottle for all of their preparations, and in their advertisement in this issue they quote both the old and new wholesale and retail prices, and where the price has been raised, it is only nominal as the quantity has been increased, so that it is not really a price raise.

The making of these changes in prices and uniformity of size was under consideration for some time and an excellent opportunity to make the change (occurred) when Dr. Jane & Son were able to dispose of their building on Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, and remove to property that they owned at Vine Street and Delaware Avenue. When the removal was decided upon, plans were made to install the latest styles of pharmaceutical apparatus and bottle labeling machinery with the result that today Dr. D Jayne & Son are in a position to fill all orders more expeditiously than at any time in the long history of the business. In the removal to their present premises there is a great advantage in receiving and shipping facilities as the Belt Line railroad is within a hundred feet of the building, and for water shipment only the distance of the width of Delaware Avenue.

Ownership of the company remained with David Jayne’s estate until 1931 when Jayne’s estate was distributed among the surviving heirs. A May 24, 1931 “Philadelphia Inquirer” article tells the story.

Sixty-five years after his death and nearly a century after he settled in Philadelphia and first began to amass a fortune from patent medicine and real estate transactions that made him one of the wealthiest men of his time, final distribution of the estate of Dr. David Jayne, physician, philanthropist and civic leader is about to be made…

There were twelve grandchildren, ten of whom are now living. Harry W. Jayne, a deceased grandson left two sons and J. Maxwell Bullock. another deceased grandson, left three sons.

Real estate which has not yet been converted includes the premises 611-27 Chestnut Street, valued at more than $600,000; Pier 15 North Wharves, Delaware Avenue and Vine Street, and 216 Vine Street.

Less than a month after the announcement, the business incorporated in the State of Delaware. The incorporation notice appeared in the June 5, 1931 edition of the Wilmington Delaware’s “News Journal.”

Seven years later, in 1938, David Jayne’s heirs sold the Vine and Delaware property to the corporation. The sale was reported in the March 12th edition of the “Philadelphia Inquirer.”

Jayne Heirs Convey Stores 2 to 16 Vine St. for $50,000

2 to 16 Vine St. eight store properties, lot 153 by 81 feet have been conveyed by A. R. Bullock, Charles H. Jayne, Horace F. Jayne and other heirs of the Jayne estate to Dr. D Jayne & Son, Inc. for $50,000. They are totally assessed at $79,400.

The company continued to publish their almanac up through the early 1940’s. As far as I can tell the last (98th) edition came in 1941.

Newspaper advertisements continue to locate Dr. D. Jayne & Son in Philadelphia at 2 Vine Street as late as 1946 after which I lose track. That being said, as late as the 1960’s, newspaper advertisements for their “Vermifuge,” now called “Jayne’s P-W,” continued to appear sporadically. The last one I can find appeared in the October 29, 1969 edition of the “South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.”  The ad closed with the line:

Perfected by Dr. D. Jayne & Son, specialists in worm remedies for 100 years.

The subject bottle is mouth blown with a tooled finish and eight ounces in size. This likely dates it sometime around the turn of the century. At that time Jayne’s Expectorant, in liquid form,  was being sold in three different size bottles. For much of its history it was sold in what the company referred to as the “Dollar” size. Then, as early as 1893 they began offering it in “Half Dollar” bottles as well.

In 1905 the company took it a step further, announcing the addition of a two ounce size.

This 1917 price list refers to the three sizes as “Large,” “Half” and “Quarter” respectively.

We know from the 1905 advertisement that the “Quarter” contains two ounces. Therefore, logically the subject bottle, containing eight ounces, is what the company called the “Large” or “Dollar” size which in 1917 was selling for $1.20.

Lea & Perrins, Worcestershire Sauce J.D.S. (John Duncan’s Sons)

There are several differing versions of how Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce got its start, but all seem to agree as to where it happened; namely in the drug store of John Wheeler Lea and William Perrins located at 68 Broad Street in Worcester, England. I suspect that all versions of the story are rooted in some truth but also contain a dose of  marketing and salesmanship mixed in for good measure. I’ll relate the version that appeared in the July 30, 1892 edition of an English publication called “The Drug and Chemist.”

Mr. Lea was in his shop one day when an old Indian officer came in and asked for some hot sauce; he could not get any hot enough. Mr. Lea bethought himself of an old jar in the storeroom which had been neglected for years. It was formerly made for “a nobleman in the county,” but the nobleman had departed, and Lea and Perrins had a stock of it on hand. The Indian officer tried it and was delighted. He recommended it among his chums, and a demand sprang up. To meet the English palate the force heat of the original had to be modified, and Worcestershire sauce was established. This came to pass soon after the year 1830.

By the early 1900’s, the success of the sauce might best be indicated by this colorfully written paragraph that appeared in a 1916 publication called “British Industrial Expansion.”

There is hardly a locality in the world in which meals have not been flavored  with Lea & Perrins’ Sauce. It has been transported in sledges across vast tracts of snow and ice to mining camps of Alaska; by caravan across the deserts of Arabia, and into the interior of Africa; by pack mule train along thousands of miles of barren land, up the Himalayas and across the Andes; by coolies to the hidden towns and villages of China and Japan; whilst expeditions to the North and South Polar Regions invariably carry a supply with which to flavor their pemmican.

