Wildroot

A dandruff remedy, Wildroot Hair Tonic debuted in 1911 and was the first of what would eventually become an entire array of Wildroot hair care products manufactured in Buffalo, New York.  An advertisement that appeared in the December 3, 1915 edition of the Buffalo Evening News was typical of the early sales pitch associated with the hair tonic.

We don’t say it will grow hair – nothing will do that but healthy hair roots. But we do say Wildroot will make sickly hair roots healthy and keep them healthy. Wildroot is a vegetable compound. It is sure death to dandruff germs, sure health to hair and scalp.

Give hair new life in both reality and appearance. Every hair can be saved if you start in time to use Wildroot – don’t delay. Thousands of users root for Wildroot.

A feature on Wildroot published in the December 19, 1921 edition of the Buffalo Commercial described how the business got its start.

The business was started by Robert J. Kideney and Morrell C. Howell. In fact in the early days Wildroot Hair Tonic was made in 5 gallon crocks in Mr. Howell’s home from the formula worked out by these men and first marketed to friends and acquaintances of the barber trade in the vicinity.

The 1908 Buffalo city directory listed  Kideney’s occupation as “manager” of the barber shop located in Buffalo’s Iriquois Hotel, so it’s a safe bet that the product was first used there. This circa 1908 post card depiction of the hotel is courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum.

The name “Wildroot” was filed as the trademark for a dandruff remedy on September 2, 1911 by a business called the “Retone Company.” The notice was printed in “The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office,” dated October 11, 1911.

Retone was apparently short-lived as the company name. That same year the 1911 Buffalo directory named Kideney “president” of the Wildroot Chemical Company and the following year the company itself was listed with that name and an address of 45 North Division Street. Later in 1918 the company name was shortened to the Wildroot Company.

Wildroot Hair Tonic newspaper advertisements began appearing as early as 1912. Curiously, the first advertisements appeared not in the Buffalo Commercial’s advertising section where they might get overlooked, but in the paper’s “Lost and Found” section. The two notices below were typical of this rather unique approach.

The following year the business expanded their product line advertising “Wildroot Shampoo Soap” as “specially recommended for use with Wildroot.”

By 1914 the business had outgrown their Division Street location facilitating a move to Buffalo’s Sidway Building. Located at Goodall and Main Streets, the company occupied two floors there for the remainder of the decade. Around the same time Harry Lehman assumed the presidency, with Kideney remaining with the company as vice president. Over the next 44 years the business would flourish under Lehman’s leadership.

During much of its first decade the company associated their name with a beauty parlor (or parlors) called the “Wildroot Hair Parlors. The parlor was operated by a woman named Bertha Courtright whose advertisement in the 1915 Buffalo city directory mentioned services that included hairdressing, shampooing, manicuring, facial massage and scalp treatments. A November 28, 1915 item published in the Buffalo Times leads me to believe it served a high end, female clientele.

Thats not to say that women were their only target audience as evidenced by this November 19, 1915 advertisement found in the Buffalo Evening News.

One “over the top” advertisement found in the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal targeted both men and women blaming dandruff on the hats they wore. Disguised as a news story the March 23, 1915 item was headlined:.

The following story read in part:

The tight fitting hats worn by men nowadays and women’s stylish but poorly ventilated hats are to blame for the hair-destroying dandruff germ. Lack of fresh air and the pressure of the hat band shuts off blood circulation from the arteries of the scalp. The scalp tissue then gets weakened and is attacked by the microbe. The truth of this statement is proven by the fact that leading scalp specialists all over America have accepted it…

Our great chemists have given the world one positive way of regaining long, heavy, wavy, silky hair in “Wildroot,” that wonderful old remedy that has never failed to destroy the dandruff germ. But “Wildroot” as made nowadays is lots quicker in action than it used to be, for its nourishing, cooling vegetable oils are at once absorbed into the hair pores, and its first few days’ use brings back a healthy scalp in which no dandruff germs can live…

Their advertising, while misleading, was successful to the point where by decade’s end an October 19, 1919 story in the Buffalo Courier announced that another move to still larger quarters was in the works.

