RB23 Proprietary “Battleship” Revenue Stamp, Chattanooga Medicine Co. printed precancel


In 1879 Chattanooga businessman Zeboim Cartter Patten and a group of friends established the Chattanooga Medicine Company. Its first two products, Black-Draught and Wine of Cardui, were so successful that they were sold well into the twentieth century. Patten procured the formula rights to Black-Draught, a senna-based laxative, from the grandson of its originator, Dr. A. Q. Simmons. The name Black-Draught probably derived from the dark drink given to sailors in the British navy. Wine of Cardui was a uterine sedative, whose name derived from Carduus benedictus, a synonym for botanical Cnicus benedictus. According to tradition, Wine of Cardui originated among the Cherokee Indians.
Fred F. Wiehl was the company’s first president, but Patten, in the role of secretary, guided the business to success. By the 1880s Patten had acquired almost total ownership of the company. Wiehl was succeeded as company president, first by the newspaper publisher Adolph S. Ochs, who was followed by developer Colonel A. M. Johnson before Patten took the title of president in 1891.
Successful at finding new products to sell, Patten used imaginative promotional techniques to market his products, becoming one of the early practitioners of mass-market advertising. He made the widely distributed Cardui Calendar and the Ladies Birthday Almanac popular throughout the South. The company became one of the region’s largest drug manufacturers. In 1906 Patten and his son-in-law, John Thomas Lupton, sold their controlling interests in the business to Patten’s nephew and assistant, John A. Patten, who created a legendary force of salesmen and expanded sales into foreign countries.

Additional information

Catalog Number



F, used




watermarked USIR


July 1, 1898


printed cancel in red

Catalog Value

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