Eli Lilly Co.

Digger Odell Publications 2007

Quarter of a Million Addition

December 1908

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 12.-The Eli Lilly Co., manufacturing pharmacists, who now occupy eleven large buildings in East McCarty street, one of the largest enterprises of the kind in the United States, has architects engaged upon plans for the erection of three additional buildings, which with their equipment will cost $250,000. This will call for an addition in the near future to the already great force of operatives and will make this one of the largest employers of labor in Indianapolis.

The history of this house, which has grown from an insignificant beginning, testifies not only to the business sagacity and indomitable energy of its founder, the late Col. Eli Lilly, but to the unflagging teal and push of those who now carry forward this great enterprise. Colonel Lilly was one of the most distinguished men sent to the field from Indiana in the Civil War. His first command, Lilly's battery was known as the best handled and most effective artillery organization in the Northern army. Immediately after the war he engaged as a cotton planter in Mississippi. This enterprise, because of an unprecedented drought, proved unsuccessful, and he returned to Indianapolis in 1867. He then took employment with the house of Pattison, Moore & Talbott, wholesale grocers and druggists, the drug department of which was later taken over by H. Daily & Co., wholesale druggists, which in turn was absorbed by the A. Kiefer Drug Company.

Colonel Lilly then went into the retail drug business in Paris, Ill., under the firm name of Binford & Lilly. This venture was successful, but the Colonel had his mind bent upon the possibilities in manufactory of pharmaceuticals, with Indianapolis as a distributing center. In 1873 he came to Indianapolis and began what became his life work in the firm of Johnston & Lilly. In 1876 he withdrew from that firm and started business for himself in an exceedingly small way.

He was endowed with much inventive ability and in this small factory he placed machinery and appliances of his own designing that yielded a finished product that soon attracted the attention and admiration of the trade.

Business prospered and in 1881 the business was incorporated under the name of Eli Lilly & Co., at which time the organization consisted of Col. Eli Lilly, a brother, Capt. James E. Lilly, a cousin, Evan F. Lilly, and a son, Josiah Lilly, then twenty years old. Since that time the business has had a steady, normal growth. The trade is for the most part confined to the United States, the country being thoroughly canvassed by 110 traveling salesmen.

Branch houses are maintained in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and New Orleans. The drug trade is furnished through the wholesale druggists of the country, all of whom carry full lines, thus making it convenient for druggists to secure their supplies promptly.

Colonel Lilly, who died in 1898, was recognized as one of the most public spirited citizens that Indianapolis ever knew. The death of Evan Lilly removed from the house another of the original incorporators.

Josiah K. Lilly, the present president, entered the business in 1876, when only fourteen years old, and has been continuously engaged in the business since that time. With one exception he has been longer in the business of manufacturing pharmaceuticals than any man in the United States. James E. Lilly, vice-president, has been continuously with the house since 1878.

The business is arranged in five large divisions-financial, sales, administrative, scientific, and manufacturing, with a competent director at the head of each division, all reporting to Charles J. Lynn, who bears the title of general manager and is responsible to the officers of the company for the general transactions of the business.

Eli Lilly & Co to Entertain the Graduating Class

Indianapolis. Mar. 14.-It has come to be an annual event for Eli Lilly & Co. of this city, manufacturing pharmacists, to entertain the graduating class of the pharmaceutical department of Purdue University of Lafayette. This event again took place Friday, March 6, and the sixty members of the class of 1908 as guests of Eli Lilly & Co., were given a day in town which they will remember all their lives. They came in on a special interurban electric car, accompanied by a number of their professors. They were first escorted through the house of the A. Kiefer Drug Company, and at noon were guests at a dinner in the Claypool hotel where ninety covers were laid, as about thirty guests other than the students took part in the feast. Josiah K. Lilly, president of the company, presided and John S. Wright, manager of the advertising department of the Lilly Company, was master of ceremonies. Tile menu was in six courses and the tables were profusely garlanded- with carnations and ferns. After the dinner a number of informal speeches were made by Dr. J. N., Hurty, secretary of the Indiana State Board of Health; Dr. H. E. Barnard. Food and Drug Commissioner of Indiana; Dr. Stanley Coulter and Dr. A. L. Green of Purdue University, and Dr. W. 0. Gross of Fort Wayne.