To adequately care for their growing export trade and the nation-wide demand for their products they have been compelled to purchase a property which will permit of greater production.

Through Parke, Hall & Co. this firm has just purchased the premises of the Bison City Table Company…situated at 1490 – 1500 Jefferson Street. This property now consists of a large two-story brick building 90 x 170 and several smaller frame and brick buildings which give a floor area of about 50,000 square feet.

This photograph of the main building was included with the Buffalo Courier story.

The company immediately  set about remodeling the plant and by the time the December 19, 1921 Buffalo Commercial feature was published had increased the available factory space by 5o percent to 75,000 square feet. The feature went on to make it clear that the company had come a long way from their days at 45 North Division Street, where their entire work force initially numbered six.

80 x 260 feet ground space with a factory space of 75,000 square feet, giving steady employment to 100 people…

The concern is now doing an annual business of $1,000,000. The Wildroot line is being handled by 75,000 barber shops, some 50,000 drug stores, as well as being found on the toilet goods counters of the leading dry goods stores and hair dressing establishments of the country.

The concern maintains a staff of eighteen traveling representatives in the field, three men of which are engaged in New York alone. To assure prompt service and distribution to the trade, the company maintains seven warehouses in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and San Francisco. Shipments are made to these points in car lots, from which spot distribution is carried on. The product is now likewise being exported to Great Britain, South America and several other foreign countries.

It was also around the end of the decade that the Wildroot Company made a little aviation history when they shipped 600 pounds of their product from Buffalo to New York City by air. According to a story in The (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) Sentinel:

“It was the first aerial freight trip across the state,” said W. G. Richardson. Other short trips have been made around the state, but it was the first time that the state was crossed by air with a load of freight.”

The trip took place on October 20, 1919 and the following day this photo, shot just before take-off, appeared in the Buffalo Courier.

The details surrounding the flight were included in the Sentinel’s story and are worth a read.

This was the situation that cropped up for the Wildroot Company:

An advertising campaign that it is conducting in New York made it extremely necessary that a quantity of its product be sent there as soon as possible. The railroads were tried and found wanting. Strikes on the express companies and other strikes forbade their use as a messenger.

“We didn’t know what to do at first,” said Robert J. Kideney, vice president of the company…” Then we thought of sending it by air and the Cuttiss company supplied an aeroplane and a pilot. That did the trick.”

Captain Chase took the air at the Curtiss field at Buffalo and planned to make the trip by way of Syracuse and Albany, because of the stops provided there. He had to descend at Troy, because of slight engine trouble, but he got started again.

The Wildroot product line grew throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s over which time some non-hair related products were added. One, advertised in the early 1920’s was a liniment called “Lincohol’ that got its name from “Lin,” meaning liniment and “cohol,” meaning alcohol. Others included a concentrated mouth wash called “Five Star Anteseptic Powder,” and another simply called “Wildroot Skin Lotion.”

That being said their main focus remained hair products as evidenced by this advertisement entitled “12 Best Sellers,” found in the August, 1941 edition of a publication called Chain Store Age. All twelve were hair related products.

World War II and the need to ration alcohol served as a catalyst for what would become Wildroot’s biggest seller during the 1940’s and 1950’s, Wildroot Cream-Oil. The June 13, 1943 edition of the Wichita (Kansas) Eagle told the story.

Introduced at a time when the hair tonic business was at its wits end to devise means of getting around alcohol rationing, Wildroot Cream-Oil got off to a head start because it contains no alcohol. Instead it contains Lanolin, a well-known and frequently prescribed soothing ingredient which closely resembles the natural oil of the human skin. The product is homogenized for uniformity and what the customer buys is a pleasant smelling cream that flows readily – only a few drops being required to keep the hair in place, relieve dryness and remove loose dandruff.

