Warner’s Safe Cure Blog Images on Pinterest

Safe Cure Blog on Pinterest


In addition to the social media that most of us are familiar with, there is another genre that I was marginally familiar with, but had not paid it much attention. It is the whole group of social media sites devoted to “pinning” images into, what amounts to, a virtual scrapbook. Chief among these so-called pinning sites is Pinterest.

Periodically, I search for images of Warner’s Safe Cure bottles and ephemera to use on this blog. As a rule,  I try to ask permission of the person who owns the image, before using it. I find that most folks, including auction sites, are willing to allow me to use the images provided I give them credit.  However, I started to see a trend of many of my Warner’s pictures, or those I had obtained permission to use, showing up on sites without any accreditation or permission. 

One of the really nice things about collecting Warner’s Safe Cures is that there is an almost unlimited supply of images, both of the bottles and of the advertising that help build the Safe Cure empire. My objective has always been for my blog to provide not only Warner’s Safe history, but also access to images. With that in mind, I have created my own Pinterest board devoted to Warner’s Safe Cure images. I am happy to share those images with interested collectors and would only ask for credit if they are reposted or reblogged.  I also welcome any contributions of Safe Cure images to add to the board. It will take a while to add all of my Safe Cure images to the board, but I hope you will check back regularly.

The address for my Pinterest board is: http://www.pinterest.com/jackson4060/warners-safe-cure-blog-in-photographs/.

Warner’s Safe Cure – Puric Acid?

Warner's Safe Cure - The Hamilton Journal News - 15 Mar 1895

This advertisement ran in the March 15, 1895 edition of The Hamilton Journal. In my research of newspaper advertising run by the Warner’s Safe Remedies Company and its successors, I have found that Warner often ran the same ads in different newspapers, probably to save on the costs associated with creating new ads; however, this ad in 1895 would have been after Warner left the company in 1893. It strikes the same tone and themes concerning kidney disease.

Perhaps the more interesting thing is the title “Puric Acid in the Blood.” I am not sure if this was a typo by the newspaper or just ignorance. To my limited medical knowledge, there is no such thing as puric acid. There is, of course, uric acid, which is a byproduct of the metabolic breakdown of “purines” and at high enough levels can lead to the development of gout, which is also mentioned in the ad. Perhaps that is where the confusion arose. Never fear….Safe Cure to the rescue!

Warner’s Safe Cure: Pressburg Diabetes Cure

Pressburg Diabetes Cure 5 Pressburg Diabetes Cure 1  Pressburg Diabetes Cure 3

Warner’s Safe Cures come and go on eBay. On any given day, there are dozens of them available for bid. Most of them are the ubiquitous Kidney & Liver Cure. But, every once in a while, a gem surfaces that catches everyone’s attention. Recently, one such gem emerged in the form of a Pressburg Diabetes Cure.

The Pressburg Diabetes Cure is, perhaps, the rarest Warner’s cure from the shortest existing foreign office in the Safe Cure empire. It is included in my “A List” of rare Warner’s Safe Cures and, prior to this sale, only one other was known to exist. The Pressburg Office existed for only two years from 1888 to 1890. When I wrote about the Pressburg Office back in July, 2008, I knew of only one example of the Pressburg Diabetes Cure. A labelled example, which was pictured. It now appears there are two.

The latest example was unlabelled and was listed by a seller from Poland. By the time the auction was over, the sale price had risen to an astounding $8735 driven by 49 bidders. I have to say that the final price suprised me. I knew the bottle would garner a nice price, but I had not envisioned a sales price approaching $9K. While I would love to say that it will be gracing my Warner’s collection, alas it is not so. As I have said many times, rare Warner’s Safe Cures do show up on eBay and other auction sites, but, unless you are watching, they too may come and go. One thing is for certain, they generate lots of excitement among collectors.

The photographs accompanying this post are courtesy of the seller.

