Made in Minnesota: Patent Medicine on the Prairie

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The Watkins Company Administration building in Winona, Minnesota. Courtesy of the Winona County Historical Society via Minnesota Digital Library.  

Many states became regional hubs for patent medicine production. A number of companies were based in Ohio, including Samuel Hartman’s Peruna Drug Manufacturing Company. Massachusetts was the home base for both Dr. Ayer and the Lydia Pinkham Medical Company.

Minnesota was also part of this phenomenon. Home to the nationally-known J. R. Watkins Company, Minnesota also boasted a number of other producers, including Mark's Medical Company located in Fosston and the smaller Fluid-d’Or Company of Hibbing, Minnesota. Together these and other start-up companies helped to put Minnesota on the patent medicine map and contributed to the young state's growing economy.