The Forbes Diastase Company, Cincinnati, Ohio

James Winchell Forbes developed the formula for Forbes Diastase and founded the Forbes Diastase Company.

A digestive aid, Forbes Diastase was described as:

a scientific production from malt, in a perfectly fluid, concentrated form, without sugar and readily aids digestion in any part of the alimentary economy without any objectionable feature

Until the mid-1920’s, it was not available to the general public but only sold to wholesale druggists from whom physicians could procure and prescribe it.

The early story of J Winchell Forbes and Forbes Diastase was printed in the January 1, 1893 issue of the Pharmaceutical Era and portions of it are summarized in the paragraphs below.

J. Winchell Forbes was born in Troy N.Y., in 1837 and in a peculiar pharmacy atmosphere, his childish playground being the upper stories of the drug store of his granduncle, the late John L. Thompson.

He started his pharmacy career in the drug and manufacturing house of Chas. F. Rogers in Lansingburgh, N.Y., but in 1859, lured by the California “gold rush,”he moved to San Francisco. After a short time, he was back in the pharmacy business out west, ultimately becoming a charter member of the California Pharmaceutical Society. After nearly 20 years in California and Nevada he returned east.

…he came to Cincinnati and at once obtained a position as superintendent of  an extensive laboratory in this city. In this position he remained nearly four years when he resigned in order to devote his entire time to analytical work and the study of chemistry and its collateral sciences, biological chemistry receiving the most attention…Reasearches in biology showed the necessity and a long series of experiments resulted in the production of Forbes Diastase during this time. Being without capital and unwilling to enlist that of others in what then was in the embryo stage, Mr. Forbes paid his expenses with his pen.

The story goes on to say that he worked as a writer and editor for several local publications until 1888 and:

then returned to analytical work and perfecting the details of manufacturing “Liquor Diastase,” as it was then called. In the latter part of 1890, these details being perfected, “The Forbes Diastase Company” was organized and the preparation placed regularly on the market. Mr. Forbes entire time is occupied with his duties as secretary of the company and general superintendent of laboratory details, and figuratively speaking, he has scarcely time to maintain a speaking acquaintance with his family.

Cincinnati directories from this era both confirm and supplement this early history and later complete the picture.

His four year employment as superintendent appears to have started in 1878 or 1879. J. W. Forbes was first listed in the 1878 directory and between 1879 and 1881 his occupation was listed as foreman (1879), superintendent (1880) and superintendent of Wm.S. Merrel & Co. (1881). Wm. S. Merrell & Co. described themselves as “Manufacturing Chemists and Wholesale Dealer in Foreign and American Drugs.”

He was listed individually as a chemist in 1882 and 1883. Then, in 1884, he was listed as the superintendent of the Standard Chemical Company, where he was manufacturing and selling the early version of his preparation called “Liquor Diastase,” that was at the time, as the biography states, in its “embryo stage.” This is confirmed by the following advertisement that appeared in an 1884 issue of the “Eclectic Medical Journal,” a publication of the Ohio State Eclectic Medical Association.

In accordance with the biography, in 1887 he was listed in the Cincinnati Directory as an editor but by the late 1880’s he was back listing himself individually as a chemist. Finally in 1890, the Forbes Diastase Company was listed in the Cincinnati Directory for the first time. R.D. Mussey was named president, Forbes was vice president and Paul Crosley and Wilmot J. Hall were treasurer and secretary respectively. The address was given as 74 Johnston Bldgs.

The following advertisement  in the Columbus Medical Journal, printed in July of 1890 has to be one of, if not their first ads. It starts out: “In presenting Forbes Diastase to the Medical Profession, we…” and appears to be completely introductory in nature.

The 1891 directory listed two locations: the office at the northwest corner of 4th and Elm and the plant or laboratory at Locust near Elmwood Ave (later 1128 Locust). The business remained listed in Cincinnati until 1898, during which Forbes was listed with different titles from year to year; sometimes vice president, secretary, superintendent, but never president.

An item in the November 20, 1897 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer announced that the company had just incorporated.

The Forbes Diastase Company of Cincinnati was incorporated today with a capital stock of $50,000, the purpose being to make and sell diastase and other chemicals.

The president was T.D. Dale and D.H. Buell was listed as treasurer and manager. It appears, at this point, that Forbes was no longer associated with the company. One month later the Marietta Daily Leader announced that the manufacture of Forbes Diatase was moving to Marietta, Ohio. The December 15, 1897 issue stated under the heading “New Business Building:”

Mr. D.H. Buell has broken ground for a new two-story brick building on the rear of the Hovey property, Third Street and close by the union depot. Mr. Buell will occupy his new building for the manufacture of Calabar Grains and Forbes Diastase.

In 1902 the company reincorporated and between 1902 and 1913 the Forbes Diastase Company was listed in the Marietta City Directory, with a Union Street location and Buell named as either president or proprietor. The 1906advertisement below, referencing the Marietta, Ohio location, is from the Memphis Medical Journal.

By 1913 it appears that the business was not headed in the right direction They reincorporated again in 1915 reducing capital from $50,000 to $10,000 and subsequently were no longer listed in the Marietta or ERA Druggist Directories. The business apparently remained operational because they were listed sporadically. I found them listed as Marietta Ohio manufacturers in the 1919 Modern Hospital Yearbook and the 1922 Druggist Circular.

It appears that the product went off the market for a stretch but returned in the mid 1920’s. A December 22, 1925 advertisement in the Richmond Indiana newspaper called the Richmond Item stated in part:

Prepared exactly as it was 40 years ago, Forbes Diastase is again on the market for use in cases where either an impoverished supply of diastase or other digestive disturbances require additional starch-digesting power.

No longer marketing to just the medical industry, their advertisements were now in general circulation newspapers and aimed at the general public.  Similar to many patent medicine advertisements of the time, they were presented to look like a typical news item. This one from the December 8, 1925 edition of the Star Gazette in Elmira New York was typical of their new approach. Under the headline: “Sent Home to Die from Incureable Stomach Trouble Recovers Almost Magically with Short Treatment of Forbes Diastase,” it goes on t say:

Today this is no longer a miracle to doctors who know and have been prescribing Forbes Diastase, and that means the majority of physicians – especially stomach specialists. But in 1892 when New York’s best known hospital gave up a chronic sufferer as hopeless and sent him home to die, his sudden recovery really seemed like a miracle. (letter testimonial X, 24, on request)

Forbes Diastase is in reality exactly the same marvelous diastase that is manufactured by the human system for digesting fats and starches, the Forbes Diastase can digest 1000 times its own mass of starch in five minutes.

Forbes Diastase does not eliminate. It digests. Therefore it is not only good for all people – it is positively wonderful for convalescents and sick folk whose digestive apparatus is below par. Excellent for building up thin, scrawny, under nourished children.

Forbes Diastase has been on the market for 40 years by prescription only. Everybody can now buy it – at these druggists: Kelly’s, Spillan’s Central, Trebell-Calkins drug store.

A series of these advertisements appeared over a six month period from December 1925 to May 1926 and only in limited geographic areas; upstate New York and Indiana. By the end of May the advertisements ceased for good and I have  to assume that the business didn’t last much longer.

In 1899, when Buell moved the company to Marietta, J. Winchell Forbes remained in Cincinnati and apparently continued to work on improving his diastase. On April 22, 1908 he established a corporation called the Dexigen Company and began manufacturing his improved product which he called Forbes Dexigen. An item in the November, 1908 issue of the Midland Druggist described the new operation.

J. Winchell Forbes, originator of Forbes Diastase, and well known to readers of pharmaceutical journals, is the president and general manager of the Dexigen Company, whose new laboratories have recently been installed at 347 E. Third St., Cincinnati.

Dexigen, a name coined from dextrin and generator is an improved form of diastase, is a much more powerful starch ferment than the varieties heretofore produced, and has the additional merits of definite strength and good keeping qualities.

It is the result of more than thirty years of study and experiment on the part of Prof. Forbes, and is believed to represent the enzymes of malt in the highest state of efficiency that has yet been attained.

It will be marketed strictly upon ethical lines, and we speak for it the favor of both pharmacist and physician which we believe its merits deserve.

The following advertisement for Dexigen appeared in a 1909 issue of the a publication called the “Lancet Clinic”

The Cincinnati directories listed the Dexigen Co. at 347 E. 3rd from 1909 to 1911 with Forbes named president in both the 1910 and 1911 editions. Forbes passed away sometime in 1911 and the company is not listed after his death

The bottle I found is mouth blown with an applied lip. It’s embossed “The Forbes Diastase Company” and the embossing includes the Cincinnati Ohio location. This dates it between 1890 when the business started and 1898 when it moved to Marietta, Ohio.

