Sunday, May 3, 2015

page 76 -- W.W. Thorpe, Fletcher's Castoria

updated 15 January 2016
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144 Main St.
Another cluster of cards for W.W. Thorpe appears on page 174 of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection. In spite of the abundance of cards, little information on the store has been discovered by this researcher beyond confirmation of its existence in the Shoe and Leather Reporter Annual (Google Books):





The Society for Historical Archaeology posts an excellent detailed history of Castoria and some of the firms that have produced it over the many years since it was invented, Pitcher’s and Fletcher’s Castoria: An Uncommon Study of Common Bottles by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schreiver, Carol Serr, and Bill Lindsey with contributions by Joe Widman.

Via Google Patents, here's the original patent on the product:


Given the date of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection, the trade card shown above was probably made while Castoria was still under the patent control of its inventor, Dr. Samuel Pitcher, Jr.

According to page 52 of Street, John Phillips. The Composition of Certain Patent And Proprietary Medicines. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1917, the composition of Castoria at that time was:


The product is still marketed as a laxative (mostly for children) in 2016, but without the sales stimulus provided by broadsides on buildings, numerous trade cards and print ads, it seems to be passing gently into obscurity. (A suitable fate for a laxative.)



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