Saturday, January 7, 2012

Doan's Pills

I am going to share a story that might be a little stretch of the imagination to include it in the "Shopping Saturday" theme. The story is about my great-grandparents George and Rebecca [Richards] Hartley. While researching for stories to include in the Hartley family history I was working on, I came across several articles in an old newspaper that featured my great-grandparents endorsing a medical product called Doan's Pills. The name of the product sounded so familiar to me, but I couldn't place it. What are Doan's Pills? I kept digging. (See the Wikipedia article on Patent medicine.)

I had no idea George and Rebecca were part of the medical industry's marketing. George was a jeweler and watch maker by trade. After I found several of their product endorsements for Doan's Pills in the newspapers, I had to include the story in the family history. I love to use photos to help make the stories come alive, so I went searching on for an old Doan's Pills bottle that I could buy. I was lucky and won the bid for the little bottle.

Ogden Standard Examiner
I can imagine my great-grandparents going into the local drug store and buying their Doan's Pills as part of their weekly trip into town. I knew they grew a garden, so I wonder what else they bought while they were in town. I wonder even more how they got involved in the marketing of Doan's Pills.
A Reputation
How It Was Made and Retained in Ogden
  A good reputation is not easily earned and it was only by hard, consistent work among our citizens that Doan's Kidney Pills won their way to the proud distinction attained in this locality. The public endorsement of scores of Ogden residents has rendered invaluable service to the community. Read what this citizen says:
  George Hartley of 2806 Adams ave., Ogden, Utah, says: "Mrs. Hartley has used Doan's Kidney Pills with great success in the treatment of kidney complaint and backache. Upon the advice of a friend we procured this remedy at W. S. Badcon's drug store and in a short time we found that Doan's Kidney Pills lived up to the representations made for them in every particular. We can recommend them as the best kidney remedy we ever knew of and believe that they will do more for that trouble than anything else procurable."
  For sale by all dealers. Price 50 cents. Foster-Milburn Co., Buffalo, New York, sole agents for the United States.
  Remember the name - Doan's - and take no other. (This advertisement, published in The Ogden Standard Examiner, was repeated throughout the year during 1906, 1907, and 1908. Similar advertisements appeared in The Box Elder News during 1912. See Utah Digital Newspapers online for copies of the newspaper articles.)


TCasteel said...

When I saw Doan's Pills, like you, it struck a chord in my memory... But I don't know why :-)
So familiar yet I cannot put my finger on it. Perhaps an old advertising campaign.
Theresa (tangled trees)

Fran Jensen said...

I agree. Even after more research and discovering what Doan's Pills are, I still can't remember why it rings a bell for me. Maybe my subconscious is remembering TV or radio ads, or maybe newspaper ads... just don't know what rings a bell for me and why.

ldave45 said...

Doans Pills are still sold today; they are a salicylate NSAID like common aspirin but they are magnesium salicylate; magnesium acts as a mild muscle relaxant, they are usually used by those with mild persistent back pain. They have been on the market for over 100 years in essentially the same formulation; the kidney reference is no longer on the package, they are considered effective as an analgesic. They probably look familiar because they're on the shelf next to the Motrin, Advil and Bayers at WaLMart and were advertised on tv until the 1990's.

J said...

Wow...Doan's Pills. I remember this product in my household as a young child; Doan;s Kidney pills. I'm not sure what they were used for. I think it came in a green can/tube. This is gong way back. Thanks for sharing.

Sinji Yang said...

I have a Doan's 1917 ad telling its new label and price list.
I looked up for what Doan's is, and found your story. Interesting.
The ad is already 100 years old (?) :-)