Smith Brothers Throat Drop are a tasty lozenge-shaped confection perfect for soothing your throat or simply enjoying as a hard candy treat.
The classic packaging portrays one of the worlds most famous trademarks - two bearded gentlemen. Known for generations as Trade and Mark Smith, the brothers did in fact really exist. Their names were William (Trade) and Andrew (Mark) Smith.
Their father, one James Smith, had moved to
Poughkeepsie, New York from St. Armand, Quebec in 1847 to establish a
restaurant. The legend of the story of the birth of the first cough drop tells of a peddler stopping at the Smith restaurant and giving James the formula for the cough
James believed that the drops were needed in the cold, windswept Hudson Valley and began making them on his kitchen stove.
The drops were a big success and demand for them grew quickly. By 1852, advertising began to appear in the Poughkeepsie paper.
It invited "all afflicted with hoarseness, cough or colds" to test it.
Active in the business from the start, the brothers helped mix the secret recipe and sold drops on the streets. Upon James' death in 1866, the boys inherited the fast growing business and the company officially became known as Smith Brothers.
As sales grew, success was met with imitators.
They decided to place their own pictures on their packaging. At that time, this consisted of counter top glass bowls for display and small envelopes into
the merchant would package the sale. This procedure had limitations in that there was no assurance that the storekeeper would actually use true Smith Brothers drops.
In 1872, to address issues of hygiene and fraud, they developed one of the first factory filled packages. By chance, the word "Trade" appeared under the picture of William and the word "Mark" under that of Andrew. Thus, it happened by a mere coincidence that the famous Smith Brothers trademark was born and the Smith Brothers became known to generations of Americans as Trade and Mark.
Andrew (Mark) died in 1895. William (Trade) continued as president of the company almost up to his death in
He was succeeded by his son, Arthur G. Smith, continued to grow the company by adding Menthol drops (1922), a cough syrup (1926) and the famous Smith Brothers Wild Cherry Flavor (1948). Arthur had two sons, William W. Smith, II and Robert. They carried on as the fourth generation of Smiths to run the company but sold out to pharmaceutical giant
Warner-Lambert in 1963.
F & F Foods, Inc. of Chicago acquired Smith Brothers in 1977 and have thankfully been keeping this classic product alive ever since.