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THE JOSEPH BURNETT COMPANY’S PERSONAL AND MEDICAL PRODUCTS

(Revision Date June 16, 2008)

The Southborough Historical Society welcomes you.  We hope the information in this document will be beneficial. 

We encourage our readers to submit new information on these products and newly discovered Burnett products.  We welcome comments and suggestions about our website and can be reached by contacting webmaster@southboroughhistory.org

Apothecary Show Globes

The show globes pictured above where used by pharmacies from the 1930’s – 1960’s.

Photo thanks to: http://www.markdrugs.com/museum/shop

"Show globes were like a 'trade sign' to the early drug stores and were hung or stood in the front windows of early apothecary shops. Although there has been much debate over time as to their actual purpose, it has been long thought that the color of the water was symbolic; such as red and blue water could stand for arterial and venous blood [some say this meant fresh leaches were available for pharmaceutical use; i.e. “bleeding” the patient-Edit]. Also it has been said that red water could stand for an epidemic, and travelers should stay away, and green water could signal "all is well" in the community... and travelers could safely stop. It has been said that globes in New England apothecaries would be illuminated at night to warn ships in the harbor of sickness, plague, etc.” 

Quoted from, with minor editing: nationalbrasscashregistersRusCOM

For more about these fascinating and decorative early pharmacy trademarks, please see: http://www.pharmacy.arizona.edu/museum/globes.php

Note regarding the Burnett bottle sizes: If the quantity is not indicated on the bottle or container, whenever possible, a measurement of its height x width x depth is given. 

Many of the ads presented below may seem redundant.  We have included them to give an idea of the years these products were offered to the public, and the type of hype used to promote them.

 

Burnett’s apothecary (1845-1855 /1857)*

*1855 is the year Joseph Burnett sold his partnership in the apothecary business with Theodore Metcalf.

1857 is the year he left his Tremont Row address to expand his business by moving to a larger location at 27 Central Street.

 

A general overview of pharmaceutical history in the 19th Century.

The following were common practices among American druggists in the 19th Century, including Joseph Burnett.

“The nineteenth century did not see the end of the art of compounding, but the art did give way, however grudgingly, to new technology. It has been estimated that a "broad knowledge of compounding" was still essential for 80 percent f the prescriptions dispensed in the 1920s. 

Although pharmacists increasingly relied on chemicals purchased from the manufacturer to make up prescriptions, there still remained much to be done Secundum Artem (according to the rules of the art). They spread their own plasters, prepared pills (of aloes and myrrh or quinine and opium, for example), prepared powders of all kinds, and made up confections, conserves, medicated waters, and perfumes. They put up tinctures (of laudanum, paregoric, and colchicum) in five gallon demijohns. And they frequently combined into a single dosage from several medicines, which normally today would be written and dispensed as separate prescriptions. Further more, they were often called upon to provide first aid and medicines for such common ailments as burns, frostbite, colic, flesh wounds, poisoning, constipation, and diarrhea. [These were druggist’s recipes.  The most widely accepted explanation for the symbol RX is an abbreviation for “Recipe” (Latin "recipe" or "recipere", which means “take”). -Editor]

In addition to maintaining a prescription laboratory, pharmacists usually carried the disliked but necessary patent and proprietary remedies along with herbs and locally popular nostrums of their own compounding.

The rapid change from hand methods to machine methods of production that characterized the Industrial Revolution found a ready application in pharmacy, especially under the impact of the scientific developments of the nineteenth century. Phytochemistry (chemicals derived from plants) and synthetic chemistry (designing and building new chemicals) created new derivatives of old drugs and new chemical entities of medicinal value that strained the capacity of the individual pharmacy. Large scale drug manufacturing had its strong hold on society with the advent of machines and patents.

The progress made by this new industry is demonstrated by the catalogue of the American firm G.D. Searle, which by the late 1880’s listed 400 fluid extracts, 150 elixirs, 100 syrups, 75 powdered extracts, and 25 tinctures and other drug forms.

Industrialization had an impact on every aspect of the activity of the pharmacist. First, it led to the creation of new drugs, drugs that the individual pharmacist’s own resources could not produce. Second, many drugs that the individual pharmacist was able to produce could be manufactured more economically, and in superior quality, by industry. Third, industry assumed responsibility traditionally vested in the pharmacist for the quality of the medication. The plethora of proprietary medicines, widely and often blatantly advertised, deprived the pharmacist of a market for private specialties; it forced the pharmacist to become a vendor of questionable merchandise; it opened the way to much broader competition from merchants, grocers and pitchmen than the pharmacist had previously encountered.”

From the History of Professional Compounding Pharmacy of Minneapolis, MN @ www.lindsaydrug.com/newhist.htm

Most of the information was taken from Pharmacy an Illustrated History, by David L. Cowen and William H. Helfand, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. - ISBN 0-8109-1498-0. This is a beautifully illustrated, 250 page book that was published in 1990. 

 

FROM “THE ALMANAC” 1850

Important note regarding all images on this page:  Most pictures are thumbnails which are links to larger versions of the small picture.  There are many images which may be slow when downloading to your computer.   Please be patient as the images & text, particularly from an expanding thumbnail image, is more clearly viewed and read.

