Saturday, April 11, 2015

page 116 -- E. Habenstein's Elite Restaurant, W.H. Glenny & Co., Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills, Dunham's Concentrated Cocoanut, B. Shoninger Organ Company

updated 9 December 2017
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When it comes to writing about restaurants, I defer to the expert researcher, Jan Whitaker and her great blog, Restaurant-ing through history. See her story on E. Habenstein's Elite Restaurant for a sense of the importance of Habenstein's contribution to the social fabric of the time.

I was disappointed to find the site where Habenstein's was located, 269 Main St. in Hartford, CT, has been taken over by new buildings.




W.H. Glenny & Co. importer of fine china, etc. headquartered in Buffalo NY, was successful in Rochester NY primarily due to the efforts of George B. Watkins. For the story of this business, read the excerpt below from Google Books,


As of September, 2014, the Glenny building can be recognized only by its distinctive cornice on this Google Street View:







The customer base for Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills was worldwide. The Wikipedia article on this product and its industrial history is extensive. Additional information about William Henry Comstock, owner of this business, is on page 93 of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection.

The corporate history of the William H. Comstock Company Ltd. is capsulized by the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester, which holds a number of the corporate papers:
"The William H. Comstock Company, Ltd., traced its origins to 1833, when Edwin Comstock founded a drug business at New York City. With his death in 1833, control of the company passed to a succession of his brothers, all of whom employed his son, William Henry Comstock, as a clerk. After the dissolution of a series of partnerships among Edwin's brothers, a partnership was formed in 1853 which included William. By 1867, William was the sole remaining member of the partnership that controlled the firm, and he moved the company to Morristown, New York, a small town in the Adirondacks. From the 1860's until the beginning of World War I, the Comstock firm, along with the rest of the patent medicine industry, enjoyed its best years. The company purveyed numerous medicines, most of which were purported to be capable of curing unusually large numbers of illnesses. The sales volume of the company seems to have peaked around 1910; thereafter, the fortunes of the Comstock company, like those of the rest of the patent medicine industry, began to decline. An expanding foreign market seems to have helped to make up for some of the losses in domestic sales, but by the 1930's the company's sales volume had declined precipitously. This trend continued in the 1940's, and by the late 1950's, the work force had shrunk to three persons. With the death of William H. Comstock II in 1959, the Comstock facilities at Morristown were closed, and the company was dissolved the following year."
An image of the Comstock factory appears on the site of Morristown's Gateway Museum:


From UR Research at the University of Rochester, comes this image of the back of the trade card:


Here's some propoganda for Indian Root Pills as it appeared in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, 18 Nov 1897.


I'm happy to say worms were not a troublesome part of my childhood, and I hope you had a similar worm-free experience!


image of the back of a Dunham card from
Digital Commonwealth

The Dunham buildings at 9 & 11 Locust St. in Saint Louis MO no longer exist.



Google Books digitization of "Leading Business Men of New Haven County..." gives us a description of the business, a portion of which follows:





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