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Smith Brothers

      The Smith Brothers were makers of cough drops.

William Wallace Smith I (1830-1913) and Andrew Smith (1836-1894) were the sons of James Smith (c1800-1866) of Poughkeepsie, New York. James' family had emigrated from Fifeshire, Scotland, in 1831, and James had emigrated from St. Armand, Quebec in 1847. In New York, he opened a small restaurant, ice-cream parlor, and candy business, called "James Smith and Son". James Smith bought a cough drop recipe from a peddler named Sly Hawkins. In 1852, James developed lozenges and advertised them in the Poughkeepsie paper selling them to those "afflicted with hoarseness, cough or colds". William and Andrew inherited the business after their father died in 1866. The brand was then named "Smith Brothers Cough Drop". In 1872, to prevent drug stores from selling generic lozenges, they developed one of the first factory filled packages with trademark branding. On the packaging the word "Trade" appeared under the picture of William and the word "Mark" under that of Andrew, they were then incorrectly referred to as Trade Smith and Mark Smith. Andrew died in 1895, and William continued as president of the company almost up to his death in 1913. William was succeeded by his son, Arthur G. Smith (c1875-1936), who continued to expand the company by adding menthol drops (1922), cough syrup (1926) and wild cherry drops (1948). Arthur G. Smith had two sons: William Wallace Smith II (1888-1955) and Robert Lansing Smith (1891-1962). The trust funds that owned Smith Brothers stock in 1963 merged their company with Warner-Lambert. The last Smith Brothers Cough Drop manufactured in Poughkeepsie was made in 1972. They were then after manufactured by F&F Laboratories in Rockford, Illinois.


  • 1830 Birth of William Wallace Smith I
  • 1831 Emigration from Scotland
  • 1836 Birth of Andrew Smith
  • 1847 Emigration from Canada to Poughkeepsie, New York
  • 1852 Cough drops advertised in newspapers
  • 1866 Death of James Smith
  • 1870 Trademark bill defeated
  • 1872 Prepackaged cough drops introduced
  • 1876 Trademarks recognized
  • 1877 Smith Brothers trademark registered
  • 1888 William Wallace Smith II born
  • 1891 Birth of Robert Lansing Smith
  • 1894 Death of Andrew Smith
  • 1913 Death of William Wallace Smith I
  • 1922 Menthol drops introduced
  • 1926 Cough syrup introduced
  • 1936 Death of Arthur G. Smith
  • 1948 Wild cherry drops introduced
  • 1955 Death of William Wallace Smith II
  • 1962 Death of Robert Lansing Smith
  • 1964 Brand is sold to Warner-Lambert
  • 1972 Manufacturing moved to Illinois

References in periodicals

  • Time (magazine); September 24, 1934; Everyone knows Smith Brothers Cough Drops and the bearded brothers "Trade" and "Mark." And most Hudson River Valley dwellers know the Poughkeepsie restaurant in which the first batch of cough drops was brewed and which is still run as a sentimental gesture by "Trade's" descendants. James Smith moved from Canada to Poughkeepsie in 1847, set up a restaurant. Legend has it that a peddler came to the door one day with the recipe for some cough drops which James admired. At any rate he began brewing 5-pound lots of the drops in his restaurant kitchen, sending his beardless sons William (Trade) and Andrew (Mark) out to peddle them on Poughkeepsie streets. Slowly the fame of the cough drops spread up & down the valley. In time James died. William and Andrew, grown to hairy manhood, stamped their faces on cough drop cartons now spreading by thousands throughout the land. Profits on the cough drops have never been revealed, for Smith Brothers Cough Drops has remained a Smith family business. But a large plant at Poughkeepsie and another at Michigan City, Indiana can turn out 60 tons of drops per day and its yearly advertising bill runs into the hundreds of thousands. ...
  • Time (magazine); March 14, 1955; Died. William W. Smith II, 67, president of Smith Brothers Cough Drops, great-grandson of Company Founder (in 1847) James Smith, and grandson of William Smith, whose familiar, luxuriantly bearded face still appears with that of brother Andrew on the company's 5¢ pocket package; of a heart attack; in Poughkeepsie, New York.
  • Time (magazine); February 21, 1964; ... Last week, by arrangement with trust funds that own the Smith Brothers stock, the small firm was merged into huge Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. (1963 sales: $300 million), joining such recent Warner-Lambert acquisitions as DuBarry cosmetics and West Indies Bay toiletries. Warner-Lambert President Alfred E. Driscoll, two-term (1947-1954) Governor of New Jersey, plans to move Smith's cough-drop marketing into his American Chicle division, which turns out Chiclets, Dentyne and Rolaids. Chicle's crack 500-man sales force is likely to give competitors a few sore throats. Driscoll is also considering adding other products to the Smith name, but has no intention of tampering with the secret formula for the cough drops. It is known only to the late William Smith's stepson, now vice president in charge of product development, who each six months mixes a new batch of the formula in solitude.
  • New York Times; October 1, 1989 Morris Fox, Pharmacist, 102. Morris N. Fox, founder of the company that makes Smith Brothers cough drops, died Wednesday. He was 102 years old. Mr. Fox came to Omaha with his family from Russia in 1908. In 1912, he graduated from the Creighton University College of Pharmacy and opened a pharmacy in Omaha. He founded the F&F Laboratories in 1928, going into full-time manufacturing of F&F cough drops in 1933. He moved the company to Chicago in 1936. F&F Laboratories still makes F&F cough drops, and today also manufactures the Smith Brothers brand.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Smith_Brothers". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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