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Records of M. H. Tucker and Company


Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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George W. Merchant, a druggist, began manufacturing his Gargling Oil in Lockport, NY, in 1833. Merchant's Gargling Oil was not meant to be gargled, as the name suggests, but used as a liniment. Like many 19th-century patent medicines, it was advertised to effectively treat numerous ailments, including rheumatism, burns and scalds, flesh wounds, toothaches, cracked heels, hemorrhoids, and sprains and bruises. However, one could take it internally if necessary, for conditions like stomach cramps.

Merchant's Gargling Oil was marketed as being for "Man and Beast." Made up of petroleum, soap, ammonia water, oil of amber, iodine tincture, benzene, and water, the original formula tended to stain human skin, so it was later made in two versions: yellow for animals and white for people.

Around 1855, Merchant sold the business to M. H. Tucker, who continued manufacturing the Gargling Oil. The company issued private die stamps in green and black from 1869 to 1883, as well as almanacs. In addition to the standard astronomical information, these almanacs contained testimonials regarding the effectiveness of the oil on various illnesses and instructions on how to use the oil.

The M. H. Tucker Company continued manufacturing Merchant's Gargling Oil until 1928, when the factory burned down.

The Records of the M. H. Tucker and Company consist of seven items, all pertaining to the company's Merchant's Gargling Oil. The collection includes several bills of sale, dating from from 1856 to 1857; undated testimonials; and an almanac for the year 1870.

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Chrissie Perella
Finding Aid Date
11 June 2018

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