Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, February 25, 2007, pg. 8

Occasionally someone will call me about a small bottle they found that has the name “J.W. Brant Co.” on it. Most of their bottles are rectangular and have raised-lettering in the glass itself. This was a patent medicine firm which manufactured its concoctions for a half century at 214 E. Mulberry St.

Their medicines were sold all over the country. An 1891 article stated, “Manufacturers of Brant’s Remedies, Magic Dyes, Fluid Extracts, etc. are becoming to be well known...The liberal sale of Brant’s Balsam is easily accounted for because of its honest value as a remedy for coughs, croup, and other throat and lung troubles.” I wonder what the main ingredient was which seemed to make their products work so well? Hmmmm?

Located just north of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad tracks just west of N. Huron St., this firm came to Albion in the late 1880s from Hillsdale. It was owned locally by James W. Shanley who served as Mayor of Albion in 1901. The firm was later was acquired by J. Clifford Smith and Robert Baldwin, and went out of business during World War II. The building was demolished in 1963.

In our column last week we mentioned that “real photo” Albion postcards are especially desirable for this column. This week from our Historical Notebook we present one such card. It shows several workers at the J.W. Brant Company standing outside of their workplace. From the looks of things, it appears to have been taken around 1915. The identities from left to right are: Victor Leavy, Ray Baker, Coral Greenlee, Else (Fiss) Sauer, Violet (Coulson) Gifford, and the last two ladies are unidentified.

How many of our readers have bottles from the J.W. Brant Company?

J.W. Brant Co. Workers, circa 1915

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago -- March 1907

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