U.S. Proprietary Medicine Company
J.S. Burdsal & Company
Dr. C.W. Roback of Cincinnati, Ohio, introduced a group of proprietary medicines in 1855, designating them as "Scandinavien" in 1857. A year later the designation was changed to "Scandinavian" and applied to Blood Pills and Blood Purifier. By 1866, Scandinavian Stomach Bitters had made an appearance. All were distributed through a wholesale druggist, Demas Barnes.
The United States Proprietary Medicine Company, also of Cincinnati, took over the business in 1866, whereupon "Dr." Roback was listed in the city directory as "Manufacturer of Fine Cut and Smoking Tobacco."
The six-cent stamp was issued first, for use on the Stomach Bitters. It appeared on April 24, 1867 and was last delivered on June 18, 1868. 63,622 were issued, all on old paper.
The four-cent stamp, used on bottles of the Blood Purifier, was first issued on May 14, 1867 and last issued in July of 1875. 192,968 were printed on old paper and 38,750 on silk paper. The copy above is printed on experimental silk paper, so counted with the old paper copies.
Experimental silk paper has very few silk threads. The four-cent stamp above has two or three that can be seen on the back.
Roback's Blood Pills were sold in boxes inside wrappers sealed with wax. The wrappers on white paper were first issued June 29, 1867 and last issued in June of 1874. 340,217 were printed on old paper and 182,725 on silk paper. The copy above is on old paper.
The wrappers were supplied in sheets and cut apart with scissors. Some of the guidelines can be seen on this one.
On April 24, 1867 a delivery of the wrappers on yellow paper was made. The paper color actually varied from light yellow through orange to a red-orange. 182,405 were printed on old paper and 31,625 on silk paper. This copy is on yellow, old paper. Part of the wax seal remains.
A wrapper printed on old, orange paper. It appears to have been trimmed at the bottom, perhaps to get rid of wax, and possibly at the top as well.
F.E. Suire & Company took over the business of the United States Proprietary Medicine Company near the end of 1871, but they did not have the private die stamps altered. In July of 1874 J. S. Burdsal acquired Roback's Blood Pills, though perhaps not the Blood Purifier or Stomach Bitters. At any rate, the wrappers were redesigned to include the Burdsal name below the other printed information.
The white paper wrappers were first delivered in August of 1874, and last prior to October 1, 1880. 100,614 were printed on silk paper and 60,105 on watermarked paper. This one is on watermarked paper.
There is one reference that says orange wrappers were used to distinguish the product offered for humans from that for animals, orange being for animals. This would make sense, as the orange wrappers were issued were issued at the same times as the white ones, August of 1874 until October, 1880. 12,516 were printed on silk paper and 9,171 on watermarked paper. This copy is on watermarked paper.
The wrapper is cut down, and has no indication that it has been folded around a package. It is not sharp enough to be a proof, but the punch holes indicate that it might have functioned as a file copy.
When the proprietary medicine tax was removed at the end of June, 1883, the U.S. Proprietary Medicine Company four-cent stamp was redesigned to be used as a facsimile. It is interesting that the proprietary stamps were last issued in 1875 but the owners felt the need to have a facsimile printed after the middle of 1883.