I’ve been doing this blog now for over 10 years and sometimes I struggle with trying to find new material that hasn’t been covered in one way or another. That accounts for my somewhat infrequent and spotty posting. Fortunately, there are other Warner’s Safe Cure collectors out there, who rescue me and help me find new material or even correct some of my misconceptions or erroneous conclusions. Enter Trevor Gatfield.
A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Trevor challenging a notion that I had posted back on June 11, 2008. Namely, that, even though Warner claimed to have a Dunedin (I used to misspell it Dundein – sorry to my Kiwi friends) Office, it may not have actually existed. https://warnerssafeblog.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/warners-foreign-offices-melbourne-1887-1915-and-dundein-1891-1900.
This conclusion was based upon the fact that I had never seen any evidence of a physical location in Dunedin. This can be compared with the offices in Rochester, London and Melbourne, among others, that had documented offices with published addresses in the contemporary literature. While Trevor did not have evidence of a building in Dunedin with a Warner’s Safe Remedies sign on it, he postulated that the Dunedin Office was, in fact, the office of Kempthorne, Prosser & Co., The New Zealand Drug Co., Ltd., who according to a December 22, 1900 article in the New Zealand Times were SOLE AGENTS for Warner’s Safe Cure. They were headquartered at 31 Stafford Street in Dunedin with other offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Kempthorne, Prosser preexisted the Warner’s Safe Remedies Co. having started in business in 1869 and lasted well after the remnants of Warner’s were long gone, closing its doors in 1978.
Trevor was kind enough to discover a couple photos of their offices; however, as of this date we do not have permission to use those photographs. We hope to link to them later with permission. In the interim, I found a picture of the Wellington Office as well as a advertising card from 1901.
While I don’t want to read too much into the apparent use of a Sole Agency as giving Warner’s Safe Remedies a physical presence in a foreign city, such as Dunedin, it might shed light on how Warner could claim a presence in other cities like Paris, Brussels, Belgium, Rangoon, Burma or Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The proof of such a hypothesis would require us to determine, which company, if any, held the sole agency for Warner’s Safe Remedies in those cities. Unlike Dunedin, which boasts the 4-Cities bottles, there are no bottles with embossing for Paris, Brussels, Rangoon or Kruezlingen. There is one French label Safe Cure and, of course, the mysterious “No City” Safe Cure that first appeared several years ago.
Thanks to Trevor for stirring this pot. Sometimes you need to take a second look at what seems to be established fact. Of course, we cannot know what H. H. Warner intended, but it’s fun to make some educated guesses. If you have any more information on Kempthorne, Prosser & Co. or its connection to the Warner’s Safe Remedies Co. as sole agent in New Zealand, please let me know.