Fellows & Co., Chemists, St. John, N.B.

The founders of Fellows & Co. were Isaac Fellows and his son, James I. Fellows. Originally located in St. John, New Brunswick in Canada, the business manufactured household remedies and patent medicines. Their most famous product was a tonic called “Fellows Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites.”

The actual start date of the business is unclear but various web sites put it sometime in the vicinity of 1850. The first reference I can find for Fellow’s and Company is in the 1865-66 edition of the “Hutchinson New Brunswick Directory where they were listed as follows:

FELLOWS & CO., chemists and druggists, wholesale and retail dealers in drugs, chemicals, perfumery and fancy articles, King  cor. Germain.

James I Fellows was also listed individually in the same directory as a druggist located at King cor. Germain. Advertisements referred to this location as Foster’s Corner.

The company printed several full page advertisements in the same directory that provided some insight into their initial operation. One mentioned recent additions they had made to their premises leading me to believe that they had been in business for a while and lending more credence to a start date sometime in the 1850’s.

Another called them “Apothecaries to the Army and Navy” and provided an expanded list of their products that included in addition to drugs and perfumes, items such as medicine chests, surgical supplies, dyes, paints and artist supplies and soda water.

By this time the company was also manufacturing patent medicines under their own name. Another full page advertisement promoted Fellows Original “Worm Lozenges.”

How long the corner drug store in St.Paul survived is not clear but by the 1870’s the company had become focused on the manufacture of patent medicines and by the mid 1880’s they maintained laboratories in Montreal, London and  New York. An 1884 advertisement included the following addresses:

  • St. Antoine Street, Montreal, Canada
  • 48 Vesey Street, New York, U.S.A.
  • 7 Snow Hill, London

It’s not clear exactly when these facilities were established but I’ve found the Montreal location mentioned in advertisements dated as early as 1878 and London as early as 1881.

The New York location was first listed in the 1886 general directory as James I Fellows, pat medicines with the 48 Vesey Street address. The directory listed James Fellows’ home address as “England,” so apparently he had moved to London and was overseeing that operation until his death in January of 1896.

The New York facility remained at 48 Vesey Street until 1900. Advertisements as early as 1901 then listed them at 26 Christopher Street. In 1904, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed them as Fellows Co., a New York corporation with the Christopher Street address. Around 1919 the name of the business changed in the directories to the Fellows Medical Manufacturing Co. but they remained listed at 26 Christopher Street through the late 1950’s.

In the early 1960’s, the Fellows Medical Manufacturing Co. merged with Testagar & Co., Inc. and moved to Detroit, Michigan. According to the December 20, 1962 edition of the Detroit Free Press:

The gain by Detroit of a pharmaceutical operation accompanied the merger Wednesday of Testagar, & Co., Inc., a 30-year-old Detroit drug firm, and its affiliated firm, Fellows Medical Manufacturing Co., of New York City.

Sydney J. Heinrick, president of Testagar, said the Fellows manufacturing would be brought to Detroit. Fellows, in which Testagar has held a heavy stock interest for over 10 years, has operated in the East for nearly a century.

Testagar produces injectable drugs and tablets and capsules. Fellows makes prescription drugs and Fellows Syrup, a long used bitter tonic.

The merger will create a new name, Fellows-Testagar, Inc. The additional operation will be joined with Testagar at 1354 West Lafayette.

Fellows manufactured a number of patent medicines including “Fellows’ Original Worm Lozenges,”shown in the advertisement above, as well as “Fellows’ Speedy Relief,” “Fellows Dyspepsia Bitters,” “Fellows’ Golden Ointment,” “Fellows’ Leemings Essence” and “Fellows Balsam Liverwort & Colt’s Foot.”

According to newspaper advertisements, their signature product, Fellows Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites, originated in 1864 – “A Family Tonic Since 1864” – and  by the early 1870’s, it was being marketed over a large portion of the U.S.  This advertisement, printed in an 1871 Richmond, Indiana newspaper, named distributors in New York, Boston, Chicago and St.Louis.

By 1885 they were world-wide, listing principal depot locations for Fellows’ Hypophosphites in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the America’s.

Fellows discussed the origin of the product in an 1882 document entitled “A Few Remarks Upon Fellows Hypophosphites of Quinine, Strychnine, Iron, Lime, Potassa and Manganese”   in which he described his development of a syrup that successfully cured him of a disease: “pronounced by some chronic bronchitis and by others tubercular disease of the lungs…”

After succeeding in compounding such a preparation and finding my health so much improved under its influence, I determined to apply myself solely to its manufacture and hence the origin of Fellows’ Hypophosphites

A full page advertisement in the September, 1888 edition of the “Medical Press of Western New York” described it as containing:

  • Essential Elements to the Animal Organization – Potash and Lime
  • Oxidizing Agents – Iron and Manganese
  • Tonics – Quinine and Strychnine
  • Vitalizing Constituent – Phosphorous

All combined in the form of a syrup, with slight alkaline reaction.

Despite the presence of strychnine, a poison, the advertisement stated that it was:

pleasant to taste, acceptable to the stomach and harmless under prolonged use.

The Advertisement went on to say that:

It has sustained a high reputation in America and England for efficiency in the treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Chronic Bronchitis and other affections of the respiratory organs, and is employed also in various nervous debilitating diseases with success.

An 1880 advertisement goes even further, stating:

Wasting diseases such as Consumption, Bronchitis, Asthma, General Debility, Brain Exhaustion, Chronic Constipation, Chronic Diarrhea, Dyspepsia or Loss of Nervous Power are positively cured by Fellows Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites.

Their advertising relied heavily on the strength of testimonials; both from those who were allegedly cured as well as from the doctors whose patients were allegedly cured.

The following letter, typical of a patient testimonial, appeared in the Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, on December 20, 1871. It was dated July 13, 1871 and signed “George C Font” from Baltimore Md.

Mr. James I. Fellows – Sirs, I obtained three bottles of your syrup of Hypohosphites from Hegeman & Co., New York, and to its use I ascribe cessation of cough, return of appetite, removal of pains from which I had greatly suffered in the back and chest, and greatly reduced expectoration, for several months my system has suffered a drain of nearly a pint expectorated every morning and evening, caused (the doctors tell me,) from wasting of lung tissue. Your syrup has certainly worked wonders, and greatly surprised my friends, so that now I am so far recovered as to resume my wanted duties with vigor.

One testimonial went so far as to include a signed and sealed statement from the Mayor of St. John, verifying the signatures of references supplied by Fellows. The Mayor didn’t stop there but actually went on to include his own endorsement of the product in his statement.

I, Aaron Alward, Mayor of the City of St. John, in the Province of New Brunswick, having examined the signatures attached to the foregoing permit of reference, hereby certify that I believe them all genuine. I can also testify to the high therapeutic value of Fellows Compound Syrup of Hydrophosphites, consider it deserving of attention by the profession generally.

The success of the product appears to have been based entirely on the Fellows’ marketing campaign and product literature. According to the June 1, 1918 American Medical Association Journal:

Examination of the literature used in the exploitation of Fellows’ Syrup fails to disclose any evidence to show that it has therapeutic value. Not only is there an entire absence of any evidence of its therapeutic value, but there is an abundance of evidence that the hypophosphites are devoid of any such therapeutic effects as they were formerly reputed to have, and that they are, so far as any effect based on their phosphorous content is concerned, singularly inert. As a result of its investigation of the therapeutic effects of the hypophosphites, the Council of Pharmacy and Chemistry concluded: “There is no evidence that they exert a physiologic effect: it has not been demonstrated that they influence any pathologic process; they are not foods.” If they are of any use, that use has never been discovered.

As you might expect, the Fellows claims were toned down as time went on. All mention of cures and remedies were gone from this 1928 advertisement.

Instead the product was marketed as a “good tonic” that will improve your appetite and digestion and increase your general strength. Fellows Syrup continued to appear in newspaper advertisements into the early 1960’s.

The bottle I found is mouth blown and exactly matches the description provided in the 1882 document entitled “A Few Remarks Upon Fellows Hypophosphites”

The Fellows Hypophosphites is dispensed in bottles containing about 15 oz. by measure – the address, Fellows & Co., St. John, N.B. blown on…

This document listed the company’s business address as 48 Vesey Street, New York, and James Fellows address as Snow Hill, London. Based on this it appears that the company continued to use the New Brunswick location on their bottles even after establishing facilities in New York and London.

G. W. Cole Co., “Three In One”

 

 

The “G” stands for George W. Cole who is credited with the invention of Three-In-One Oil.

