Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists, History

Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists, History

Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists, Inc., got its start when John Uri Lloyd bought out H. M. Merrell and his partner, T. C. Thorpe. In 1885, younger brothers N(elson) Ashley and Curtis Gates, having both completed pharmacy apprenticeships, were brought into the business. Lloyd Brothers was born. The company lasted some 40 odd years, and each of the brothers made a unique contribution to the firm. Ashley was the business manager, handling every financial aspect of the company. Curtis, who had extensive expertise in botany, served as the company's field representative. Both served in their respective capacities until their deaths in 1926. John served as chief researcher and developer of pharmaceutical products and was considered the patriarch of the firm. With these diversified roles, however, the company was an efficient and effective unit, making them one of the most profitable and recognized manufactures of botanical medicines of the time.

Botanicals formed an important part of the active mateia medica throughout the 19th century. They were extremely popular: the 1885 Parke, Davis & Company catalog lists 494 botanical fluidextracts (concentrated preparation of a vegetable drug in an alcohol solution). By comparison, Lloyd Brothers manufactured 835 fluidextracts in 1884. However, the mainstay of their business was the Specific Medicines.

The Specific Medicines were an extremely popular line of eclectic medicines designed for pharmacists who were compounding prescriptions for physicians. They were the hallmark production of Lloyd Brothers and much attention was devoted to their development.

A basic definition for Lloyd Specifics is that they were, with rare exception, highly concentrated, unofficial tinctures (approximately eight times the strength of most official tinctures) of plant constituents extracted by maceration or percolation. John Lloyd was careful to point out that his Specifics were not the same as true fluidextrants. Specific Medicines were not necessarily alcoholic botanicals, for a few in the list were chemicals, including inorganic acids and salts, and a few were dry alkaloids of American drugs of established value.

Whatever their composition, however, the Specific Medicines and the pharmaceutical company were tied closely with the Eclectic Medical College in Cincinnati and to Eclectic Medicine in general. Most of the Specific Medicines were made for use by Eclectic physicians and were geared mostly toward their needs and patients.

Lloyd Brothers continued to manufacture a line of botanical drugs well into the 20th century. In 1938, S. B. Penick purchased the firm from the Lloyd estate, where it continued to manufacture its products largely unchanged from the original Lloyd formulas. In 1956, what had become Lloyd and Dabney was bought by the Westerfield compant, becoming Lloyd, Dabney & Westerfield. In 1960, the German pharmaceutical manufacturer, Hoechst, purchased the company for the sum of $4 million, changed the name, and moved and upgraded the operations.

Image and text from Lloyd Library and Museum

For a history of each of the brothers, see Lloyd Brothers

Lloyd Brothers/Wm. S. Merrell Historical Sketch

The firm of Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists Inc., began in 1845 when William S. Merrell opened a drug store in the corner room of a building located at Court and Plum Streets. In 1852, the name of the pharmacy was changed to William S. Merrell & Co. Another change came in 1861, with the addition of T.C. Thorp. In 1862, Wm. S. Merrell's part was purchased by H.M. Merrell, and the name was changed to H.M. Merrell & Co. Abner Thorp was added as a partner in 1869. In 1877, John Uri Lloyd bought the share of T.C. Thorp, and the name of the firm became Merrell, Thorp & Lloyd. At this point, the pharmacy began to concentrate on the manufacturing of drugs and less on retailing. In 1881, Nelson Ashley Lloyd, John Uri's younger brother, replaced H.M. Merrell, and the company's name was again changed, to Thorp & Lloyd Brothers. The final major name change occurred in 1886, when the youngest Lloyd brother, Curtis Gates Lloyd, joined the firm replacing Abner Thorp, and Lloyd Brothers was born. The name and copartnership remained until 1924, when the company was incorporated as Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists Inc.

The growth of the company can be directly linked to the decision by John Uri Lloyd to ally himself with the Eclectic physicians, and his agreement with doctors John King and John Milton Scudder to undertake the production of the medicinals that would comprise an American materia
medica. In this respect he was extemely effective, and by the 1880's the Lloyd Brothers drugs, under the name Specific Medicines [licensed from John M. Scudder] were leaders in the field.

By the 1900's, the firm had cornered the "ethical drug" market, and was not only the primary supplier of drugs to Eclectic physicians, but was a major supplier of drugs to the regular (or Allopathic) and Homeopathic physicians. The goal of the company as stated by John Uri Lloyd was to produce botanical drugs of standard quality and strength, using the most precise and exacting standards of manufacture. The growth of the company, however, was primarily due to the brilliant chemical and pharmaceutical research of John Uri Lloyd. He not only developed new medicinals, but invented the apparatus necessary for their manufacture. As a result the firm led in the manufacture of botanicals in general, and had exclusive patent on many new drugs. The cold still, an absolute necessity in current pharmaceutical research and development, was patented by John Uri Lloyd, and its use by Lloyd Brothers allowed the company a huge advantage over its competition.

The company thrived until John Uri Lloyd's death in 1936. The deaths of Nelson Ashley in 1925 and Curtis Gates in 1926 had certainly been a loss to the company, but it was from John Uri that the company had always taken its' direction. With his death in 1936, his will called for the sale of the firm within five years. Although contested by John Thomas Lloyd [J.U.L.'s son] and Thomas Rouse, an executor, Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists Inc. was purchased by S.B. Pennick in 1938. In 1948, a local management consortium purchased Lloyd Brothers stock. The group was headed by Robert H. Woodward, later a vice-president of Wm. S. Merrell & Co., and John Dietrich, a treasurer of Hoechst Pharmaceuticals. In 1958, new financial interests, headed by Richard Lockton, acquired control of the firm.

The company was then sold in 1960 to Intercontinental Chemical Corporation, a holding company for Farbwerke Hoechst, the German chemical giant. In 1967 the name of the company was changed from Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists Inc. to Hoechst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and in 1968 to become a division of American Hoechst Corporation. In 1969, the parent company consolidated its divisions in New Jersey, and the last link to the Cincinnati area was broken.

Excerpt from Lloyd Library Archives

For examples of Lloyd Brothers medicines see here, here, and here.

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