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John Wyeth

Born: 1841
Birthplace: Harrisburg, PA
Died: 30-Mar-1907
Location of death: Philadelphia, PA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Wyeth

John Wyeth, founder of the present-day pharmaceutical giant, was the son of a druggist, and studied at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (now the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia). At graduation he took employment at Henry C. Blair's apothecary store in Philadelphia, and four years later he was made a partner in the shop. In 1860 he quit Blair's shop and, with his brother Frank Wyeth, opened John Wyeth & Brother, Chemists, at 1410 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. The shop's key innovation was to mix medicinal compounds in advance, in large batches, allowing the Wyeth Brothers to sell commonly-prescribed drugs at a lower price than competitors. Wyeth's main success, however, came from a government contract during the American Civil War, to deliver medicines and beef extract to the Union Army.

In 1872, an employee of Wyeth's, Henry Bower, invented a machine for making tablets from medicinal powders, allowing mass production of pills with pre-measured dosages. After fire destroyed the shop in 1889, the brothers left the retail business and opened a larger manufacturing facility at the corner of 11th & Washington. The company's products included a wide array of compressed pills, effervescing salts, elixirs, lozenges, suppositories, and bottled cannabis powder (to be taken with hot brandy, according to its label). Wyeth was also a key player in a syndicate which purchased and published the Philadelphia Record newspaper. His son Stuart took over the drug business at John Wyeth's death in 1907, and at the younger Wyeth's death in 1929, the company was bequeathed to his alma mater, Harvard University. Harvard sold the company to American Home Products in 1932, and AHP rebranded itself Wyeth in 2002.

Father: John Wyeth (chemist/newspaper worker, b. 1798, d. 1876)
Mother: Elmira Jane Canfield Wyeth (b. 1814, d. 1878)
Brother: Frank Wyeth (pharmacist)
Wife: Sarah Wyeth (b. 1844)
Son: Stuart Wyeth (Wyeth executive, b. 1862, d. 1929)

    University: University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (1854)

    Wyeth Founder and President (1860-1907)
    The Philadelphia Record Owner

Author of books:
An Epitome of Therapeutics (1906)


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