The story went on to say:

Few products have ever hit a market as much “on the nose” as the new Wildroot Cream-Oil formula according to J. Ward Maurer, advertising manager for the Wildroot Company who today announced an extension of advertising plans with the Wichita Eagle. Intensive advertising in newspapers rounds out the heaviest campaign in the annals of the company.

That fall several versions of this advertisement appeared in newspapers across the country.

A story in the October 19, 1946 edition of the Pittsburgh Courier made it clear that print was only a part of their overall marketing strategy when they hired Nat King Cole as the headliner for a national radio program to be aired on a weekly basis.

In the first move of its kind in more than ten years, the Wildroot Company signed the King Cole Trio to an indefinite contract to headline their own nationally aired commercial program.

Scheduled every Saturday via the NBC chain, the new commercial will be given its airing this Saturday at 5:45 P.M. EST. For several weeks it will present a stage, screen or radio famous star. It’s initial broadcast will be guest teed-off by song sensational Jo Stafford, the internationally known radio and recording artist.

The program’s debut was publicized in newspapers nation wide. In Minnesota, radio station KSTP’s promo was included in the Minneapolis Tribune and looked like this:

The Pittsburgh Courier story went on to say:

The program long under wraps in New York as executives of both the radio chain and Wildroot cleared the way for a national airing, will be presented as a musical show spotlighting the trio. They will be presented as star entertainers, America’s number one musical outfit without racial or religious tags.

The King Cole commercial will be aired for fifteen minutes and will not be an audience show. It will follow through with the usual product announcements and be heard on every NBC station in the country.

The program, well received, went on to broadcast weekly for well over a year. An April 23, 1948 story in the Lincoln (Jefferson City, Missouri) Clarion served to underscore the popularity of the venture even while reporting its demise.

The King Cole fans received quite a shock this week to learn that the famous trio has been dropped recently by the Wildroot Hair Oil Co., after 78 consecutive weeks of broadcasting. Reason for the latest venture on the part of the Wildroot Company was that the company budget had allotted the radio spot to a series of commercials. Doesn’t make much sense in view of the fact that the trio figuratively “sunburned” from spotlight honors this year, to say nothing of the tremendous popularity of the radio spot itself.

The company’s innovative advertising campaigns continued into the 1950’s with print, radio and television commercials. They even had famous cartoonist Al Capp come up with a character named “Fearless Fosdick,” who promoted their cream oil in a comic strip. Here’s an example from the March 1, 1954 issue of Life Magazine.

The company even sponsored one of, if not the first, give-away at a major league baseball game. According to the July 19, 1950 edition of the (Bucyrus, Ohio) Telegraph Forum:

Barbers Have Day At Tribe Stadium Aug. 2

It will be the well-groomed man, complete with hair shampoo and sheared looks, that attends the Cleveland Indians – Washington Senators night game here Aug. 2.

Some 4,000 barbers minus their shears, will converge on the stadium as the guest of the Wildroot Company.

To make sure the barbers feel at home, the company will hand out a regular bottle  of the new Wildroot cream shampoo to the first 20,000 males to pour through the gates.

The company remained at their Jefferson Avenue location until 1946 when the need for expansion forced another move. According to preservationready.org, at that time they took over the former Grennan Bakery building located at 1740 Baily Avenue.

Wildroot took over the former bakery and connected two warehouses on Fay Street with a second story bridge. Wildroot also constructed a three-story administration building that connected the original warehouse to Baily Avenue.

By 1959 the company was topping $60,000,000 in sales but that same year Lehman, then 76, sold the company to Colgate-Palmolive.  The March 2, 1959 edition of the Charlotte (N. C.) News reported the sale.

Colgate Buys Wildroot Firm

The Colgate-Palmolive Co. has announced that it has completed negotiations for the purchase of the Wildroot Co. The formal signing took place in Buffalo N.Y.