That success continued up through the turn of the current century when according to a June 21, 2000 story in the “New York Times:”

Today, 25 million bottles a year are produced here (Worcester) and shipped around the world…In all, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is sold in 140 countries.

So, with that as background let’s go back to the beginning. According to the 1892 story in “The Chemist and Druggist,” The Lea & Perrins story got its start in the late 1700’s in the drug store of George Guise.

Lea & Perrins came into possession of the business with which their names became so intimately associated in the early part of this century (1800’s). A Mr. Guise opened the shop about 1780 and John W. Lea was an apprentice with him. He succeeded his master, and subsequently took William Perrins into partnership.

The partnership is said to have begun on January 1, 1823; a fact supported by a June 12, 1823, advertisement in Berrow’s Worcester Journal that named Lea & Perrins as Worcester’s retail agent for a product called “Robinson’s Prepared Barley, and Prepared Groats.” It’s the earliest advertisement I can find that bears the Lea & Perrins’ name.

By 1830, the Lea & Perrins’ partnership was operating a second store, this one on Vicar Street in Kidderminster. Both the Worcester and Kidderminster locations are referenced in this May 29, 1830 advertisement found in “Jackson’s Oxford Journal…”

This photograph of the Kidderminster store front appeared years later in the October 7, 1916 edition of “The Chemist and Druggist.”

Later in September, 1831 they opened a third store, this one in Cheltenham at 373 High Street. In partnership with James Perrins they conducted business under the name Perrins, Lea and Perrins, The opening of the Cheltenham store was announced in the September 22, 1831 edition of “Berrow’s Worcester Journal.”

Perrins, Lea and Perrins dissolved on September 14, 1832 and was followed by Lea, Perrins and Ormond which dissolved on April 15, 1837.

At this point Lea and Perrins partnered with Nathaniel Smith forming Lea, Perrins and Smith. According to Smith’s obituary in the November 7, 1903 edition of “The Chemist and Druggist:”

Mr. Smith was with Messrs. Lea & Perrins in their Cheltenham branch as an assistant, and in 1837 was taken into partnership…

Three years later, the first newspaper advertisements for Worcestershire Sauce appeared under the “Lea, Perrins and Smith” name. The earliest one I can find appeared in the October 17, 1840 edition of London’s “The Guardian.” The ad suggested that the sauce was being sold locally prior to 1840 (most internet accounts say 1836 or 1837).

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE. – So many sauces under every variety of name, have been of late contending for public favor, that we have hesitated to extend beyond our own vicinity the introduction of a new one, which has, in a very short time, become much sought after and esteemed in other parts of the Kingdom. The Worcestershire Sauce is prepared by us from from the favorable recipe of a nobleman of knowledged gout. it possesses a peculiar piquancy; it is applicable to almost every dish, on account of the superiority of its zest; the diffusible property of its delicate flavor renders it the most economical, as well as the most useful of sauces.

LEA, PERRINS & SMITH, Worcester and Chentlenham. Sold in Manchester by Messrs. Roach and Co., Market Street; Mr. Yates, Old Exchange, and Mr. Hutchinson, Old Church Yard.

The Lea, Perrins & Smith partnership dissolved in 1848 when, according to Smith’s 1903 obituary, he bought the Cheltenham branch of the business. This is confirmed by Smith’s newspaper advertisements that began appearing in the Spring of 1848. One such ad appeared in the May 27, 1848 edition of the “Cheltenham Looker-On; A Note Book of Fashionable Sayings and Doings.” It’s last line reads:

Prepared by Smith, (late Lea, Perrins, & Smith) 373 High Street, Cheltenham.

By the mid to late 1840’s Lea & Perrins’ advertisements  indicate the company had agents all over England and were even making inroads in Australia as evidenced by this February 27, 1850 ad that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.”

By the early 1840’s, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce had also made its way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, but more on that later in this post.

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce grew rapidly until they could no longer meet the demand for its manufacture in the back of their 68 Broad Street store. So, in 1845 they established a separate factory on Bank Street, directly behind or close by their Broad Street store. Now, with an increasing focus on manufacturing, in 1865 they sold their retail drug store on Broad Street to the partnership of George and Welch. A rendering of the store front after the sale appeared years later in the July 30, 1892 edition of “The Chemist and Druggist.

As you might expect, the company’s success inspired a good deal of competition. Local Worcester High Court records, Lea v. Millar, identified a man named Batty as one of, if not the first, competitor to also use the word “Worcestershire” in the name of his sauce. As early as January 30, 1847 Batty’s Worcestershire Sauce was included in this “Jackson’s Oxford Journal” list of “Potted Meats, Pickles, Fish Sauces, etc.” (fourth from the bottom).

Another early competitor was “Greatwoods” as evidenced by this August 4, 1855 advertisement in the “Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial.”

In order to distinguish themselves from the competition, Lea & Perrins advertisements circa 1860  began including the phrase:

Pronounced by Connoisseurs to be the “only good sauce” and applicable to every variety of dish.

The ads typically followed it up with:

The success of this most delicious and unrivaled condiment having caused many unprincipled dealers to apply the name to spurious compounds, the public is respectfully earnestly requested to see that the names of LEA & PERRINS are upon the WRAPPER, LABEL, STOPPER, and BOTTLE.