Together, with J. Noah H. Slee, they developed and marketed this one single mixture to accomplish three things with respect to the maintenance  of a bicycle, namely, a rust preventative, lubricant and cleaner. Hence the name “Three-In-One.”  Some of their advertisements also stated that the product is a blend of three oils, animal, mineral and vegetable, which may also have contributed to its name.

According to a story in the Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader entitled “Industry and Commerce” published on May 23, 1908, the business of G.W. Cole & Company was established in 1894 and incorporated in 1899.

A September 16, 1966 story entitled: Three-In-One Oil Birth Traced to Jersey Shore” outlined the early days of the business.

Mr. Slee, along with George W. Cole, developed Three-In-One Oil, a household staple, now manufactured by Boyle Midway Inc., a subsidiary of American Home Products, New York.

Mr. Slee and Mr.Cole, partners in G.W. Cole and Co., “conducted business in New York and West Park, Monmouth County” according to yellowed documents unearthed in the legal department of American Home last week. West Park was part of Neptune Township.

Three-In-One Oil was first sold as early as 1890 in the Shore area, and the name “Three-In-One” was first used Sept. 14, 1894. The name as a trademark was registered Oct. 17, 1905.

According to the records, Mr. Slee bought out Mr. Cole sometime before 1903, but retained his former partner as a salesman at a salary of $2,400 annually.

A factory was subsequently built in Rahaway (N.J.) and in May, 1903, manufacture of Three-In-One moved there from the shore.

What became of G.W. Cole & Co. appears to be somewhat of a mystery, and officials at American Home Products were at a loss to explain how the firm came to be in possession of Three-In-One.

One official was willing to hazard a guess that the product had been purchased by American Home or one of it’s subsidies sometime during the 30’s.

In New York, G.W. Cole & Co., was first listed in City Directories between 1896 and 1898  as “bicycles” with an address of 111 Broadway.

In the 1900 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory the business was listed as a New Jersey corporation. At that time, the “&” in the company name was dropped, changing it to the G.W. Cole Co. George W. Cole was listed as president and J. Noah H. Slee as secretary. The business remained listed this way through 1904.

According to a June 17, 1909 letter from Slee to a publication called “Printers Ink,” Cole resigned from the company in 1904. In 1906 (I don’t have access to the 1905 Directory), Slee was listed as president and Henry Hedenberg as secretary.  Slee’s obituary states that he remained president of the company until 1937 when he moved to Tuscon, Arizona for his wife’s health reasons.

In the 1909 Copartnership and Corporation Directory the name of the company was changed again, this time to the Three-In-One Oil Company. Slee and Hedenberg remained named as president and secretary.

The company utilized several New York addresses over the years:

  • 1896 to 1898 – 111 Broadway
  • 1900 to 1906 – 141 Broadway
  • 1908 to 1916 – 42 (34 – 52) Broadway
  • 1918 to 1922 – 165 East Broadway

The current Three-In-One website completes the company history and solves the mystery mentioned in the 1966 story above, as to how American Home Products came into possession of Three-In-One. The guess provided by the company official in the story wasn’t too far off. In 1933 the capital stock of the Three-In-One Oil Company was acquired by Drug Incorporated. That year, Three-In-One Oil Company was still listed in the Manhattan Telephone Book at 171 Varick Street. Drug Incorporated later dissolved, at which time the Three-In-One Oil Company became part of Sterling Products Inc. Then in 1936, A.S. Boyle Company, a subsidiary of American Home Products, purchased the brand from Sterling.

The Jersey Shore factory location was apparently established in the late 1800’s in Asbury Park. The G.W. Cole Co., was listed in the 1901 Asbury Park Directory as “bicycle sundries,” with an address of Third Avenue, corner of Railroad Ave., West Park. Cole is listed individually at that address as far back as 1899. Prior to 1899 he was only listed with a residential address of 704 Fourth Avenue. According to one account, at that time, he was operating out of a shed that covered 234 square feet.

The factory in Rahway N.J. that opened in 1903 was located along the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, just east of Scott Avenue. The factory and its early growth were documented in the 1908 Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader story on “Industry and Commerce.”

In 1905 the total area was 5,250 square feet and today the floor space of the factory is more than 8,000 square feet. The building itself is vine covered and is a prominent feature on the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

It’s not clear when the factory shut down, but today the location appears to be a relatively new city parking garage that’s located adjacent to the railroad tracks.

According to the 1900 census records Cole was originally a bicycle mechanic and the first advertisement I can find for Three-In-One Oil focused exclusively on bicycle maintenance. It was from an 1896 issue of the “L.A.W. Bulletin and Good Roads.”

By 1901, the uses for the product had significantly expanded.  A June 5, 1901 advertisement in the “Boston Post” provided this expanded description.

“3 In One” is the ideal lubricant for all delicate mechanisms. It will not gum, collect dust, turn rancid or dry out. For oiling bicycles, firearms, typewriters, sewing machines, hinges, locks, in fact, delicate mechanisms of any sort, it is better than any other preparation. It prevents rust and tarnish on metal surfaces in any climate, in any kind of weather.

Further it is a furniture polish par excellence. It removes scratches, spots, streaks, etc., and leaves no dampness or grease to rub off and injure the finest fabric. Fred W. Peabody, dealer in pianos, musical instruments, etc., of Amesbury Mass., recently said: “We have used “3 in 1″ for several years past with perfect satisfaction. We find it will do all you recommend it to do, and more. It is one of the best piano polishers I have ever used.”

While Cole may have been the actual inventor of the product, it was Slee as a businessman who made it a national brand. According to an article he wrote in 1912 for a publication called “Judicious Advertising”the company did not employ traveling salesmen, but relied totally on advertising to develop the business.

In an effort to create a demand among consumers he talked about two main methods: The first was advertising in publications of general circulation.

Our general publication advertising embraces some seventy or eighty papers, all of which have been selected for specific and definite reasons. For instance, we use every paper in the United States and Canada devoted to the interests of sportsmen and the outdoor life. We call them “gun papers.” Then we use all the leading women’s publications. We use the principal boys’ publications. We are great believers in educating the youth.

In other words, our advertising is based largely on class publications because we find by taking up a certain field and working it thoroughly we get better results. We prepare our ads to specifically interest the readers of each class of publication in exactly the thing for which he buys the publication.

Certainly either of these two 1908 advertisements could have been found in any number of “Field & Stream” type publications.

 

Likewise, in 1908,  this advertisement would appeal to the reader of a women’s magazine.

Another method he discussed was the distribution of samples and advertising matter by mail. Most of the earlier “3 in 1” advertisements included an offer for a free sample but he also spoke of another sampling method that put millions of samples in the hands of possible users right at the time they needed it.

We have arrangements with certain leading manufacturers in many various lines whereby they pack a sample bottle of 3-in-One oil with practically every good gun or revolver that is sold. The Columbia Phonograph Company places a sample of 3-in-One with every machine they make.

Our samples are devised for a striking advertising effect, having the label not on the outside of the bottle but floating in the oil – “a patented floating label.”

One approach that he didn’t mention in the article but caught my eye was providing a free oil can with your 3-In-One purchase. It’s a strategy that’s used quite often today at sports stadiums around the country when your beer comes in a free souvenir cup that’s yours to keep.

3-In-One Oil is still made today by the WD-40 Company and the trademark hasn’t changed much over the years.

   

I found a total of three bottles associated with Three-In-One Oil and possibly a fourth.  One is 5 1/2 inches tall. There’s no embossing on the front or back panels but both side panels are embossed. One side contains the company name, G.W. Cole Co., the other contains the words “Three In One” in quotation marks. Mouth blown, this bottle dates between 1899 when the company incorporated and dropped the “&” in its name and 1909 when they were renamed the Three-In-One Oil Co.

Two others I found are also mouth blown, but only 4 inches tall. One side panel is embossed “Three In One” in quotation marks and the other 3-In-One Oil Co. They date no earlier than 1909 when the company changed it’s name to the Three-In-One Oil Co. I’ve seen this same type of bottle, with a cork top, pictured in advertisements that date as late as 1929, but being mouth blown they probably were made no later than the mid-teens.

The possible fourth is an ounce or less and could be one of their free samples. Its similar to the one contained in the advertisement below and would have contained the patented label floating inside the oil.

      

W. H. Miner, Chazy, N. Y.

   

The W stands for William H. Miner. An inventor, businessman and philanthropist, in 1903 he established the “Heart’s Delight Farm” in Chazy New York, a small hamlet about 50 miles south of Montreal, Canada, where he spent much of his childhood. His obituary, printed in the April 5, 1930 edition of the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, described the start of the farm.

Mr. Miner was reputed to have amassed a fortune of $90,000,000 through the invention and manufacture of freight car couplings and other freight car equipment. He left Chazy 45 years ago to seek his fortune with $22 in his pocket.

