Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mead Johnson & Company

Spinoffs:  they don't just happen with TV sitcoms.

The firm of Seabury and Johnson was formed circa 1874 to market Benson's Capcine Porous plasters, which presumably used the oil of hot peppers in connection with some sort of poultice.  They utilized private die proprietary stamps, which won't concern us here but can be seen on my website at  

Around 1885 Robert Johnson left the firm and formed a company with his brothers, including Edward Mead Johnson.  This was Johnson and Johnson, which continues today.  In 1896 Johnson and Johnson bought out Seabury and Johnson, but continued to operate it as a separate unit.


A Seabury and Johnson cover from 1899.  Several versions of these exist, usually priced to reflect their attractiveness.  


Johnson and Johnson used a private die proprietary stamp during the Spanish-American war tax period.  Its design mimics that of the familiar battleship revenues, minus ship.

The next spinoff came in 1897, when Edward Mead Johnson left the company to pursue his fortune with one he had created in 1895, the American Ferment Company, which marketed a digestive aid.  This company did not have a private die stamp, but their company name can be found on regular proprietary stamps.

In 1905 the American Ferment Company changed its name to Mead Johnson & Company.  In its day, the firm manufactured and marketed Pablum and Metrecal.  More recently it was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, then spun off again as an independent company in 2009.  Its current flagship product is Enfamil.

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