The Wildroot Co. will now operate as a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive. Manufacture of the Wildroot products will be continued at the Wildroot plant in Buffalo, but marketing will be taken over by the toilet articles division of Colgate-Palmolive April 1.

Lehman would pass away later that same year on October 29, 1959.

Despite their commitment to keep the Buffalo plant open, two years later the Rochester (N. Y.) Democrat and Chronicle reported the plant’s closing in their April 13, 1961 edition.

Buffalo Plant to Be Closed

The Colgate-Palmolive Co. yesterday said it will close its Wildroot Division plant here by mid-July.

The company which purchased the hair tonic business two years ago for $14 million from the Wildroot Co., said production would be shifted to other Colgate-Palmolive plants.

A spokesman for the company said “rising freight and re-shipping costs, plus duplication of operations,” were responsible for the shutdown.

About 90 persons are employed at the Buffalo plant. There was no indication that transfers would be made of the personnel.

Colgate-Palmolive continued to manufacture Wildroot products until 1995 when they sold several brands, including Wildroot to a Florida firm called Stephan for $12 million. According to a story that appeared in the January 3, 1996 edition of the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sentinel.

The name Wildroot hair tonic conjures up images of the 1950’s: the stuff that teenagers oiled their hair with in those days.

What most people don’t know is that the brand name is alive, still on store shelves, and is now owned by a Fort Lauderdale based maker of skin and hair care products, Stephan Co.

“It has market, it has sales and it has earnings,” said Stephan spokesman Chuck Walsh.

On Tuesday, Stephan closed a deal to buy Wildroot and five other personal care brands from Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Colgate-Palmolive spokesman Bob Murray said the company sold the brand names because it wants to focus on its core brands such as Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive soap and Mennen deodorant.

The brand name is still visible today as both a hair tonic and hair cream.

 

The company’s last Buffalo home at 1740 Baily Avenue remains standing to this day, though its been unoccupied for years. This relatively current picture is courtesy of Google Earth.

I’ve found two Wildroot bottles, both machine made. The first appears to be an early hair tonic bottle with Wildroot embossed along both sides. A labeled example recently appeared for sale on the internet.

 

The second bottle has a one inch square cross-section with slightly sloped sides and a screw-top. Two sides are embossed “Wildroot.” On the other two sides, one is embossed “Special Wave Set,” and the other “Extra Heavy.”

I actually found a 1930 advertisement touting the two products side by side.

Wm. Jay Barker, New York, Hirsutus

Wm Jay Barker was listed in the New York City directories for over 100 years from 1847 until sometime in the mid-1950’s. During this time the business was listed with a wide range of classifications including hairdresser, barber, wigs, wigs and human hair, human hair merchant, patent meds and toilet goods. Many of the listings also included the name of the hair tonic that the business manufactured called “Hirsutus.” My daughter, who has a minor in Latin, tells me “Hirsutus” is a Latin adjective and can mean “hairy” or “shaggy”

Barker was first listed in the 1847 NYC Directory at 349 1/2 Broadway. The business remained on or near Broadway for almost 50 years utilizing many different addresses. In 1851 they were located at 459 Broadway and by 1857-58 they had moved to 565 Broadway. In the 1859-60 directory their address was listed as 622 Broadway where they remained through 1871. The 1867-68 NYC Directory included an expanded listing for the business.

In 1870 they opened a second location at 1275 Broadway. The opening of this location was announced in the June 22, 1870 edition of the New York Herald.

They maintained both addresses for just a year or so, dropping 622 Broadway in the 1871-72 Directory. In 1876-77 they moved again, this time to a location four doors off Broadway at 36 West 29th Street.

After leaving Broadway they were located at 112 Fulton Street (1895 to 1903); 106 6th Avenue (1903 to approx. 1930) and 1826 Park Avenue (approx. 1930 to the mid-1940’s). By 1948 they had moved to 160 East 127th Street where they remained listed through 1953. They were no longer listed in 1957.

