Wm. Schieffelin & Co.

Digger Odell Publications © 2007

Wm. Schieffelin & Co.

The New York chemical company of Wm. Schieffelin & Co. was run by various members of the family over its long history. Samuel Bradhurst Schieffelin died in February, 1900. He was born on Feb. 24, 1811, and after the retirement of his father, Henry Hamilton Schieffelin, from business in 1819, he and his brothers managed the drug company that their father had founded under the firm name of Schieffelin Brothers & Co., Samuel Bradhurst remaining head of the concern until his withdrawal in 1865, when his son, William Henry Schieffelin, succeeded him. William Henry Schieffelin died in 1895. His son is William Jay Schieffelin of the drug firm of Schieffelin & Co.

Schieffelin & Co., quite proud of their long existence in business publishing a phamphlet in 1894 entitled, “One Hundred Years In Business.” and celebrated 134 years by 1927. They enjoyed the reputation of being the oldest wholesale drug company in the country.

Schieffelin & Co. were located at William and Beekman Sts for seventy-three years. In 134 years the concern has made only four changes, all within a six-block circle. In 1794 it was at 195 Pearl Street, in 1829, at Maiden Lane; in 1841 it moved to 104-6 John Street, and in 1854 it moved to Williams and Beekman location. In 1927 they expanded and moved to a seven story fire-proof building at Third and Fourth Avenues in New York.

From the 1880s through the beginning of the 20th century, they introduced for sale in the United States such drugs as, phenacetine, sulfonal, veronal, heroin and aspirin. The company maintained a staff of highly trained chemists and often contributed to the scholarly journals of the time.

NYT Oct. 2, 1877


Mrs. Sarah A. Merklee, of Barrow-street, had been suffering from a liver complaint and was advised by some friends to try extract of taraxacum, which she was also advised to procure at the drugstore of W. H. Schieffelin & Co., No. 170 Williamstreet. Her daughter was sent to the store and asked for a pound jar of English taraxacum. The order was sent upstairs by G. A. Rees, a clerk, and in a few moments a jar was sent down which Rees wrapped up and handed to Miss Merklee. The lad took it home, and, without looking at the label opened it and took a dose of 60grains. Her mother also took a dose. It proved to be extract of belladonna. Both the mother and daughter were taken sick. The mother died, but the daughter recovered. Rees. the clerk who waited on Miss Merklee, testified at the Coroner's inquest that he sent the order up stairs, and when the jar came down he did not look at the label but wrapped it up and handed it to the lady. The jars containing taraxacum and belladonna are alike in appearance. The Coroner's Jury yesterday rendered a verdict, in which they found "that the jar of belladonna was given through the negligence of the clerk employed by W. H. Schieffelin & Co. who delivered the jar, and the clerk who executed the order up stairs in said establishment.