He lived in Chicago until 28 years ago when, with Mrs. Miner he moved (back) to Chazy and established a residence there on a 40-acre farm. The following year he purchased 400 acres adjoining, and continued to add to his estate year by year until the entire property, known as “Heart’s Delight Farm” now consists of about 10,000 acres. On this farm is one of the show places of the “north country,” a large game reserve filled with herds of buffalo, elk and deer.

A September 22, 1912 story about Miner appeared in the Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier Journal. It contained a sketch that I presume represented the farm buildings around that time.

Excerpts from that story provide a description of the farm in 1912.

On his estate he employs 400 men. Three beautiful streams flow through the farm. There are hundreds of charming cottages and artistic farm structures. He has built miles of macadamized road through the property, and made the 11,000 acres, not only a paradise for man but a paradise for animals. There are herds of buffalo and herds of elk. Deer wander over the land, gentle and free. He has homes for the birds, wild and tame. There are flocks of golden pheasants and multitudes of partridges…

Black bass and trout abound in his lakes and brooks. He has five lakes on his estate. The largest, Lake Alice, is named in honor of his wife.

To get water power for generating electricity he has built a dam 5,700 feet long – the largest private dam in the world. Every mechanical appliance that can be employed on the farm to advantage he uses. He lights his roads and he lights all the buildings on his great estate by electricity. Not only that, but he furnishes light and power to the people of the little village of Chazy free…

He raises many thousands of bushels of corn, of wheat, of oats, of rye, of barley, of buckwheat and thousands of tons of alfalfa. All his grain is ground in his own grist mill and fed to the farm animals. He has perhaps the finest herd of Holstein cattle in the world. He has the champion bull and the champion butter cow of the universe. He has the champion Percheron stallion too. His Chesire White and his Yorkshire hogs have made a wide reputation…

The story also touches on Miner’s human side, describing how his employees were treated.

To those of his employees who are married he furnishes cottages rent free. His unmarried male employees live in clubs of fifteen. Each one of these clubs has a library, a reading room, a billiard table and a music room. He is a great believer in the virtue of water. There are lots of bathtubs in every dwelling house on his estate, and every house has plumbing that is high grade and sanitary. Every house, from his own down to that of the farm hand, has hot water, cold water and spring water taps.

According to the Miner Institute’s web site, by 1918 the farm had grown to 12,000 acres – 4,000 acres of tillable land, 2,000 acres of pasture, and 6,000 acres of woodland –  and the farm:

had it’s own dairy, box factory, ice house, natatorium, greenhouses and grist mill. There was a 20 – bedroom guest house and an entertainment center called Harmony Hall, which included an auditorium complete with a stage that could accommodate 300 persons.

After his death in 1930, Miner’s will provided for the establishment of the Miner Institute, a school and farm devoted to teaching scientific and environmentally sound agricultural practices to the farmers and youth of northern New York. Today, the Miners Institute offers educational programs in dairy and equine management and environmental science.  It also operates revenue producing dairy and equine farms.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with external threads and the cap is still mostly intact. It most likely dates to the first decade or two of the farm. I just can’t figure out what it might have contained.

Curtice Brothers Co., Preserves, Rochester N.Y.

 

Curtice Brothers, founded in 1868, by Simeon and Edgar Curtice, was one of the pioneers in the canning and preserving of food products.

The infancy of the company is described in the biography of Simeon Curtice contained in the “History of Rochester and Monroe County, New York, from the Earliest Historic Times to 1907, Vol. II”

In 1862 he concluded his studies and then established himself in the grocery business in Rochester in the old flat iron building at Main, North and Franklin Streets. In 1865 he was joined by his younger brother, Edgar, and they adopted the firm name of Curtice Brothers. They began a business association which continued until his death. It was in a room above their store that they commenced the canning of fruit in a small way, experimenting with the preserving of various fruits. In the autumn of 1868 they sold their grocery business, and purchased the property at the corner of Water and Mortimer Streets and devoted themselves entirely to the canning and preserving of fruits and vegetables. The rapidity with which their products found favor on the market led to the demand for increased space, causing them to purchase land and build on North Water Street between Andrews and River Streets.

They began operating at this North Water Street location on or about April 1, 1871. A description of this facility was found in the June 30, 1871 edition of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Yesterday we were surprised to find a four story building including basement, on North Water Street, below Andrews, devoted entirely to the business of canning and preserving fruits and vegetables…The Curtice Brothers commenced the business some three years ago, and they managed it so judiciously that they have met with unusual success. They have been encouraged to erect a building for this special business, and last March operations were commenced. An excellent cellar was built with a view of providing accommodations for this kind of trade. The structure is forty feet wide by 130 feet long, built of brick. About April 1st, the Curtice Brothers entered the building and began making cans for use the present season. They are now employing sixty-five hands in the various departments.

The Rochester city directories listed the Curtice Brothers at this location from 1871 through 1878.

According to Simeon’s biography, in 1880, the business was forced to move again due to the demand for still further increased space. This led to another location in Rochester on Livingston Street near St Paul Street where they built a plant that would remain operational until 1947.

An indication of the company’s size and importance to Rochester can be inferred by the fact that Livingston Street was apparently renamed Curtice Street. The company started using the new street name in the 1900 directory.

According to Simeon Curtice’s obituary in the February 16, 1905 edition of the Democrat and Chronicle, the business incorporated in 1889.

The Curtice Brothers copartnership continued until 1889, when the business was turned over to a corporation, organized for that purpose, under the name of Curtice Brothers Company, which continued until 1901, when it was consolidated with the Curtice Brothers Canning Company, of Vernon N.Y. to form the present company.

Simeone Curtice served as president until his death in 1905. At that point. Edgar succeeded him as president and ran the company until 1920, when he also passed away. By this time, in addition to Rochester, the company maintained plants in Indiana, Woodstown, N.J. and Vernon, N.Y.

According to a story marking the firm’s 90th anniversary in the November 23, 1958 issue of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, after Edgar’s death the controlling stock of the company was in the hands of the Security Trust Co.,until 1923 when Douglas Townson bought the stock and took control. Townson served as president and later as a director, and was still serving as a director of the company when the story was written.

By this time, according to the 90th anniversary story:

The company had about 150 permanent employees, and as many as 3,000 during the packing season, when factories operate in two shifts.

According to a story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the business was dissolved in 1961. According to an April 2nd story:

A purchase price of $3 million has dissolved the 93 year old Curtice Brothers Co., of Rochester and the Burns-Alton Corp. of Alton and turned ownership of the firms’ assets to a growers organization.

Transfer of the food processing companies’ facilities to the Pro-Fac Cooperative , Inc., made up of about 5oo Western New York fruit and vegetable growers, took place here Friday. Payment will be made over a 10-year period.

It’s apparent that as far back as 1871, the Curtice Brothers operation was quite significant. The June 30, 1871 story in the Democrat and Chronicle goes on to say:

The firm is now engaged in canning cherries which are put up in two and three pound packages. After the cherry season is over, will come in their order, lima beans, string beans, green peas, tomatos, corn, plums, pears, and quinces.

The Curtice Brothers have exhibited much enterprise in thus building up a business that was entirely new to Rochester. They expect to can fifteen hundred bushels of cherries, and in all fruits and vegetables they will can very little, if any, short of  half a million bushels this season

Their earliest newspaper advertisements from November/December of 1889 mentioned their canned fruits and vegetables as well as Red Current Jelly, Plum Pudding, “Pleasant Dreams” Mince Meat and “Blue Label” Ketchup.

In 1893, Curtice Brothers was a major food supplier for the Chicago World’s Fair. Under the heading “Hungry Folks at Chicago Will Never Forget the Name of Rochester, N.Y.,” the April 14, 1893 issue of the Democrat and Chronicle reported:

Upon investigation as to the the truth of a rumored large sale of food products, we find that with their usual enterprise, Curtice Brothers Co. have succeeded in making a contract with the Wellington Catering Company, which has the privileges of all the cafes and restaurants in the World’s Fair grounds at Chicago, to supply them to the exclusion of all other brands, with canned apples, squash and pumpkin (for pies); green corn and peas; preserved fruits; plum puddings, and “blue label” tomato ketchup, and when it is known that in the several cafes and restaurants there are lunch counters that aggregate over one and one-half miles in length and more than twelve hundred tables, at which can be seated at any one time to exceed fifteen thousand people (it is moderately estimated that more than one hundred thousand people will be fed during each day of the exposition), the magnitude of this contract can be easily imagined – better, perhaps when it is known that the estimate of wants already given is sufficient to make sixty-eight carloads.

The company marketed a number of items under their “Blue Label” brand including a line of “Blue Label” soups, but their most famous and recognizeable one was their ketchup.

