The Morley Brothers
30 October 2013 (R•110113)
I like to stay in touch with my bottle friend, Brad Seigler, another Texan, in his pursuit of great and elusive Texas medicine and drug store bottles. We see each other once a year at the Houston Bottle Show (this state is big) and he has been out to Peach Ridge a few times. I have been learning a lot about Texas bottles which seem to anchor me in Houston. Last night I saw a post by Brad on facebook with his newest drug store bottle. “Wonderful Eight” by the Morley Brothers from Austin, Texas.
“Here is a nice one I picked up this week, a “WONDERFUL EIGHT, MORLEY BRO’S, AUSTIN TEX” bottle. This one is the crudest of the four examples of the Texas versions I have come across, and by far, the nicest. The history of the Morley Brothers is very interesting. David Cole has the two rarest of all Morley meds from Austin (see picture further below). They are both huge meds made like bulls sarsaparilla bottles, and contained Buchu Gin for the Kidneys.”
The Morley Brothers founded their wholesale and retail drug house in Austin, Texas in 1874. Their address was 206 E. Sixth Street. They were also manufacturers of patent medicines. S. K. Morley resided and took care of the business in Austin while his brother, W. J. Morley lived in St. Louis and managed the house and laboratory. Both were born in Indiana (S.K – abt 1845 and W.J. abt 1848). Both parents were from England.
In the early 80s, Grove Drugs (see left picture) closed its doors after 100 years of operation, leaving the future of the building up in the air. It was redeveloped in 1998. Ever since, the owners of the building have been leasing it to office and retail companies. Besides being old, the Grove Drug Store building has some really cool design, such as glass tiles in the sidewalk, for example. There are also stained glass windows commemorating the establishment of the original Morley Brothers druggists back in 1874. The author O. Henry once lived in Austin and worked briefly as a pharmacist’s assistant at the Morley Brothers in 1894. The store was renamed from Morley Brothers to Grove Drug Store in the 1930s.
The Morley Brothers were very prominent and had many products such as Liver and Kidney Cordial, Barber’s Hair Dye, Lemon Chill Cure, T-X-S Hair Tonic (pictured below), 2 Bit Cough Syrup, T-X-S Liver Pills, Kay’s Kentucky Liniment, Kay’s Kentucky Condition Powders, Blackberry Balsam, Wonderful Eight (pictured at top of post), Aromatic Elixir Ginger, Oridonto for Teeth, German Sarsaparilla, Dr. Baker’s Tip Top, Marvelous Mexican Medicine etc.