1887 booklet Merchant’s GARGLING OIL SONGSTER, songs and medicine

$50.00 CAD

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Fantastic front cover image of clown singing from song sheet. Nice image on back of Arabian horse. Quack medicine and songs!

Dream and Fate
Palmistry & C.
Inside of front cover is calendar for 1888. At the bottom of the first page, and carrying forward to bottom of subsequent pages is how to do Palmistry (fortune reading of palms).
Variety of interesting content: many Songs (e.g. ‘The Toboggan Slide’,’When Nelly Was Raking the Hay’,’The Scotch Brigade’...), information (e.g. ‘Practical Barn-Yard Knowledge’, ‘Dreams’…) and advertising (e.g.’A Paying Page for Farmers’, ’Merchant’s Vegetable Worm Tablets’).


Back cover has advertising of shop owner handing out this pamphlet:

Kirk Geary & Co. Wholesale DRUGGISTS 416 J. Street Sacramento Cal.

32 pages + covers.

Front cover has stains, some chipping and missing bits, back cover missing bit UL corner. Inside of covers toned. Paper inside browned.

6 ⅜” x 4”


Merchant’s Gargling Oil could trace its pedigree to 1833 Philadelphia, though it was manufactured in Lockport, New York. The first incarnation of the liniment was intended to cure almost any illness that could befall a domestic animal. The form intended for human use was not introduced until 1875. Four years earlier Merchant’s Vegetable Worm Tablets had made their appearance. Merchant’s Gargling Oil was then made in two versions, one for animals and one for people. The ointment for animal ailments was intended for surface wounds and skin ailments common to horses, cattle, sheep and poultry. A topical ointment was also made for human skin problems. Neither product was intended for internal use, despite the product name of gargling oil.

The Merchant’s Gargling Oil Company of Lockport, New York was founded by Dr. George W. Merchant, a druggist, in 1833, and initially sold to drivers of horses and mules alongside the Erie Canal. Dr. Merchant shrewdly marketed with the slogan “Good for Man and Beast”. By the end of the 19th century the product was sold worldwide and company was one of Lockport’s main industries. George W. Merchant sold the business to M.H. Tucker around 1855. Overall, Merchant’s Gargling Oil lasted almost 100 years, going out of business in 1928 when the factory finally burned down. The company ownership changed hands at least 3 or 4 times in the 19th century.