Singer Manufacturing Company

According to author Richard Cavendish “Isaac Merritt Singer was no introverted back-room inventor, but one of the most forceful, flamboyant and unscrupulous tycoons in American business history. Though he did not invent the sewing machine, he designed the first practical and efficient one, used mass-production techniques to manufacture it and pioneered the hire-purchase system of buying on credit in easy installments, which revolutionized consumer behavior.”

Bottle embossed "THE SINGER MANFG CO. TRADE MARK"

Bottle embossed “THE SINGER MANFG CO. TRADE MARK”.  The bottle was for sewing machine oil.

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Liquozone Company, Chicago, IL

Liquozone, though allegedly containing little more than water, was surprisingly tangled up in major changes in American health, law and marketing in the early years of the 20th century.

Bottle embossed: Liquozone Manufactured only by the Liquozone Co. Chicago, U.S.A

Bottle embossed: Liquozone Manufactured only by the Liquozone Co. Chicago, U.S.A

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Tildesley & Co Yacht Club Salad Dressing, Chicago IL

Like many other common condiments on our tables today, commercial salad dressing was invented and widely marketed during the late 19th and early 20th century to a public that had previously been accustomed to making their own at home.  Because the products were unfamiliar, and there was such a flood of new options, food companies needed to inform home cooks of how to make use of them.

Bottle embossed "Yacht Club Salad Dressing"

Bottle embossed “Yacht Club Salad Dressing”

According to blogger Didi “This salad dressing was made by the Tildesley Co of Chicago, which according to my research tools was around from the late 1800s until the early 1900s. It was started and owned by John S and Sarah A Tildesley and that a Mr. William H Leech was an investor in the company. In 1890, Leech sued Mr and Mrs Tildesley for trying to cheat him out of the business after investing over a thousand dollars.” Continue reading

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Fellows’ Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites, Fellows Co., New York

Fellows’ Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites was widely marketed to physicians, not consumers, as a remedy for many illnesses.  It was a commercial success, even though it contained strychnine, a potent poison, and likely made its customers sicker.

Bottle embossed: "Fellow's Compound Syrup"

Bottle embossed: “Fellow’s Compound Syrup”

Fellows Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites was invented by James Fellows who worked with his father as drug merchants in St John, New Brunswick, Canada.
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Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, Glenbrook, CT

Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia is a widely recognized, used and accepted over the counter antacid that works by lowering the amount of acid in the stomach. Today it’s used to treat symptoms caused by too much stomach acid such as heartburn, upset stomach, or indigestion.  But in the early 20th century, Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia was marketed to treat ailments including hangovers, wrinkles, gluttony, middle age and “smoker’s fag

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Bottle embossed: “MILK OF MAGNESIA/ REC’D IN U.S PATENT OFFICE/ AUGUST 21, 1906/ THE CHAS. H. PHILLIPS/CHEMICAL COMPANY/ GLENBROOK, CONN.


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Hood’s Sarsaparilla, Lowell, MA

Founded by Charles Ira Hood in 1875, C.I. Hood & Co. of Lowell, Massachusetts was among the largest patent medicine companies in the United States and offered a number of personal health products in addition to its well known Hood’s Sarsaparilla.  The C.I. Hood and Company was a leader in the development of color lithography as an advertising tool, and produced all of its advertising in-house and owned twenty presses issuing a plethora of colorful trade cards, posters, calendars, cookbooks, pamphlets, and other ephemera all promoting the medicinal benefits of company products.

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Bottle embossed: HOOD’S / SARSA / PARILLA – C. I. HOOD & CO – LOWELL MASS


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John Wyeth & Bro. Philadelphia, PA

The John Wyeth & Brother Chemists of Philadelphia may sounds like a long lost relic of another age, but it has grown, conglomerated, been rechristened and acquired other companies with alacrity since its founding in 1860.  In fact, chances are good that you currently have in your home one or more name brand consumer products sold by this enormous company at one time or another, including Advil, Centrum, ChapStick, Robitussin, Dimetapp, Preparation H., Old English Furniture Polish, Jiffy Pop, Chef Boyardee, and Gulden’s Mustard to name but a few.  But while its products are ubiquitous, the company now known as Wyeth, and in most of the 20th century as American Home Products, has little name recognition when compared to other multinational consumer goods companies like Unilever, Procter & Gamble Co. and Nestlé.

Wyeth

Bottle embossed: “JOHN WYETH & BRO PHILADELPHIA”

According to Notable Names Database, “John Wyeth, founder of the present-day pharmaceutical giant, was the son of a druggist, and studied at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (now the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia). At graduation he took employment at Henry C. Blair’s apothecary store in Philadelphia, and four years later he was made a partner in the shop. In 1860 he quit Blair’s shop and, with his brother Frank Wyeth, opened John Wyeth & Brother, Chemists, at 1410 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. The shop’s key innovation was to mix medicinal compounds in advance, in large batches, allowing the Wyeth Brothers to sell commonly-prescribed drugs at a lower price than competitors. Wyeth’s main success, however, came from a government contract during the American Civil War, to deliver medicines and beef extract to the Union Army.

In 1872, an employee of Wyeth’s, Henry Bower, invented a machine for making tablets from medicinal powders, allowing mass production of pills with pre-measured dosages. After fire destroyed the shop in 1889, the brothers left the retail business and opened a larger manufacturing facility at the corner of 11th & Washington. The company’s products included a wide array of compressed pills, effervescing salts, elixirs, lozenges, suppositories, and bottled cannabis powder (to be taken with hot brandy, according to its label). His son Stuart took over the drug business at John Wyeth’s death in 1907, and at the younger Wyeth’s death in 1929, the company was bequeathed to his alma mater, Harvard University. Harvard sold the company to American Home Products in 1932, and AHP rebranded itself Wyeth in 2002.”

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From Medicinal Fluid Extracts Manufactured by John Wyeth & Brother: With Doses, Remedial Attributes, and Formulae for Extemporaneous Preparations (Google eBook), 1892

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From The Pharmaceutical Era, Volume 39 (Google eBook) by D. O. Haynes & Company, January 16, 1908, pg 69.

From Sold on Radio: Advertisers in the Golden Age of Broadcasting (Google eBook) by Jim Cox, 2008, excerpts from pg 73-78.

From Sold on Radio: Advertisers in the Golden Age of Broadcasting (Google eBook) by Jim Cox, 2008, excerpts from pg 73-78.

According to Wikipedia.org, “In 1941, the US entered World War II, and Wyeth shipped typical wartime drugs such as sulfa bacteriostatics, blood plasma, typhus vaccine, quinine, and atabrine tablets. Wyeth was later rewarded for its contribution to the war effort.”

Most of the advertisements I’ve found with the Wyeth name date to the WWII period.

1943 Wyeth Ad with Pioneers of American Medicine

1943 Wyeth Ad with Pioneers of American Medicine

1944 Wyeth Ad of Doctor that Postpones Retirement after Pearl Harbor

1944 Wyeth Ad of Doctor that Postpones Retirement after Pearl Harbor

1944 Wyeth Ad of Doctor delivering babies

1944 Wyeth Ad of Doctor delivering babies

1944 Wyeth Ad with Doctor at Home

1944 Wyeth Ad with Doctor at Home

wyeth ad navy

1945 Wyeth Ad Advertisement with Navy

1945 Wyeth Ad with WWII Military Nurse

1945 Wyeth Ad with WWII Military Nurse

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