RB25 Series 1898 Proprietary stamp Rumford Chemical Works cancel
Early in the 19th Century, Benjamin Count Rumford was professor of science at Harvard University. Rumford was followed by Professor Eben N. Horsford who held Rumford’s chair for 16 years (1847-63). In 1855, Horsford, with George F. Wilson of Providence, Rhode Island, organized a firm and two years later named it the Rumford Chemical Works in honor of Count Rumford. Their business as explained in an advertisement was “established for the purpose of building up a chemical manufacturing establishment of respectability and permanency … ” The Rumford Chemical Works devoted their attention to the manufacture of phosphates for food purposes. In 1857, a baking powder was marketed known as Rumford Yeast Powder, containing phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, starch and the dried white of egg. Then in 1866, Horsford placed on the market Horsford’s Acid Phosphate which was recommended for “mental nervous and physical exhaustion, wakefulness, tired brain, seasickness and other excesses.” It was not until 1880 that the Internal Revenue Service decreed the product was a proprietary medicine–not a food–and so private die proprietary stamps were required. In 1890, a new product called Rumford Baking Powder was introduced which was still manufactured in 1938.
(Holcombe, Henry w., weekly Philatelic Gossip, 26: 653-655, August 6, 1938