Wednesday, June 8, 2016


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, June 17, 1892.

Honesty and Advertisers.

(From the Journalist.)

   The unanimity with which the newspapers have attacked the bill against food and medicine adulteration recently passed by the Assembly in Albany is instructive as evidencing the motive force which lies behind a large portion of editorial expression in the dally press.
   The big advertiser whistles and the editor dances.
   The bill in question is not a new idea; it is already a law in France, Germany, and other scrupulous countries. It simply provides that the gentleman who concocts an eye-water or other medicament, which is guaranteed to cure all the ills which flesh is heir to, shall state on the package just the ingredients which go to make up his mysterious compound. It is not aimed at honest manufacturers, and it is patent to the smallest intelligence that it can do the honest manufacturer not the slightest harm. In fact, some manufacturers like the Cleveland Baking Powder Co. have voluntarily been doing for years just what this bill provides for.
   It is the only honest way of doing business.
   The purchaser has a right to know what he is paying out his money for, and, if everything is fair and above board, the manufacturer can have no valid objection to having this known. The manufacturers of Scotch Oats Essence, for example, would have probably objected strenuously to printing their formula on the bottles. The genius who advertised, for a time, the "tasteless quinine," a sure cure for malaria, and in this disguise sold plain sugar and corn starch at about seventy-five cents an ounce, would, very naturally, claim that such a bill would ruin his business; the man who sells an emulsion of cod liver oil which consists largely of almond oil with a sufficient quantity of opium to quiet the consumptive's cough, feels that the bill is an outrage upon his personal liberties, which in his mind include the privilege of dosing his fellow man with what he pleases and calling the concoction by any name best calculated to lure the elusive dollar from the pocket of the victim. How these nostrums are regarded by honest and conscientious druggists is admirably shown in the following interview which recently appeared in the New Haven Register, one of the most independent and influential newspapers in the State of Connecticut:
   While the total sales of patent medicines in New Haven for a year would represent a large amount, the town is not regarded by druggists as a good patent medicine town. The educating influences of Yale University is given by some of the druggists as a means of keeping down these sales.
   E. A. Gessner, the well-known Chapel street druggist, in speaking this morning of the profits on some of the patent medicines, gave this instance:
   "There is one patent medicine that I sell for $19 a dozen. Now I know the properties of that medicine. Each package is just one ounce in weight, and I would be very glad to furnish the very same thing for sixty cents per pound. But I can't do it because this patent medicine is protected by law."
   "Are not most of the patent medicines frauds upon the people?"
   "I think so. Sometimes the formula from which a particular medicine is made is good if the medicine was prepared at a sufficient strength. But these medicines many times go into the hands of ignorant people, and the manufacturers are so afraid that too strong a dose will be taken, possibly terminating with fatal results, that the compound is reduced sometimes one-half below the proper standard of usefulness. If anything serious should happen from the use of a certain patent medicine, the fact would be used against the trade and would injure the sales materially. So the strength of the medicine is greatly reduced. The sale of patent medicines is a sort of special sale. These so-called remedies are taken by a class of individuals who believe something is the matter with them, whether there really is or not. They read the description of certain diseases in the patent medicine circulars and imagine they have some of the diseases therein described. Then they begin to dose with the patent medicine. Of course the investments in these remedies is a great waste of money. It would be better for those really sick to consult some reputable physician."
   But while incalculable harm is done by these frauds the dishonesty which the bill in question would most readily reach is the wholesale adulteration of spices, as practiced by several large manufacturers. Tons of ground cocoanut shells and almond shells are used in the manufacture of cinnamon, ginger, pepper and other spices, and the adulterated product is sold as pure spice.
   And this is the sort of dishonesty which the New York newspapers are trying to protect.
   Pickles and canned vegetables are colored green with copper and other poisonous dyes. Coffee is adulterated with chicory, cocoanut shells and burnt beans, "pure elder vinegar" is made from sawdust, "nerve tonics'" are put up which consist largely of alcohol and opium, and so on through the list of swindling food products and so called proprietary medicines and the newspapers are the first to bolster up the swindlers. The crack of the advertisers' whip rings in the ears of the publisher, the advertiser pipes and the editor dances in time to his music.
   "Simon says wiggle-waggle," and editors and publishers wiggle-waggle in meek obedience. It is not a pleasing condition of affairs to see the press of a great city array itself on the side of fraud and deliberate swindling, if not worse, bought by a few inches of advertising at cut rates. They need never expect any other return for their support, for the men in whose behalf they are fighting do not know the meaning of the word gratitude. It is a fight of the advertiser against the reader, and the advertiser has the strongest pull. It is possible that the money of the manufacturers and the mistaken self- interest of the press may defeat the bill, but it is bound to come up again; the manufacturers of secretly compounded nostrums and of adulterated food products will have secured a little longer time in which to ply their nefarious trade. It is a measure which the people will, sooner or later, demand. If we have meat inspected to see that the butcher does not sell the flesh of diseased cattle, why not have a law to compel the grocers to sell pure food and the druggist to sell pure medicines. The grocer and the druggist would welcome such a bill gladly. No one objects to it but the knavish manufacturer and his willing tool, the subsidized newspaper.

