The Rise and Fall of the Warner Empire (Part II)

Warner’s Almanac 1879-1881 Front CoverWarner’s Almanac 1879-1881 Back CoverWarner’s Remedies LaboratoryPart of the attractiveness of Warner’s Kidney & Liver Cure was no doubt the fact that Warner had personally benefitted from its medicinal properties. In 1879, he was beset by some form of kidney ailment for which his physicians had no treatment. It is unclear if this was the infamous Bright’s Disease that became a staple of the Safe Cure label. In any event, Warner obtained considerable relief from the patent medicine of another Rochester “physician,” Dr. Charles Craig, who had sold the rights to manufacture his concoction to investors from New York City in 1877. Having been miraculously cured, Warner embarked on the enterprise that would allow him to amass his second fortune.

He purchased the proprietary rights to Craig’s cure from the investors and Warner’s Safe Kidney & Liver Cure was born to great fanfare. The new venture was heralded in the Rochester Union and Advertiser on July 5, 1879. Warner established his operation on Exchange Street. Warner understood that the secret to success was  offering every person the ability to heal him or herself. The invitation was gratefully accepted. To ensure that his brand was firmly established in the mind of the public, Warner embarked on a campaign of advertising in newspapers, almanacs, trade cards and every other conceivable medium to carry his message. The limitations on marketing in those days were stark. Essentially, a manufacturer, such as Warner, were limited to the print media. There would be no broadcast media for decades, until radio opened that frontier. Nevertheless, Warner took full advantage. Apart from his bottles, his advertising, which graces the collections of many Warner enthusiasts. His advertisements were loaded with both practical information (calendars, recipes, legal advice, etc) as well as with testimonials from others who had benefited from his Cure (clergy, politicians and celebrities). The hook was set and demand grew…and grew…and grew.

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