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A Century of Cures

Website Last Updated December 15, 2018


A Century of Cures

Dr. J.C. Ayer & Co., Lowell, Mass., U.S.A.

A Reference Guide by

Cliff & Linda Hoyt


Review in the Bottle and Glass Collector Magazine, December 2018:

Ralph Finch -- "Impressive new book raises the bar for research and dedication to the hobby."

Publisher John Pastor -- "It is extremely impressive! ..... the hobby owes the Hoyts a debt of gratitude for offering this outstanding resource on the company and bottles."


(Publication Date: October 2018)

ISBN: 978-0-9631604-4-7

500 Page Hard Bound Book $49.95

(plus $5.00 shipping and MA tax of $3.12 if shipping address is in Massachusetts)

Email questions or comments info.cliffhoyt.com



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Back Cover

The History of the Companies of J.C. Ayer

 Lowell, Mass. (1841-1943)


These companies made Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral, Ayer’s Cathartic Pills, Ayer’s Sarsaparilla, Ayer’s Ague Cure, Ayer’s Hair Vigor and a number of minor products in the 1900's. The book addresses the history of the company within the context of medical, political, and social happenings of the period. What was the state of medical knowledge? How did the definition of patent medicine develop and evolve? In the 1840s it was medicine that was patented. It then morphed into “snake oil” sold by charlatans. While its dual meaning today is both snake oil and valid patented medicine. Was J.C. Ayer & Co. one of these charlatans? How did the Pure Food and Drug Act effect Ayer’s company? How did Ayer use technology to make his company into an international megacompany.


 The book’s chapters will give you an idea of the diversity of its contents:

Chapter 1 The Ayer Brothers

Chapter 2 J.C. Ayer & Co. 1841-1877

Chapter 3 J.C. Ayer Co. 1877-1925

Chapter 4 The Ayer Company 1925-1938 & The Ayer Company, Inc. 1938-1943

Chapter 5 Products (Bottles, Tins & Containers) (75+ images)

Chapter 6 Ayer’s Encased Postage (12 images)

Chapter 7 Trade Cards & the Art of Chromolithography (130+ images)

Chapter 8 J.C. Ayer Posters, Signs & Display Items (140+ images)

Chapter 9 Ayer’s Premiums (20+ images)

Chapter 10 Handbills & Pamphlets (110+ images)

Chapter 11 Newspapers & Magazines (50+ images)

Chapter 12 Business-Oriented Ephemera (70+ images)

Chapter 13 Fakes & Reproductions

Appendix Bottle Manufacturing Identification Guide


Beyond our text and use of images from our collection we were thrilled to receive images from fourteen additional contributors to enhance the variety of objects included in this 500 page book.

To purchase by check/money order send your name and address along with a check/money order made out to Cliff Hoyt for:


Book Price:                      $49.95

Shipping:                           $5.00 Media Mail (USPS Media Mail delivery estimate 2-9 days)

Total                                 $54.95

Sales Tax                           $3.12 (6.25% for MA mailing addressees only.)

Total                                 $58.07 (with MA Sales Tax)


Mail to:

Cliff Hoyt

10 Kearney Sq. Apt 408

Lowell, MA 01852