The Wheelmen's Tournament.
   The Wheelmen's tournament, which took place last Monday, was a grand success so far as the races and attendance of wheelmen was concerned, but there was not a very large crowd of spectators on the fair grounds and the event will hardly pay expenses. The races were fine and should have called out a crowd.
   The sixteen mile road race was called at 1 o'clock and the start was made from the Cortland House. There were fourteen starters. E. A. McDuffee, of' the Manhattan Athletic club, took the lead from the start. Everybody started for the fair grounds to see the finish and they had not long to wait. McDuffee soon road in on the track alone and was followed a little later by Munger. The first four finished as follows: E. A. McDuffee, M. A. C.; L. D. Munger, Chicago; W. H. Wells, R. W., New York; A. T. Crooks, B. A. C., Buffalo. Time: 51 minutes, 38 seconds.
   In the one-mile novice safety there was only one starter. Harry Schell. S. A. C., Syracuse. His time was 3 minutes, 12 ¼ seconds.
   The one mile safety open had a large number of entries and the finish was interesting and exciting. They came in in the following order: P. J. Berlot, M. A. C., New York; G. F. Taylor, S. B. C. Springfield; W. W. Taxis, S. N. A. C., Philadelphia; A. B. Rich, R. A. C., Rockaway, N. J. Time: 2:31.
   The one-mile safety, 3:10 class, was contested by a good field. They came under the wire in the following order: A. T. Crooks, B. A. C., Buffalo; F. C. Fuhrman, R. B. C., Buffalo; C. W. Inslee, C. C. C., Oneida; W. A. Doubleday, C. W. C., Cortland. Time: 2:37.
   Thy two-mile lap race came next. The scoring in this race went by points and was not a fast race. The only interest to the spectators was the finish which was spirited. The score was given as follows: P. J. Berlo, M. A. C., New York, 10 points; A. B. Rich, R. A. C., New Jersey, 7 points; W. W. Taxis, S. N. A. C., Philadelphia, 6 points; W. D. Banker, R. B. C. Buffalo, 2 points. Time: 8:38.
   The two-mile handicap safety was a lively race. G. F. Taylor, S. B. C. Springfield, starting from the scratch attempted to make a mile better than 2:23, the special prize being a Royal scorcher safety bicycle. There were a large number of starters in this race, starting from 20 to 250 yards in advance of Taylor. The latter experienced no difficulty, however, in overtaking and passing them one by one and when he finished the first mile he was leading the field. He made the mile in 2:23 1/4 and of course lost the prize, not having made the mile better than 2: 23. The time ties the best ever made on this track by horses, Pine Level and Longford being the only horses that ever made 2:23 1/2 on the Cortland track. The race was won by Carl Hess, M. A. C., New York, from 150 yard mark. S. R. Hazleton, R. A. C., Rockaway, N. J., 100 yds.; 2nd. W. H. Wells,  P. C. W., New York, 10 yards; 3rd, E. C. Bald, P. C. C., Buffalo, 200 yds.; 4th. Time: 5:12. [sic]
   The one-mile ordinary came next and the score stood as follows: Smith, R. W., New York; Fred Servis, R. C. C., Rochester; J. R. Rheubottom, [Cortland.]  Time: 3:07.
   The one mile team race followed and the finish was as follows: Manhattan Athletic club 48 points; Cortland Wheel club 40 points; Syracuse Cycling club 38 points; Century Cycling club, Syracuse, 6 points.
   The half-mile safety open was the next race and the contestants finished as follows: P. J. Berlo, M. A. C., New York; H. E. Tyler. Springfield; C. W. Inslee O. C. C., Oneida. Time 1:15 3/4.
   The two-mile Cortland Wheel club handicap was for Cortland boys only. They finished in the following order: G. W. Houck, E. S. Dalton, J. R. Rheubottom. Time 5:56 3/4.
   There were only two starters in the one-mile ordinary state championship race and the race was won by Geo. C. Smith, R. W., New York; W. F. Murphy, N. Y. A. C., second.
   The horse that was to have been pitted  against a wheelman failed to show up and the men who had entered made the contest. The prize was a $60 dress suit. They finished as follows: P. J. Berlo, N. Y. A. C. C.; C. W. Dontge, B. A. C.; W. W. Taxis, S. N. A. C. Time 2:48.
   The last race, and the one that caused the most amusement, was not on the programme. Dave Jackson, Harry Wells and Floyd Stoker were the starters. Jackson led but was overhauled by Stoker on the back stretch and just as he was passing the leader he fell from his wheel. Stoker was passed by Wells, but picking himself up and mounting his wheel he overtook Wells and passing him came in second. Time 1:40.
   The dance held in the evening at the Trout Park was not largely attended but it was an enjoyable affair to those who were present.

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