This early advertisement featuring the two phrases appeared in the March 22, 1860 edition of “The Nottinghamshire Guardian.”

Later, in November, 1874, the company took it a step further and changed their label to include the Lea & Perrins signature. Newspaper advertisements highlighting the new label began appearing shortly thereafter. A typical example appeared in the October 9,1875 edition of “Jackson’s Oxford Journal.”

Less than two years later in a July 1876 court case, Lea v. Millar, Lea & Perrins claimed they had sole rights to the word “Worcestershire.” A summary of the case was reported in the July 28, 1876 edition of the Birmingham Daily Post.”

This was a bill filed by Messrs. Lea and Perrins of Worcester to restrain the defendant from using the name “Worcestershire” in connection with a sauce made and sold by himself under the style or firm of Richard Millar and Co., such name being claimed by the plaintiffs as exclusively belonging to the sauce manufactured by themselves from a recipe imparted to their predecessors in business by a nobleman of the county about the year 1835.

The judge would have none of it.

The Master of Rolls said that he was of the opinion that the plaintiffs case wholly failed, and that Messrs. Lea & Perrins would have been better advised if they had not instituted the suit. Many years ago they might undoubtedly have succeeded in preventing other people from infringing their rights as the first makers of Worcestershire sauce, but they had allowed the maxim “Vigilantibus non dormientibus subrenit lex” to become applicable to their case. (The law favors those who do not sleep on their rights but instead seek to enforce them vigilantly.) It appeared to his lordship to be established that Messrs. Lea and Perrins’ predecessors in business either invented or obtained the recipe for an article to which they gave the name of Worcestershire sauce, and that they were the first persons to sell an article under the same name. That was about the year 1836, and within a very few, probably not more than two, years afterwards other people, of whom one Batty seemed to be the first, began to sell an article under the same name. Indeed, the name, within a very few years after it was first used by Messrs. Lea and Perrins, appeared to have become a common name in the trade…

Likely in response to this decision, sometime in the early 1880’s, Lea and Perrins’ advertisements began referring to their sauce as the

Original and Genuine WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

One of the earliest advertisements that include this phrase appeared in the September 13, 1882 edition of “The Derby Mercury.”

Later, in 1906, Lea & Perrins succeeded in a court proceeding that barred other sauce makers from using that phrase. The April 25, 1906 edition of “The Birmingham Post” summarized the proceedings.

Mr. Justice Swinfen Eady had before him yesterday in the Chancery Division, a motion by the plaintiffs in the action of Lea and Perrins v. Holbrook (Limited) for an interim injunction to restrain defendants from advertising Worcester sauce in a manner alleged to be an infringement of the planiff’s rights.

Mr. Sebastian who represented plaintiffs, said the matter was before the court some weeks ago, when an injunction was asked for to restrain defendants from advertising their Worcester sauce as the original, the genuine, or the only original and genuine. Defendants then gave an interim undertaking, and they had now agreed to make an end of the whole matter. It had been arranged that the motion should be treated as the trial of the action, defendants admitting that plaintiffs were the original makers of Worcester sauce. Defendants also submitted to a permanent injunction in terms which were in writing, in effect restraining them from using in connection with the sale of their sauces the words “original,” “genuine,” “the original,” or “the genuine.”

Competition notwithstanding, Lea & Perrins continued to grow throughout the latter portion of the 19th century. According to “Littlebury’s 1883 Guide to Worcester and its Neighborhood,” at some point the company added wholesale and export warehouses on the Bank Street side while continuing to maintain their offices at 68 Broad Street (likely in the upper floors).  Ultimately however the entire business was forced to move and on November 16, 1895 a “Barrow’s Worcester Journal” story announced that they were moving to 3 Midland Road, outside of Worcester.

One hears sometime of depression in trade affecting Worcester china and Worcester gloves; but never that other Worcester product, sauce. In that there are no fluctuations, only a steady increase. Worcester Sauce has been come to be looked upon as a necessity in civilized countries, and, I suppose, as the world is becoming more and more civilized, the demand for sauce increases. Anyhow it is hardly a secret that the business of Messrs. Lea and Perrins has outgrown the old premises in Broad Street, and that the manufactory will shortly be transferred to a new site. The new factory will be built on a site in the Midland Road which is in every way convenient, notably for railway transit, it being close to Shrub-hill.

Opened in 1896, a rendering of the factory appears on today’s Lea & Perrins’ web site.

Ultimately, in 1930, Lea & Perrins merged with H. P. Sauce,’ Ltd. The merger was announced in the March 21, 1930 edition of several English newspapers. The “Birmingham Gazette” story follows.

The amalgamation of two Midland firms of sauce manufacturers is announced.

An agreement of amalgamation has been entered into as from 1 January, 1930, of the businesses of H.P. Sauce, Ltd., and Lea and Perrins, the well-known manufacturers of the original Worcestershire Sauce.

Both firms have been regarded as leading sauce manufacturers. The two businesses will continue to trade under their own individual managements, but it is considered that the amalgamation should be of great benefit in the further development of the twin interests of the united companies.

