One of the harder to find Warner’s Safe promotions is the Safe Thermometer. Only a few have survived, probably because they are essentially cardboard and would not have fared well if exposed to the outside elements. The notations next to the glass tube clearly anticipate that this device was intended to be used outside as they include “Freezing,” “Tempe Rate,” “Sumr Heat,” and “Blood Heat.” The meaning of the terms “Tempe Rate” and “Blood Heat” are odd, but may have meant something to someone in the 1890’s.
For a mere pittance of 25 cents (plus postage), this handy thermometer was yours. It was offered by the Warner’s Safe Cure Co. and the claim that it was “A Scientific Preparation Used By the Best People in Four Continents for the Past 20 Years” suggests that it was offered in the late 1890’s after H. H. Warner had been forced out. The interesting question relates to the boast of its use in four continents. By my count, Warner had offices in three continents: North America (Rochester and Toronto), Europe (London, Frankfurt, Pressburg) and Australia (Melbourne and Dundein). I am not sure what the fourth continent was, but perhaps this suggests that he was marketing Safe Cure in South America, since Asia, Africa and Antarctica seem unlikely. On the other hand, it may have been simple puffing.
The Warner’s Safe Thermometer represents yet another means by which Warner’s successors got the company name out among potential consumers. One thing is for certain, Warner’s bottles have stood the test of time better than his thermometers. Very few of these thermometers are known to exist and they are prized by Warner’s collectors.
Thanks to Jack Stecher for the photographs.