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THEODORE METCALF COMPANY

 (Revision Date June 30, 2007)

A BRIEF HISTORY, ALONG WITH SOME ADS AND PRODUCTS FROM THE COMPANY AFTER JOSEPH BURNETT’S DEPARTURE

 

The following text is from Mr. Metcalf’s obituary

 This less than perfect image and some of the text of Theodore Metcalf was taken from an old library copy of “The American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record”, May 5, 1894.

 “Mr. Metcalf was born in Dedham, Mass., on January 21, 1812.  He was from old colonial stock, his ancestors having come from England and settled in Dedham in 1634.”  His ancestry was similar to Mr. Burnett’s. 

“At the age of fourteen, he went to Hartford, Ct., where he served an apprenticeship of seven years.  He remained in that city three years longer and in 1837 he came to Boston and engaged in business for himself at [33 later 39] Tremont Row, his establishment in time surpassing anything of the kind in the city.  While his success was not immediate he gradually forged to the front, afterwards well maintaining the lead he had taken.”

In 1845, after working as an apprentice, Joseph Burnett became a partner in the firm.  He sold his partnership in 1855 [Joseph Burnett moved to 41 Tremont Row and the following year to 57 Tremont Row prior to his move to a larger facility at 27 Central Street], and Thomas Doliber became a partner and “remained in the firm until 1883 (when his partnership) was dissolved. (See the Mellin Company connection below)”  “Mr. Metcalf’s next partner was F. A. Davidson, who is still (1894) connected to this house.  Some years ago a branch store was opened in the Back Bay.” 

“Mr. Metcalf was influential in elevating the position of pharmacist from the rank of a tradesman to that of a professional man.  The natural result of his persistent and consistent was the establishment of an immense business.  He had the intuitive perception of character which enabled him to surround himself with the best executive ability.  …some years ago he associated with himself a number of his leading employees (and placed) them in charge of the different departments, and incorporated the Theodore Metcalf Company, of which he was treasurer at the time of his death.” 

“He has been very active, too, in affairs outside his business, and of a very charitable disposition, and always ready to assist personally and financially all objects of a worthy and charitable nature.  Many young men will testify to the great assistance and encouragement given by him which enables them to prosecute successfully their aims in life.” 

“He was for more than 30 years the treasurer of the Channing House, the first president of the Boston Druggists’ Association, one of the founders of the American Pharmaceutical Association, one of the promoters of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, a trustee of the City Hospital and of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and one of the trustees and first presidents of the Catholic Union.” 

“Mr. Metcalf died on April 26th.  The Friday prior to his death was his last business day, the fatal illness overtaking him while returning home from his day’s work.  Until the last four years of his life, he devoted his entire time to the details of his extensive business.  His name was almost synonymous with the pharmaceutical trade of this city, while its reliability and integrity were unquestioned.” 

“Mr. Metcalf was married in 1864 and leaves behind his widow, a son, and four daughters.  His funeral was held at the Church of the Annunciation in Brookline.  In accordance with the wishes of the family, the pall-bearers were selected from the members of the firm of T. Metcalf Co., and his associates in business, and included: F. A. Davidson, E. W. Shield, M. F. Lyons, F. C. Montgomery, A. H. Loker, and G. T. Brown.  The internment was private and took place at Forest Hills (Cemetery).”1

 

AD FROM THE LATE 1800’S FOR THEODORE METCALF’S ROSE WINE 

       

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.

 “Metcalf's Coca Wine was one of a large number of cocaine-containing wines available on the market. All claimed medicinal effects, although they were undoubtedly consumed for their "recreational" value as well.” Coca wine contained 30 grains of Erythroxylum coca (from which Cocaine is made) per ounce of wine.2 

 

THEODORE METCALF’S ROSE WINE BOTTLE

        

The 3 sided label on this bottle is well preserved.  Also note the beautiful amber color of the bottle from the photo at the bottom right.  If you look closely you can see “Metcalf & Co.” and “Boston” embossed in the glass. 

We wish to thank Anthony Fratantoni, actually “The One ....and Only..... Original Propicker", and Dorothy Fratantoni for sending us the photos of this rare and wonderful bottle, and for their permission to use them on our website.

  

AD FROM THE TECH, MARCH 15, 1915 

 

T. METCALF’S SACHET POWDER 

 

T. METCALF’S FOOT POWDER 

T. Metcalf Co. logo. 

  

Photos courtesy of The Roosa and Ratliff Company.

 

Ad from 1906 introducing a new exotic flavored drink to the public

 

 

THEODORE METCALF PHARMACY AT 39 TREMONT STREET

Photo thanks to “Hello Boston” www.helloboston.com/BookFiles/05_Pages_081-100.pdf.

 

AD FROM POPULAR SCIENCE NEWS, 1886 

 

AD FROM MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE, 1896

(Please note that one of the agents is T. Metcalf & Co., Boston). 

 

THE MELLIN’S INFANT FOOD CONNECTION

 

This picture of the Executive Staff of Mellin's Foods was taken December 6, 1893 at the Parker House in Boston. 
 

 

Left to right top row, Joseph Larrabee, J.J Jones, M.D., Henry A. Snyder, Charles I. Fulsom, Charles M Phelps, John W. Cox, Clarence G. Stone, Seated: Charles H. Robbins, Thomas I Delano Jr., Richard W. Folsom, Thomas Doliber, President, Charles W. Cheney Vice President, Charles B. R. Hazeltine Floor: Howard Goodwin.


“Mellin's Infant Food was the creation of Gustav Mellin.  He was the owner of a pharmaceutical house in London and supposedly had copied the formula from Justis Von Liebig, a famous Dutch Chemist. He began producing the formula in the1870s. Theodore Metcalf was a successful druggist and chemist from (this time).  In addition to drugs he sold surgical instruments and some flavorings. Theodore Metcalf Company became agents for the United States and working for Metcalf were Thomas Doliber (middle of the picture above) and Thomas T. Goodale (who is not in the picture because in retired in 1893). The Doliber-Goodale firm moved Mellin's Infant Food to national prominence through skillful management and wholesale advertising. The jars are quite plentiful and can even be found in a sample size.”3

 

Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, AUGUST 1885

 

MELLIN’S INFANTS FOOD BOTTLE SOLD BY T. METCALF & CO., BOSTON

 

Photo thanks to waynesbottleworld@juno.com.

 

MELLIN’S INFANTS FOOD sample BOTTLE (obverse & reverse) 

Our thanks to DIGGER ODELL for these images.

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. 

 

VICTORIAN TRADE CARD PROMOTING MELLIN’S FOOD FOR INFANTS AND INVALIDS FROM T. METCALF & COmpany 

   

This is one of many beautiful trade cards from the Mellin’s Foods Company.  You can find more on the Web or at Auction Sites such as Ebay.
 

Interesting history and images of Theodore metcalf’s pharmacy in 1908 4

 

 

 
 
 
  
 
  

footnotes 

1 “American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record”, Vol. XXIV, No.16, New York, May 5, 1894.

2 Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, Michael Moore - Director, Donna Chesner - Administrator, P.O. Box 4565, Bisbee, Arizona 85603.

3 Digger O’Dell, www.bottlebooks.com, is an excellent source for bottle information.

4 Bulletin of Pharmacy, Vol. XXII, No. 1, Detroit, Michigan –January, 1908.  The Metcalf Pharmacy in Boston by Harry B. Mason. Thanks to Google Books and for their excellent achievement in placing much rare and historical data on their website is extremely helpful to the researcher in many fields of knowledge. Please see: http://books.google.com/books? For more information.

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History of Joseph Burnett's Company Personal and Medical Products

 

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