The firm of Lea Perrins is being converted into a private limited company of the same name whose shares will be acquired by H.P. Sauce, Ltd…

In Britain, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is still made to this day by Kraft Heinz at the same Midland Road factory that opened in 1896. This current photograph of the factory is courtesy of “The Worcester News.” Other than a car replacing the horse and wagon not much else has changed in relation to their 1896 rendering.

As early as the 1840’s Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce was making its way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States where a firm named John Duncan & Son was named as Lea & Perrins’ U.S. agent.

According to a feature on the Duncan’s published in the July 28, 1911 edition of the “Grocers Advocate,” John Duncan had established the business which dealt in rare and fine groceries, wines and liquors in 1819. Located in New York City, this June 20, 1829 advertisement in the “Evening Post,” located the company in lower Manhattan at 407 Broadway, between Walker and Lispenard Streets.

In 1840, Duncan formed a partnership with his son David, changing the name of the business to John Duncan & Son. The co-partnership notice was published in several February, 1840 editions of the “Evening Post.

Later, about 1850,  Duncan admitted a second son, John P. Duncan  to the partnership, changing its name to John Duncan & Sons.

In January, 1843 John Duncan & Son ran the first U. S. newspaper advertisement (that I can find) for Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce in New York’s “Evening Post.”

At the start Duncan imported the sauce in bottles directly from England where it was shipped in the transatlantic ocean liners of the day, one of which was the “Great Western.”

In fact, not only could Worcestershire Sauce be found in the cargo hold of the Great Western, but on the dinner tables of the liner’s passengers as well. According to this excerpt from a November 7, 1844 John Duncan & Sons advertisement:

“GREAT WESTERN STEAM SHIP,” 6th June, 1844 – “The cabin of the Great Western has been regularly supplied with Lea & Perrins’ Worcestershire Sauce, which is adapted for every variety of dish – from turtle to beef – from salmon to steaks – to all of which it gives a famous relish. I have great pleasure in recommending this excellent Sauce to Captains and Passengers for its capital flavor, and as the best accompaniment of its kind for any voyage. (signed) JAMES HOSKEY

On occasion, John Duncan’s early newspaper advertisements would announce the arrival of their trans Atlantic sauce shipments. One such shipment  that included 500 dozen bottles arriving on a ship named the “Universe” was announced in the August 8, 1850 edition of the “Evening Post.”.

While their Lea & Perrins business was certainly increasing, their wholesale and retail business in general remained quite strong, as evidenced by this advertisement that appeared in the June, 1856 issue of Hunt’s “Merchants’ Magazine and Commercial Review.”

Eventually, the company outgrew their Broadway facilities and moved to One Union Square in 1860. Later, sometime around 1870, they added a second Manhattan location at 30 South William Street which later moved to 29 Murray Street in 1878 and 29 College Place in 1879. By this time, John Duncan, Sr. had passed away (in 1864) changing the firm name again, this time to John Duncan’s Sons.

In 1877, the Duncan’s were still importing Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce in bottles when, in concert with Lea & Perrins’ English operation, they implemented a change that was described like this in an August 21, 1899 story published in the Buffalo (N.Y.) “Courier Express:”

…a change in practice was begun by Lea & Perrins and John Duncan’s Sons, by which, instead of sending over here the sauce finished, bottled, labeled and ready for use, it was sent over in a partially manufactured condition in casks, and the Messrs. Duncan finished the sauce here according to formula furnished them by the English house, and bottled and put it up for sale.

The story went on to say

This course had certain obvious advantages. It saved the firms from paying duty on bottles, labels, straw and finishing expenses, and avoided breakage. `

At least a portion of these savings were passed on to the customers, as evidenced by much of their late 1870’s and  early 1880’s advertising which touted:

Great Reduction in Price of Lea & Perrins’ Celebrated Worcestershire Sauce thus giving the consumer not only the Best, but the most Economical Sauce.

As far as I can tell, up through 1886, Union Square served as the company’s retail location, while Murray Street and later, College Place housed their wholesale business and the manufacturing operation associated with the Lea & Perrins sauce.. Then, in 1887, the company discontinued their retail business and moved the wholesale and manufacturing operations to 43 Park Place in Manhattan. A photograph of their Park Place building appeared in an  1895 publication entitled “Kings Photographic Views of New York.”

Twelve years later, in 1899, John Duncan’s Sons began to manufacture Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce in its entirety. The change was brought about as the result of a suit brought by the U.S. government over the valuation of the imported products. The particulars were spelled out in a story found in the August 18,1899 edition of the “Birmingham (Alabama) News”

The firm of John Duncan’s Sons, of New York, are the agents in this country for Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, and for more than twenty years has engaged in a part of the work of preparation of that sauce – the English house sending the sauce over in casks, in a partly manufactured condition, and Messrs. Duncan finishing it here according to a formula supplied from England. By this method the cost of transportation and the duty on bottles, labels, straw and the liability to breakage were avoided. The United States Government levied an import tax of 3 schillings 4 pence per gallon on the unfinished sauce, which was considered sufficient, as the stuff has no marketable value. When appraiser Wakeman came into office, however, he raised the duty 500 percent, but this being contested he finally was required by the department to reduce it to 200 percent. The appraiser then charged Duncan’s Sons with under appraisement and made a seizure of an importation. A suit followed in which the firm came out victorious, the Government withdrawing from its untenable position.