This ad dates to the time Joseph Burnett had his apothecary shop.  It gives a good idea of the products he offered for sale. 

Dental and surgical instruments

When Joseph Burnett was a druggist he sold surgical and dental instruments, many of which were imported from France.  “When foreign made (surgical) instruments could not be obtained from instrument makers abroad, they could be obtained from Boston apothecaries and druggists who carried a stock of imported goods.  …The apothecary Joseph Burnett sold such instruments and the arrival of new stock at his shop became a noteworthy event:”

Beautiful Instruments…Mr. Joseph Burnett has just received from Paris some very highly finished articles of surgical cutlery, manufactured by the well-known Charriere, rue de L’Ecole de Medicine a Paris. …Partial as we are for home-made things, it would be unpardonable not to remind gentlemen of the recent importation.” [Advertisement] Joseph Burnett, “Beautiful Instruments”. Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 33 (1846):125. 

Quoted from: James M. Edmonson, PhD, in his book, American Surgical Instruments: The Illustrated History of Their Manufacture and a Directory of Instrument Makers to 1900.

Published in 1997 by Jeremy Norman & Co., Inc.

Mail: PO Box 867, Novato CA 94948-0867

UPS & FedEx: 936-B Seventh St, PMB 238, Novato, CA 94945-3000; Tel: 415-892-3181; Fax: 415-276-2317; Cell: 415-225-3954. 

Our thanks to Jeremy Norman @ historyofscience.com

for permission to use the above quote.

 

The joseph burnett company (1847-1946)*

*The year 1847 was used by the Company as its date of founding.  This was the year Joseph Burnett concocted the Vanilla Extract recipe which resulted in his becoming a manufacturing chemist.

The year 1946 was when the Company was sold to American Home Foods, Inc., Subsidiary of American Home Products Corporation.

See the History of the Joseph Burnett Company

 

Joseph Burnett’s apothecary & HIS company’s products and other related information

 

BURNETT’S COCOAINE

The two Cocaine bottle sizes in its early years were 1/2 pt. &1 pt. In later years (pictured below) the sizes were 3½ oz. and 6 oz. The reverse side was embossed Burnett’s Cocoaine. Price 50 cents for the ½ pt. & later 3 ½ oz. sizes and $1.00 for one pint & later 6 oz. sizes.

Burnett’s Cocoaine seems to be marketing the popularity of Cocaine at the time, as it was made from Cocoa-nut oil and does not contain Cocaine.  It was concocted by Joseph Burnett in 1856 and was sold for over 40 years.  Some continue to call this quackery medicine in light of our 21st Century knowledge, and lack of it, as to the highly respected character of Dr. Burnett.  As a matter of fact, if at this present day, one were to do a search on the net for “coconut oil and hair”, they would find numerous pages still touting the benefits of coconut oil for restoring, softening, and promoting the growth of the hair, as well as its benefiting the skin and body (we personally found 82 pages-Ed.), including testimonials to its rejuvenating properties.

 

THE COCONUT PLANT (cocos nucifera) WHICH WAS THE PRINCIPAL INGREDIENT OF Burnett’s cocoaine

Thanks to: caliban.mpiz-koeln.mpg.de/~stueber/koehler/ The Online Library.

Thanks to: caliban.mpiz-koeln.mpg.de/~stueber/koehler/ The Online Library.

 

Cocoa plant ( Erythroxylum coca)

Cocaine is produced from the coca plant, Erythroxylum coca which was not used in Burnett’s cocoaine.

 

Leaves and berries of the plant

 

Source: Above two images, List of Koehler Images from Koehler's Medicinal-Plants 1887. Thanks to www.answers.com.

 

From a floral handbook dated 1879

 

Burnett’s cocoaine bottles

 

3 ½ oz. size on the left and the 6 oz. size at center.

The bottle shown on the right is the reverse embossing found on both sizes.

 

The side views of a Burnett’s Cocoaine Bottle with embossed “Burnett” and “Boston” on opposite sides

 

BROADSIDE c. 1857

NEXT PAGE

To see a more readable text of the above broadside, plus an article about a court case involving the trademark name “Cocoaine”, please see the link below.

Burnett Supplement

 

A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON BURNETT’S COCOAINE

“This was the product of Joseph Burnett, of Boston. This product was for sale starting in 1856. A couple of years after the product was introduced, it was imitated by Phalon & Son's product: Cocoine. An ad in the 1860-61 Boston City Directory told about how Burnett had won an injunction against the Proprietors of Cocoine for trademark infringement.  Edward Phalon & Sons had to change the product name to Cocin. Burnett's Cocoaine sold for over forty years and was one of the most successful hair preparations of the 19th century.”

“Burnett invented the Cocoaine in November of 1856. According to the product label, Cocoaine was entered according to an act of congress in 1857. The
Era Formulary listed it as consisting of half cocoanut oil and half cologne water.”

“The brand name "Cocoaine" was registered as a trademark in 1927 (TM #246,413). They claimed at that time that the product was on the market since 1847, but in actuality, they were just guessing, based on the date Burnett was originally in business. Burnett's Cocoaine was still listed for sale in the 1901 Morrison & Plummer catalog.”  : Don Fadley’s Antique Bottles @
www.hairraisingstories.com/PurchaseB.html.