The business was run by William Jay Barker until his death sometime prior to 1894 after which it appears that the business remained in the family. NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories between 1901 and 1919 listed  the business as “William Jay Barker (Mary Barker Fareira, only)” and a February 7, 1918 New York Times article,  named his son, also William Jay Barker, as president of the company until his tragic death, at the time of the article, in a Connecticut house fire.

Management of the company after Mary Fareira’s death sometime in the 1920’s is not clear.

Company advertisements stated that their hair tonic “Hirsutus” dated back to the start of the business in 1847, however the first mention of it that I can find was in an April 12, 1869 advertisement in the New York Herald.

This advertisement from 1902 claims that dandruff, thin failing hair, baldness, scrub, scalp humors and itching scalp were all relieved with one application of “Barker’s Hirsutus.”

Another 1902 advertisement went further, stating:

Thousands of persons are today scratching their heads and saying they would give anything in the world if they could only get some kind of a remedy that would relieve or cure them of dandruff and other scalp diseases, a large number not knowing of a wonderful remedy which has been in existence over half a century, called Barker’s Hirsutus, which is a positive and well known cure used by the most fashionable people of the world, and if they would use it would never be troubled by these diseases.

Hirsutus is a vegetable preparation, free from grease and poisonous chemicals. Positively cures dandruff, failing hair and all scalp diseases. Grows hair on any bald head if directions are faithfully carried out.

Hisutus is indispensable to ladies and children. By its use they can keep the scalp free from scruff and dandruff, thereby creating a healthy condition of the scalp , and promoting a soft, pliant and luxurious growth of hair. This preparation costs more than most other remedies of this nature, but IT DOES MORE. Anyone troubled with scalp diseases, takes no chances in using HIRSUTUS. It positively does all that is claimed for it.

It’s not clear how long the Hirsutus hair tonic was actually on the market. NYC phone books included the word “Hirsutus” with company listings right up through the 1950’s but I don’t see it advertised or included in drug store listings after 1936.

As far as I can tell, none of the buildings occupied by the business still exist today.

The bottle I found is mouth blown (maybe 8 to 10 oz) with a tooled finish. It’s sun-purpled indicating the presence of manganese dioxide which was predominantly used as a decolorizing agent prior to 1920. It’s shape and embossing are similar to a labeled example recently advertised on e-bay that exhibits the 6th Avenue address utilized by the company between 1903 and 1930.

  

AR Winarick, New York

The AR stands for Arthur Winarick, the first of three generations of Winaricks associated with the cosmetics industry. A feature on his grandson, Tom Winarick, in the July 16, 2016 issue of Beauty Store Business Magazine tells Arthur’s story.

Arthur Winarick was a Russian immigrant who settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and became a barber who would go on to create one of the most iconic beauty products in America – Jeris Hair Tonic. Known for its neon green-formula, Jeris was formulated in the bathtub of Arthur Winarick’s apartment. He began selling it to local barbers within the Russian and Jewish communities, and eventually produced hair tonic and shaving lotions when he founded A R Winarick, Inc. Jeris is still produced today under Clubman. After World War II, (Arthur’s son) Jules Winarick became heavily involved in A R Winarick, Inc. and began expanding and acquiring several beauty brands.

Census records and NYC directories both support and add to the above story. According to 1930 census records, Arthur Winarick was born in Poland to Russian parents in 1890 and immigrated to the United States in 1911. The first listing I can find for him was in the 1917 NYC Directory as a perfumer located at 1 Willett Street. Then in the early to mid-1920’s he was listed at 19 Cannon Street with the occupation “barber supplies.” Both Willet Street and Cannon Street were located south of Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

It looks like he established AR Winarick, Inc., sometime around 1930. The 1933 NYC Directory listed them as a New York Corporation with capital of $1,000,000. Arthur Winarick was named both president and treasurer, Joseph A. Gallagher, vice president and Nathan Winarick secretary. Nathan was most likely Arthur’s brother. Four years younger, he was also born to Russian parents and immigrated to the United States in 1914. The corporate address was listed as 797 E 140th Street in the Port Morris section of the Bronx.

