WILLIAM RADAM : MICROBE KILLER
William Radam was an immigrant from Prussia. He would eventually end up in Austin, Texas were he had a Gardening and Nursery store, along with thirty acres which he worked. This would be his for livelihood the next twenty years until he contracted Malaria; after seeing many doctors who would prescribe many different medicines with all having no results. In his book from 1890 "Microbes and the Microbe Killer" Radam stated "I swallowed the contents of bottle after bottle until their number became too great to calculation. I took quinine until it failed to have any effect". This is when he began his own journey to cure himself.
On September 28 1886 Radam would patent his Microbe Killer. He reportedly began selling his Microbe Killer Elixir at the Dallas State Fair by the jug. In December 13 1887 he secured his trade mark for Microbe Killer. It was a young well clothed business man swinging a club at a skeleton.
Radam claimed that the Microbe Killer could cure disease and conquer death. Business was so good by 1888 he had the Koppel Building built on the site where his nursery once was. By 1890 Radam would leave Austin, Texas and relocate to New York City where he set up a laboratory and a main office located at No. 7 Laight St. His resident's was a mansion on Fifth Ave.
A physician and pharmacist R. G. Eccles reported that Microbe Killer was water mixed with miniscule amounts of hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid. Radam swore." I have never bought nor used one dollar's worth of sulfuric or muriatic acid to make my Microbe Killer". He would have his attorney start a libel suit against Eccles. A Brooklyn jury awarded Eccles 6000 dollars. Radam would appeal the verdict and pursued it in the Manhattan courtroom were the judge charge the jury to rule in favor for Radam, who was awarded 500 dollars. The Brooklyn award was eventually reversed. Radam proclaimed the victory for his Microbe Killer in the newspapers and pamphlets.
William Radam would die in 1902. His body was returned to Austin, Texas and is buried at the Oakwood Cemetery. The famous Microbe Killer would continue to sell though out the United States. He also had a factory in London which produced Microbe Killer in jugs for his British customers. The Melborne Glass Company manufactured Microbe Killer in Aqua Bottle from 1900 to 1912 for the Australian customers.
In 1912 a Kentucky congressman named Swagar Sherley introduced a bill on congress designed to compensate for some of the allowances in the Pure Food and Drug Act from 1906. It declared that a drug misbranded and there for illegal. The Sherley Amendment was passed by congress and President William Howard Taft signed it into law in 1912. Radam's Microbe Killer was one of the first nostrums to be targeted. By 1913 the jury found that Radam's Microbe Killer had violated the Sherley Amendment.
Below is a bottle embossed GERM, BACTERIA OR / LUNGUS. DESTROYER / WM RADAMS MICROBE KILLER / RESTESTERED TRADE MARK DEC 13 1887 / CURE'S / ALL / DISEASES.
The second photos of the two bottles are embossed on the bottom.
The pair of aqua bottles are from Australia and were produced from 1900 to 1912. They are embossed GERM, BACTERIA OR / LUNGUS, DESTROYER / WM RADAMS / MICROBE KILLER / RESTESTERED TRADE MARK DEC 13 1887.
Below is a small size radams 6 1/2 in.
Below is photo of one of his jugs. There were several different types of jugs the firm used.
An Account of Classic Medical Quarkery from the Heart of Texas by Daniel R. Barrnett 2004.
Frank & Frank Jr. (Wicker) Bottle Collection.