Fleury’s Wa-Hoo Tonic and the Mad Chinaman

Fleury's Wa-HooTonic_TC

Fleury’s Wa-Hoo Tonic Trade Card – Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History

Fleury’s Wa-Hoo Tonic and the Mad Chinaman

Apple-Touch-IconAI do not know what would possess a merchant or doctor to opt for putting a mean Oriental midget, chop sticks, a rat and a cat eating a rat on any advertising to market their product. This totally escapes me. Another great reason to collect trade cards and to be part of this great hobby. Where else would you see stuff like this?

Frank Fleury, M. D.

Dr. Frank Fleury was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania on 28 September 1841. He was the son of Jacob and Margaret (Hamilton) Fleury. He served three years at the drug business of Carter & Brothers in Erie, Pennsylvania before moving westward. In 1865, Dr. Fleury established himself in the drug business in Springfield, Illinois, which he conducted for some years. He was located at 505 Washington Street, on the north side of the square. He was noted as having a fine store that carried a large stock of drugs and toilet goods, and having an extensive trade. His prescription business was a special feature of the house and was noted as being exceptionally large.

In 1881, Dr. Fleury began the manufacture of the “Wa-Hoo Tonic” and won a wide reputation for this medicine. Fleury’s Wa-Hoo Tonic was made at the Fleury Medicine Company in Springfield, Illinois where he was chief proprietor. They manufactured several valuable medicinal remedies of tried and valuable merit among them are “Indian Herbs of Joy“, a remedy for diseases, arising from impurities of the blood of which four thousand bottles were sold in Springfield, and Fleury’s Tasteless Cascarine, a remedy for biliousness, headache and torpid liver. Later studies actually said this concoction was put up in a small wooden cylinder, which contained 45 grains of yellowish-white powder. Examination proved it to be subnitrate of bismuth and calomel, triturated through powdered cane sugar. Dr. Fleury also manufactured DuFay’s Magic Fluids which was noted as selling ten thousand bottles at one time.

Dr. Fluery was married on June 25, 1868 to Miss Annie M. Herndon, of Springfield and they became the parents of one daughter. Dr. Fleury died on August 28, 1910 in Springfield.

I could find images for two trade cards that are represented in this post. A third trade card was described as a rectangular card, horizontal display, showing a little girl holding a large bowl in her lap with “Fleury’s/ Wa-Hoo/ Tonic” across the front; she holds her spoon up at begging dog to her right, as if scolding; back is vertical, details uses for this “great blood purifier & system renovator”. It is held at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

I could find no pictures of bottles of this brand.


Fleury’s Wa-Hoo Tonic ingredients – Kansas State Board of Health, Biennial Report, Volume 4 – 1909


Full page advertisement for Fleury’s Wa-Hoo Tonic within Kramer’s general business directory : containing an accurately selected and classified list of the leading manufacturers, jobbers, wholesale and retail dealers, professional and business men of Northern Indiana (1885)


Frank Fleury ObituaryHistorical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Volume 3 – Munsell Publishing Company, 1912


Fleury’s Wa-Hoo Tonic Trade Card – Florida University Libraries

References: History of Sangamon County, Illinois: Together with Sketches of Its Cities … By Inter-state Publishing Company (Chicago, Ill.)

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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