Having done this blog now for the last 3 1/2 years, I have found that I often go looking for one thing, but find something completely unexpected and oftentimes wonderful. Such is the case with The American Reformer. My initial research was to try and find out more about a fairly obscure Warner product called “Throatine”, which was produced in the early 1880’s and was the predecessor of the more well-known and equally rare Safe Asthma Cure/Remedy. I will save the particulars of Throatine for a subsequent post, but suffice it to say that I have yet to see a photograph of the product and no collector, that I am aware of, has an example of this product in their collection. So, “rare” would be a gross understatement.
In any event, my search started with Google, which, in turn, directed me to a publication called The American Reformer. Thanks to Google, the masthead is displayed above. Like most, if not all, of you, I had never heard of The American Reformer. The publication is subtitled “A Journal of Reform” and was published from the Tribune Building in New York City and commanded an annual subscription price of one dollar. My reading of excerpts of this publication revealed that it was essentially a newpaper devoted to the Temperance Movement with selected news and commentary devoted to the advancement of that movement. For those of you who are still scratching your head, the Temperance Movement advocated the prohibition of alcoholic beverages and ultimately reached its high water mark with the adoption of the 18th Amendment making Prohibition the law of the land. It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.
At this point, you are wondering what this has to do with Throatine. Well, it seems that Mr. Warner took a liking to The American Reformer or perhaps thought that it would help him reach new customers. I mean, who needs alcohol when you have Safe Cure? The 1884 editions of the Reformer contain a series of terrific full page ads for Warner’s Safe Cure products, including the elusive Throatine. Given the size of the ads, one would suspect that Mr. Warner was one of the Reformer’s best advertisers. Indeed, when Warner unveiled his new Safe Remedies Building in January, 1884, the Reformer devoted four and a half columns to the event under the headline “A Magnificent Business Block – Warner’s New Safe Remedy Building”. Clearly, they wanted to keep one of their top advertisers happy. The article appeared in the January 19, 1884 edition as follows:
The article has no byline and it would not be difficult to imagine that it was generated as a press release by the Warner Safe Remedies Company. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the detail provided on every aspect of the building. It is not short of praise for Mr. Warner. Indeed, in discussing his sagacity in erecting the new Safe Remedies Building on the site of the former Central Hudson Depot, the Reformer says:
Nothing was more logical, therefore, than that Mr. H. H. Warner should early secure the best location on [North St. Paul Street], and should plan to erect thereupon an edifice surpassing all of its neighbors in size and appearance, and in cost. It is the way of the man. He sees large opportunities as by telescope, while they are yet far off; he comprehends their promise with singular clearness; he acts with marvelous promptness and unfaltering decision.
The remainder of the article strikes a similar tone. The really amazing thing is that all of this appears in the pages of a temperance paper. In upcoming posts, I will feature some of the advertisements from the Reformer and discuss them in greater detail.