RS256d, Warner Safe Cure Medicine Stamp, H. H. Warner
Hulbert Harrington Warner (1842–1923) was a Rochester, New York businessman and philanthropist who made his fortune from the sales of patent medicine.
He was born near Syracuse, New York, in a small settlement called Warners. Warners had been named for Warner’s grandfather, Seth, who had moved there in 1807 from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1865, Warner moved to Michigan to engage in the stove and hardware business. In 1870, Warner moved to Rochester and entered into the first business that would make him a millionaire, selling fire- and burglar-proof safes.
Based upon the history recounted in Warner’s early almanacs, Warner used a portion of the wealth he accumulated from the safe business to purchase the formula for a patent medicine from Dr. Charles Craig of Rochester. Warner developed an unexpectedly severe case of Bright’s disease, a kidney disease. While close to death, Warner used a vegetable concoction sold by Craig and was restored to health. Based upon his admiration for Craig’s Original Kidney Cure, Warner purchased the formula and the rights to the product and in 1879 introduced Warner’s Safe Kidney & Liver Cure.
n 1887, Warner introduced a new product line, which he called his Log Cabin Remedies. Unlike his Safe Cures, these products appeared in amber bottles with three slanted panels with the name of the particular remedy embossed. The bottles were in red, white, blue, and yellow boxes that featured the image of a log cabin viewed from a window. The Log Cabin Remedies did not replace the Safe Cure line; they only supplemented it. Warner realized that the nation was in a head-long race for expansion westward and his marketing pitch appealed to the American desire for self-reliance. Indeed, the entire thrust of Warner’s marketing from its inception can best be described as appealing to his customer’s desire to “heal thyself”.
Warner’s patent-medicine empire reached its pinnacle in the late 1880s and began its gradual decline. Flush with success, Warner spent money on highly speculative investments in mining, all of which failed. His legacy is his patent medicine empire that produced remedies sold around the world as well as the bottles in which those remedies were contained. The bottles are prized by collectors.