On May 12, 1868, the U. S. Patent Office granted a patent to Dr. Samuel Pitcher of Barnstable, Massachusetts for a catharatic composed of senna, sodium bicarbonate, essence of wintergreen, taraxacum, sugar and water. In 1871, Charles H. Fletcher who had apprentice with Demas Barnes, bought the rights to the formula from Dr. Pitcher, and joined with Joseph B. Rose who had, in the same year, acquired the formula for centaur Liniment. The two, with financial backing of Demas Barnes, formed the firm of J. B. Rose and Company to market the two products. Centaur Liniment was advertised as having been “used by the Turks for Sabre wounds; by the Chinese for opium dizziness; and by the American’s for almost everything”. When Rose dropped out of the firm in 1877, the name of the company was changed to Centaur Company with Charles H, Fletcher as secretary. While Centaur Liniment was initially the principal product of The Centaur Company, Fletcher was more interested in promoting Pitcher’s cathartic and he modified the formula by adding pumpkin, anise, wormseed, Rochelle salts, peppermint and alcohol, naming the concoction Castoria. To further protect his rights to Castoria, Fletcher trademarked his facsimile signature and Castoria is still a well known home remedy today, sold the world over.
(Holcombe, Henry w., weekly Philatelic Gossip, 34: 369, 375, June 27, 1942; 35: 490, 497, August 1, 1942; 62: 138-140, March 31, 1956)