Dr. W. B. Fuller’s Anti-Dyspeptic Bitters – Uniontown, Penn.
11 September 2015
Always nice to get information that inspires some research on a bitters brand that I am unfamiliar with. In this case the Dr. W. B. Fuller’s Anti-Dyspeptic Bitters from Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Andy Regrut sent in the following e-mail with the advertising trade card pictured at the top of this post.
Hi Ferd, Talked to you at the Baltimore show about this bitters trade card. Never seen a bottle in my forty-five years of collecting. My guess is the bottle was labeled. – Andy
When we are looking at advertising trade cards I next go to bitters ephemera authority Joe Gourd in Chicago to see if he is holding any paper. As usual, he was as you can see from the fine trade cards below that he provided for support.
Ferd, Here you go. The cards are all stock cards used to advertise a variety of products. However, Fullers 08 (last card in series) is interesting because of the use of a technique called trompe l’oeil. It is a design intended to create the illusion of a three-dimensional object. Looking forward to see what you uncover about Fuller in your post. Regards…………. Joe
The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows. Kind of minimal. No bottle recorded. I suppose Bill will update slightly in the forthcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2.
F 94 DR. W. B. FULLER’S ANTI-DYSPEPTIC BITTERS
Prepared by Dr. W. B. Fuller, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
Dr. Smith Fuller and Dr. William B. Fuller
Most of the time when you see” W.” as the first initial you start with “William” in your search efforts. This worked again when I searched William B. Fuller in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Uniontown is a city in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, located 46 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and now part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. Popularly known as Beesontown, “The Town of Union” was founded by Henry Beeson on July 4, 1776, coincidentally the same date the United States Declaration of Independence was ratified.
The Fuller family seemed to have lived in and around Uniontown for a century or two. Our Dr. Smith Fuller, the father, was born in Somerset County Pennsylvania in 1818. By 1843, Dr. Fuller was partnered with C. B. Snyder and William Quail in a new drug business in the western room of the Downer building. This firm lasted only about eighteen months in this room. Dr. Fuller then embarked in the drug business on Morgantown street. We can next place him in Uniontown by 1849. His son William B. Fuller, was born in 1850.
On November 6, 1867, at the opening of Broadway, Dr. Smith Fuller purchased some property and converted the residence part into a business room, and Daniel Huston, the veteran merchant tailor was the first to occupy the new room. He moved his store to here in 1868, and styled his place of business “The Gold Mine,” and here remained in business until 1881, when he sold out to John Lynch & Co., and retired permanently from business.
Dr. Fuller next built a frame house where he lived for some time with his wife and son William. Dr. Fuller next erected a small, one-story frame building on his lot which he used as an office in the latter part of his medical practice.
We first see William B. Fuller as a clerk in a drug store, at 19 years old, probably with his father as noted on an 1870 United States Federal Census. They were living in Uniontown West Ward, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His mother was Jane R. Fuller (42), also brothers Frank M. Fuller (15) and Smith Fuller (13). In the 1880 United States Federal Census he was listed as a druggist. His advertisements said he had a laboratory. Interesting, I can find no record of this training to be a physician.
Dr. W. B. Fuller said his bitters product was a purely vegetable compound. One testimony on back of one of the advertising trade cards above says that a fellow took three bottles of Fuller’s Anti-Dyspeptic Bitters because he suffered from stomach troubles which so deranged his liver that his face became yellow as saffron, his urine was the color of soot, he also had no appetite, and if he ate, he would throw it out of his stomach which looked as green as grass. Amazing stuff.
William B. Fuller would die in 1895 so the bitters was probable made between 1880 and 1895. Most likely a labeled bottle. Ironically he died of liver disease which his bitters we said to cure. He also put out Dr. W. B. Fuller’s Neuralgia Powders which was a permanent cure for nerve pain.