Monday, April 6, 2015

page 131 -- Merchant's Gargling Oil, Watson's Cloverleaf Tobacco, The Gale Spring-tooth Sulky Harrow & Seeder

updated 28 January 2016
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George W. Merchant established his business in Lockport, NY. Souvenirs of the enterprise include stamps, trade cards, pamphlets, containers of various construction and embossed envelopes. Many of these are beautifully displayed on the web. Still more are on Matt's Antique Medicines.

Of Merchant's Gargling Oil, the Quack Doctor tells us:
"...It was mainly an external remedy for bruises, wounds, skin diseases, burns etc, but people could also take it internally to treat asthma, stomach cramps or any unidentified pains. 
"Adverts gave the dose as 15-20 drops on sugar, and as the ingredients were petroleum, soap, ammonia water, oil of amber, iodine tincture, benzine and water, the sugar was no doubt a necessity."
The New York Clipper Almanac 1877  printed the ad below for Merchant's Gargling Oil:

Peachridge Glass has an excellent, well-referenced and sourced blog post on the Merchant's Gargling Oil Company, from which the following is excerpted:
"The Merchant’s Gargling Oil Company of Lockport, New York was founded by Dr. George W. Merchant, a druggist, in 1833, and initially sold to drivers of horses and mules alongside the Erie Canal. Dr Merchant started out in “Lower Town” and moved to “Upper Town” in 1836. Dr. Merchant shrewdly marketed with the slogan “Good for Man and Beast”. By the end of the 19th century the product was sold worldwide and company was one of Lockport’s main industries. George W. Merchant sold the business to M.H. Tucker around 1855. John Hodge joined the company as a teenager, and was elected Secretary when M.H. Tucker & Company was incorporated in 1858. Hodge married one of Tucker’s daughters and gained control of the company in 1865 when Tucker died. Overall, Merchant’s Gargling Oil lasted almost 100 years, going out of business in 1928 when the factory finally burned down. The company ownership changed hands at least 3 or 4 times in the 19th century."
Below are a couple of revenue stamps canceled with the Merchant's Gargling Oil Company mark:




Wikipedia has an excellent article on U.S. revenue stamps, from which the information below is reproduced:


distributed by C. L. & J. W. Allen, Hardware & Groceries
Market Sq., Amesbury, Massachusetts





The Gale Spring-Tooth Sulky Harrow & Seeder may have been manufactured by the Gale Manufacturing Company either in Albion or Detroit, MI. Most likely, however, it appears they were produced by the Gale Sulky Harrow Company in Detroit, which later became the American Harrow Company. I blame George H. Gale for all this confusion. Here's a Google Books excerpt that almost explains the situation.




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