Warner’s Safe Cure in Paris?

In his quest to extend his patent medicine empire around the world, H. H. Warner made stops in Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Dundein and Pressburg. But why did he apparently miss the opportunity to open foreign offices in places like Rome, Madrid, Moscow or Paris? That may be a question that is lost to history, but there is evidence that Warner marketed his products beyond the cities embossed on his bottles. Perhaps the best evidence of this can be found in his advertising and in at least one of his bottles.

The 1891 Almanac is particularly interesting. It is entitled “Census Statistics” and depicts eight arms reaching toward a box of Warner’s Safe Cure. On the sleeve of each arm is the name of one of the Warner foreign offices: Frankfurt, Pressburg, Toronto, Melbourne, Dundein, London, Rochester and Rangoon, Burmah. That’s right, Rangoon. To me knowledge, no one has ever found a Warner’s Safe Cure embossed Rangoon or bearing a Burmese label. And yet, the almanac puts Rangoon alongside Warner’s other established offices.

The second piece of advertising that suggests a broader foreign market is a flyer issued by Warner’s London office. The flyer provides Warner’s London address on Laystall Street, but just below that it states “ALSO AT PARIS, KREUZLINGEN, BRUSSELS, &c.” This would seem to suggest that Warner’s Safe Cure had made it to France, Switzerland and Belgium in addition to Burma. As with the Rangoon Office, no one has unearthed a Safe Cure embossed Paris, Kreuzlingen or Brussels. Having said that, there is one additional piece of evidence which confirms that Warner had, in fact, targeted the French market.

Above is the only known example of a French labelled Warner’s Safe Cure. Although the label is clearly in French and designed for Parisian consumers, the bottles is embossed London. Had this bottle been tossed into a trash pit and its label destroyed, it would be just another London Safe Cure. This proves that Warner not only marketed his Safe Cure in countries beyond his foreign offices, but that he may have done so by using a bottle embossed with a known office, such as London, and a label for the new market. Based upon this evidence, it may be that Warner’s Safe Cure actually made it to Burma, but used a bottle embossed Melbourne or 4-Cities or that one was available to the Swiss in Kreuzlingen but contained in  a bottle from Frankfurt.

One thing is for sure, the Warner’s Safe Cure empire was larger than his embossed bottles  would suggest.


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