Owners of proprietary compounds have built up great fortunes in the sale
of their concoctions. Our drug stores are filled with patent medicines,
and millions of “cures” are sold annually. The names of some of these,
such as Hostetter, Brandreth, and Mother Winslow, have become household
words, proving how largely and universally their medicines have sold.
The story is told of one credulous hypochondriac, who, on the theory
that of many shot some one is likely to hit, actually took every kind of
patent medicine in the world, or at least of every sort he had heard
about. As there are more than three hundred and sixty diverse
concoctions, this genius must have taken a different kind for every day
of the year, or else have extended his experiments through a long
period, which seems impossible under the circumstances. It is said that
Perry Davis obtained his famous “Discovery” in the form of a recipe in
an old newspaper which he found in an outhouse. This was the foundation
of one of the largest fortunes in patent medicines, and it was the
parent of all the “Killers.” The men who have made their piles in
“pills” may be counted by the hundred. Perhaps the “Soothing Syrup”
success is the most signal example of “_multum in parvo_.” It is sold by
the million bottles, and yet it is nothing but a little paregoric
dropped in some sweet mixture. “Lubec” is a mighty name, but anybody can
be a Lubec so far as the question of perfumery goes. Among the anecdotes
of medicine venders we have only space for one or two. A man was crying
up the virtues of an electric belt, and it was found that he had
adroitly attached a strip of mustard plaster to the magic band, and this
when heated by contact with the warm skin produced redness and an
itching, which were supposed by the too trusting patient to be the
effects of the healing electricity. Another man has made a fortune with
an “Indian Plant.” He travels about the country with what he advertises
to be a “troop of Indians,” giving performances and hawking his “cures.”
The “Indians” are New York toughs, and the “medicine plant” is a common
pasture weed. We give no sort of countenance to these frauds, but,
dismissing them all, there are still both profit to the patient and
profit to the maker in the taking of proprietary medicines. To succeed
in this line one should first have an article of genuine merit, and then
advertise lavishly. Below are given some recipes quite as good as those
that have made fortunes for their possessors, and in some cases the
exact formulas of these widely renowned medicines are given.
298. HEALING OINTMENT.–One of the most celebrated of ointments is
composed of these simple ingredients: Butter, lard, Venice turpentine,
white wax and yellow wax. Here is a rule for another ointment: Fresh
butter, three-quarters pound; beeswax, four ounces; yellow resin, three
ounces; melt together; add vinegar of cantharides, one fluid ounce; and
simmer the whole with constant agitation for ten or twelve minutes, or
until the moisture is nearly evaporated; then add of Canada balsam one
ounce; express oil of mace, one drachm; balsam of Peru, ten or twelve
drops; again stir well, allow mixture to settle; and when about half
cold pour into pots previously slightly warmed, and allow it to cool
very slightly. There is nothing else but to put on your label and expose
299. SPASM KILLER.–Acetate of morphia, one grain; spirit of sal
volatile and sulphuric ether, one fluid ounce each; camphor julep, four
ounces. Keep closely corked in a cool place and shake well before use.
Dose, one teaspoonful in a glass of cold water as required.
Here is another: Spirits of camphor, two ounces; tincture of capsicum,
one ounce; tincture of guaiac, one-half ounce; tincture of myrrh,
one-half ounce; alcohol, four ounces. This is Perry Davis’ famous
300. ANTI-MALARIA.–One ounce each of Peruvian bark and cream of tartar,
cloves one-half drachm reduced to fine powder. Dose, one and one-half
drachm every three hours.
301. HOSTETTER’S BITTERS.–Here is the recipe for the famous bitters:
Calamus root, two pounds; orange peel, two pounds; Peruvian bark, two
pounds; gentian root, two pounds; colombo root, two pounds; rhubarb,
eight ounces; cloves, two ounces; cinnamon, four ounces; diluted
alcohol, four gallons; water, two gallons; sugar, two pounds.
302. TOOTHACHE EASE.–Liquor of ammonia, two parts; laudanum, one part;
apply on lint.
