Lawrence & Martin

Tolu Rock and Rye had a short but glorious history. Lawrence & Martin are listed as wholesalers and wines, liquors and cigar importers in Chicago in 1878. In 1880 they introduced Tolu as an appetizer and cure for consumption, coughs, colds and all diseases of the throat and lungs. Their private die stamp was first issued in the last half of 1880 and last delivered February 6, 1881. 445,900 were issued on watermarked paper.

It is unlikely to have been a coincidence that Lawrence & Martin's private die stamp is long and thin, in the manner of a liquor strip. The scene on this trade card, which must date from 1880-81, appears to be set in a bar, and the "sufferer" is made up for a night out on the town.

This page from a wholesale druggist's catalog contains an interesting statement to the effect that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue had decided that Tolu might be properly classified as a medicinal preparation for tax purposes. It is very likely that such a decision was overturned in 1881, as the product seems to have left the market abruptly. By 1882 the partnership had been dissolved, though both Lawrence and Martin were still listed as liquor dealers.