Meantime, however, the duty of 200 percent proved to be prohibitive and the London house decided to send the whole formula to John Duncan’s Sons, and now the sauce is made in this country, instead of imported in the partly finished state.

At the same time they moved into a new factory building that occupied the entire block between Canal and York Streets. It was described like this in the June 17, 1899 edition of “Brooklyn Life.”

How pleasing it is to visit an establishment as that of John Duncan’s Sons, at 392 Canal Street and 11-13 York Streets, New York, where the American output of the world-famous Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is prepared for market.

Here is a building of eight stories, recently constructed, and modern in every particular. It was planned and built solely for the purpose to which it has been put, consequently every detail of construction and interior arrangement has been studied for utility and comfort…

The vaults in the basement, in which are stored the ingredients in bulk, are large and airy, each cask is labeled and numbered and has its own place, so that it can be readily found. Several of the floors above are also utilized for the same purpose.

The bottling department is an interesting one. The liquid is brought from properly placed casks on the floor above through silver tubes to the bottling machine which works automatically. When a row of empty bottles is placed in position the machine allows only just enough of the sauce to flow in to just fill them, and then stops. There is no ladling out or measuring by hand – nothing comes in contact with the liquid except the wood of the casks and the silver tubes. Each bottle is then carefully wrapped in the familiar paper that we all know and is then taken in hand by the packers who deftly fill the boxes according to sizes, and so it goes to the shipping room. The room fronts on York Street and occupies the entire ground floor, except for the small portion on the Canal Street side which is used for general offices.

An unusual fact in connection with this factory is that even the paper of the wrappers is manufactured expressly to order, as are also the corks and the red twine used to tie around the neck of each bottle and which is one of the distinguishing features of the brand of goods.

As modern and large as the factory was, within a decade it was outgrown, forcing the company to move again, this time to a nine story, 80,000 square foot building at 237-241 West Street on the corner of Hubert Street. The building was depicted in the 1911 feature published in the “Grocer’s Advocate.”

Always a devoted advertiser, according to a story in the June 14, 1923 edition of an advertising publication called “Printer’s Ink,” up through the early teens Duncan’s advertisements were designed simply

to remind people of the fact that the sauce was good for soups, gravies, steaks, chops and fish, and keeping the name and trademark in the public’s eye.

The story went on to say:

But in 1915 an educational campaign was inaugurated to tell about new uses. For the first time in its history the company hunted for reasons why the dining public should desire “Lea & Perrins’ Sauce, the original Worcestershire.” Over a hundred recipes were prepared to which the sauce should be used, not merely by its addition as seasoning at the table, but in preparation during the cooking of foods. These recipes were printed on a hanger which could be placed in the kitchen, and they were offered free in the company’s advertising…More than 150 uses have been discovered and more are being found constantly.

One recipe, this one for Fish Hash appeared in the October, 1915 issue of “The Ladies Home Journal.” The ad went on to tout their “Kitchen Recipe Hanger” as well.

Likely as a result of the amalgamation with H.P. Sauce, Ltd., Lea & Perrins, Inc. filed as a domestic business corporation in the U.S. on April 1, 1930. From this point on the business was listed in the U S. directories and telephone books as Lea & Perrins, Inc. at the 241 West Street address. That’s not to say that the Duncans weren’t involved. In fact as late as 1978 a “New York Times” story in their April 18th edition referred to Ransom Duncan, the great-great-grandson of John Duncan, as the technical director of the American firm of Lea & Perrins.

In 1958, Lea & Perrins, Inc. was planning to move out of New York City, and in October obtained approval to build a new plant in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. The approval was announced in the October 22nd edition of Paterson New Jersey’s “Morning Call.”

The construction of a Lea & Perrins plant, sauce manufacturers, in Industrial Park, was approved last night by the planning board.

It was reported that the plant will employ a maximum of 100 persons working 9 to 5 shifts only.

The one story masonry structure will front on Pollitt Dr., adjacent to the Erie Railroad. It will be 364 feet long and 241 feet wide.

The 1960 New York Telephone Book indicated that by then the company had removed to Pollitt Drive in Fair Lawn New Jersey, suggesting the move occurred sometime in 1959.

In 2005, H. J. Heinz Co. acquired Lea & Perrins when they purchased the HP Food Group. The purchase was reported in the August 17, 2005 edition of  “The Hackensack (N.J.) Record.”

H. J. Heinz Co. completed its purchase of HP Foods Group on Tuesday, but the deal left in doubt the future of the company’s North American headquarters in Fair Lawn and the 50 employees there.

The $820 million deal with France’s Group Danane S.A. gave Heinz the HP brand and Lea & Perrins – maker of the world’s No. 1 Worcestershire sauce – as well as a license for Amoy Asian sauce in Europe.

As part of the purchase, Pittsburgh-based Heinz gained two British manufacturing plants and the Fair Lawn location, which includes a factory for making Lea & Perrins and HP sauces.

Heinz spokesman Robin Teets said the company would conduct a detailed analysis of the newly acquired assets to determine how they fit into existing Heinz operations…

“The Fair Lawn facility remains open,” he said, “Until that assessment is completed, we don’t expect any changes.”

