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31 Oct 2021, last revised 27 Jun 2022

With just one bottle, the drug store of Carl G. Printz appears to have been short-lived, but in fact, it lasted for six years. This one bottle has a Chicago Oval shape, which dates to the late 1880s-1890s, placing it among the earliest embossed pharmacy bottles from the Copper Country.

Karl George Printz was born on 06 Feb 1861 in Finland (1), and immigrated to the U.S. in about 1885 (2). He worked in a large drug store in Paterson, NJ (2), and then worked with his brother, M. Printz, a druggist in Red Jacket, for about six months (2). He opened his drug store in the newly-constructed First National Bank Building in Nov 1888 (23). Consequently, he was listed as a druggist in Hancock in the 1891 and 1893 directories (3,4). Werner Nikander worked for Carl Printz in 1889 (5).

His ad indicated that his drug store was called Lion Pharmacy, which the bottle states with a pictorial lion. Because of limited archived issues of the Michigan Copper Journal, which became the Semi-Weekly Copper Journal, we know his recurring ad ran from at least May 1891 to Dec 1893, but we do not know when it started or ended.

Newspaper ad - Michigan Copper Journal, 28 Mar 1891
Newspaper ad - Mar 1891
Newspaper ad - Michigan Copper Journal, 17 Dec 1891
Newspaper ad - Dec 1891

The 1895 Polk directory described the location of the bank as being on the northwest corner of Quincy St. and Reservation St. (8). In 1893, Printz had the company of three other druggists on Quincy St.: Dr. Patrick H. Gallagher, George H. Nichols, and Archibald. J. Scott (4,6).

Sanborn map - Aug 1893
Sanborn map - Aug 1893

Like with other drug stores, Printz had a soda fountain, but interestingly, he installed a hot soda fountain in Dec 1891 (10) and offered hot soda during Christmas sales (11). A hot soda fountain was also installed by Geo. H. Nichols in Dec 1891 (17) and Eagle Drug Store in Dec 1898 (24), so apparently it saw some popularity during winter. Printz added three new showcases in Jan 1892 (13), so business seemingly was growing.

Newspaper ad - Semi-Weekly Copper Journal, 23 Aug 1893
Newspaper ad - Aug 1893

In Sep 1891, Printz left for Chicago to attend Rush Medical College so he could practice as a physician (9,12). He was expected to graduate in Spring 1893 (14), but we only found him continuing as a druggist. While spending the winters in Chicago (14), someone must have been operating the store. Alfred Sodergren was the prescription clerk for several months, but then left for Ishpeming on 18 May 1892 (18). In Jun 1892, Printz procured George Ramsell as prescription clerk (19), a former proprietor of the Eagle Drug Store in Red Jacket (20). The store was closed on 12 Jul 1893 by chattel mortgage foreclosure (21). In Aug 1893, Printz accepted a position with Dr. Dodge (22), but it was short-lived, since an ad from 23 Aug 1893 stated that the store was renovated and reopened.

Printz started his drug store in 1888 and closed it in 1894. After his time in Hancock, he moved to Astoria, Oregon (15), where, in Nov 1894, he was one of the incorporators of the Printz-Crain Drug Company (16). He then moved to San Fransisco and was licensed by the California Board of Pharmacy in Oct 1895 (6). He continued to be a druggist in San Francisco, but then died on 07 Jan 1900, with the cause being listed as suicide by hydrocyanic acid poisoning (7).

References

  1. Michigan, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1867-1911 (accessed on ancestry.com).
  2. anonymous. (1888, Nov 15). Hancock Happenings. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  3. R. L. Polk & Co. 1891. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1891-92. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1893. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1893-94. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  5. Holmio, A. K. 2001. History of Finns in Michigan. Wayne State University Press. Detroit, MI.
  6. anonymous. 1895. The California Board of Pharmacy. American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record 27: 304.
  7. California Department of Public Health, courtesy of www.vitalsearch-worldwide.com. Digital Images. (accessed on ancestry.com)
  8. R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  9. anonymous. (1891, Sep 17). untitled. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 2.
  10. anonymous. (1891, Dec 17). Of Particular Interest to the Inhabitants of Hancock and Houghton and the City at Large. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1.
  11. anonymous. (1891, Dec 17). Carl G. Printz's. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1 (supplement)
  12. anonymous. (1891, Dec 24). untitled. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1.
  13. anonymous. (1892, Jan 01). Of Particular Interest to the Inhabitants of Hancock and Houghton and the City at Large. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1.
  14. anonymous. (1892, Oct 06). untitled. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1.
  15. anonymous. (1894, Nov 1). Detroit. The Pharmaceutical Era. D. O. Haynes & Co., Publishers, NY.
  16. anonymous. (1894, Nov 7). New Incorporators. Paint, Oil and Drug Review 18(19): 11.
  17. anonymous. (1891, Dec 03). Of Particular Interest to the Inhabitants of Hancock and Houghton and the City at Large. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1.
  18. anonymous. (1892, May 19). untitled. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1.
  19. anonymous. (1892, Jun 30). untitled. Michigan Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 1.
  20. anonymous. (1891, Apr 03). untitled. The Calumet and Red Jacket News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  21. anonymous. (1893, Jul 12). Printz' Drug Store Closed. Semi-Weekly Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 3.
  22. anonymous. (1893, Aug 02). Personal. Semi-Weekly Copper Journal (Hancock, MI). p. 3.
  23. anonymous. (1888, Nov 22). Hancock Happenings. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  24. anonymous. (1898, Dec 17). untitled. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 5.

4
Carl G. Printz bottle
2 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape E
date: 1889-1894
capacity - H x W - base mark - rarity:
2 oz. - 10.6 x 4.1 cm - PAT D MAY 15. 1888 / D. F. & D. - extremely rare
  • capacity not marked on bottle