303. CANDY DIGEST.–Lump sugar, one pound; water, three ounces; dissolve
by heat; add cardamom seeds, ginger, and rhubarb, of each one ounce;
when the mixture is complete pour it out on an oiled slab or into
304. COUGH LOZENGES.–Lactucarium, two drachms; ipecacuanha, one drachm;
squills, three-fourth drachm; extract of licorice, two ounces; sugar,
six ounces; make into a mash with mucilage of tragacinth, and divide
into twenty grain lozenges.
305. LOVERS’ HAIR OIL (Makes the hair glossy).–Castor oil, one pound;
white wax, four ounces; melt together; add when nearly cold, of essence
of bergamot, three drachms; oil of lavender, one-half drachm; essence of
ambergris, ten drops.
306. PURGATIVE POWDER.–Equal parts of julep and cream of tartar,
colored with a little red bole; dose, a teaspoonful in broth or warm
water two or three times daily.
307. CONSUMPTION WAFERS.–Two parts each lump sugar and starch in
powdered form; powdered gum, one part; made into a lozenge mass with
vinegar of squills, oxymel of squills, and ipecacuanha wine, equal
parts, gently evaporated to one-sixth their weight with the addition of
lactucarium in proportion of twenty to thirty grains to every ounce of
the powders, the mass being divided into half-inch squares weighing
about seven and one-half grains.
308. BEEF, IRON AND WINE.–Here is a recipe for Liebig’s famous extract:
Beef juice, one-half ounce; ammonia citrate of iron, 256 grains; spirit
of orange, one-half fluid ounce; distilled water, one-half ounce; sherry
wine sufficient to make sixteen fluid ounces. Dissolve the ammonia
citrate of iron in the water; dissolve the extract of beef in the sherry
wine; add the spirit of orange and mix the solution.
309. SPRING TONIC.–Calamus root, two pounds; orange peel, two pounds;
Peruvian bark, two pounds; gentian root, two pounds; colombo root, two
pounds; rhubarb, eight ounces; cinnamon, four ounces; cloves, two
ounces; diluted alcohol, four gallons; water, two gallons; sugar, two
310. DR. PIERCE’S GOLDEN MEDICAL DISCOVERY.–Here is all there is of Dr.
Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery. It is no doubt a good thing, but you
can make it yourself. A one-dollar bottle holds 220 grains of a
brownish-colored, clear liquid, consisting of fifteen grains of pure
honey, one grain of extract of acrid lettuce, two grains of laudanum,
100 grains of diluted alcohol, with 105 grains of water.
311. BED-BUG EXTERMINATOR.–Corrosive sublimate, one ounce; muriatic
acid, two ounces; water, four ounces; dissolve, then add turpentine, one
pint; decoction of tobacco, one pint. Mix. For the decoction of tobacco,
boil two ounces of tobacco in one pint of water. The mixture must be
applied with a paint-brush. If well applied, this is a sure destroyer of
bed-bugs. It is a deadly poison.
312. CATARRH CURE.–One-half gram of carbolic acid; one-half gram of
camphor; and ten grams of common salt; which are to be dissolved in
four-sevenths of a liter of water and injected into the nostrils. You
can call it the “Excelsior,” for it is excelled by none.
313. LIP POMATUM.–For chapped lips, lard, sixteen parts; cacao oil,
twenty-four parts; spermaceti, eight parts; yellow wax, three parts;
alcana root, one part. The substances are fused for a quarter of an hour
at a gentle heat, then strain through a cloth, and mix with oil of lemon
and oil of bergamot, each one-sixth part, oil of bitter almonds,
one-fifteenth part; then the mass is poured into suitable vessels to
314. OINTMENT FOR CHAPPED HANDS.–Camphor, sixty grs.; boric acid,
thirty grs.; lanolin and white vaseline of each one-half ounce.
315. COD-LIVER OIL EMULSION.–Yolks of two eggs; powdered sugar, four
ounces; essence of oil of almonds, two drops; orange flower water, two
ounces. Mix carefully with an equal bulk of cod-liver oil. This is a
delicious emulsion. Of course, the dose is double that of the clear
316. BEAUTY WATER.–(To remove freckles). Sulpho-carbonate of zinc, two
parts; glycerine, twenty-five parts; rose water, twenty-five parts;
spirits, five parts. Dissolve and mix. Anoint twice daily, keeping the
ointment on the skin from one-half to one hour, then wash off with cold
water. Wear a dark veil when exposed to the sun.
