Monday, January 9, 2012

Early Day Sacramento Druggists

The 1850s were a booming decade in Sacramento City. The young town was exploding in population and the Sierra mines were going great guns. Health issues were also a big problem, with illness caused by tainted drinking water rampant. The lack of hygiene also contributed to the situation and the need for drugs to combat illnesses was high. Fortunately this was also a time when several druggists and apothecaries came to the city. Many were somewhat of short duration, but others stayed for many decades. Names we as collectors are familiar with include Boyce, Doherty, Gates, Gogings, Klink, McDonald, Spieker, and others whose embossed bottles are found throughout the region.

Some of the druggists did not fill their prescriptions in embossed bottles, instead relying on more generic forms of glass, metal and paper containers. These lesser known, but every bit as important to those in need of their services, purveyors of medicinal goods were prolific advertisers, with their names in bold type face on every corner. Competition must have been high at the time, and stores were located on both sides of J and K Sts for 3 blocks. Here are a few the druggists who did not use embossed bottles at the time. Both Dunbar & Co and John P. Sharkey arrived in Sacramento in 1853, but the firm Of Dunbar and Co lasted only a year, Sharkey managed to hang on for 6 years. Klink and Martfeld didn't appear until 1860, but C.F. Klink & Co remained a Sacramento apothecary for 25 years. Dr. Martfeld, Klink's partner was a licensed physician who wrote and signed the prescriptions that were dispensed from their company.

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