Warner’s Safe Cure at Bolton’s Meat Market

For all of the Warner’s Safe Cure advertising I have seen over the years, I don’t recall seeing many examples of it in place. Given the volume of Safe Cure advertising, that’s pretty astonishing. Recently, however, I saw an example of a tintype on sale on eBay of the front of a meat market purportedly in New York. Sure enough, to the right of the market is a wooden fence plastered with Warner’s Safe Kidney & Liver Cure bills in various states of disrepair. The largest one appears to be a copy of the cardboard caddy in which the product was sold.  It’s a guess, but I would say the photo dates to the 1890’s.  Behold:

Bolton's Meat Market (Safe Cure Sign) 1

Some skillful enlargement of the photograph reveals both the detail of the Safe Cure bills and of the meat market’s sign. Special thanks to Brian Douglas for allowing me to use his photos, which, by the way, are still available for purchase on eBay : http://www.ebay.com/itm/321031652589?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2648

Bolton's Meat Market (Safe Cure Sign) 3

Bolton's Meat Market (Safe Cure Sign) 2

Warner’s Safe Cure: Nothings Says “Merry Christmas” Like……

Every family’s got one, the person who is impossible to buy a gift for. You spend weeks before Christmas searching for just the right thing, but nothing seems to fit the bill. What’s worse, the person won’t give you any hints or suggestions of something they need or like. Consequently, you are left to roll the dice on a gift that will either be a hit or a complete dud.  For some lucky folks 120 years ago, the answer was easy. Pickup a couple bottles of Warner’s Safe Cure for that hard to please relative.

Warmest wishes for the holidays and for a prosperous 2012! 

Warner’s Safe Cure: Safe Nervine Banner

Warner's Safe Nervine Banner

Over the years, I have seen plenty of examples of Warner’s Safe advertising. Most of it was designed to instill brand loyalty and to help the 19th Century consumer associate the safety and security of an iron safe with the protection of a line of patent medicines.  Apparently, retailers of Warner’s Safe Remedies were encouraged to extend the branding into their establishments. Presumably, this  extension took the form of display advertising not unlike the displays that manufacturers use today to attract customers. Perhaps one of the best examples of this type of display advertising was the canvas banner. These banners heralded  the product, along with a concise statement of its benefits. One such example is the above banner of Warner’s Safe Nervine, Safe Pills and Safe Kidney & Liver Cure.

We don’t know much about this particular sign, except that it may have come from Northeastern Massachusetts, where it was auctioned. The very bottom of the sign bears the words “Murphy, Pine St., Jersey City.” We must assume that Murphy was the  producer of the sign, but that does not help much. Special thanks to Tom at Walnutt Antiques for use of his pictures. If you can shed any light on the unique piece of advertising or on “Murphy,” please let me know.

Warner’s Safe Cure: The Morning Telegram (1903)

I am always on the lookout for advertising from Warner Safe Remedies offices outside the United States. While print advertising inside the US was prolific, the same does not seem to be the case with the foreign offices. Below is a print ad from The Morning Telegram of November 11, 1903, which at first glance appears to be from the London Office. However, when you take a closer look at the text toward the end of the ad, it directs the buyer to the Toronto Office at 44 Lombard Street.

My favorite part of this ad is that it claims to cure “Weak Women” from “a life of suffering and an untimely end.” Wow, what more can you ask?

Warner’s Safe Cure: Closing the Deal

Warner’s Safe Remedies Envelope

For all of the money that Warner poured into advertising in its various forms, he was not unmindful of the impact of personal communication with potential and existing customers. In the 19th Century, much the same as in the 21st, people respond best to marketing on a personal level.  This may have been even more important in Warner’s time, because people actually sat down and wrote letters to one another. Consequently, receiving personal correspondence from a merchant might well help close the deal. The above picture is an example of what one might have received in response to a letter to the Warner’s Safe Remedies Company. As you can see, very little space is wasted and the envelope is emblazoned with the image of the Safe Remedies Building, perhaps second only to the “Safe” as Warner’s trademark.

Undoubtedly, this envelope contained  yet more information to entice the prospective purchaser. This flow of information was designed to establish a personal connection with the recipient. After all, you are more likely to buy something from someone you know and trust than from a complete stranger. Warner knew this and exploited it as well as any other patent medicine manufacturer of the era. He wanted his potential customers to see Warner’s Safe Remedies as a source of helpful information that might not be readily available to them otherwise. This explains why his annual almanacs were so popular. They were crammed full of information (some of it accurate, but a lot that was not) and offers of assistance.

One of the perenial  offers that appears in Warner’s Safe Remedies advertising was for a urine analysis. For example, in his 1890 Almanac entitled “Safe Points,” Warner again extended this offer to his customers:

1890 Warner’s Safe Remedies “Safe Points” Almanac

It is impossible to say whether a drop of the gallons of urine that showed up at the Safe Remedies Building was ever really analyzed. More likely, the recipient received a form in response to his or her submission that detailed the dire state of his or her health. Fortunately, a return to good health was within grasp provided the person promptly purchase and consume a bottle (or bottles) of Safe Kidney & Liver Cure or Diabetes Cure or whichever Warner’s Safe Cure pertained.