317. COUGH MIXTURE.–Syrup of poppies, syrup of squills, and paregoric,
each one-half ounce. Mix. Dose, a teaspoonful in a little warm water
night and morning, or when the cough is troublesome.
318. DR. SAGE’S CATARRH REMEDY.–Here is the famous secret: One-half
grm. of carbolic acid; one-half grm. of camphor and ten grms. of common
salt; which are to be dissolved in four-sevenths of a liter of water and
injected into the nostrils. Its reputation is believed to be well
319. DIARRHEA MIXTURE.–Wine of opium, one fluid ounce; tincture of
valerian, one and one-half fluid ounces; ether, one-half fluid ounce;
oil of peppermint, sixty minims; fluid extract of ipecac, fifteen
minims; alcohol enough to make four fluid ounces. This is the formula
for a most celebrated patent medicine. The dose is a teaspoonful in a
little water every two or three hours until relieved.
320. BLOOD PURIFIER.–Equal to the best selling compounds. For a bottle
holding 220 grms., take fifteen grms. of pure honey; one grm. extract of
poisonous or acrid lettuce; two grms. laudanum; 100 grms. of diluted
alcohol; with 105 grms. of water. Make large quantities in like
No class of men have made greater or securer fortunes than dealers in
real estate. W. C. Ralston, James Lick, and J. J. Astor, are examples of
persons who have accumulated vast sums through investments in land. The
_points_ of real estate are: First, a sound title; second, a keen
foresight of the wants and the roads of civilization; third, a careful
inspection of the neighborhood where a contemplated purchase is located;
fourth, a thorough knowledge of market values of this kind of property;
fifth, non-professional advice, in the disinterested judgment of men
thoroughly familiar with property and prices. Other considerations are
the rate of taxes of various kinds, imposed or likely to be imposed upon
the property. Tax methods in large cities are often ways that are dark.
For this reason, George Gould, the multi-millionaire, and Mr.
Rockefeller, the Standard Oil magnate, have disposed of their urban
321. CITY PROPERTY.–A mile and a half of millionaires! Midway between
the East River and the Hudson there lay a few years ago a neglected
tract of land which could have been bought for a few hundred thousand
dollars. To-day it is the wealthiest mile and a half on the Western
continent. One hundred million dollars would not purchase the ground
alone. Forty years ago a piece of land which is now almost “down-town”
was called “Eno’s Folly,” because he paid for it what was supposed to be
an extravagant sum. It is now the site of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. The
tide is still running up, but you must now go to the Bronx, or even
further for cheap city property. It is, however, the most secure of all
investments. Nothing is more certain than that the property in the
annexed district of New York is bound to advance. So also with real
estate in all city suburbs.
322. PLEASURE RESORTS.–Less than forty years ago a man, simulating
country simplicity, sauntered along Coney Island and astonished the
owners by inquiring the price of what was supposed to be worthless land.
They, thinking him crazy or a fool, named a thousand dollars, or five
times what it was supposed to be worth. He accepted the offer on the
spot. A million dollars would not buy the land to-day. The supposed
countryman’s “folly” has been repeated many times since. The owner of
Bergen Beach has made a fortune in this way during the last two or three
years. As cities grow, pleasure resorts must be found. Buy a bit of
seashore and make it into a Bergen Beach or a Bowery Bay. Or, purchase a
grove within easy distance of the city, and make it into a pleasure
park. In either case, railroads or trolley connection is indispensable,
but with these and plenty of enterprise and money you cannot fail to
reap a large harvest.
323. NEW TOWN SITES.–Large fortunes have been made by men who had the
sagacity to see a potential factor in the meeting of two rivers, or the
projection of a railroad. The question for investors in real estate is,
“Where is the population going?” Keen observers note the drift, get
ahead of the tide, and are ready to sell lots when the people arrive.
Whitestone and Morris Park on Long Island were built in this way. It is
a good investment, not quite so safe as city property, but paying more
handsomely where the projector is fortunate in his location.