The Fair Lawn factory remained open for roughly another 10 years, until 2014 or 2015. Where exactly it’s made today in the U. S. is not clear.

I’ve found a total of three Lea & Perrins bottles over the years. All have the letters J D S in some arrangement embossed on the base. These letters are certainly the initials of Lea & Perrins’ long time U. S. agent, John Duncan’s Sons. The Duncan’s initially imported the sauce in bottles from England and it wasn’t until sometime in 1877 or 1878 that they began bottling it in the United States. Logically, this establishes 1877 as the earliest year any bottle with those initials was produced.

One bottle is mouth blown and roughly 10 ounces in size. The other two are machine made; one is 6 ounces the other 10 ounces. The website glassbottlemarks.com suggests that the mouth blown bottles were produced abundantly until the 1910’s before a switch was made to machine made bottles.

Base photos of both 10 ounce bottles are shown below.

Mouth Blown

Machine Made

 

 

Emil Schlicher, Farmingdale, L.I.

Emil Schlicher was the successor to the Farmingdale, Long Island  mineral water and bottling business of Schnaderbeck and Runge. A nephew of Richard Runge, Schlicher likely took over the business sometime in 1908. That year he’s included on a New York State listing of liquor tax certificate holders with an address of Fulton and Main, the former address of Schnaderbeck and Runge. More information on Schnaderbeck and Runge can be found in another post on this site.   Schnaderbeck & Runge

Referring to the business as the “Enterprise Bottling Works” during 1909 and much of 1910 Schlicher ran this advertisement on an almost weekly basis in Belmore, Long Island’s local newspaper, the”South Side Messenger.”

In 1920, census records continued to list Schlicher’s occupation as “soda water manufacturer,” so it’s reasonable to assume that he was still in business during the early 1920’s. Then, on January 16, 1925, a legal notice published in the “Farmingdale Post” announced that the business, now located on Elizabeth Street in Farmingdale, was up for sale.

This dates Schlicher’s proprietorship to the 17 year period from 1908 to 1925. That being said the Enterprise Bottling Company survived the sale and was still active in the Spring of 1928 when this advertisement appeared in several editions of the “Farmingdale Post.”

I haven’t  been able to find any record of the business in the 1930’s.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with a blob finish. It’s a shade under 11-inches tall and roughly  3-1/2 inches in diameter. It likely dates to the early Schlicher years, say 1908 to 1912.

I’ve also found the lower portion of a smaller bottle that would have been approximately 7 – 8 inches tall and likely had a crown finish.

Mimnaugh Bottling Co., Far Rockaway, L.I.

The name Mimnaugh in Far Rockaway dates back to at least 1867 when Curtin’s  Long Island directory named James Mimnaugh as the proprietor of a “country store.” He’s not listed in the 1865 directory suggesting that the Mimnaugh business got its start sometime in the mid-1860’s.

At some point in the early to mid 1870’s it appears that his son, also named James, joined the business at which time it operated under the name “J & J Mimnaugh”until 1887 when James Mimnaugh, Sr. left and turned complete control of the store over to his son. An announcement to this effect, dated June 3, 1877, appeared in several editions of Freeport Long Island’s “South Side Signal.”

JAMES MIMNAUGH, JR., would inform the public that he has assumed entire control of the store business conducted under the firm name of J. & J. Mimnaugh.

The announcement referred to the business as:

…and went on to say:

A year later Mimnaugh still owned the business when it was burglarized on a Sunday morning. The burglary was reported in the March 13, 1878 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

At one 0’clock on Sunday morning thieves effected an entrance to the store of James Mimnaugh, in Far Rockaway. They bored holes around the lock, knocked the wood out and thus were enabled to unlock the door. The hand of one of the men was cut in the operation. They had a wagon and one horse, and carried off dry goods, boots and shoes and groceries to the amount of $680. The burglary was not discovered until seven o’clock the next morning.

Up to this point it’s clear that the business was still operating as a general or country store, so it’s possible that Mimnaugh was selling bottled beer and soda, however, if he was it certainly wasn’t apparent in his advertising. In fact, I can’t connect the Mimnaugh name with bottling until 1889 when this item appeared in the July 13th edition of the “South Side Signal.”

On complaint of Charles L. Looker, agent of the Bottler’s Association, Henry Lotz, of Rockville Centre, and James E Mimnaugh of Far Rockaway, were arrested on the charge of using and trafficking in bottles belonging to Pflug and Ackley and E. Matthews, bottlers , of Hempstead. They were tried before  Justice B. V. Clowes and found guilty. Lotz was fined $65 and Mimnaugh $10. Lotz had 198 bottles in his possession and Mimnaugh 20.

Subsequently, in the 1890’s, I’ve been able to find three Far Rockaway business listings for James Mimnaugh all of which suggest bottling.  In 1890, he’s listed with the occupation “liquors” with an address of Central Avenue, near Cornaga Avenue. Later, in 1898 and 1899, he’s listed as a “bottler of lager beer” at the corner of Carleton Avenue and R.R. Avenue. During the same 1890’s period there’s no listing I can find that associated Mimnaugh with a general store, dry goods or groceries. By 1900, census records list Mimnaugh’s occupation as a day laborer and business directories in the early 1900’s don’t associate him with any bottling related categories.