 

LINCOLN USED Burnett’s cocoaine

No doubt this is one of those apocryphal stories, like George Washington cutting down the cherry tree.  Some element of truth, with a great amount of exaggerating to create a more colorful story.

From the book; INTOXICATION-LIFE IN PURSUIT OF ARTIFICIAL PARADISE, Chapter 12, page 259. By Ronald K. Siegel, PhD., New York, Dutton, 1989.

 

C. 1850’s

Ad from the late 1850’s by a Burnett General Agent to help promote sales of the product.

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

FROM BALLOU’S PICTORIAL MAGAZINE, 1859

 

1859

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL, AUGUSTA, GA., May 1, 1860

Burnett Advertisement promoting the use of many of their personal products for the toilet, including Cocoaine.

A Traveling Companion.--If the lady reader is about traveling or wishes to make a most acceptable gift to a friend about doing so--if she proposes visiting a watering place, or would like "something nice to have in the country," let her try one of Burnett's Toilet Companions, containing a bottle of Cocoaine, which dresses the hair perfectly, without greasing, drying, or stiffening it--a flacon of Florimel, one drop of which perfumes the handkerchief deliciously--one of Kalliston, the best cosmetic in the world, and one of the Oriental Tooth Wash.  These preparations are not only of approved usefulness and all that they profess to be, but also remarkable for a delicacy of perfume and healthy purity, very seldom met with in articles which are sold at such moderate prices.--Philadelphia Bulletin. For sale by Druggists generally.

 

 

1861

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

1861

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

1861

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

1861

This ad is particularly interesting in that it lists the dealer’s in several American cities who sell Burnett’s Cocoaine.

 

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

Harper’s Weekly, 1861

Testimonials from satisfied customers.

   

   

Copies of these ads thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography..

 

Harper's Weekly, June 6, 1863

The increase in price was probably due to the material requirements for fighting the Civil War.

A CARD.

Owing to the increased cost of all material used in the manufacture of Cocoaine and our other preparations, we have been compelled to advance the price. Our standard QUANTITY and QUALITY will remain unimpaired.

JOS. BURNETT & CO., Boston.

Sold by all druggists throughout the country.

 

 

ALL THAT IT

CLAIMS TO BE.

So many compounds for the hair are offered for sale and unduly praised, that we confess we had no expectation of finding in Burnett's Cocoaine the qualities which it was said to possess. In this we have been disappointed. Members of our family who have tried it, indorse it as possessing superior hair-dressing properties; while its freedom from greasiness, the lustre that it imparts to hair, and its economy, have given it a permanent place on the toilet table.

We have no hesitancy in recommending it as being equal to all that it claims to be.—Chicago New Covenant.

 

 

Harper’s Weekly June 4, 1864

Cocoaine.

BURNETT'S COCOAINE kills dandruff, dresses the hair perfectly, and renders it soft and glossy. There are worthless imitations of which the public should beware.

BURNETT'S PREPARATIONS go among the best class of people, and are pronounced incomparable.

 

 

Harper's Weekly, June 18, 1864

Burnett's Cocoaine.

The editor of the Westmorland (N. B.) Times says, a man there has been cured of baldness by the use of Burnett's Cocoaine

 

 

From a floral handbook 1880

Cocoaine is described as a vegetable oil.

       

 

Testimonials concerning the effect of Cocoaine on reversing and restoring hair loss.  The last two are particularly interesting as they are from women.

 

1880

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

1880

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

1881

Copy of this ad thanks to Don Fadely from his book “Hair Raising Stories”.  (see http://www.hairraisingstories.com)  and The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

 

NATIONAL REVIEW OF MEDICINE 1882

Burnett's Cocaine

Promotes vigorous and healthy growth of the hair. It has been used in thousands of cases where the hair was coming out and has never failed to arrest the decay. Use Burnett's flavouring extract — the best.

 

 

LEWISTON (MAINE) EVENING JOURNAL, JANUARY 30, 1882

 

Globe and Mail, February 11, 1882

Advertising Burnett’s Extracts & Cocoaine for the hair 1890

 

Youth’s Companion, September 8, 1892

 

COSMOPOLITAN 1896

 

COCOAINE ADS FROM APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME

   

A RUBBER STAMP WHICH WAS MADE FROM A COPY OF THE ABOVE AD

Thanks to Scott McDonald of Amazing Arts for providing us with the above 2 images of the early ad and the rubber stamp.

 

Unusual paperweight advertising Burnett’s Cocoaine, C. Late 1800’s

 

 

FROM “FENNER’S COMPLETE FORMULARY” 6TH EDITION, B. FENNER, PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR, WESTFIELD, N.Y., 1888

 This may not be the precise formula used by Joseph Burnett, but it serves to show the type of ingredients used to create Cocaine for the hair. 

 

HAIR GROWERS-Formula for making Cocaine for the hair.

Cocoaine or Cocoa Cream.— Cocoanut Oil 1 ounce. Castor Oil 8 ounces, Cologne Spirit 7 ounces, Oil of Bergamot 1 drachm, Oil of Lemon 1/2 drachm. Melt the Cocoanut Oil by gentle heat and add it to the Castor Oil previously warmed, add the Cologne Spirit and, when cool, the flavoring Oils.

