Keasbey & Mattison

Digger Odell Publications 2007

Henry Griffith Keasbey and Dr. Richard V. Mattison founded the company originally located in Philadelphia moved several years later to Ambler, Pennsylvania.


Advertised Bromo-caffeine 1888-1937. This product was a big seller and probably provided monies to expand the asbestos business.



Caffeine for Sea Sickness

The use of caffeine has been highly recommended by some; indeed, a small cup of strong black coffee will often control reflex nausea when nothing else will. The combination of these drugs, associated with the local sedative effects of carbonic acid gas, has become quite popular, and I am sure the valuable preparation of Warner, called bromosoda (bromide of sodium), and caffeine in granular effervescent form, will become very popular upon sea-voyages. Keasbey & Mattison's bromo-caffeine (the hydrobromate of caffeine) has also been used with success; these may be used for several days preparatory to the voyage.


Keasbey & Mattison advertise for machinery for crushing asbestos and separating the fiber.


CHICAGO March 25, 1891. To the Editor Pharmaceutical Era:

Some time ago the Drug trade had a flood of literature on Bromo-Caffeine from Keasbey & Mattison, going so far even as to ask us to stop selling Effervescent Bromide of Caffeine in any shape and under any name. W. T. Thackeray & Co., the other hand, turned loose their guns and shouted that they could and would sell the article in question. I, for my part, am not in a position to say whether Keasbey & Mattison are wrong or Thackeray, but when the latter said he was willing to put out his Effervescent Bromide Caffeine with "or Bromo-Caffeine" affixed to the label, I thought it best to sell it and notified K. & B. that I would do so, for the purpose of bringing matters to a focus. I furthermore said to K. & B. that they would now within a reasonable time have to bring action or I would say to the drug trade that they knew Thackeray was selling Bromo Caffeine and did not stop it. So far, K. & B. have not focused and as druggists are getting their fountains ready again, it would be no more than fair for K. & B. to begin to settle the question by letter to K. & B. was dated December 9, 1890, and was dictated only by a desire to relieve its from perennial intimidations. We do not care who is wrong but we do object to being considerably annoyed by threats of being hauled up, and then find we are not hauled tip when we openly and above board do what we are told is infrincenient.


CHICAGO, March 19, 1891. To the Editor Pharmaceutical Era:

The question of the sale of Bromide Caffeine. G. E. as Bromo-Caffeine lots assumed a new phase in our city. Some months ago while in conversation with Mr. Bodemann, of Bidemann & Conrad, he said that if our firm would sell to him our G. E. Bromide-Caffeine labelled'" or Bromo-Caffeine," that lie would undertake to sell it to the public. After consultation with our attorneys it was decided to act upon Mr. Bodemann's suggestion. When the goods were received by aim, he notified Messrs. Keasbey A; Mattison of his intention to sell the goods so labelled and notified them in his characteristic manner to site us, and months have gone by and no action has been taken, and now Mr. Bodemann proposes to ventilate the matter in his own way through the various drug journals.

Our Chicago men did not like the manner in which the Finch case was settled, and they are determined to bring Keasbey Mattison to hook for their unkind circulars, and compel them to make god their threats as to suits against manufacturers of G. E. Bromide Caffeine and kindred preparations.


CHICAGO, May 3, 1891.

To the Editor Pharmaceutical Era:

Judging from reports and letters my communication to you dated March 25th, 1891, was understood very differently from what I intended and wished to convey. The lot of Thackeray's Bromide Caffeine (or Bromo Caffeine) was purchased and :sold to Keasbey & Mattison for the very and only purpose of bringing this wrangle to a focus, and not with the intention of offering it to my customers as a substitute for Keasbey & Mattison's Bromo Caffeine. The only lot I purchased of Thackeray was made with the full knowledge of Keasbey & Mattison, and at the desire of their agent, Mr. Wall, with whom we are .and have been on the friendliest terms. Mr. Wall doubted that Thackeray dared to put up a Bromo Caffeine. I gave him the proof, and then told him "K. & M. will have to make good their threats, or I shall let the druggists know that K. & M. have evidence of the alleged infringement, but do not harm the infringer, although they told us a year ago, and they assure one now, under date of March 27th, 1891, that they will prosecute Thackeray as well as others who dispense Eff. Bromide of Caffeine."

My views on substitution are so set and firm that I did not suspect that I would be put down as a substitutor. I sell our patrons what they call for. Battle's Bromidia, Lambert's Listerine, K. & M. Bromo Caffeine, the public pays for .and has a right to insist as to the choice. Even if the public should call for a fraud, it must either be the genuine fraud or none, -certainly not an imitation. I am not enough of a scientific debater to prove that K. & M. are wrong about the nonexistence of Bromide of Caffeine. I see it is listed in the trade lists, and do not believe that they can exclusively control the manufacture of Eff. Granular Bromide of Caffeine. Whether Thackeray can use the name Bromo Caffeine, I do not know, but I only repeat what I said before: K. & M. .should come forward and act after their loud threatening manifestoes to the druggists.

(Signed) W. BODEMANN.

1894 bromo-caffeine Ad


Keasbey and Mattison Co. of Ambler, have begun grading the ground between Maple and Chestnut Sts., for the erection of a large building, 00':2981, fronting on the former street, to be used as an asbestos factory. At present it is designed to ho only one story, but the plans call for a five-story building of stone and Iron, covering the whole square, and costing probably $50,000. South Ambler. Pa.-The Keasbey & Mattison Co.

May 31, 1932

PHILADELPHIA, May 30.-Henry Griffith Keasbey, a retired manufacturer of pharmaceutical preparations and a pioneer in the asbestos industry, died of heart disease in his suite at the Barclay Hotel here today after a prolonged illness. He would have been 82. years old on Wednesday. Born in this city, Mr. Keasbey at tended schools here and in Europe. After his graduation from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, he and Dr. Richard V. Mattison founded the pharmaceutical manufacturing firm of Keasbey & Mattison. Some years later the company moved to Ambler, Pa., 'branching out in the pharmaceutical field and establishing an asbestos textile plant.

Selling pipe covered with asbestos, listed as successors to the Magnesia Sectional Covering Co.


Keasbey & Mattison and Ambler Asbestos both of Ambler, merge.

November 19, 1936

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 18.-Dr. Richard V. Mattison 85, retired manufacturer, formerly known as the "asbestos king," died at his home in Ambler today after a two weeks' Illness. He had just observed his eighty-fifth birthday. At the height of his career, Dr. Mattison, who was a physician, pharmacist and banker, as well as a maker of asbestos products, directed a large group of industrial and financial enterprises.