This all suggests that Mimnaugh got out of the country store and established a bottling business sometime in the 1880’s and continued it until 1900 at the latest.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown champagne style with a blob finish. It fits the late 1880’s to 1890’s time frame when Mimnaugh was certainly in the bottling business.

Sammis & Hentz, Hempstead, L. I.

 

Sammis & Hentz was a Hempstead, Long Island sarsaparilla and soda manufacturer that was active under that name for much if not all of the 1860’s and early 1870’s. It appears that throughout its history the business was closely associated with the Sammis Tavern.

The name Sammis in Hempstead dates back to the mid-1600’s when the family arrived on Long Island from England. A history of “The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, Long Island, New York, 1609 to 1924” by Henry Isham Hazelton, published in 1925, made it clear that the Sammis family’s tavern had a long and rich history on Long Island.

The Sammis tavern at Hempstead was built in 1680 and at the time it closed its doors a few years ago it was the oldest inn in the United States. The first member of the Hempstead branch of the Sammis family came to this country from England in 1650, and bought land from the Indians. While his name is not known, his son, Nehemiah, built the inn…

Seven generations of the Sammis family were born in the place, and the very rafters spoke of Indians, of Dutch and English quarrels, of the days of British occupation of Long Island, of Washington as a guest; of the War of 1812, of the Mexican War and the day when Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers, and the boys of Hempstead went there to enlist. A. H. Sammis, the last owner of that name, was of the sixth generation. He was born in the room where his father and grandfather both first saw the light of day.

It stood laterally on Fulton Avenue near the railroad station. The original site was at Main Street and Fulton Avenue. The Avenue was the main coaching road between New York and the eastern end of Long Island.

The tavern, circa 1860, was the subject of this John Evers painting, a reproduction of which was found in the January 1, 2023 edition of Long Island’s “Newsday.”

Born in 1827, it was Lawrence Seaman Sammis who was the early proprietor and possibly founder of the sarsaparilla business. According to the “History of Long Island from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time,” published in 1903, it was Lawrence Seaman, who:

after attaining manhood was engaged for a number of years in the manufacture of mineral waters.

Census records suggest this occurred as early as 1850 when Lawrence Seaman, then 23 years old, listed his occupation as “merchant.” His younger brother, Charles Augustus, then 18, also listed his occupation as “merchant” suggesting that the brothers may have been in business together at that point.

The 1903 “History of Long Island” goes on to say that Lawrence Seaman subsequently moved to Jamaica for a short time and later Brooklyn, before ultimately settling in Mineola, Long Island in 1877. He’s listed in the Brooklyn directories as early as 1856, suggesting he had vacated Hempstead by the mid-1850’s.

This apparently left the sarsaparilla business in the hands of Charles Augustus, who in the 1859 Long Island directory (the earliest I can find) was listed as a “sarsaparilla manufacturer,” with an address in the same general location as the Sammis Tavern at “Main Street, opposite the R.R. Depot.”

Sometime in the early 1860’s, Charles Augustus, having been appointed as a sheriff in Queens County, apparently formed a partnership with Henry Hentz to manage the sarsaparilla business. Long Island directories from the 1860’s that I’ve been able to find (1864-65, 1865-66, 1867-68, 1868-69) all list Sammis & Hentz as a “sarsaparilla manufacturer” with an address of Main St., opposite the R.R. Depot. That being said, in 1860, Henry Hentz listed his occupation as “manufacturer” in census records, so it’s possible, even likely, that the Sammis & Hentz partnership began as early as 1860.

Sammis & Hentz was still listed on Main St., opposite the R.R. Depot in the 1871 -72 Long Island directory.

The bottle I found is a mouth blown pony. Sadly it’s broken off at the neck and the finish is missing. It dates to the Sammis/Hentz partnership, sometime in the 1860’s or early 1870’s.

One final note of interest; the bottle’s actual embossing misspelled the name “Hempstead” as “Hemstead.”

I’ve chosen to spell it correctly in the title of this post.

 

 

E. Hartshorn & Sons, Established 1850, Boston

 

E. Hartshorn & Sons manufactured both patent medicines and flavoring extracts in Boston, Massachusetts from 1870 up through 1930. The roots of the business however date back to the 1850’s and a physician named Edward Hartshorn.

Born in 1817 in New Hampshire, by the late 1830’s Hartshorn was living in Reading, Massachusetts where, according to his biographical entry in the “History of the Town of Berlin, Worcester County, Mass., from 1784 to 1895”

Edward walked back and forth from there to the Medical College of Harvard University; graduating there in 1840. He settled in Berlin the same year, being 23 years of age, the youngest physician in the county.

Embossing on the subject bottle suggests that 10 years later, in 1850, he established his manufacturing business. That being said, I suspect that any manufacturing done during the early 1850’s was quite limited and simply done in connection with Hartshorn’s medical practice.

That apparently changed sometime in 1854 when Hartshorn went into a short-lived  partnership with another Harvard educated physician, Dr. Lemuel Gott. According to Gott’s biographical entry in the “History of Berlin:”

…He practiced in Rockport from 1836 to 1854; at the latter date he removed to Berlin and went into partnership with Dr. E. Hartshorn in the manufacture of medicines and family extracts, and also in medical practice. They soon dissolved the copartnership and (Gott) continued as the sole resident physician (in Berlin) to the time of his death.