 

End label from a wooden packing crate which contained one half dozen Burnett’s Cocoaine bottles

  

 (picture to the left was edited for clarity)

VINTAGE AD FROM SCRIBNERS MAGAZINE,

JUNE 1848 (probably 1858)*

 

*The date of this advertisement is from the information found with the image.  The company was at this address beginning in 1857/58, so it must be from the later date.

 

The new york times, SEPTEMBER 30, 1889

 

Perfume of garden heliotrope bottle

 According to the description from the Scribner’s ad above, this may be the “small sized” bottle.

        

Photos courtesy of Barbara DiBenedetto who has been a big help to us by acquiring many different Burnett items!

 

Burnett’s perfume bottle with glass stopper

 (see the Scribner’s ad above)

 Our thanks to Barbara DiBenedetto for her help in acquiring this item.

  

Burnett’s Cologne Water from a Floral Handbook C. late 1870’s

 "According to a customer’s wishes, Joseph Burnett and Co.’s Cologne Water could be purchased in a variety of bottles; one with or without a wicker covering, with a glass or a cork stopper, and in four different sizes." 

Quote from The William H. Helfand Collection  @ http://www.lcpgraphics.org/inventories/helfand/

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1889

 

  

BURNETT’S COLOGNE WATER WICKER COVERED BOTTLE

The bottle is 7 1/2''high. On the base there are 2 blue /orange three cent PROPRIETARY STAMPS that are stamped in black:  J.Burnett & Co. MAY 21, 1877 BOSTON.

   

 Photos thanks to Pam Hadley.

 

Early Trade Cards for Burnett’s Cologne Water

 

Featuring very colorful and sometimes comical scenes from the late 1800’s.

 

 

Reverse side of burnett’s cologne water trade cards

 

Testimonials to the quality of Burnett’s Cologne Water

 

 

Burnett’s castor oil

Burnett’s Castor Oil distributed by a pharmacy.

This is an example of how the pharmacy would affix its label to a Burnett product bottle to show where it was purchased and, in most cases, to identify the contents.

       

 Dimensions: 4 1/8” tall x 1 ¾” wide x 1”deep. 

Among its many uses, probably the most remembered is its consumption to prevent constipation.  It has a foul taste and was given to children routinely to keep their systems clean.  It was feared and hated by them.  Many who are adults today still harbor unpleasant memories associated with its taste.  The practice seems to have slowed and died out after World War II.  Many other positive uses for Castor Oil, however, can be found on the Web.

 

BURNETT'S COD LIVER OIL BY T.METCALF & Co. BOSTON

(The wording above is embossed on the front of the bottle).

The following is a description of Cod Liver Oil and its reputed benefits:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cod_liver_oil 

 Burnett’s Cod Liver Oil bottle, clear, circa 1870's.  It measures about 8 inches x 8 ¾”, and is mold-blown by hand with a hand-tooled top and lip in the single, square-band style. Base is flush and smooth.

  

1854

  

Burnett’s Cod Liver Oil advertised and sold by a New Hampshire druggist.

 

Ad from the Herald of Freedom & Torch Light, published in Hagerstown, MD., March 20, 1862

Courtesy of Carol J. Appenzellar, Project Manager, Historic Newspaper Indexing Project, Washington Co. Free Library, Hagerstown, MD.

 

Burnett’s Smelling Salts

  

 This is an unusual and very colorful bottle (note: the top is partially broken). Size: 2 3/8” to top of bottle (3 ¼” at top of stopper x 5” around).  This example came from a collection of smelling salt containers.  The bottle could, however, have contained perfume with the base of the glass top used as an applicator.

 

From the report of the Committee of Awards for The World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893.  Mention is made of Burnett’s Smelling Salts, which is proof the Company did market this product. Thanks to books.google.com/

 

Burnett’s Jamaica Ginger

 Page from Burnett’s Household Recipes 1886.

 

Burnett’s Jamaica Ginger Bottle 

  

BOTH SIDES OF A WOODEN BOX WHICH CONTAINED ONE DOZEN BOTTLES

 As can be seen from the photos below, the sides are identical, but the box ends are blank (not shown). 

   

Photos are courtesy of the Superette Market, Washington Street, Holliston, Mass.

  

From a floral handbook 1880

 

  

Advertisement from burnett’s recipe book, 1885 

 

Burnett’s Jamaica ginger was also used as an ingredient in some recipes

 Below is a recipe from Rounding out the Meal “My Favorite Recipes” by the “Born Cook”, Margaret Weimer Heywood, published by The Joseph Burnett Company, 1935.

 

 

Burnett’s Kalliston

 

Burnett’s Kalliston bottle

 Bottle: Obverse & Reverse.  Embossed Burnett on one side and Boston on the other side.  19th Century.

Dimensions: 7”tall x 3”wide x 1 ½” deep.

  

 The label at top right has directions to; remove tan, sunburn, freckles, redness and roughness of the skin, hay heat and irritation of the skin, dandruff, prevent the hair from falling off and promote its vigorous growth, treat mosquito bites & stings of insects, cure chapped hands, and for use as a gentlemen’s after shave.

