Most collectors correctly assume that the trade mark for Warner’s Safe Cure was the “Iron Safe,” as Warner characterized it. In today’s world of mass marketing, this practice is referred to as “branding.” Product manufacturers want the public to associate a certain symbol with their product; preferably a symbol that is easy to recall. For example, if you saw a running shoe with a swoosh, you would know instantly that it was Nike, without having to ask who made it. That practice was undoubtedly at work among those who marketed patent medicines in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. For Warner, his brand was symbolized by the Safe; however, he had other elements to what Atwater calls his “perfect pitch.”
Warner cultivated the notion that his cures were a secret blend of rare herbs gathered from three continents. The more exotic, the better. Early on, in addition to the Safe, Warner chose the image of a black man with a basket on his back in a tropical setting gathering the ingredients for Safe Cure. The image was set inside the outline of a Safe. This image appeared in the 1882 Prize Enigmas pamphlet and as late as 1891 in the Names Book. It was also engraved on the private proprietary tax stamps that sealed Warner Remedies. Mention of it is also made on the labels of early Kidney & Liver Cure bottles as follows:
THIS MEDICINE IS NOT GENUINE IF THE PRIVATE SIX CENT REVENUE STAMP OVER CORK REPRESENTING SAFE & NEGRO GATHERING HERBS BE BROKEN TAMPERED WITH OR MISSING.
While understandably repugnant today, this image of the native gatherer became second only to the Safe as Warner branding. it was an important part of the illusion created by Warner to attract those keen on restoring their health for $1.25 a bottle.