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Dr. George W. Merchant, druggist by trade founded the The Merchant's Gargling Oil Company in Lockport, Newyork in 1833. By the end of the 1900 century his Gargling Oil was sold worldwide and was one of the main industries in Lockport. He marketed the slogan "Good for Man or Beast" for his Gargling Oil. He would sell his product to horse and mule driver along side the Erie Canel. By 1855 Goerge W. Merchant would sell the business to M. H. Tucker. John Hodge joined the company when he was a teenager and was elected Secretary when M. H. Tucker & Company was incorperated in 1858. Hodge would married one of Tuckers daughters and would gain control of the company when Tucker died in 1865. The companys ownership would change hands several time in the 19th century. The company would go out of business when it burnt down in 1928.

This Gargling Oil was intended to cure almost any illness that could befall a domestic animal. The form intended for human use was not introduced until 1875. Merchant’s Gargling Oil was then made in two versions, one for animals and one for people. The ointment for animal ailments was intended for surface wounds and skin ailments common to horses, cattle, sheep and poultry. A topical ointment was also made for human skin problems. Neither product was intended for internal use, despite the product name of gargling oil.

In 1871 Merchant's Vegetable Worm Tablets had made their appearance.

These bottles were pontied and smooth base for the later ones. You can collect quite a large collection of different shapes and sizes these colorful bottles.

Some of early bottles were embossed From The Laboratory Of G. W. Merchant Chemist Lockport N. Y. and come in several sizes and shades of greens, teals and aqua.

merchant early 1.merchant early 2.merchant early 3.Early smooth base.

The later bottle were embossed Gargling Oil Lockport, N. Y. These come in several sizes and in shade of green, teal, cobalt and aqua.

merchant gargling 5

merchany lot of 4

Below are two different labels on the later bottles.

merchant label 1...merchant label 2.The cobalt bottle label courtesy of (

Below are some trade cards for this product.

merchant trade card 1

merchant trade card 2

Below are some Almanacs.

merchant almanac 1878. From 1878.

merchant almanac 1872. From 1872.

Below are two tax stamps.

merchant stamp 1.merchant stamp 2

Below is a ad on the back of an almanac.

merchant ad on back almanac

Below is a stereoscopic view card. Merchant’s Gargling Oil Co’s. laboratory and office, Lockport, N.Y. (Courtesy of Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views.

merchant laboratory steroview

Below is a trade pamphet with the words "For Man And Beast".

gargling trade pamphet


Farley, Doug. “Erie Canal Discovery: Merchant’s Gargling Oil’s tie to Lockport.” Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. 13 July 2008.

“Merchant’s Gargling Oil.” Patent Medicine: Hagley Museum and Library.

“Dr. G.W. Merchant” Matt’s Collectibles Antique Medicines.


Frank & Frank Jr. (Wicker) Bottle Collection.

merchant early 1a.merchant early 2a

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