 

Burnett’s Kalliston and oriental tooth wash from a very old ad in the new york times

 

Our thanks to the New York Times for permission to use this ad.

 

Burnett’s Kalliston Ads from Floral Handbooks

1856

From Sights in Boston and Suburbs: Or, Guide to the Stranger  By R. L. Midgley, 1856 - Boston (Mass.). Thanks to books.google.com/books

 

Customer Testimonials (1876)

 

 

Testimonials for Kalliston from a floral handbook 1880

 

Harper's Weekly, July 6, 1861 Ad for Kalliston 

Loveliness.

As it is proper and natural for our lady friends to wish to make themselves as lovely as possible, we feel it our duty to indicate the best means of bringing about that much-desired consummation, and we can confidently assert that any one who uses Burnett's celebrated Kalliston may obtain a fresh and satin-like complexion. This delightful preparation removes tan and freckles, and imparts a velvety softness to the skin. For chapped hands it is invaluable, while its healing properties and delicious perfume render it agreeable to every sense.—N. 0. Picayune.

 

Harper's Weekly, July 13, 1861 Ad for Kalliston 

 

Toilet Articles.

Among the many compounds now offering to our lady friends, there are few that we can so readily recommend as those emanating from the celebrated house of JOSEPH BURNETT & Co. They possess two qualities to which we would especially call attention, viz., the entire absence of all deleterious compounds, and the certainty that they will perform all they are said to do. The unpleasant and oftentimes painful results upon the skin attending exposure to our most changeable climate, may be entirely obviated by the use of Burnett's Kalliston, which has now become so useful an auxiliary to the toilet, that no lady considers her dressing table complete without it.—Galveston News.

 

From a lengthy ad for Burnett’s Kalliston and Oriental Tooth Wash in the New York Times.

Burnett Supplement

 

Burnett’s Florimel perfume bottles 

   

 Bottle is 8 ¼” tall.

  

the new york times, 1873

  

Our thanks to the New York Times for permission to use this ad.

 

FLORIMEL ADs WITH TESTIMONIALS FROM AN 1877 FLORAL HANDBOOK

 

NEXT PAGE

 

 

Advertisement for Burnett’s Coffee Clearer (c. late 1800’s)

This product may be more accurately described as a food product, but as its use was to clear impurities from coffee, we decided to place it in this text.

(above picture edited for clarity)

 

ORIENTAL TOOTH WAS AD FROM AN 1877 FLORAL HANDBOOK

 

The bottles below are what are thought to have contained Burnett’s Oriental Tooth Wash.  They are from an archeological dig and have been stored in a location with other brands of tooth wash.  Unfortunately, many old bottles had their contents imprinted on paper labels fixed to the front, and sometimes front & back, of the container.  These would be lost over the years, and they are not often found with their labels, making their contents an unknown.  A similar style bottle was used by the Burnett Company for their extracts.  Unless or until proven otherwise, we will display these as Oriental Tooth Wash bottles.

   

 From Kansas Preservation, the newsletter of the, Kansas State Historical Society, Cultural Resources Division, May-June 2004, Vol. 26 No. 3, Pages 13 & 14, “The trail and the teeth”.

 Our thanks to the Kansas State Historical Society for their permission to use these photos and, especially to Christine Garst of the Archeology Lab, who spent a lot of her valuable time looking into this for us.  For more fascinating information concerning the history of Kansas, please see their website http://www.kshs.org/.

 

ORIENTAL TOOTH WASH FORMULA 

Oriental Tooth Wash —Soap Bark (Quillaya) 4 ounces, Orris

Root 2 ounces. Tannin 30 grains, Cloves 60 grains. Oil Wintergreen 2 drachms, Cologne Spirit enough to make 20 ounces. Grind the drugs to a coarse powder and macerate for seven days in 1 pint of Cologne Spirit; pour off the liquid and put the drugs in a percolator; pour the liquid upon the drugs and percolate, adding Cologne Spirit in the percolator until 20 ounces of percolate are obtained. Dissolve the Oil of Wintergreen in the percolate, and filter, if necessary.

 

From “Fenner’s Complete Formulary” 6th edition, B. Fenner, published by the author, Westfield, N.Y., 1888.  (This may not be the precise formula used by Joseph Burnett, but it serves to show the type of ingredients used to create Oriental Tooth Wash)

 

JONAS WHITCOMB’S REMEDY FOR ASTHMA

From a Floral Handbook (see Floral Handbooks below for more). 

 Pictured above is a facsimile of the actual label used on the bottle.

 

1856 

From Sights in Boston and Suburbs: Or, Guide to the Stranger By R. L. Midgley, 1856 - Boston (Mass.). Thanks to books.google.com/books

 

From the floral handbook 1866

Showing the origins, use, and testimonials for Jonas Whitcomb’s Asthma Cure. 

Among his satisfied patients was a former President, Martin Van Buren.  As an aside,Van Buren was known as “Old Kinderhook” from his birthplace, Kinderhook, N.Y.

“During Van Buren's presidential campaign of 1840 supporters popularized his nickname "Old Kinderhook," which was abbreviated as "OK." "OK Clubs" were set up. It is possible that this helped popularize "OK"”.*  This may be the most recognized expression in the world (editor’s comment).

