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Meyer Brothers Drug Company Artifacts, Artifact of the Month for February 2012

February 01, 2012 Posted by: Kathleen Moenster, Assistant Curator

Artifacts from the Meyer Brothers Drug Company

Meyer Brothers Drug Company Artifacts
from left to right: blue canister JEFF-7030, blue bottle JEFF-7010, pestle 7845, mortar 6832, Extr. Raspberry bottle JEFF-6962, Jasmin a bottle JEFF-6990, glass funnel JEFF 7512 

St. Louis was once recognized as the home of one of the leading drug and chemical makers in the United States. A major wholesale drug house was the Meyer Brothers Drug Company founded by Christian F. G. Meyer at Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1852. Mr. Meyer had come to the United States from Hanover, Germany in 1847, and, after a few years, started a drug business.By 1865, the business had grown so much it was time to branch out to other cities. Mr. Meyer picked St. Louis, knowing that the city was destined to be one of the greatest distributing markets in America. In 1865 he purchased the M. Matthews and Sons drug firm, located on the corner of Second and Locust streets (now part of the Gateway Arch grounds). The success of the branch store eventually caused the firm to move its' headquarters to St. Louis. By the early part of the 20th century, Meyer Brothers Drug Company was the largest distributor of drugs and pharmaceutical products in the country and also a major exporter of these commodities to other countries in the Western Hemisphere. It was bought out by Fox Meyer Health Corporation in July, 1981.

In 1970, Carl F. G. Meyer III donated 870 items related to the history of the Meyer Brothers Drug Company to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The collection includes such objects as journals, catalogs, advertising materials, mortars, pestles, scoops, scales, apothecary jars, pill pallets and large, colorful show globes. This is a significant collection that not only explains the history of the Meyer Brothers Drug Company but also the economic significance of the pharmaceutical industry in St. Louis.

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