So who is A. C. Meyer?


Death Dust sold by A. C. Meyer & Co., Baltimore, Maryland

So who is A. C. Meyer?

12 January 2014 (R•012514 – Salvation Oil Trade Card added)

Apple-Touch-IconAI have wondered before, with the last name Meyer, and being from Baltimore, if I was related in any way to A. C. Meyer who was a druggist in Baltimore. I have seen bottles, fielded questions and generally just scratched my head when the topic came up. I have done some pretty deep ancestry research with my family and I have not found the connection but I am reasonable sure it is there. That is another story. The other day I started thinking about A. C. Meyer again when Collectors Weekly posted the above image of A. C. Meyer’s Death Dust. “Harmless to People”. Uh roger that, Adolph.


A Gift for Young and Old, St. Jacob’s Oil, A. Vogeler & Co., Baltimore, Maryland –

The drug story with A. C. Meyer starts with August Vogeler who was born in Minden, Germany in 1819, and emigrated to the United States to Baltimore when 20 years old and entered the employ of the wholesale drug firm Smith & Atkinson. Five years later he established the firm of A. Vogeler & Company manufacturing drugs and chemicals and eventually built up a drug business and manufactured products such as St. Jacob’s Oil (see above and below) and Dr. August Koenig’s Hamburg Drops, Koenig’s Hamburg Breast Tea, Diamond Vera-Cura and Dr. Bull’s Family Medicines which will be addressed further below.


St. Jacob’s Oil advertisements – Left from Illustrated London Times, Right from Sacramento Daily Union, 31 August 1882


Charles A. Vogeler & Company advertisement – The Charles A. Vogeler Company’s book of health for the million, 1889

Vogeler & Company was located for a long period of time at Liberty and German Streets in Baltimore City. Charles A. Vogeler, August’s son, grew the business and was one of the pioneers of progressive patent medicine advertising and employed many novel schemes. Another son, Jerome Vogeler was also engaged in the drug business.


The one-cent black stamp (left) for A. Vogeler & Company was issued from June of 1874 until May 3, 1883. The Vogeler, Meyer private proprietary was issued from 1877 until April 6, 1883. A bull’s head was chosen to be on the stamp representing Dr. Bull’s Family Medicines. –

Adolph Carl Meyer, our “A. C.” was born in Bremen, Germany (where my family came from) on 31 May 1852 and emigrated to the United States in 1869. On 16 May 1877, Adolph married Florence Emily Jacobina Stellman. There was eventually an Adolph Jr. who worked with his father as he shows up in 1900 and later directory listings. In his early business years in Baltimore, Meyer was listed as a clerk, presumable at a drug store and probably Vogelers. During this time, he became a friend and business associate of Charles Vogeler, August’s Vogeler’s son. From 1878 to 1883, Vogeler and Meyer had various business relationships and were primarily wholesale druggists and importers and manufacturers of druggists and grocers specialities. The directory listing below certainly represents the various relationships.


Typical City of Baltimore Directory listing showing various business listings for Vogeler and Meyer.

Previously, in 1873, August Vogeler acquired the medicinal compounds of Reverend Dr. Bull (not the Dr. Bull in Louisville). Eventually in 1877, with the help of his partner, Adolph, the company promoted and sold Dr. Bull’s Family Medicines until shortly after the death of Charles Vogeler in 1882.


DR. J. W. BULL`S on right side. COUGH SYRUP. A. C. MEYER & CO. on front panel. BALTIMORE MD, U.S.A on left side. Almost 6″ tall, BIM tooled Sloping Collar. – bottlediggers


Two Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup advertisements emphasizing the appropriateness of the medicine for children.

drbullssignThe Dr. Bull acquisition included a cough syrup, Compound Pectoral, Pain Drops, and a blood mixture. While newspaper advertisements claimed that Dr. Bull’s was gentle and affective for children, The Great American Fraud: Articles on the nostrum evil and Quackery reprinted from Collier’s (October 1905) asserted that Dr. Bull’s original formula contained morphine (later replaced by codeine) resulting in several deaths. In follow-up advertisements around 1900, the safety of Dr. Bull’s was continually emphasized in illustrations of children receiving the medicine. A picture of a young mother giving her little girl Dr. Bull’s reads “A child’s stomach and brain are not to be trifled with. Some medicines cure coughs but injure otherwise-perhaps permanently. Dr. Bull’s is harmless, sure and quick.” Another advertisement shows a proud grandfather with his brood of vigorous grandchildren, “It may save your life some day – it has saved lots of others. . . it can’t hurt even the smallest or sickest child—and it cures.”


a later Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup advertisement – Los Angeles Herald, March 21, 1906

In 1883, A. C. Meyer purchased all interests of the partners and remained in business until his death 0n 4 February 1914.


Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup “The Peoples Remedy” trade card


Trade Card front by A. C. Meyer for Salvation Oil – Dave’s Great Cards Galore


Drexel’s Bell Cologne trade card sold by A.C. Meyer & Co., Baltimore, MD


1888 A. C. Meyer Druggist Advertising Cover, Baltimore Maryland to Rockville, Maryland – ebay

Select Milestone Dates: 

1852: Adolph Carl Meyer, born in Bremen, Germany on 31 May 1852

1870 – 1874: Adolph C. Meyer, clerk, 30 n. Greene, Baltimore City Directory

1877: A. C. Meyer & Co. (Adolph C. Meyer), druggists’ and grocers’ specialists, 86 Camden, Wood’s Baltimore City Directory

1877: Marriage to Florence Emily Jacobina Stellman on 16 May 1877

1878 -1883: Various relationships with August Vogeler, wholesale druggist. A. C. Meyer, importer and manufacturer of druggists and grocers specialities (see above)

1883: A. C. Meyer purchased all interests of the partners in 1883

1883 – 1914: A. C. Meyer & Co. (Adolph C. Meyer), druggists’ specialities, 116 & 120 W. Lombard, Son, with same name later work at same company – City Directories for Baltimore

1914: death 4 February 1914, Baltimore, New Cathedral Cemetery


Adolph Carl Meyer died on 4 February 1914 in Baltimore. Marker at New Cathedral Cemetery pictured

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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