 

 

 

* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 

Atlantic Monthly Advertiser, August, 1868

 

CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS (1876)

 

 Next page

 

HARPER’S WEEKLY, DECEMBER 29, 1877

 

Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1885

 If you wish to see a lengthy advertisement from the New York Times containing many customer testimonials about Jonas Whitcomb’s Remedy for Asthma, please see the link below.

 Burnett Supplement

  

OTHER JOSEPH BURNETT COMPANY PRODUCTS NOT INCLUDED ABOVE

 BURNETT’S ALMOND MEAL (for the whitening of hands)

 BURNETT’S BAY RUM (3 SIZES)

 BURNETT’S BATHLETS

 BURNETT’S BREATHLETS (2 SIZES)

 BURNETT'S POWDER FOR THE FACE*

 BURNETT’S COLTSFOOT ROCK FOR COUGHS AND COLDS

 BURNETT’S EAU DE QUININE HAIR TONIC (2 SIZES)

 BURNETT’S EYE SALVE (See Proprietary Stamps below)

 BURNETT’S GLYCERINE

 BURNETT’S LAVENDER SALTS (2 SIZES)

 BURNETT’S LAVENDER WATER

 BURNETT’S ROSE WATER

 BURNETT’S VIO-DE-LETS

BURNETT’S WATER 

Our thanks to DIGGER ODELL for this information.

Those interested in learning more about bottle collecting, you will find him to be very helpful, and he has a wide range of informative books on the subject. Please see his website

@ www.bottlebooks.com. 

*Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, “The Arts of the Toilet”, 1892, by Estelle Woods Wilcox, has the recipe for Burnett’s Face Powder.  Other Cooking and Practical Housekeeping books feature similar recipes.  It is interesting in that the ingredient quantities are expressed in currency rather than liquid measure (below).

Boston Burnett Powder for the Face—Five cents worth of Bay Rum, five cents worth of Magnesia Snow-Flake, five cents worth of Bergamot, five cents worth of Oil of Lemon.  Mix in a pint bottle and fill up with rain-water.  Perfectly harmless and splendid.

 “The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 (effective January 1, 1907):  The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 imposed regulations on the labeling of products containing alcohol, morphine, opium, cocaine, heroin, alpha or beta eucaine, chloroform, Cannabis indica, chloral hydrate, or acetanilide.  It required that products containing any of those substances be labeled with the substance and quantity on the label.  Use of the word "cure" for most medicines was nominally prohibited, though there were little teeth in the law and enforcement was rare.  However, the word "cure" began to be replaced by "remedy" and other terms about this time, though "cure" was still used at least up to the passage of the next discussed law in 1912 - the Sherley Amendment (Fike 1987). 

Note: From implementation of the above Act (1907) until the early to mid 1910s, virtually all patent medicines were required to meet the requirements of the law and be labeled with the following notation - "This product guaranteed under the Pure Food and Drugs Act, June 30th, 1906."  Thus, labeled bottles (it was never embossed on bottles to the knowledge of the author) with this notation do not date prior to 1907 and appear to not date after - or much after - the passage of the following act in 1912 (Fike 1987; empirical observations).” 

Above quote thanks to: Society for Historical Archaeology.  Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. ONLINE. 2007. Society for Historical Archaeology and Bureau of Land Management. Available: http://www.sha.org/bottle/index.htm

[Date accessed: February 8, 2008]

With the stricter drug laws and regulations, these products were no longer produced and sold by the Company, and only food related products would be marketed.  It may have been a convenient excuse for them to concentrate on their more lucrative food product line.

 

 

Advertising Sign

 Framed sign, reverse painted on glass. JOSEPH BURNETT & CO./ BOSTON./ PROPRIETORS OF/ COCAINE,/ KALLISTON,/ FLORIMEL,/ ORIENTAL TOOTH WASH/ JONAS WHITCOMB S ASTHMA REMEDY/ BURNETT S SUPERIOR COOKING EXTRACTS. Approximately 31 1/2 inches x 21 3/4 inches.

 

Picture Courtesy of the Throop Museum.

 

FRAMED ADVERTISING SIGN FROM THE LATE 1800’S

The wording is painted on metal.  Dimensions of the sign, w/o the frame – approx. 24" X 18 ".  Dimensions of the sign w/ the frame – approx. 27" X 23".

Our thanks to Phil and Tammy Potter.

 As Joseph Burnett and Theodore Metcalf were involved in business, we have included a brief history of Mr. Metcalf and the Theodore Metcalf Company with a sampling of its products. Mr. Metcalf died in 1894, ironically just a few months before the death of Joseph Burnett.

 Brief History of T. Metcalf Company

  

Cobalt Blue Medicine Bottle c.1870 – 1890

Burnett Boston is embossed on the front.  The bottle is 7” tall & 8 7/8” around.  A smaller size (at right) measures 6 1/4'' tall & 6 3/8'' around.

   

 

VARIOUS SIZES AND STYLES OF MEDICINE BOTTLES USED BY BURNETT’S

 Most, if not all, had a paper label to identify the contents.

 These examples are from his apothecary shop on Tremont Row, Boston.  They would have contained prescriptions and other products sold by chemists at the time.