It’s not clear when the company started making ketchup but advertisements referencing their “Imperial Tomato Ketchup” date back to at least 1879 and by 1889 advertisements referenced the “Blue Label” brand.

Immensely popular, the “Blue Label” brand lost market share to Heinz when the company refused to remove the preservative, benzoate of soda, from their ketchup recipe. In the early 1900’s there was a general trend away from food preservatives in the United States which sparked a great debate over the use of benzoate of soda. After a referee board appointed by President Roosevelt supported the use of benzoate of soda as a preservative, Curtice Brothers launched an advertising campaign in the spring of 1909 stating that “Blue Label Ketchup contained only those ingredients recognized and endorsed by the U.S. Government.”The advertisement below, from the May 20, 1909 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle is typical of the campaign.

Although it was never banned in small quantities, scientific advancements and the court of public opinion had caused most companies to stop using benzoate of soda by 1915. Curtice Brothers however, refused. According to “Pure Ketchup: A History of America’s National Condiment with Recipes”

Curtice Brothers was the clear loser in the benzoate war. At the turn of the century their “Blue Label Tomato Ketchup” was among the most respected and well-liked condiments in America. By 1915 its prestige and popularity had fallen. W. Stanley Maclem, later the president of Curtice Brothers, disclosed that they had “received a great deal of unfavorable publicity from the benzoate issue,” and he believed that “this could have been one of the factors in explaining the decline of the company’s product in the catsup market.”

Nonetheless the “Blue Label” Ketchup brand appears to have outlasted the Curtice Brothers business. I’ve seen it referenced in advertisements as late as 1972, more than 10 years after the Curtis Brothers business was dissolved.

I found two bottles, both mouth blown with external threads and an improved tooled finish. One bottle is about 10 1/2 inches tall and the size of a typical ketchup bottle today. The other bottle is identical, only smaller, just eight inches tall.  The lower half of each bottle is ribbed except for a flat square space where the label would have gone. This type of bottle began appearing in their advertisements around 1890. The earliest one I could find was from a series advertisements in the Pittsburgh Dispatch in November/December of 1890.

It wasn’t until 1929 that the company unveiled a new bottle type, the wide mouth.

Recognizing that the bottles I found are mouth blown, they most likely fall in the early to mid-range of the bottle type’s 1890 to 1929 time frame.

Franklin Brewing Company, Brooklyn N.Y.

 

The Franklin Brewing Company was established in 1903 but in fact has it’s roots in the brewing operation of George Malcom whose brewing business dates back to the mid-1860’s.

Malcom was first listed as a brewer located at the corner of Dean and Franklin Streets in Brooklyn. Around 1870 he moved to Flushing Avenue and established one of the largest breweries in Brooklyn at the time, occupying the entire block from Franklin Avenue to Skillman Street. Also referred to as the Wallabout Brewery, it was described in a September 19, 1871 item in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Wallabout Brewery, one of the largest establishments of the kind in the county, and said to be capable of turning out 500 barrels per diem. It occupies a fine brick building, 150 x 75 feet, and four stories in height. It is an immense concern, in every way well ordered, fitted with all the latest improvements and most modern inventions; employs a large number of men, and has involved an investment of not less, probably, than half a million of dollars of capital.

George Malcom was listed as a brewer at the Flushing/Franklin/Skillman location up through 1891. The expanded listing in the 1885 directory was typical.

Then in 1892, the company name in the listing changed to the “Malcom Brewing Company.

By the early 1900’s the business was running into financial difficulties. According to the April 14, 1903 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Some months ago the brewing company applied for a voluntary dissolution, on the ground of insolvency, and the referee reports that the company is undoubtedly insolvent and was insolvent on July 28 last.

By this time George Malcom is apparently no longer involved. The April 14, 1903 story goes on to say:

…the capital stock of the company is $400,000 and there is outstanding of this sum $359,000. The stock was issued to George Malcom for the plant and the present holders secured their holdings from him or his assigns.

A receivers’ sale that included the entire plant and property was held on June 30, 1903.

Notices for the sale listed the property holdings at that time which included brewery, malt house and stables.

The description of the brewery machinery provides an idea of the size of the operation at the time.

ALL BREWERY MACHINRY AND EQUIPMENT, sufficient for an annual output of about 150,000 barrels of ale and lager, including ice plant of about 40 tons capacity daily, and Milwaukee grain drying machine; malt house machinery of about 600 bushels capacity daily; also bottling machinery and office furniture..

STABLE CONTENTS, viz.: 36 horses, 27 delivery trucks and carts with harnesses, blankets, covers, feed and other stable supplies

The brewery was purchased by Claus (Charles) Doscher who, within 30 days of the sale, organized the Franklin Brewing Company. His brother and his sons were the officers, directors and holders of all the issued stock. The incorporation was announced in the July 31, 1903 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Articles incorporating the Franklin Brewing Company of Brooklyn have been filed with the Secretary of State. The capital stock is placed at $500,000 and the directors for the first year are Charles Doscher and Henry F. Cochrane of Brooklyn and Henry Doscher, John Doscher and Herman Doscher of New York City.

Claus Doscher  passed away in 1910. Afterwards there were many failed attempts by the family to sell the company which was in financial trouble. The brewery eventually shut down in 1917 or 1918. According to an August 11, 1918 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle the brewery building had been sold and was being converted to a cold and dry storage plant around that time.

The former building of the Franklin Brewing Company, at Flushing and Franklin Avenues, is being converted into a cold and dry storage plant. Food merchants of the Walkabout Market for whom the lack of storage space for their products is a serious problem, will benefit materially by the new plant.

The building which faces on Flushing Avenue and has a frontage of 200 feet, extends to Skillman Street. The wings of the structure are five stories high and the interior eight.

The plant is already partially equipped and insulated and is ideally adapted for storage purposes. It will afford 430,000 cubic feet of cold storage space and about 620,000 cubic feet for dry storage.

The building was purchased at auction on July 9 by George Dressler, president of the Wallabout Market Merchants’ Association and head of the Walabout Basin Storage Company.

The plant is expected to begin operations about the first of September.

The building described in the above article is still located on Flushing Avenue.

The bottle I found is an export style beer bottle with a tooled crown. It fits the 1903 to 1917 time frame of the business. Being mouth blown, it probably skews toward the earlier end.

Joshua Longfield, North of England Sauce

 

Joshua Longfield’s North of England Sauce was originally manufactured by Joshua Longfield and Hugh Scott under the company name of  Longfield & Scott from 1877 to 1880. The business was listed in the 1880-81 NYC Directory as “sauces” and located at 472 Greenwich Street. Both Longfield and Scott were also listed individually at the same address. During this period the business was apparently quite successful and growing as evidenced by an advertisement in the 1879 Boston City Directory that announced H. Sawyer as their New England and Canadian agent.

In late 1880 Scott left the business, leaving Joshua Longfield as the sole proprietor. The October 9, 1880 issue of Bradstreets reported: “Longfield & Scott, sauce mfg’s, was dissolved – Longfield continues.”

Over the next 14 years the business was listed in the NYC directories as Joshua Longfield, sauces, with addresses of 472 Greenwich (1880 through 1887) and 259 Greenwich (1887 through 1892). In 1891, the business was highlighted in a publication called the “History and Commerce of New York”

Joshua Longfield, Sole Proprietor and Manufacturer of the Celebrated North of England Sauce, No. 259 Greenwich Street.- For delicious flavor, purity and quality, no table sauce yet introduced can begin to compare with the deservedly popular North of England sauce, of which Joshua Longfield, No. 259 Greenwich Street, is the manufacturer and sole proprietor. This is an article of exceptional merit, the very acme of zest givers, and commands an immense sale throughout the whole of the United States, Canada and Mexico, while it is exported largely also to Central and South America. Over one million bottles a year are sold, besides some twenty thousand gallons in bulk, and the demand grows apace. Only absolutely pure and choicest ingredients, directly imported are used in the preparation of the North of England sauce, and the greatest care is exercised in compounding the same. It is put up in quarts, pints and half-pints for the trade, and can be purchased at remarkably low prices of grocers everywhere, having immeasurably the largest sale of any sauce in America. In addition to the commodious quarters occupied at No. 259 Greenwich Street, this city, Mr. Longfield has a depot also at No. 25 South Front Street, Philadelphia, and No. 514 Hayes Street, San Francisco, Cal., and keeps on hand at these establishments a big stock. All orders for any quantity are filled in the most prompt and reliable manner, and exceedingly low prices are quoted, the most liberal inducements being offered to jobbers, hotels, restaurants and large consumers. Mr Longfield, who is a native of England, is a man of long and varied experience in the manufacture of sauces, and had devoted years of effort in experimenting before he perfected the formula according to which the “North of England” is prepared. He has engaged in manufacturing this distinctly meritorious article in New York since 1877.

