I love the graphics from Dr. Harter’s Cherry Bitters featured in this 1895 lithograph. It appears the dog is wearing a nurse hat with the product name on it, while playing a drum featuring a bottle of Dr. Harter’s Elixer on the drum itself. The young girl is waiting patiently, as if almost praying while waiting to be cured from her ailments. This lithograph indicates the products are “For Sale Here”, indicating this sign was probably placed in the drugstore window for attention to possible customers.
The Dr. Harter Family Medicine Company produced quite a bit of advertising in the late 1800’s when their products were found on every drugstore shelf in the U.S. In addition to the Cherry Bitters, the company produced Fever and Ague Pills, Pile Ointment, Little Liver Pills, Iron Tonic, Lung Balm, Soothing Drops, Dr. ChChoine’s Nerve Pills, Female Regulating Pills, and finally German Vermifuge Candy.
Collectors today can easily find their annual pamphlets which detailed their inventory of products, along with their prices. Founded in 1855 in St. Louis, MO, the company remained there until 1895 when the new owner, William Hayner of Hayner Distilling Co. fame moved the business to Dayton, OH, near his hometown. Ironically, Mr. Hayner married into the business by marrying the daughter of Samuel Harter, one of the company founders. When Mr. Harter died in 1890, Mr. Hayner married his daughter in 1891, and moved the company in 1895. Ironically he sold the business in 1901 to the San Antonio Drug Company. His next business venture didn’t do as well when he made the mistake of going headfirst into a distillery with the winds of prohibition looming ever so close. As you can imagine, the great experiment put Mr. Hayner out of business once and for all. Today collectors are still able to remember the Harter and Hayner family businesses with the myriad of collectibles each firm produced over their 70 year collective histories.