Dimensions:

Bottle 1:  7 ½” tall x 9 1/2” around

Bottles 2 & 4:  8 3/8” tall x 9 ¼” around (oval shaped).

Bottle 3:  7 5/8” tall at glass top (8”to metal clamp) x 11 3/8” around.

Bottle 5:  7” tall x 9 ½” around.

    

 This Apothecary bottle is similar to bottle #5 above, except for a slightly longer neck making it 7 ¼” tall.  A detail of the embossed label is on the right. 

Most bottles used by the Joseph Burnett Company, with a few exceptions, had only their name, Burnett and location, Boston, embossed on the sides or front of the bottle.  What it contained, directions for use, benefits or cure, and other product information would be placed on a paper label and affixed to the bottle.  This was done as the amount of writing required would have been difficult or impossible to emboss.  The bottle could be used for other products as well, simply by placing a different label onto the bottle. 

When the customer was finished with the product, the bottle would be tossed into a privy, home dump, or otherwise disposed.  Over the years, the label would be destroyed, making its contents virtually impossible to identify.  The ones shown below appear to have contained products such as, Kalliston, Jonas Whitcomb’s Asthma Remedy, Jamaica Ginger, etc. 

     

 Dimension: (note the thick lip); 6 7/8” tall

  

SIMILAR STYLE BURNETT PHARMACY BOTTLES IN 3 DIFFERENT SIZES

 Dimensions:

Bottle 1: 7 ½” tall x 9 1/2” around. 

Bottle 2: 9 ¼” tall x 10 ½” around.

Bottle 3: is 4 1/2” tall.

 

Below: 8” tall x 2 ¾” wide.  There is an indented area on the front of the bottle for a paper label. 

 

 Dimensions: 7”tall x 3”wide x 1 ½”deep.

 

 Dimensions: 6 ¼” tall x 3” x 1 ½” deep.

 

 

 Dimensions (approx.): 7 1/16” tall x 2  6/8” wide x 1 ½” deep. 

The most obvious differences between bottle types is their lip finish (type).

BURNETT’S FLORAL HANDBOOKS 

All years of issue are unknown to us. The Floral Handbook is likely to have been first issued in 1865.  The additional title of “Ladies’ Calendar” appears not to have been used after 1877.  We have found more than one edition of the Floral Handbook issued during a particular year.  Whether or not this applies to all, or a group of years, is unknown at this time.

Note: There may be a color variation on some of the Handbook images, which occurred during scanning.

 

Floral handbook 1865

 This may be the first Floral Handbook issued by the Joseph Burnett Company. 

 

Floral Handbook 1866 

These early Floral Handbooks (1866-1869) have the same cover art.  We do not have an image of the Floral Handbook from 1867, but it is likely to have had the same cover art used on these other early Floral Handbooks.  

  

 

Floral Handbook 1868

 

Floral Handbook from 1869

 

Floral Handbook 1870

 

Photo credit: Courtesy of Shonnie Scarola.

  

Floral Handbook 1870

(Another Version)

 

  

Floral Handbook from 1871

n

  

Floral Handbook from 1872

 

 

Floral Handbook from 1873?

 

The cover of this Floral Handbook is nearly identical from the one pictured above.  They are from around the same time, but this one is called Volume IV.  This could be from 1874.

 

Floral Handbook from 1874

  

 

Floral Handbook from 1876

  

 

Two versions of the same Floral Handbook.  The second one pictured has color added to the page border.

 

Floral Handbook from 1876

 

Floral Handbook from 1877

   

n

 

Later Floral Handbooks featured colorful & exotic scenes

 

Floral Handbook Cover from 1878

 

 

Floral handbook from 1879

 

 

Cover Pages from Floral Handbooks 1879

 These may also have been used as Trade Cards (see examples below).  They have been found this way.  There is also the possibility they are the cover page to a missing Floral Handbook.

      

 

Floral Handbooks from after 1877 (“Ladies’ Calendar” is no longer part of the title).

 The exact date is not indicated on these handbooks.

 

 

 

Floral Handbook from 1880

 

 

Floral Handbook from 1880

 (Another Version) 

  

Floral Handbook (date unknown) probably from the 1880’s

  

Floral Handbook (exact date is unknown) c. 1880’s

  

 

Burnett’s Floral Handbook (examples of pages inside)

Various Burnett products are described along with customer testimonials.  Some pages have been used earlier in this text in conjunction with a particular product.

   

   

   

     

   

 

  

EXAMPLES OF THE LADIES’ CALENDAR FROM 1870 AND 1874

 The 1870 version includes a calendar for the year which also has dates of solar and lunar eclipses for that year.  A calendar (date book) for each month was included with space for daily memos.

 

The 1874 version includes a calendar for the year plus a more extensive almanac of celestial events.  It does not, however, include the monthly memoranda calendar.