After World War II it appears that Arthur’s son Jules was named president and Arthur became chairman of the board. According to Arthur Winarick’s obituary, printed in the November 22, 1964 issue of the New York Times, he was still chairman at the time of his death. By then the New York office had moved to Park Avenue South and the company had opened another office in Los Angeles. They also had plants in Brunswick and Newark, New Jersey and Long Island City, Queens. Sometime in the mid 1970’s, the New York office relocated to New Jersey.

The trademark for Jeris, their signature product, was registered May 29, 1923 (Registration 0168573, Serial No 71167153). Registration information stated that it was first used on September 15, 1921.

I didn’t find many Jeris advertisements from the 1920’s and those that I did find were store related items like signs and mirrors. Interestingly, of the few early advertisements I’ve seen, several, including the one below, were focused on women.

At some point it looks like Jeris became exclusively a men’s product. An early 1950’s advertisement spells out the merits of the green colored hair tonic and leaves no doubt that their target audience was now male.

Especially formulated for men who dislike greasy, oil dressings. Jeris is recommended by 9 out of 10 barbers; is America’s largest selling, greaseless, antiseptic hair tonic.

Jeris never leaves hair with a plastered-down look: never stains hat bands, linen or furniture. Jeris and massage stimulate the scalp, help improve circulation, kill dandruff germs on contact.

Women admire its clean crisp, masculine fragrance.

Another advertisement I found appealed directly to the G.I. returning from World War II.

During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Jeris was seriously committed to magazine advertising. One of their advertising approaches had a number of Hollywood stars endorsing Jeris while also mentioning their latest movie project. The 1951 advertisement below, found in Life Magazine, combined Ronald Regan’s praise for Jeris with a mention of his latest movie “Bedtime for Bonzo”

Other stars participating in this campaign included Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole), Fred McMurray (Come Share My Love), John Garfield (Force of Evil) and Ray Milland (Circle of Danger).

Today Jeris can still be purchased from Pinaud Clubman. It’s still has its green color and the marketing message remains the same.

It refreshes and stimulates the scalp

The bottle I found is machine made. The sides are not embossed but embossing on the base states “Loaned By AR Winarick.” The spout on the bottle was still attached. Printed on the spout is AR Winarick, N.Y. It most likely dates to the earlier period of the business, probably the mid to late 1920’s, before they incorporated.

On a final note, Arthur and Jules Winarick were also intimately connected with the Concord Hotel in New York’s Catskill Mountains. According to Arthur Winnarick’s New York Times obituary he founded the Concord Hotel.

In the early nineteen thirties Mr Winarick visited the Catskills. He decided to become a host there and he acquired the Kiamesha Ideal Hotel, changed its name to the Concord and guided its growth and development.

The hotel, of which his son-in-law, Raymond Parker, is managing director, has a coliseum size nightclub, and a swimming pool, rink and other facilities on a mammoth scale. Mr. Winarick enjoyed mingling with his guests. His remarkable memory permitted him to greet a surprising number by name.

According to Jules Winarick’s obituary, he was also involved with the Concord.

He also dedicated part of his life to the development and growth of the Concord Resort Hotel in the Catskills. Under his guidance, the hotel went from being a summer getaway destination to a year round resort, which featured one of the largest nightclubs at the time and drew the most famous entertainers of the day.

 

Hay’s Hair Health

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hays-3

Hay’s Hair Health was a hair product sold from the late  1880’s through the early 1940’s. Advertisements during this period indicated that it was manufactured in the late 1800’s by the London Supply Company of New York and later by the Philo Hay Specialty Company of Newark, New Jersey.

The London Supply Company apparently started business in either 1888 or 1889. Newspaper advertisements for the London Supply Company and Hays Hair Health began to appear in January of 1889. The first one I could find was in the January 5, 1889 edition of the New York Sun.

