Husband’s Calcined Magnesia, Philadelphia, PA

Unlike many patent medicine creators of the 19th century, Thomas J. Husband, creator of Husband’s Calcined Magnesia, seems to have been well liked and highly respected by all, with a product that seemed both effective and free of controversy.

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Bottle embossed: Husband’s / Calcined / Magnesia / Philada

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Hay’s Hair Health, New York City, New York

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.

Bottle embossed HAY’S HAIR HEALTH

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Dr Pierce’s Favorite Prescription, Buffalo, New York

In the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, alleged cures for “female weakness” were among the nostrums marketed by quacks. Among the most successful of such marketers was a Buffalo physician named Ray Vaughn Pierce, who became known as “The Prince of Quacks” and the “Emperor of Elixir”


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The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, New York

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, also known as the Great American Tea Company, has a fascinating history, starting as a humble New York tea shop and growing to become the largest retailer in the world, followed by its precipitous decline into antiquated obscurity. The A&P revolutionized how people bought their groceries, from buying bulk goods to buying branded products. And it revolutionized how retailers operated, pioneering the practice of store branded products and paving the way for retailers to dictate low prices from manufacturers and sell in the volume necessary to remain profitable, creating the template for companies like Walmart to follow.

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Dr. M. M. Fenner’s Peoples Remedies Fredonia, N.Y.

Dr. Milton Marion Fenner made his name and his fortune manufacturing and selling proprietary medicines of his own formulation, including “Dr. Fenner’s People’s Remedies”, “Dr. Fenner’s Specific Lung and Throat Remedy”, “Dr. Fenner’s Specific for the Itch”, “Dr. Fenner’s Capitol Bitters”, “Dr. Fenner’s Liver and Blood Alterative and Tonic Compound”, “Dr. Fenner’s Eye-Salve remedy”, “Dr. Fenner’s Vegetable Blood and Liver Pills”, “Dr. Fenner’s Golden Syrup”, “Dr. Fenner’s Kidney and Backache Cure” and “Dr. Fenner’s Pleasant Worm Syrup”, among many others.

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Bottle embossed Dr. M. M. Fenner Fredonia, NY, 1904

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NPR: Digging Up The Roots Of Modern Waste In Victorian-Era Rubbish

I wanted to share this great article from NPR that covers many of the same topics of interest as this blog.

victorian bottles

“In the landfill, the food waste has long disintegrated. What’s left is Victorian-era packaging.

“What we find in the 1880s and 1890s is that more and more packaged products are coming onto the market,” Licence explains to his volunteers. “People have got more money in their pockets to spend, and rather than making things at home, they’re buying it in small containers, bottles and tins, and those things really can’t be reused, they can’t be kept.”

With more and more disposable, packaged goods, the average household’s volume of garbage skyrocketed.”

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Humphreys Homeopathic Medicine Company, New York City, NY

Frederick K. Humphreys (1816 – 1900) was a physician and the founder of Humphreys Homeopathic Medicine Company in New York City in 1853.  While homeopathic treatments have been scientifically proven to offer no curative benefit to sick humans or animals, enormous sales of Humphreys “Homeopathic Specifics” made him a very rich man.  His bottles of veterinary specifics are probably the most common veterinary patent medicine bottle available today, according to the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors.

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Sloan’s Liniment, Boston, MA

Sloan’s Liniment, much like S. B. Kitchel’s Liniment, was initially made for use on horses to ease their sore muscles after a long day. And, just as Kitchel learned, liniment can be used and sold to people for much the same reason. The trick to getting people to buy and use on themselves a product previously intended for livestock, is marketing, and Earl Sloan excelled at marketing and advertising his product.


Bottle embossed “SLOAN’S LINIMENT / MADE IN USA”

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Pond’s Extract Company, New York City, NY

Endorsed by queens and celebrities, Pond’s Cold Cream and Vanishing Cream were  revolutionary products that were aggressively marketed, which contributed to the foundation of the modern cosmetics industry, making proper skin care a vital priority for women of all ages at the turn of the century.

Jar embossed "PONDS"

Jar embossed “POND’S”

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Carter’s Ink Company, Boston, MA

According to Ed & Lucy Faulkner, the Carter’s Ink Company was a manufacturer of ink and related products, in Boston and later Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was once the largest ink manufacturer in the world.

Carter's Ink bottle

Carter’s Ink bottle

bottle embossed "Carter's"

bottle embossed “Carter’s”

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