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Jones & Primley Co.: Iron and Wahoo Tonic & Primley's Sarsaparilla & Primley's Speedy Cure

Jacob Primley was born in Pennsylvania in May 18 1814 and would die in 1875. Jacob would marry Sarah Hitchmer from Mercer county Ohio in 1840. The couple would move to Elkhart, Indiana. in 1845. Jacob was involved in a grocery business and dry goods in Elkhart. Together they would have ten children. Out of the ten children two of them would be involved in the manufacturing of medicines. This brief article is about Jonathon Primley.

Jonathan P Primley was born in 1851 in Elkhart, Indiana. Jonathon work as a clerk in Joseph Rollins drug store. He would get married in 1879. Jonathon would end up purchasing the business from Joseph Rollin in 1876. The drug store which was located on 623 S.Main Street and Taylor Street near the depot was a well build brick building. It was written in 1881 that his drug store was a very well stocked drug store.

Sherman Primley who was also a pharmisist would purchase this drug store from his brother Jonathon Primley in July 1 1885. According to the Elkhart Daily Review from July 1885.

primley med ad

At some point Jonathon Primley would partner with a Alfred Jones as early as 1886-1887. Alfred A. jones was a pharmisist from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a parnter in a drug store with J. A. Wheeler. There drug store was located at 87 Monroe Street Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jonathon and Alfred new business was now located at E. Franklin Street Elkhart, Indiana. This location was called the Jones & Primley Laboratory.

The Elkhart City Directory of 1889 listed that together Jonathon and Alfred was producing Iron and Wahoo Tonic along with Primley's Sarsaparilla and Primley's Speedy Cure for Coughs and Colds.

In 1891 Jonathon P. Primley would purchase the interest of A. Jones in the stock known as Jones & Primley Co. He would still carry on manufacturing the patent medicines and chewing gum. Sometime in 1891 also Jonathon would move to Chicago to a four story building, here he would manufacture chewing gum. Eventually this would become one of the founding firms in the American Circle Company.

Jonathon name his chewing gum "Kis-Me". This first ever fruit flavored chewing gum would become very popular with with the ladys . At this time no proper lady would be caught chewing gum. The gums slogen was "Far better then a kiss".

Jonathon Primley would die in Feb. 10 1914 as a millionaire in Pasadena, California. This is were he would live in the winter. His medicines were world renown.

The building which Jonathon Primley owned in Elkhart was purchased by mayor Sporn of Goshen, Indiana and then was called the Clem drug Co. They also produced embossed medicine bottles.

Listed in the Elkhart City Directories.

1883-1885/6 J.P. Primley as a Druggist on Main St.

1889-1891 His occupation was a maker of Patent medicines and Gum Manufacturing Under the name of Jones and Primley located at E. Franklin St.

1891 J. P. Primley purchased the interest of A. Jones in the stock Known as Jones & Primley Co. and is still carrying on the manufacture of patent medicines and chewing gum.

1891 J. P. Primley would move to Chicago to a Four Story building were he would manufacture chewing gum, eventually becoming one of the founding firms in the American Cicle Company.

Below are two different sizes of the PRIMLEYS IRON AND WAHOO TONIC BITTERS // JONES ELKHART, IND. The color of these bottle have many shades of yellow to amber and strong green. The shape is square. There are two sizes 9 ½ down to 8 ¾ in.

primley 1.primley 2

Below are photos of different shades of amber in the smaller size.

primley 3..primly label 1


primley sar 1.primley sar 2.primley sar 3

Below is a ad and bottle for there Primley,s Speedy Cure for Coughs and Colds.


primley speedy 1

primley speedy 2

primley speedy 3

primley speedy 4

Below are photos of some advertizements for Primley Gum along with a display case.

primley chewing gum ad

primley chem gum ad 2 This ad is from 1893.

primley chewing gum case


Elkhart Public Library.

1883 Daily Review newspaper.

1885 Elkhart Daily Review newspaper.

1891 Elkhart Weekly Review newspaper.

1891 The Daily Ocean newspaper.

1914 Elkhart progressive Democrat newspaper.

1881 Elkhart County History.

Frank & Frank Jr.(Wicker) Bottle Collection.

primley 4

primley 5

primley sar 4.primley speedy 1a

primley speedy 2a

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