To Market, To Market ....Yesterday
Maine Business Trademarks Registered With
The Secretary of State
The trademarks presented in this display were originally filed with the Maine Secretary of State in compliance with legislation passed in 1883 ("An Act to protect Manufacturers from the Use of Counterfeit Labels, Stamps and Trademarks"). Although manufacturers from across the nation and overseas are included among the trademarks now in the custody of the Maine State Archives, only Maine-based firms have been selected for this exhibit. It should be noted that some of the trademarks and labels have been enlarged for display purposes.
Despite the fact that the items selected for this exhibit in no way represent the entire spectrum of industries that flourished in Maine at the turn of the century, at least three consistent themes do emerge from this sampling. For example, many of the founders of these firms were truly self-made men in the best Horatio Alger tradition. Secondly, some of the largest enterprises were exclusively family firms, and it has been suggested that the old-fashioned determination to retain a business entirely within a family was one of the reasons why many were unable to compete against the larger conglomerates that now dominate the American market. Finally, the presence of local canneries and factories in villages and towns provided employment opportunities for residents and a nearby sales outlet for small farmers and fishermen. Their passing left an economic vacuum in small towns that has never been replenished.
So come along with us and see some of the products you might have found on a trip to market long ago.
Red Jacket Brand Lobsters - Burnham and Morrill Company, Portland,1890
Cape Shore Mackerel
Scarboro Beach Clams
Scarboro Beach Clam Chowder
Renowned nowadays for canned baked beans, Burnham and Morrill once processed a wide variety of foodstuffs. Commerical canning of food gained impetus during the Civil War, when efforts were made to devise a means of getting wholesome nutrition to the troops. Burnham and Morrill is now a division of the William Underwood Company, but retains its name and identity with the State of Maine.
Maine Central - Bragg amd Peirce Company, Bangor, 1883
You might assume that this is the trademark of the Maine Central Railroad. But it's a brand of cigar, brought to you by the same folks who manufactured fragrant Singed Cat Cigars (see below)
Singed Cat (Cigars) - Bragg and Peirce Company, Bangor, 1883
Sunbeam Chop Tea - Cobb and Wight and Company, Rockland, 1888
The Cobb family of Rockland owned one of the largest lime manufacturing firms in Maine. They were shipbuilders, as well, and maintained their own fleet of vessels. They quarried granite, operated a railroad, and owned various subsidiary businesses such as the Cobb and Wight Company. This firm dealt in wholesale and retail groceries and general merchandise that often was carried back from ports to which Cobb clipper ships and steamers had transported lime and granite. William T. Cobb, who filed this trademark, was Governor of Maine from 1905 to 1909. The word "chop" meant trademark or brand in the jargon of English and American traders in the Orient, incidentally.
Schoodic Pond Blueberries - Joseph Coffin, Columbia Falls, 1907
Columbia Falls is in the heart of the famous "blueberry barren" country of Washington County, Maine, where blueberries were first canned in 1866. Originally, blueberries on the barrens were regarded as community property by local residents, but canners successfully defended in Court their right to collect "royalties" on blueberries picked by trespassers on their owned or leased lands. Local folks thereafter picked for the canners for wages of 1 to 3 cents a quart. During the 1899 harvest, Joseph Coffin's establishment processed 7,000 bushels of blueberries.
The New Century $2.50 Shoe - A.H. Berry Shoe Company, Portland, 1901
A.H. Berry, a native of Georgetown, Maine, "received his early education in the common schools, and his training for active life in a country store" according to a contemporary published biographical notice. He eventually became a prominent Portland banker, as well as a shoe manufacturer. In the pulpit and the press much was made of the fact that a new century - the Twentieth - had begin, and A.H. Berry took up the theme as a trademark for this particular ladies' shoe.
Murphy's Balsam - Edward W. Murphy, Portland, 1888
For 10 cents you could stop that cough with a three ounce bottle of Murphy's Balsam. the Murphy brothers (E.W. and T.J.) were retail druggists; and if you dropped by their establishment, you could also refresh yourself with Murphy's Root and Herb Bitters and pick up a package of Murphy's Famous Fly Paper!
St. George and the Dragon Blueberries - Charles Hayward and Co., Bangor, 1915
Charles Hayward was a native of Readfield, Maine, who began his career as a clerk in a Bangor grocery store in 1832. He rose to become a partner in several retail and wholesale concerns before establishing his own business in 1855. His firm was destroyed by fire in 1869 and was subsequently rebuilt on Exchange Street in Bangor.
Underwood Spring Water - The Underwood Hotel Company, Portland, 1885
This is one of a number of Maine bottlers who were using mineral spring water available at various locations other than the well-known site at Poland Spring. This mineral spring was located in Falmouth.
The Howdy Pap Cigar - Alfred Boucher, Biddeford, 1913
In the good old days, local grocers would often buy wholesale tobacco and put up cigars for retail sale under their own trademarks.
To Continue for more Trademarks