Between 1890 and 1900 the London Supply Company was listed in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories at 853 Broadway. The proprietor was Freeman Hiscox.  The company was no longer listed in the 1901 edition of the directory.

Around this time they apparently transitioned the operation to New Jersey. On July 3, 1900, the Philo-Hay Specialty Co. of Newark New Jersey incorporated with a capital of $210,000. Lawrence Hardham was their first president. Freeman Hiscox, the former proprietor of the London Supply Co., was Secretary and Alice L Ward was Treasurer. Philo-Hay Specialties Co. first appeared in the Newark City Directories in 1902 located at 229 Lafayette with Freeman Hiscox as manager.

The transition from the London Supply Company to the Philo-Hay Specialty Company apparently took several years. Although they were no longer listed in New York after 1900, some Hay’s Hair Health advertisements continued to reference the London Supply Co. at the 853 Broadway address up through 1904. Newspaper advertisements referencing the New Jersey company began to appear as early as November 1900.

The Philo-Hay Specialty Company remained at 229 Lafayette Street until 1906 when they were listed at 29 Congress. In 1908 their address was 30 Clinton and by 1913 their listed address was Verona Ave, corner of Clifton Ave. The business disappeared from the Newark Directories after 1922.

In addition to Hay’s Hair Health, the company manufactured a number of other similar products as well including Skinhealth Treatment, Creme Peau Sante (Violette) and Harfina Soap. Harfina Soap was almost always advertised in conjunction with Hay’s Hair Health.

The business was apparently fully committed to advertising as a way to grow the business. This advertisement in the “Interstate Druggist” was apparently aimed at drug store owners:

If you will stock and push Hays Hair Health, you will never be troubled with complaints from dissatisfied customers. The demand is always on the increase as our advertising runs continuously year after year in our ever increasing list of the best newspapers throughout the country.

hays-ad-3

One early advertisement for Hay’s Hair Health printed in the January 5, 1901 edition of “The Literary Digest” delivered a message that is not very different from the one delivered today by the advertisers of both men’s and women’s hair products, though certainly not in the same words.

Gray hairs often stand in the way of advancement for both men and women, socially and in business. Many fail to secure good positions because they look “too old” and many women are disappointed in life because they fail to preserve that attractiveness which so largely depends on the hair.

The advertisement goes on to promote the purported benefits of the product:

Hay’s Hair Health will positively restore gray or faded hair to its former color and beauty. It is not a dye, nor a stain, but a natural restorer and tonic to beautiful hair growth. Equally good for men and women.

Another advertisement from the same era goes even further stating:

This hair food acts on the roots, giving them the required nourishment and positively produces luxuriant hair on bald heads.

An advertisement published in various forms between 1902 and 1915 used the slogan: “Hay’s Hair Health turns back time in its flight,” and actually included before and after illustrations.

The product’s trademark which included the words “Hays Hair Health” with a picture of a woman with flowing hair and a bearded man all within a circle (no. 43022) was published by the U S Patent Office on August 9, 1910 but they were using it well before that. The phrase “Hay’s Hair Health” dates back to their earliest advertisements in 1889 and the picture described in the trademark is shown in the 1901 advertisement above.

Their bold advertising claims were not backed up by the scientific community. The 1916 Report of the Connecticut Experiment Station described Hay’s Hair Health as a colorless liquid containing a yellow percipitate and with the following odor of oil of bay. The product contained glycerine, free sulphur, lead acetate and organic matter, possibly sage. They stated that:

This is simply one of the glycerine water solutions of lead acetate with considerable free sulphur. The use of any preparation, even externally, containing such a dangerous poison as lead acetate is unsafe.

Also, the Indiana State Board of Health Chemical Division’s 1917 Report of the Chemical Division of the Laboratory of Hygiene had this to say about Hay’s Hair Health:

This combination is also sold under the false claim that it is a hair restorer. It is…a mixture of sugar, lead (1.5%), sulphur (1.5%), alcohol and water. The contents of a fifty cent bottle are worth but five.

