Perry Davis Pain Killer Advertising Bottle Postcards

Written on this real photo postcard of a house:
Home of Perry Davis, the Pain Killer man, Newport RI 1900

This was a postcard that did NOT come up in my 'bottles/postcards' daily search alert. It came up in another category I watch, Newport, in my hope of finding a Newport Beach CA milk bottle (hint-hint). But it caught my interest because the seller was focused on the photographer, and didn't give any info on the home's owner, this mysterious Pain Killer Man.

After a quick google, I discovered plenty of information on Perry Davis, so why the seller didn't add a little info to his listing is beyond me. I'll just share a little here, along with some links and a few pix of go-with tradecards.

Perry Davis could afford this mansion because of his successful business selling his PAIN KILLER.

Mark Twain thought it tasted awful:

It was not right to give the cat the "Pain-Killer"; I realize it now. I would not repeat it in these days. But in those "Tom Sawyer" days it was a great and sincere satisfaction to me to see Peter perform under its influence--and if actions do speak as loud as words, he took as much interest in it as I did. It was a most detestable medicine, Perry Davis Pain-Killer. Mr. Pavey's negro man, who was a person of good judgment and considerable curiosity, wanted to sample it and I let him. It was his opinion that it was made of hell-fire.

- Autobiography of Mark Twain

From The History of Providence, RI. website:

Patent Medicines.  Of all the patent medicines manufactured, none possess a more world-wide reputation than Perry Davis's Pain-killer, which was discovered by Mr. Davis in 1840.  In 1843, Mr. Davis established himself in Providence, and began its manufacture.  The almost instantaneous relief afforded to acute pain, soon made Perry Davis's Pain-killer the most popular remedy in the country, a popularity that has in no way declined through the many years it has been before the public. 

Previous to his death, Mr. Davis had associated his son, Mr. Edmund Davis, with himself, under the firm-title of Perry Davis & Son.  The principal office of the house is at 136 High Street, in Providence, with branch houses at 111 Sycamore Street, Cincinnati, O.;  337 St. Paul Street, Montreal, Ca.; and 17 Southampton Row, London, Eng.  In the rear of the office in Providence, is the factory where the Pain-killer is manufactured.   With Mr. Edmund Davis is associated his son, E. W. Davis, and son-in-law, H. S. Bloodgood, who are young, energetic business men, and are of great assistance in the management of the immense business connected with this manufactory. 

The Pain-killer is sent to every part of the known world, and may be found in every place where drugs are sold.


"PAIN KILLER" was patented by Perry Davis in 1845. It is believed to be the first nationally advertised remedy specifically for pain - as distinct from a particular disorder. "Pain Killer" was distributed by Christian missionaries around the world. In its heyday, Perry Davis' "vegetable elixir" was widely regarded as a wonderdrug. Its ingredients, mainly opiates and ethyl alcohol, were entirely natural. The concoction was created Perry Davis in 1840. Since "Perry Davis Pain Killer" was a registered trade brand name, there was no legal requirement to make its ingredients public on the bottle.

 Here are 2 informative articles:
And finally: Google search link for lots more Perry Davis Pain Killer info.

Now here's a few fun bottle themed vintage postcards.

This one's not a postcard but I loved the graphics on this unused case of fruit jars (on ebay here).

1910 Real Photo PC Horsedrawn Fred Follett Dairy Wagon Fred With Milk Bottles (Sold on ebay for $54.00)


[Editor's note: I gave it a try, but did not find any info on the businesses/people pictured on the above 3 real photo postcards.]

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