Warner’s decision to use the “Safe” from his earlier business as the trademark for his patent medicine business was nothing short of genius. Think about it, what is more important to a person using any type of medicine (even today)……the medicine should alleviate the undesirable condition but, just as importantly, it should not harm the patient. In other words, it should be “safe.” This idea was undoubtedly as important to consumers in the 19th Century as it is today.
The word “Safe” and the image of the Safe convey that promise in a very concise way. Over the years, the Warner’s Safe as depicted on the labels of the Safe Cures and Remedies evolved and it is interesting to watch that evolution. The earliest versions were much more detailed and included, not only the image of the Safe, but also other available Warner products like the Safe Rheumatic Cure, Safe Pills and Safe Nervine. The Safes were later modified to reflect the opening of new foreign offices such as Toronto, Frankfurt or Melbourne and added other products like the Diabetes Cure. The arrival of early Food & Drug regulations caused the Safe to reflect Remedies rather than Cures. In the waining years of the Warner empire, the image of the safe lost its detail and became merely a trademarked image. And yet, throughout all the evolutions, the Safe conveyed the same message – that the user could rest assured that Warner’s product would do no harm. Pretty smart.