Around 1894 it appears that Joshua Longfield partnered with Garret Bergen and formed the Longfield Bergen Company. Bergen was also listed at several Greenwich Street addresses dating back to the 1880-81 NYC Directory. Prior to 1894, he was usually listed with the occupation produce or sauces, but its not clear whether he worked with Longfield or was a competitor.

The 1894 NYC Directory listing for Longfield-Bergen gave their address as 528 Canal Street and included a statement that they were the “mfr’s N of England Sauce, Pride of Long Island Catsup and Grocery Sundries.” In 1896, they listed their address as 472 Greenwich, one of Joshua Longfield’s previous addresses.

According to an advertisement in the July 24, 1894 issue of the Port Jefferson Echo, during this time you could pick up a bottle of North of England Sauce for 9 cents, less than half the price of Lea & Perrin’s.

Apparently, Longfield-Bergen did not last all that long. They were listed in both the 1897 and 1898 NYC business directories under both “sauces” and “mustard.” NYS legislative documents indicate that sometime in 1898 the company legally changed their name to Bergen-Bundenbach, so I assume at this point, Longfield was no longer involved. Then by 1900 it looks like the company was in receivership. Bergen-Bundenbach was still listed in the 1900 directory but the only principal listed with the business was Edward D Farrel (receiver). According to a notice in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Garret Bergen filed for personal bankruptcy on March 31, 1901.

Bergen resurfaced in the 1903 Brooklyn Directory at 45 Newell Street with the Bergen Monagole Co. A year later, the company name changed to the Garret Bergen Co. Over the next 20 years Garret Bergen Co. was listed in the Brooklyn directories at 122 Sutton and later 248 Varet as either sauce, catsup or supplies. They were also listed in Bridgeton New Jersey between 1918 and 1924. I haven’t found any listings for them after 1926.

During this time, analyses performed by several state agricultural departments on Longfield’s Sauce (1907 Pennsylvania and 1911 Connecticut) and Pride of the Farm Catsup (1905 Connecticut, 1912 Florida and 1919 Pennsylvania) all named Garret Bergen Co. as the manufacturer. Based on this information it looks like Joshua Longfield gave up the rights to manufacture his North of England Sauce when he parted ways with Longfield-Bergen and the reorganized Garret Bergen Co. continued to manufacture it up through at least 1911 and possibly as late as 1926.

After Longfield-Bergen, Longfield continued doing business under the firm name of Longfield & Co. This company first appeared in the 1896 NYC Directory at 593 Greenwich Street and later, in 1898 and 1899 listed their address as 801 Greenwich Street.

Then on August 21, 1900 the Joshua Longfield Sauce Company was incorporated under the laws of South Dakota. Joshua Longfield was no longer involved and it’s likely that he passed away around this time.. The 1901 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed the business as a South Dakota corporation with capital of $22,500 and an address of 410 West 13th Street in Manhattan. William Manger was named as the first president and Leslie M. Roberts as secretary. Longfield & Co. was also listed in the directories as a “registered trade name” of the Joshua Longfield Sauce Company. Through 1904, Longfield’s, widow, Margaret and stepson, William Horner, remained associated with the business through Longfield & Co.

In 1903 the Joshua Longfield Sauce Company moved to 122 Charles Street where they remained until 1909. The NYC directory that year listed the corporation as dissolved.

I found three mouth blown sauce bottles, each embossed “North of England Sauce” horizontally around the shoulder and “Joshua Longfield” vertically down the front. Recognizing that neither Scott or Bergen are included on the embossing they probably date between 1880 when Scott left the business and 1894 when the company name changed to Longfield-Bergen.

I also found a ketchup bottle embossed “Pride of Long Island Tomato Catsup” on one side and “Bergen’s” on the other. It’s mouth blown with screw threads and probably dates no earlier than 1904 when the company was renamed the Garret Bergen Co.

 

 

 

 

Van Horn & Ellison, Chemists, New York

Alfred VanHorn and George (Guy) R.P. Ellison started the business in 1888 opening a drug store on the northwest corner of Park Avenue and 41st Street in New York City. The first listing I can find for VanHorn & Ellison is in the 1889 Copartnership and Corporation Directory with an address of 120 Park Avenue (at the corner of 41st Street). A year or two later, they opened a prescription department and laboratory in the same area at 61 East 41st Street. An item in the 1891 Medical Directory of the City of New York announced the opening.

We call special attention of physicians to our complete Analytical and Pharmaceutical Laboratory, which we have established in connection with our new Prescription Department, in separate rooms entirely removed from the general business of the store.

Hospital and Surgeons’ Supplies, Felt and Wood Splints, Catgut warranted perfectly Antiseptic. Surgeons’ Silk, Silver Suture Wire, and Silk-worm Gut.

Reef and Flat Sponges prepared and sterilized to order for surgical operations.

A complete assortment of superior materials for Antiseptic Dressings, made especially for us by Seabury & Johnson.

A partial photograph of the sterilizing laboratory was included in a Van Horn & Ellison advertisement printed in Merck’s 1896 Index.

In 1895 the company opened a second location underneath the Bolkenhayn apartment house adjoining the Hotel Savoy at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street. An article in the Pharmaceutical Record announcing the stores opening called it the largest and handsomest retail drug store that New York or any other large city in the United States can boast of and it describes the exterior of the new store this way.

Describing the new drug store can best be done by stating that it looks about as little like the ordinary drug store as it is possible to imagine. The immense front facing on Fifth Avenue is taken up by a sheet of plate glass that is claimed to be the largest in the United States. It measures 19 feet x 13 feet 3 inches, and is said to be American plate, the largest that has ever been made here.

An old photograph of the Savoy Hotel shows the Bolkenhayn apartment house to the right with the drug store’s plate glass windows clearly visible.

The salesroom was located on the ground floor with the prescription, chemical and sterilizing departments located on the floor below. The article goes on to describe the store’s interior, leaving no doubt that the store catered to the high end customer:

Potted palms and plants adorn the window, which is also graced by four elegant specimens of the colored window bottles on the side. Two sprays of electric lights illuminate these at night.

Inside the salesrooms the general effect of quiet elegance is obtained by a combination of mahogany and plate glass in side cases and moveable counters. A pleasing contrast is also occasionally furnished by stained glass doors and panels. The ceiling is of a buff, with artistic plaster relief work, while from it depend four elegantly carved metal electroliers of four lights each. The side walls are an olive green with gold plaster relief decoration, while the floor is a pretty mosaic tiling.

As if that wasn’t enough, taking up a large portion of one side of the salesroom was a soda fountain whose counter was made up of four different colors of Numidian marble.

Behind the wrapping counter was a dumbwaiter and a speaking tube that connected with the dispensing and chemical departments. Orders were either sent down by means of the tube or the prescription was shunted down on the dumbwaiter.

According to the article, the store furnished just about anything in the drug line, but only high-end items were exhibited in the salesroom.

Only fancy articles for the toilet and boudoir are to be seen in the salesrooms proper. Combs and brushes, toilet waters and cologne, tooth powders, manicure ointments and the dainty appurtenances greet the eye.

This advertisement for the Crown Perfumery Co., of London England, provides a good example of the type of articles they showcased. The advertisement was for “The New Crown Violet,” a perfume “distilled from the natural flowers of the Riviera” and referred to as the “finest violet made and the success of the day in London and Paris.” It sold for $1.50 per bottle and Van Horn & Ellison was named in the advertisement as one of its five suppliers in New York.

Van Horn & Ellison incorporated in New York sometime in 1896. According to an item that year in the “Paint, Oil and Chemical Review:”

Incorporation papers have been secured by Van Horn & Ellison of New York, to carry on a chemical business; capital $100,000. Directors – G.R.P. Ellison, H.W.Robinson, J.Van L. Young, Alfred Van Horn and S. Harry Ellison of New York City.

A year later, in June of 1897, Alfred Van Horn had resigned and internal dissension within the corporation led to charges of forgery against George Ellison based on a technicality. Ellison admitted to having endorsed and collected checks made payable to the firm, but claimed that he had that right. His statement in response to the charges was printed in the New York Sun.

After the resignation of Alfred Van Horn as President I controlled the majority of stock. Mr. Van Horn and I had always stood together in the Board of Directors. Since Mr. Van Horn’s resignation I have been compelled to contend against the majority of the directors. There were five directors in the corporation. Besides Mr. Van Horn and myself there were S.H. Ellison, treasurer; Dr. J. Van Loren Young, secretary, and H.W.Robinson, who has no interest, but holds one share of stock to qualify him as a director.

