MISTER SMITH on the porch

I call him Mr. Smith. He is one of the people whose name was chopped off the back of the photo and all that remains is "Mr" in brown ink. So why name him Mr. Smith? Because of Smith Brother cough drops.

When I look at him I think of sneaking a cough drop during class. Trying to hide the box from the teacher...and fellow classmates. Really, the teachers were usually okay, especially if you'd been out sick. They'd rather you suck on a cherry cough drop than sit and cough and cough and.... But the other kids were merciless. They'd start hittin' you up for one as soon as they saw the distinctive white box with the faces of the old gents on the front. What were you to do? Little annoying brats. Too often it was kids that didn't even like you, maybe they were popular and used that as leverage. They'd act like maybe they'd let you into their precious group if you'd just give them one ruby red drop. Then their other annoying friends were right behind them with their hands outstretched. After a few times of dealing with this I became very stealth at getting a drop out of a box. That plus I just became steadfast in saying, "No, my mother said I'm not to give them away." I mean, I was already considered one of invisible ones. Not hated, not loved. Just not there. Keep your hands off my ruby red cough drops.

I can't resist posting the following found at Wikipedia about Smith Brothers. Little did these men suspect what they had wrought upon sick little kids everywhere. Then again, I can recall happily eating them when well, willing to deal with the bullies. I can also recall every so often finding a fuzzy cough drop in the bottom of my purse covered with whatever refuse had managed to stick to it. If it didn't look too bad I can tell you there were times...yup, there were times when I actually considered just picking off the fuzz and downing it.
The Smith Brothers were makers of cough drops.

William Wallace Smith I (1830-1913) and Andrew Smith (1836-1895) were the sons of James Smith (c1800-1866) of Poughkeepsie, New York. James' family had emigrated from Fife, Scotland, in 1831, and James had emigrated from St. Armand, Quebec in 1847. In New York, he opened a small restaurant, ice-cream parlor, and candy business, called "James Smith and Son". James Smith bought a cough drop recipe from a peddler named Sly Hawkins. In 1852, James developed lozenges and advertised them in the Poughkeepsie paper selling them to those "afflicted with hoarseness, cough or colds". William and Andrew inherited the business after their father died in 1866. The brand was then named "Smith Brothers Cough Drop". In 1872, to prevent drug stores from selling generic lozenges, they developed one of the first factory filled packages with trademark branding. On the packaging the word "Trade" appeared under the picture of William and the word "Mark" under that of Andrew, they were then incorrectly referred to as Trade Smith and Mark Smith. Andrew died in 1895, and William continued as president of the company almost up to his death in 1913. William was succeeded by his son, Arthur G. Smith (c1875-1936), who continued to expand the company by adding menthol drops (1922), cough syrup (1926) and wild cherry drops (1948). Arthur G. Smith had two sons: William Wallace Smith II (1888-1955) and Robert Lansing Smith (1891-1962). The trust funds that owned Smith Brothers stock in 1963 merged their company with Warner-Lambert. The last Smith Brothers Cough Drop manufactured in Poughkeepsie was made in 1972. They were thereafter manufactured by F & F Foods in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. He IS one of the Smith Brothers! My cough drop of choice in second grade.


  2. What do you suppose he took when HE had a cough? I'm guessing Ludens.