Weeks and Potter – Wholesale Druggists – Boston, MA

Weeks and Potter was a large company operating in Boston at 360 Washington Street in the late 19th and early 20th century. Bottle collectors will know them first for such popular items such as SANFORD’S JAMAICA GINGER, Sanford’s Radical Cure, CUTICURA and others.

The company later became the Potter Drug and Chemical Company.

Andrew Weeks and Warren Potter sold both retail and wholesale drugs in their business careers and represented many brands as an “agent” (today we would call them a distributor) These brands include Fetridge’s Balm of 1000 Flowers, The Ayer Company (think Ayer’s Sarsaparilla), Kidder & Osgood, and Schenck’s Pulmonic Balsam.

I own a hardcover catalog from the company from the late 19th c. which has about 150 pages detailing their inventory. Hope to get more info from that catalog online in the future.

Here are some other items of note from Weeks & Potter:

Neptune’s Nectar

The New Appetizer and cur for Dyspepsia and Billiousness. Distilled from Sea Products, and highly recommended by the best physicians. Put up in attractive non-breakable packages, two dozen to a case. Sells at sight. Pays handsome profits to the retailer. A fine colored lithograph with every five case order. Retail price 25 cents.

Sanford’s Camphor Ice

The trade should always be ready to purchase an article which sells and pays a large profit. Such an article is “Sanford’s Camphor Ice” Neatly and handsomely put up, it is an ornament to any counter.

Beef, Iron and Wine

Our preparation has been much improved since we first introduced it, and we are ready to guarantee it equal, at least, to any make on the market. As we are large importers of wines, we are able to secure a good selection, and the wine used in our “Beef, Iron and Wine” is one of the best flavored wines we keep. You may find it economical to handle this instead of your own make. You should look into the matter, get your figures and samples and see what we can do. We will bottle it for you, with YOUR label, at $4.50 per dozen full pints, if you order 12 dozen at a time, or we will sell you in bulk in quantity as desired.

Of Note

Companies like this provided private label products for local druggists and merchants. This helps explain the large number of products found with labels from small towns. There were not thousands of manufacturers but I suspect there was quite a bit of private labeling of products at this time. Of course the practice continues today…

Cuticura

Cuticura is the great Skin Cure, a medicinal Jelly. Price 50 cents. Large boxes $1.00

Cuticura Resolvent is the new Blood Purifier. Pitched as “The Cuticura System of resolving and eliminating All Constitutional Humors” Price $1.00

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup

I’m sure Mrs. Charlotte Winslow would be a popular woman in any era – who wouldn’t be if they were famous for dispensing a morphine laden medication that was sure to soothe…and get you entirely stoned in the process.  You will find plenty of discussion of opiate addiction in the 19th century – thanks to the institutionalization of the drug into medicines and other products.

Common to bottle collectors are the cylindrical vials marked “Mrs Winslows – Soothing Syrup – Curtis & Perkins – Proprietors” which are about 5 inches tall and about 1-1/4″ in diameter.  They are found with both an open pontil mark as well as with a smooth base.  Earlier examples have an inwardly rolled lip which later became a better formed tooled square lip.

Curtis and Perkins were druggists in Maine who became the agents for this medicine in the 1840s.  They later moved their operation to New York City in the 1850s.

Various agents continued the product into the 2oth century.  No doubt the Pure Food and Drug Act forced its retirement it in short order.

Pacific  Medical and Surgical Journal, 1873 reports a Providence, RI death by ingestion of Winslow’s Soothing Syrup.