324. WESTERN LANDS.–Fortunes have been made and lost in Western lands.
The facts are that some sharpers have been booming lands that are hardly
worth the taxes. Persons who have bought “corner lots” in “promising”
Western towns have been surprised to learn that the towns were not
built, or even surveyed, and that often the site was located in the
midst of an impenetrable swamp where a town was impossible. However,
lands along the line of railroads, or places which have harbor
facilities on the banks of rivers are good investments.
325. THE APARTMENT HOUSE.–The apartment house, which is a kind of
evolution of the flat, is becoming a feature of life in large cities.
The question whether it is a paying property will receive light by the
consideration of the rents received by the owners of a building of this
kind in New York, the Knickerbocker at Fifth Avenue and Twenty-eighth
Street. This is a typical apartment house, and the tenants may almost be
said to buy their rooms, for there are several who give $100,000 for a
ten-years’ lease, and even small bachelor apartments on the tenth floor
command $1,000 a year.
326. THE SKY SCRAPER.–There is no limit to the extent of a building in
height. Some are twenty stories, one is thirty, and it is reported that
a sky-scraper fifty stories in height is projected. Do they pay? Here is
the account of a modest one of only nine stories, the Mills Building on
William Street, New York. The cost, with land, was $2,500,000. It is 175
× 150 feet. It contains 400 offices, has 1,200 tenants, and pays an
annual net rental of $200,000, or eight per cent. It is related of Mr.
D. O. Mills, the owner, that in completing his magnificent residence on
upper Fifth Avenue, he gave a _carte blanche_ order to a decorator, and
departed with his family to California. On returning he was delighted to
find the place transformed into an Aladdin’s Palace, but his joy was
somewhat modified at the presentation of the bill which amounted to
327. THE JERSEY FLATS.–Right over against property whose taxable value
is $3,000,000,000 lies another property worth literally nothing. Step
over from Manhattan Island, where every foot of land needs to be
overlaid with silver round-moons for its purchase, to New Jersey, and
you will find 27,000 acres of marsh lying under the very nose of the
metropolis–land hardly worth a song. Why is this? Simply because
capitalists have not been wise enough to improve this great waste. In
Holland, by a system of diking, land in a similar condition is now
covered by great warehouses and factories, and cannot be bought for
hundreds of millions of dollars. Here is the opportunity for
capitalists. Why invest money in far-off gold fields when you have a
Klondike here at the very threshold of the metropolis? “The first step,”
says the State geologist, “is to build an embankment and a pumping
station. The cost will be about $1,000,000. The main ditches should be
made, and the whole area laid out in twenty-acre farms, and sold on the
express condition that each plot shall be immediately ditched and
brought under cultivation.” If we put the cost of ditching, and of other
incidental expenses at $500,000, we have a total cost of $1,500,000.
Then, if we estimate the worth of the land at only one-fourth the
average price of land on Manhattan Island–which is the average worth of
land in Jersey City–we have a value for the total 27,000 acres of
$50,000,000. Profits, $48,500,000.
328. ABANDONED FARMS.–There are 4,300 abandoned farms in New England
alone. These with a little expense could all be made profitable. Some
are selling, buildings complete, as low as $700, and even $500. Many of
these abandoned farms, costing $1,000, could, at the expense of another
$1,000, be put in a highly thrifty condition and sold for $4,000. An
Abandoned Farm Company will some time be organized with chances of good
This is one of the most enjoyable as well as one of the most
remunerative occupations. One of the noblest things which Peter Cooper
ever did was to found a Free Art School for Women. Not only is it
absolutely free to all women, but opportunities are afforded for
meritorious pupils to earn no mean sums during their period of
329. CRAYON WORK.–A teacher in the Cooper Institute says: “During the
previous year forty of my pupils in art have made $7,000, or $175 each,
while learning the art of crayon-photography. Every year one hundred
women on leaving the Cooper Institute make from $400 to $1,200 a year by
330. DRAWING.–One graduate of the Cooper Union is now receiving from
$2,000 to $3,000 as a teacher of drawing in the New York public schools,
and another has been appointed manager of a decorative art society in
New Orleans, with a salary of $150 a month, and opportunities to earn as
much more by private tuition.