This offer of help and information required an investment of time and money on the part of the consumer, but, at the same time, helped Warner close the deal. In effect, he was saying “I will help you, provided you follow my advice.” Many thousands of consumers did just that, making Warner a very wealthy man.

Warner’s Safe Cure: Dr. Diocletian “Dio” Lewis (1888)

It seems like every time that I think I have seen all there is to see in Warner’s Safe Cure paper, another piece pops up that grabs my attention. This is particularly true of Warner’s Safe Cure almanacs. Beginning in 1879-80, the Warner’s Safe Remedies Company, like many of its competitors, issued almanacs that contained a wide variety of helpful material, intersperced with testimonials and ads for products. When I first began collecting these almanacs, I wrongly assumed that there would be one for each year. I soon found, however, that, like baseball cards, different almanacs surfaced for the same year. Accordingly, there was no way to know whether you had them all, because no one seemed to have a comprehensive list. This is a roundabout way of saying that I am no longer smug enough to think that I have seen all the paper Mr. Warner and his company had occasion to put into circulation.

Case in point, an 1888 almanac featuring the countenance of Dr. Diocletian “Dio” Lewis (1823-1886), an apparently acclaimed temperance leader of the time. The contents of the almanac are the same as most Warner almanacs, a collection of testimonials and descriptions of various disease for which one or another of Warner’s Safe Cures can provide relief. The only mention of Dr. Lewis that I can see is on the front cover and it consists of the reproduction of a letter from Dr. Lewis endorsing Safe Cure. Amazingly, Dr. Lewis, who practiced homeopathy and states in his letter “…years ago I gave up the use of medicines…”, apparently suspended his convictions and downed a dose of Safe Cure that was “three times the prescribed quantity” in response to a serious kidney trouble. Go figure.

I think that the significance of the 1888 Dio Lewis Warner’s almanac is that it sounds a theme common to Warner’s Safe Cure advertising. The product is endorsed by noted physicians, so it must be beneficial. In the case of Dr. Lewis, he was no longer alive to argue the point. As if to drive the point home, the back cover of this almanac bears another testimonial letter from 1883 from R[obert] A. Gunn, MD.  The letter is subtitled “A High Endorsement.” Dr. Gunn claims to have been the Dean and Professor of Surgery of the United States Medical College and author of “Gunn’s New and Improved Hand-Book of Hygiene and Domestic Medicine.” While I was not able to confirm the existence of the United States Medical College, I was able to confirm the publication of Gunn’s Hand-Book, which appears to have been a self-help medical book of the day. As with Dr. Lewis, the strategy is the same, if Safe Cure is good enough for trained physicians, it must be good enough for you.

Warner’s Safe Cure: Artist’s Album (1888) – Part II

The Artist’s Album features some terrific graphics of both the Warner product line and its spurious claims. It is perhaps appropriate to start at the beginning with Safe Cure. It harkens back to the business that made Warner his first millions, the fireproof safe business. He modestly proclaims that he was “formerly the largest Safe dealer in the world” and provides the reader with a list of his available products.

Warner then moves on to another one of his original line of cures, his Diabetes Cure.  He distinguishes the two types of diabetes, insipid and sweet and notes the symtoms. However, he noted that the Diabetes Cure should not be used for kidney ailments, use only Safe Cure.

Next was the Rheumatic Cure, which also was supposed to be taken in concert with Safe Cure and Safe Pills. The claim promises that the “most obstinate rheumatic disorders disappear” if the treatment is maintained long enough to produce effects. I am not sure how long, “long enough” is, but I would venture a guess that it is more than one bottle. It is also worth noting that one of the testimonials accompanying this portion of the Album is from Mrs. Carrie D. T. Swift of East Avenue in Rochester.  One might surmise that she was the wife of Warner’s chief astronomer, Lewis Swift. Nothing like a little family support.

The next featured standard cure was the Nervine, which Warner sold to those whose nerves were too frayed to produce a good night’s sleep.

This represents the first portion of the Artist’s Album and the bulk of Warner’s original line of cures. The remainder of the Album deals with other Warner remedies including his Log Cabin Remedies and his Tippecanoe Bitters. I will feature the remaining portions in a future post. Thanks again to Jon Moran for the images.