These last three directors combined against me because I had called a meeting of the stockholders to amend the by-laws of the company in such a manner that their powers would be curtailed, and because at the annual election to be held in July others would be elected to fill their places. S.H. Ellison, Dr. Young and Robinson refused to give me money due me by the corporation. After consulting my counsel he advised me to take the course I did in regard to the endorsement of checks. Now they have tried to take advantage of a technical point to force me out.

It’s not clear how this issue was resolved but less than six months later an item in the January 1898 issue of the Pharmaceutical Record indicated that  the business had changed it’s name to Van Horn & Co. The 1900 and 1901 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed Van Horn & Co. as a New Jersey Corporation located in Manhattan at the 118-120 Park Avenue address. Interestingly none of the original directors, including Van Horn and Ellison were listed with the business. Instead George West and Harry Hutchinson were named President and Secretary respectively and the capital was only listed as $5,000.

It’s likely that the incorporation of the company and subsequent absence of Alfred Van Horn and Guy Ellison from company leadership in 1900 and 1901 was somehow related to financial problems that the company was having. In 1900, the Bureau of Arrears for the Collection of Personal Taxes listed Van Horn & Ellison as a defendant with their ‘disposition pending.” A year later, in September, 1901, both Van Horn and Ellison declared bankruptcy. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle printed their bankruptcy notices on September, 20th and 27th respectively.

 

Then in the 1902 Directory George Ellison and Alfred Van Horn are back, listed as president and secretary respectively of Van Horn & Co., which had moved to 307 Madison Avenue. The treasurer of the company was Edward T. Sawtell.

Around this time it appears that the company divided into two separate corporations. In the 1904 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory Van Horn & Co. remained listed as a New Jersey corporation with Ellison as president and Van Horn as secretary and a New York corporation, Van Horn & Sawtell appeared for the first time. Alfred Van Horn and Edward Sawtell were listed as president and treasurer respectively of the new company.

Ultimately both George Ellison and Alfred Van Horn ended up working with Johnson & Johnson. Ellison apparently started with them after Van Horn & Co. dissolved in 1911. The June 1913 issue of the Northwestern Druggist reported:

Guy R.P. Ellison, formerly of the firm of Van Horn & Ellison, New York, is now with Johnson & Johnson as detail representative. Mr. Ellison will spend about a month in the Twin Cities. He is especially posted in the manufacture of ligatures and in the scientific departments of his firm.

Van Horn began with Johnson & Johnson in 1919 when they acquired Van Horn & Sawtell. The acquisition was reported in Red Cross notes that year.

Johnson & Johnson has taken over the well known firm of Van Horn & Sawtell of New York, and have made it the Van Horn & Sawtell Department of Johnson & Johnson. This consolidation means the continuation of a policy of progress, a gratifying increase of laboratory facilities and the addition of Mr. E.T. Sawtell and Mr. Alfred Van Horn to the personnel of the Johnson & Johnson organization.

The bottle I found is a small, mouth blown, maybe one ounce, cobalt blue medicine bottle. “Van Horn & Ellison (in script), Chemists, New York” is embossed on the front. The 1895 article announcing the opening of their Fifth Avenue location provides a clue about the use of the bottle:

In the dispensing department only two kinds of bottles were used – white and blue. The blue was only used when the contents were for external use or were poisonous.

The bottle dates to the period between 1888 and 1897, when the company name was Van Horn & Ellison.

McKesson & Robbins, New York

McKesson & Robbins was a predecessor to the McKesson Corporation, a global health provider that was ranked 11th of the Fortune 500 in 2014 with more than $179 billion in annual revenue.

According to the company history that’s presented on McKesson’s corporate web site the company dates back to 1833.

John McKesson and Charles Olcott, two young entrepreneurs, opened Olcott & McKesson, a drug import and wholesale business located on Maiden Lane in Manhattan. The company quickly thrived with it’s first customers – captains of the tall masted clipper ships that docked nearby. In 1853, Daniel Robbins, who originally started as an apprentice in 1833 after walking 80 miles to answer McKesson’s first help-wanted ad, became a partner and the company was renamed McKesson & Robbins.

I’ll leave open to speculation as to whether Robbins actually walked 80 miles to answer McKesson’s help-wanted advertisement, but I will point out that according to his obituary, in 1833 he was living 80 miles north of Manhattan in Poughkeepsie New York.

The limited NYC directories I can find from this period generally confirm the rest of the early story. The 1834-35 Longworth’s American Almanac – New York Register listed Olcott & M’Kesson, druggists, at 145 Maiden Lane. Charles M Olcott and John M’Kesson were also listed individually as druggists at the same address. In the 1837-38 Directory, the company name was listed as Olcott, M’Kesson & Co. and by 1847-48 the company address had changed to 127 Maiden Lane. The 1853-54 Directory listed the business as Olcott, McKesson & Robbins and then in the 1855-56 Directory it was listed for the first time as McKesson & Robbins.

Around 1857 the company moved from Maiden Lane to a new building on Fulton Street. According to “Cast-Iron Architecture in America, The Significance of James Borardus” by Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle:

John McKesson and Daniel Robbins, who had a drug business at 127 Maiden Lane, purchased property for a new building in the spring of 1853. They bought a 50 foot wide double lot at 91-93 Fulton Street and soon added two smaller lots to the rear facing on Ann Street. Probably in 1855 they commissioned (James) Bogardus to build a five-story iron front on the Fulton Street lot.

The 1857-58 NYC Directory listed them at 91 Fulton Street and 82 Ann Street where the business remained through at least the mid-1920’s.

Over the course of the next two decades, both McKesson’s son, John McKesson Jr. and Robbins’s sons, Charles A. Robbins and Herbert D. Robbins joined the business.

According to McKesson’s corporate web site, during this period, McKesson & Robbins pioneered the development of gelatin coated pills. A full page advertisement in the August  1879 issue of the New York Medical Electric (Devoted to Reformed Medicine, General Science and Literature) provided a partial list of medications that they produced utilizing this process. The advertisement stated that “these important changeable substances will be found perfectly preserved in our Gelatine-Coated Pills.” Interestingly, the list included both Cannabis Indica (medical marijuana) and Coca Exythroxylon (cocaine).

In December of 1885, Copartnership Notices published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that McKesson & Robbins had been dissolved and a new firm with the same name had been formed along with another company called the New York Quinine and Chemical Works. The notice listed John McKesson Jr. and Herbert Robbins with McKesson and Robbins. That business, described as wholesale druggists and manufacturing chemists, remained at the original location which now included 91-93 Fulton Street and 74-84 Ann Street.

Charles A. Robbins was listed with the New York Quinine and Chemical Works. Their office was located at 35 Liberty Street, but soon after they moved to 114 William Street, within a block of McKesson & Robbins. Their Eastern District factory was located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. They were described as manufacturers of medicinal chemical preparations.

Daniel C Robbins remained associated with both firms and on December 3, 1885, the Eagle published a letter from Daniel Robbins explaining the reasoning behind the need for two companies.

Some eighteen months since the great Italian factory at Milan, which manufactured nearly one-half of all the quinine consumed in the world, failed, and Dr. Charles A. Robbins, who was educated in Germany for the purpose of conducting a similar establishment in the United States, and who had for seven years superintended the chemical productions connected with the house of McKesson & Robbins, advised the employment and transfer of trained experts connected with the Milan establishment to the United States.

Fourteen lots have been purchased in the Eastern District, a factory has been built and a corps of Italians and Germans have been transferred to the United States.

Through the early 1920’s, both companies remained closely controlled by the McKesson and Robbins families and were apparently associated in some way. In fact, when Daniel C. Robbins died suddenly in 1888, Herbert Robbins was named president of the New York Quinine and Chemical Company and also continued to remain listed as a principal of McKesson and Robbins. As late as 1919, the Copartnership and Corporation Directories listed John McKesson Jr. as president of McKesson and Robbins and Herbert D. Robbins as president of the New York Quinine & Chemical Company and a Vice President in McKesson & Robbins.

Both companies were involved in the importing and manufacturing of cocaine in the United States. According to “Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to Modern Menace in the United States 1884-1920” by Joseph Spillane:

Before 1884 the New York firm of McKesson & Robbins was among the leading importers of coca and one of the few companies that offered small amounts of cocaine to its customers in that period. Although McKesson & Robbins was primarily a wholesale drug company, it also imported and manufactured some drug products, including cocaine. The company claimed to be the first and largest cocaine manufacturer in the United States, making all of its product from coca leaves imported into New York. Coca importation data from the late 1880’s confirm that McKesson imported between 20 and 30 percent of all leaves entering New York each year, usually the largest proportion of any single manufacturer. The families who controlled McKesson & Robbins also owned the New York Quinine and Chemical Works, which gradually took over the cocaine business from McKesson.