After 1922, when the Philo Hay Specialty Company was no longer listed in the Newark directories, its not clear who manufactured Hay’s Hair Health but it continued to be named in drug store advertisements as late as 1942. This advertisement printed in the May 1, 1940 edition of the Buffalo (NY) Courier still advertised it in conjunction with Harifina Soap.

Today, 853 Broadway in NYC is a 21 story building built in 1929 and therefore could not have been used by the business. In Newark the southeast corner of Verona and Clifton is occupied by a 2 story building that appears to have been converted from manufacturing to residential. It could have been used by the business.

I found two identical mouth blown brown medicine bottles embossed Hay’s on one side and Hair Health on the other side. They match a labeled bottle included in a 1913 advertisement that included an offer for a free bottle.

        

Imperial Chemical Mfg. Co., New York

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The Imperial Chemical Manufacturing Company was in business from the mid-1880’s until the early 1930’s. Located in New York City, they manufactured hair products that were advertised and sold across the country. An advertisement from 1915 provided a menu of several products sold  under the “Imperial” brand name.

Imperial Hair Regenerator – Recognized as the standard hair coloring for gray or bleached hair.

Imperial Vigorosis – Is a marvelous hair grower and tonic. Arrests the falling of and stimulates the hair follicles.

Imperial Shampoo – Unexcelled hair and scalp cleanser, recommended for children’s hair.

Imperial Hair Remover – A marvelous remedy for removing superfluous hair without injury to skin.

The company was first listed in the 1889 NYC Directory but was advertising as early as September of 1887.  They continued to be listed through the early 1930’s. Their first address was 54 W 23rd Street where they were listed between 1887 and 1893. Subsequently, based on directory information and newspaper advertisements over the years, their primary addresses were:

292 Fifth Avenue             Early 1894 to 1899

22 W 23rd Street               1900 to 1901

135 W 23rd Street            1902 to 1918

246 W 14th Street            1920’s

19 W 44th Street             Early 1930’s (1932)

In New York City, along with their manufacturing facility, the company sometimes listed additional addresses. I assume these addresses were associated with what the company called their “application parlors” and “sales rooms.”

They were incorporated in NewYork in 1901 and possibly earlier. W Gordon Kellogg was consistently associated with the company through the early 1930’s, usually as president. By 1933, the Imperial Chemical Mfg Co was no longer listed.

Their signature product was the “Imperial Hair Regenerator,”which they were apparently making right from the start of the business. The earliest newspaper advertisement for it that I can find was in the September 22, 1887 edition of the “Buffalo (NY) Commercial.” It addressed both a male and female audience.

Instantly restores Gray Hair, Bleached Hair, or Gray Beard to natural color: leaves it clean, soft and glossy, and no one dreams that you color it. Absolutely harmless, odorless and lasting.

The advertisement goes on to list seven standard colors: No. 1 – Black; No. 2 – Dark Brown; No. 3 –  Medium Brown; No. 4 – Chestnut; No. 5 – Light Chestnut; No. 6 – Gold Blonde; and No. 7 – Ash Blonde.

An 1895 advertisement from Metropolitan Magazine included the additional claim that:

It positively makes hair grow.

imperial-ad

One of their advertisements appeared in an 1899 Issue of the “Pariasian Illustrated Review” a publication that touted itself as “keeping it’s readers current with the works of the great French writers.” This leads me to believe that Imperial’s following included the entire spectrum of the population from those interested in French literature to clammers and fisherman making a living on the bay.

The “Imperial” trademark dated back to the company’s earliest advertisements and consisted of a what looks like a shield topped with a crown. The shield contained the phrase “Sans Dissimulation.”

As best I can tell, “Sans Dissimulation” is French and can be translated as “without concealment.”

The bottle I found is a large mouth blown medicine that dates to the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.