The power of distributing free samples of your product was not lost on Warner. Few patent medicine proprietors did a better job of getting their product into the homes of potential consumers. When Warner opened his new headquarters building at 72-78 St. Paul Street in Rochester, he devoted an entire floor of it to advertising and marketing his product. (See The Warner’s Safe Cure Building).
The free sample bottles you most often see ar the cylindrical bottles embossed “Free Sample/Warner’s Safe Cure Co./Rochester, N.Y.” The much rarer variety are those embossed “Free Sample/Warner’s Safe Remedy Co./Rochester, N.Y.” and those with labels or mailing containers are almost unheard of. I have attached the free sample card distributed by Warner to potential customers. As you can see, this card, which was probably obtained from druggists or grocers, allowed a customer to send off for a free sample and provided a list of the Warner’s Safe product line on the reverse of the card. Because the card required that the customer fill out, cut off and mail the bottom portion, they often show up with the bottom missing. The complete cards are much scarcer.
If you look at the reverse of the card with the list of the warner product line, you will see that the free sample promised was not the small cylindrical bottle, but rather an 8 oz (1/2 pint) size. As many times as I have looked at these cards, I had missed that detail. I would assume that the cylindrical bottles were simply distributed to druggists and grocers for in-store distribution.
There are also free samples of Safe Cure from the London office. These are pretty rare (especially the green). They are intriguing because they are miniature versions of the Safe Cure bottle. He also gave away free samples of the Safe Yeast. Looks like free stuff paid dividends for Mr. Warner.
Thanks to Ed Ojea and Jack Stecher for the last photo.