331. PHOTOGRAPH COLORING.–“A little girl,” says Mr. Cooper, “came to my
house to thank me for what she had learned at the Institute.” “I have
earned $300 coloring photographs,” she said with enthusiasm. The
coloring of photographs gives employment to many hundreds of young
women, and there is no prospect that the market will become glutted.
332. OIL PAINTING.–A man in middle life met Mr. Cooper on the stairs of
the Institute. “My daughter,” he said, “makes $1,300 a year by teaching
painting, and I never earned more than $1,200 myself.” The chief points
of oil painting are a _good tooth_ (a canvas which will take color from
a brush readily), perspective, fineness of touch, delicate perception,
an eye for shades of color, and a bold, free hand. Oil paintings bring
from $5 to $50,000, according to merit.
333. WATER COLORS.–Paintings in water colors are popular because less
expensive than those done in oil. Good work in this department is,
however, well paid. Much depends upon the subject and its treatment. It
is said that the artist, Mr. John LaFarge, sold about $15,000 worth of
water colors last year.
334. WOOD ENGRAVING.–A young woman from California sat on the sofa of
Mr. Cooper’s library. “I have come to thank you,” she said. “I feel as
rich as a queen. I have thirty pupils in wood engraving.”
335. BOOK DECORATION.–Publishers of books, and especially of magazines,
pay large prices for decorations for the covers, title pages, and other
important parts. The secret of success is in the design. If you can find
a happy idea, you will get a large price for it. Of course, the point in
most cases is to illustrate the subject-matter. A unique conception,
happily worked out, will give both fame and money.
336. DYEING.–This may not be thought one of the fine arts, but it
requires a skill hardly inferior to that of the painter or sculptor.
There is a large field in the recoloring of tapestries, silks, and
woolen goods. The requisites of success are taste, a good eye for color,
knowledge of dye-stuffs, and indefatigable industry in finding a market.
337. DESIGNS.–These are constantly in demand. Wall paper manufacturers,
dressmakers, architects, builders, home decorators, carpet
manufacturers, fine-art workers, all want designs. An ordinary
kaleidoscope will furnish you thousands of suggestions every day. From
these select a few of the best and work them on a fine, white drawing
paper. Have a separate folio for each department of drawings, and
advertise what you are doing. If you have a real talent for the work,
and a show-window, you cannot fail of success in any large town.
338. ENGRAVING ON GLASS.–By the use of the wheel this becomes easy
work. The chief fields for its operation are in summer resorts where
people wish to carry away a souvenir of the place. One who knows how to
display goods can do a very profitable work in the season.
339. EMBROIDERY.–This is one of the simplest of the arts. The only
capital required is a ball of worsted, the only tool a needle, and the
only instruction a few elementary rules that can be quickly learned. The
demand depends upon the skill. A small store can be cheaply stocked, and
its contents sold at a good profit if the articles are unique.
340. LACE MAKING.–Our valuable laces are chiefly imported, but there is
no reason why work equally good should not be done at home. An immense
field yet to be developed is American-made needle-point lace. Get a book
on the subject and study it theoretically. Then take lessons of a maker.
The book will give you suggestions and enable you, after you have
learned the business, to strike out in various directions independently
of your teachers.
341. DRAWING IN CHARCOAL.–This is a rapid, facile, and effective method
for sketching. The drawings are more especially in demand in summer
cottages, tents, and in whatever places lodgings are temporary, and
where lodgers dislike the trouble of shipping costly paintings. You can
find a ready market for good work at any mountain or seaside resort.
342. PAINTING ON CHINA.–This is becoming very popular. Few kinds of art
pay better than china-firing. The outfit will cost from $15 to $50,
according to the size of the kiln, but the pleasure and profit will be
worth many hundreds of dollars. If you live in a country town, put your
wares in a prominent store, and they will be sure to attract attention.
343. PORTRAIT PAINTING.–This is profitable if you can secure sufficient
custom. The difficulty is to get the flesh tones, the expression, and
the proper degree of illumination. Last year, there were thirty young
women in Cooper Institute learning the art, and one-fifth of the number
were earning from $5 to $12 a week, even during their tutelage.