While Gott continued as Berlin’s sole resident physician, Hartshorn also remained in Berlin and continued to manufacture medicines and extracts. Then, sometime in 1866 or 1867, Hartshorn opened what appears to be a retail store at 132 Water Street in Boston Massachusetts. This advertisement in the 1867 Boston city directory named him the “proprietor” of “Hartshorn’s Family Medicines.”

Around the same time that that he opened up shop in Boston advertisements for one of his family medicines, ” Hartshorn’s Bitters,” began appearing in several New England newspapers. Touting the bitters as the “Key to Health, the ads appeared in several local newspapers in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont. The following was found in the June 19, 1868 edition of Bedford, Maine’s “Union and Journal.”

At this point, Hartshorn’s sons, Edward H. Hartshorn, Jr., and William H. Hartshorn, were also involved in the business; both listed with the occupation “clerk” at the 132 Water Street address.

Three years later, “Dr. E Hartshorn & Sons,”was established with sons Edward H., Jr. and William H. named as partners. Located at 18 Blackstone Street in Boston, the partnership was listed for the first time in Boston’s 1870 city directory. That year their directory advertisement no longer mentioned a Berlin laboratory so it appears by then the entire operation had been consolidated in Boston.

In the early 1870’s the company’s menu of “Family Medicines” included products with names that included “Dr. Hartshorn’s Cough Balsam,” for all pulmonary complaints; “Dr. Hartshorn’s Never Failing,” for every pain…

…and “Dr. Hartshorn’s Peristaltic Lozenges,” the most perfect, agreeable and effective cure for every form of Indigestion and the only cure for the Piles, either bleeding or otherwise.

That being said, an advertisement that appeared in the 1871 Boston Almanac suggested that their bitters was at the top of the “Family Medicine” list.

In case you’re interested, the advertisement followed up their sales pitch with this list of ingredients. (What’s not mentioned is the fact that the bitters also contained over 22% alcohol by volume.)

The company only remained at the 18 Blackstone Street address for several years, moving to 71 Blackstone Street, sometime in the mid-1870’s where they shared a building with a brewery. A description of the building appeared under the heading “Real Estate Matters,” in the June 16, 1891 edition of the “Boston Evening Transcript.” The building’s size suggests that Hartshorn’s operation was not all that large.

The building is a four-story brick store with granite front, and is numbered 69 and 71 Blackstone Street, and extends through to North Centre Street. Its measurement front and rear is practically twenty feet, while the building extends back about seventy-two feet. It is now occupied by the Norfolk Brewing Company and Edward Hartshorn & Sons, manufacturers of medicines and flavoring extracts, the annual rental paid on the building being $2,575.

By the 1890’s newspaper advertisements for “Hartshorn’s Bitters” had pretty much vanished (likely due to pressure from the temperance movement), while advertisements for “Hartshorn’s Cough Balsam” were beginning to gain traction. This ‘Hartshorn’s Cough Balsam” ad touting the company’s 40 year history appeared in several December, 1892 editions of the “Fall River (Mass) Daily Herald.”

A Tree Planted Forty Years Ago!

Is Now Bearing Wonderful Fruit.

The company also continued to manufacture extracts as evidenced by this 1892 advertisement that appeared in the The Somerville Journal’s Semi-Centennial Souvenir edition.

Around 1910 the company moved from its long time home on Blackstone Street to 220 Milk Street, where they were first listed in the 1911 Boston city directory. This advertisement exhibiting their Milk Street address appeared in the 1914 “ETA Cook Book.”

Up through the mid-1920’s the company remained closely held by the Hartshorn family. Edward, Jr. had passed away in 1887, leaving William as the sole surviving partner. Edward, Sr., apparently semi-retired, continued to be listed at the 71 Blackstone Street address as a physician through much of the 1890’s. He ultimately passed away in 1906.

William H. Hartshorn remained at the head of the firm until he passed away on February 3, 1926. That same year, likely as a result of his death, the business incorporated under the name E. Hartshorn & Sons, Inc. The 1926 Boston city directory named William’s son, James H. Hartshorn, as the corporation’s treasurer. He had joined the business as a clerk sometime in the mid-1890’s; the third generation of Hartshorn’s to be involved with the business.

A list of Hartshorn products on the market at around the time the business incorporated appeared in Randolph, Vermont’s “Herald & News.” They could be purchased at W. F. Blood’s North Main Grocery Store in Randolph.

As far as I can tell, the great depression put an end to the Hartshorn business. Hartshorn advertisements, as well as their product listings in local drug and grocery store newspaper advertisements, completely disappear in 1930 and by 1931, a June 13  item in the “Boston Globe” indicated that the business was in receivership.

In 1932 and up through 1935, the business did continue to be listed in the Boston city directories at 220 Milk Street with J. Gordon MacLeod then named as both president and treasurer. That being said, I can’t find any evidence that the business was active during this period. By 1936 the company’s no longer listed in Boston.

The bottle I found is a small pharmacy bottle. Mouth blown it likely dates to the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. Newspaper advertising for Hartshorn’s Cough Balsam was increasing  at that time so it’s certainly one possibility for its use. It could also have contained one of their flavoring extracts.