   

 

PROPRieTARY TAX (Revenue) STAMPS

“The stamps date from a twenty-one year period, 1862-1883, during and after the Civil War, when special taxes were levied by Congress (Section “C” of the Revenue Act, 1862) on matches, proprietary medicines, perfumes, and playing cards, AND the manufacturers of those goods were allowed to design their own stamps, and to have their own dies and plates made. Companies paid a flat fee to the holder of the printing contract (initially Butler & Carpenter, then National Bank Note, then American Bank Note, and for the final three years, the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving) for the creation of the dies and plates, and received a discount on the printing costs, PLUS essentially free advertising. The implied government endorsement of their products (that "U.S.INTER.REV.") didn't hurt either. Over 500 firms took advantage of the opportunity. Many of them also produced Advertising Covers as well, making that a popular joint collecting area.”  The act was briefly revised during and immediately after the Spanish-American War (1898-1900). [Editor’s note.]

Thanks to Bill Senkus  for permission to use his quote. Visit his website at http://alphabetilately.com.

 

EXAMPLES OF BURNETT (Private Die) PROPRIETARY TAX STAMPS

   

“The Joseph Burnett Company's private die stamps were issued from November, 1870 through August 23, 1882.  122,469 were issued on old paper, 575,221 on silk paper and 558,033 on pink and watermarked papers. The copy shown below is on pink paper.  After the tax ended the company had facsimile stamps printed for their eye salve. These vary in many details from the originals.”

 

 

BURNETT PROPRIETARY TAX STAMP (PRIVATE DIE) PRINTED ON PINK PAPER NOV. 1870

 

 

3 cent (THE DATE IS UNREADABLE) &

4 CENT (1866) PROPRIETARY  TAX STAMPs

Stamped on the face of the 4 cent stamp; Burnett & CO. Oct. 30, 1866, Boston

Thanks to Eric Jackson revenue stamps,

@ www.ericjackson.com

A premiere source of proprietary stamps.

 

REVENUE STAMPS FOR MEDICINES 1868 

Stamped on the face; Joseph Burnett & Co., Boston on the left; Feb 11, 1868, and on the right; May 28, 1868.

 

 

ENCASED POSTAGE STAMPS

Around the time of the civil war there was a critical shortage of coins in the United States.   In 1862 the postal currency bill was adopted which allowed postage printed on cards to be used as currency.

John Gault, a Boston businessman, submitted a design patent (granted on August 12, 1862) for a postage stamp case made of brass with a mica front into which a postage stamp could be installed.   Used as currency, these encased stamps became popular for a few months only, as the post office department refused to sell Mr. Gault the necessary stamps.  They felt he was competing with their postal cards, which were also used as currency.   This seems strange in light of the fact it was a win-win situation for the post office in either case.   If he was allowed to sell encased postage, Mr. Gault would have had to buy the necessary stamps from them anyway. 

The encased postage stamps were used by 35 companies, including the Joseph Burnett Company, who saw this as a unique way to advertise.  The “coins” were issued in denominations of from one to ninety cents.  All are very scarce today as they were used for such a short time. 

According to Michael J. Hodder and Q. David Bowers in The Standard Catalog of Encased Postage Stamps, copyright 1989 by Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc.(also quoted above), “The Joseph Burnett Company used; 1 cent, 3 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 12 cent, 24 cent, 30 cent, and 90 cent postal denominations.  …the Burnett Company commissioned two different encasements to advertise the company’s line of cooking extracts, and the other to advertise its personal care products.  A complete denomination series, 1 cent to 90 cents, was ordered for [the cooking extracts line].  It is likely that a complete run was also commissioned for the [line of personal care products], but the evidence from surviving denominations is equivocal.”   We have images of the 1 cent through 90 cent denominations, they range from scarce to extremely rare and are difficult to find.  Only a few examples of each exists and the 90 cent denomination is, according to the authors, considered unique. [editor’s note: a 90 cent “Burnett’s Standard Flavoring Extracts” encased postal was featured in a September 2007 Heritage Auction.  For more information about these auctions, their website is @ http://currency.ha.com/.

Pictured below are examples of the Burnett encased postals.  We have not seen several of the encased postals for the Joseph Burnett Company, so we have placed a Burnett advertisement backing with examples of these denominations used by other advertisers in order to give the reader an idea of how they would have looked.  Note that each coin bears the patent date and grantee, J. Gault. 

For those wishing to see other examples of encased postage stamp coins, or wish to collect them, as well as other historic antiquities, please see:  www.liveauctioneers.com

 

ENCASED POSTAGE ADVERTISING BURNETT’S COCOAINE, KALLISTON, AND TOILET WATERS

 ONE CENT

 

 

THREE CENT

 

  

FIVE CENT

 

 

TEN CENT

  

TWELVE CENT 

 

TWENTY-FOUR CENT 

   

THIRTY CENT 

   

NINETY CENT 

 

ENCASED POSTAGE ADVERTISING BURNETT’S STANDARD COOKING EXTRACTS

 ONE CENT

 

 

THREE CENT

  

FIVE CENT 

 

TEN CENT 

  

TWELVE CENT 

 

TWENTY-FOUR CENT 

 

THIRTY CENT 

 

NINETY CENT

 

This last set of encased postage coins are ads for the Burnett Company’s cooking extracts which should be included with the Burnett Food Product Advertisements section.  We elected to include them here to show the viewer the entire Burnett issue of these coins. 

 

In Case you missed these 2 Sub-Pages Referenced Above

Brief History of T. Metcalf Company

Burnett Supplement

 

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