Monday, May 17, 2010

Early Chilliwack Druggists: Part Four

Barber Drug Company Limited

Harry James Barber started the Barber Drug Company in January 1906. The firm’s newspaper advertisements often featured non-medical goods in their ads such as stationery, fountain pens, inks, books, souvenir chinaware, toys, cameras, film, as well as other goods.

Within the medical department Barber produced a number of his own remedies including Barber brand cough syrup, dental cream, corn cure, mosquito lotion, and “White Pine and Tar Mentholated” for coughs and colds.

Barber also brought in a wide range of Nyal products such as Blood Purifier, Liver Salts, and Hypophosphites with Wild Cherry and Creosote. At times the Barber Drug Co. advertised itself as a Nyal Drug Store and in one major ad produced in October 1924 more than 50 Nyal and Nylotis products are listed. This brand of products was featured in a Barber Drug Store calendar produced in 1919. Unfortunately the Chilliwack Museum and Archives does not have one in its collection.

In October 1926 Barber sold his interest in the business to Mr. J.H. Robinson who had managed Barber’s business for some time. Robinson continued to use the Barber name however; in September 1929 Robinson changed the name to Robinson’s Drug Store although he continued to carry the Barber name in his advertising.

The museum has a clear glass medicine bottle embossed with the name of H.J. Barber, Chilliwack, B.C. in its collection. It is not known if the bottle came in any other sizes. The Museum also has a few Barber Drug Store labels as well as Barber’s mortar and pestle which may have been used in the earlier Barber and Henderson Drug Store.

Mr. Barber, apart from his steady drugstore business, was a busy man. He was the President of the Chilliwack Board of Trade from 1910 through 1912, Mayor of Chilliwack from 1914 – 1916 and was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative in 1925. He was re-elected in 1926, 1930 and 1935 and remained in office until 1940.

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