McKesson & Robbins also controlled at least two additional companies, the Tartarlithine Co., and the Galen Drug Co. Both were listed in the directories at the McKesson & Robbins Fulton Street and/or Ann Street addresses. The Tartarlithine Co. was listed in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories between 1901 and 1925. They manufactured a rheumatism remedy and I’ve seen advertisements for their products as early as 1902.

The Galen Drug Company was first listed around 1914 at 91 Fulton Street and was still listed in 1925. Based on the definition of galenical (a medicine prepared by extracting one or more active constituents of a plant) they were most likely involved with plant based remedies.

In the mid 1920’s, the McKesson & Robbins name, along with its medicinal departments were sold to Frank D Costa. The 1933 NYC Directory listed Costa as the president, secretary and treasurer of McKesson & Robbins with an address of 79 Cliff.

Costa, who’s real name was Phillip Musica, had a criminal past and operated under several aliases. He seeded the company with family members and proceeded to loot the business up through the mid-1930’s. His scheme involved fake purchase orders, inflated inventory and skimming cash from company sales. The scheme fell apart in 1938 when the suspicions of the company treasurer led to an investigation that revealed that the McKesson & Robbins balance sheet was made up of 20% fictitious assets that included $10 million in fictitious inventories and $8 million in overstated receivables.

The company survived the scandal and by 1948, the NYC Telephone Directory had McKesson & Robbins listings for their Executive Offices (155 E 44th), a  Wholesale Drug Division (3674 3rd Ave), Liquor Division (111 8th Ave), Export Division (155 E 44th), Industrial Chemical Division (155 E 44th) and a Warehouse (90 Beekman).

In the 1960’s they merged with Foremost Dairies of San Farancisco becoming Foremost-McKesson Inc., the largest U.S. distributor of pharmaceutical drugs, alcoholic beverages and chemicals. In 1970 they moved to new corporate headquarters at One Post Street in San Francisco.

As far as I can tell the McKesson and Robbins families retained the chemical manufacturing piece of the business and continued to operate as the NY Quinine & Chemical Works. The factory location was still listed in 1952 at 101 N 11th Street in Brooklyn.

The bottle I found is a small mouth blown rectangular medicine with a tooled finish. It’s embossed “McKesson” on one edge side and “& Robbins” on the other. I found a labeled sample listed on the Internet of what appears to be the exact same bottle. It contained 100 gelatin coated pills containing extract of cannibis.

Bolen & Byrne, New York

The initial proprietors of the business were John Bolen and John Byrne. The “History” section of corporate documents, prepared in 1929, stated that the original partnership of Bolen & Byrne was established in 1857 and that they were the first manufacturers of ginger ale in America.

The first listing I can find for the business is 10 years later, in the 1867-68 NYC Directory, listed as soda and located at 235 East 28th Street. Census records show that John Bolen was born in 1840 and would have only been 17 years old in 1857 so while it’s possible that he established the business at this young age, I’m leaning toward a start date closer to 1867 based on this initial listing.

The business remained at East 28th Street through 1877. Over this period they listed themselves in the directories as either chemists, soda or waters. This is confirmed by a company receipt from 1875 that was listed on e-bay.

The receipt listed their address as 220, 231 and 233 East 28th Street. It also names them as the proprietors of the American Mineral Water Co., located on President Street in Brooklyn. I can’t find any mention of the American Mineral Water Co., or Bolen & Byrne in the late 1870’s Brooklyn Directories. It’s possible that this may have been their factory location but who knows?

Around 1879 Bolen & Byrne moved from East 28th Street to 415 East 54th Street where they remained listed through 1902. Both Bolen and Byrne were also listed individually at this location until 1893, when Byrne’s listing disappeared. Most likely, he either passed away or left the business around this time.

During this time the business also maintained a Philadelphia location. They were listed in the Philadelphia City Directories between 1888 and 1896 as bottlers located at 813 North 11th Street.

A brief description of the size of the business around this time was provided by John Bolen himself, as part of a statement he made to the Senate Committee of Finance in 1888 regarding tariffs:

My concern, Bolen & Byrne, is the most extensive in this country. We have over 200 hands employed in our two establishments in New York and Philadelphia.

It looks like the business formed a New York Corporation in the late 1800’s. In 1898, the business was listed for the first time as Bolen & Byrne Mfg. Co. (NY).  John Bolen was listed as President and his son, John K. Bolen as secretary up until 1902. After this it appears that both father and son disassociated themselves from the company.

In 1904, Bolen & Byrne moved to 514 West 36th Street with Abraham Karlsson named as president. The carbonated beverage firm of S.A.Ludin operating under the registered trade name of New York Bottling Co. was also listed at that address and it appears that they merged or at least formed an association with Bolen & Byrne. Although listed separately in the NYC directories, they advertised together quite a bit. The advertisement below is from the December, 1907 issue of the Druggist Circular.

S.A.Ludin, New York Bottling and Bolen & Byrne are all listed with the same 36th Street address through 1915. In late 1914, five New York bottling firms, including S.A. Ludin consolidated into a new corporation called the New York Bottling Co., Inc. Neither Bolen & Byrne or S.A. Ladin were listed in the 1916 directory. I believe that Bolen & Byrne was included with S.A.Ludin as part of the consolidation but I can’t prove it.

Bolen & Byrne, if not the first, was certainly one of the first U.S. ginger ale manufacturers. An advertisement from 1882 is the earliest advertisement I can find for a ginger ale called “Belfast Ginger Ale”

Pronounced by connoisseurs superior to the imported. Our Ginger Ale is not fermented – it is as sparkling as champagne – It is refreshing and invigorating, and we candidly believe the most wholesome drink in existence.

Prize medal awarded at New York, Vienna, Centennial and Paris Expositions.

For sale at all leading Hotels, Drug Stores, Groceries and Wine establishments in the United States.

Around this time, Bolen & Byrne’s competition in the ginger ale market came from a firm called Cantrell and Cochran who had places of business in both Dublin and Belfast, Ireland. They did business in Great Britan and Ireland, as well as throughout the United States. In the late 1870’s and early 1880’s they brought suit against Bolen & Byrne on the grounds of infringement of their trademarks. According to an article in the 1882 issue of Bonfort’s Wine and Spirit Circular:

This infringement was not confined to a mere timid attempt or colorable imitation of Messrs. Cantrell & Cochrane’s packaging, but was as close and elaborate copy of the original bottles, labels, corks, etc., as could be executed.

Bolen and Byrne went so far as to have the words Dublin and Belfast stamped or blown on the rounded bottoms of their bottles, regardless of the fact that they had no facilities whatsoever overseas.

The court ruled in Cantrell & Cochran’s favor stating in part that Bolen & Byrne’s packaging was:

calculated to deceive and mislead purchasers and others into the belief that the article of liquor called ginger ale of the said defendants is the article of liquor known as ginger ale of the manufacture of the said plaintiffs…

A decade later, Bolen & Byrne found itself on the other side of the fence and brought suit against Rudolph Jonasch and others for adopting a trade mark so similar to their’s that it would be likely to deceive consumers. According to court records:

Prior to March last the defendants were all employed by the plaintiff (Bolen & Byrne) or its predecessors, in various capacities, for periods ranging from 13 to 30 years. Shortly before April last, the defendants apparently by common consent, all left employment of the plaintiff, and a few weeks afterwards united in the business of manufacturing goods of the same kind as those made by the plaintiff. In putting their goods upon the market, the defendants adopted labels for their goods which the plaintiff alleges are imitations of his labels.

In this instance, Bolen and Byrne prevailed.

One final note:

On January 14, 1929, a corporation called the Bolen & Byrne Beverage Corporation, incorporated under Delaware laws, was registered with New York State as a foreign business corporation. Documents associated with their stock offering published in the January 29, 1929 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated that the new corporation was a successor to the original partnership of Bolen & Byrne, established in 1857. It went on to say that its president, Ehler Meyer, was a descendant of the founders (but they don’t say which one). The document also stated that the corporation will own all the stock of both the Orange Crush Bottling Company of New York and the Piping Rock Corporation of New Jersey.

Other than reviving the name “Bolen & Byrne” I don’t see much of a connection between this corporation and the original business.

As best I can tell, today, the Bolen & Byrne Beverage Corporation is still an active corporation registered with the NYS Department of State. However, their last listed address of 502-04 West 45th Street is currently a Hess Gas Station. So who knows?.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with an applied lip. It has a rounded bottom and is embossed Bolen & Byrne, New York. There’s no mention of Dublin and Belfast. It was probably manufactured in the 1880’s, after they moved to East 54th Street.