Nature’s Danger Signals – Mother Seigel’s Syrup

‘There is no form of indigestion or biliousness that will not yield to Mother Seigel’s Syrup.’

Mr. Thomas Butler of 41 Flora Street Erskineville suffered horribly from severe indigestion and stomach cramp before finding relief from a bottle of Mother Seigel’s Syrup, in which he found a complete and thorough cure.

From July 1908 Mr. Thomas Butler’s story of his return to health featured on a regular basis in publications all over Australia. The earliest appearance identified to date appears below:

Nature's DAnger Signals.png

Standard (Port Melbourne, Vic) Saturday, 18 July 1908

Towards the end of September 1908 a change appears in the advertising. No longer was it enough for Mr. Butler’s enthusiastic testimony to carry the weight of convincing the public of the benefits of Mother Seigel’s Syrup, and the art department was called into action:

MS II.png

The Grenfell Record & Lachlan District Advertiser Saturday, 3 October 1908

Advertisements ran in this form until they appear to cease on or around 26 December 1908. Between July and December 1908 these advertisements appeared in about 100 editions of newspapers around the country.

For several months there was silence and the story appeared to have run its course. However, in July, August and September 1909 Mr. Thomas Butler’s testimony received a reprieve and was again republished, this time as part of a half page advertisement that included a similar story of a return to health from Mrs. Winifred McKay of Lygon Street North Carlton (Vic). Again the creative department had made some changes and the image of a man wracked with pain had been replaced by a much friendlier looking character:

Healthy and happy.png

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 17 July 1909

Mother Seigels Syrup Logo 1909.png

“I only pray for simple grace
to look my neighbour in the face
full honestly from day to day.”

The Sands Directories show Mr. Thomas Butler residing at 41 Flora Street Erskineville from 1905 to 1914. Here is an extract of a map of Erskineville published in 1895 indicating the position of 41 Flora Street remains the same as today:

SG Map.png

Sheet 12- City of Sydney Section Map 1895

 Here is a description of the house from a sales notice of 1903 shortly before its occupation by Mr. Thomas Butler:

41 FLora desc.png

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 4 February 1903

There is a little written about Mother Seigel’s Syrup here and here, suggesting a connection to the The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (the Shakers), and that Mother Seigel’s Syryp was renamed ‘Shaker Extract of Roots.’

The Spectator Magazine of 18 December 1908 p21-22 citing the British Medical Association reported the ingredients of Mother Seigel’s Syrup as follows:

MS Recipe.png

Spectator Magazine (UK) 18 December 1908

 Similarly, the journal of the Melbourne Medical Students’ Society Speculum  issue 77, May 1910 p13-19 citing the British Medical Association states ‘Mother Seigel’s Syrup is made up with HCl. Tinct : Capsici, and aloes with treacle and water.’

This entry was posted in 1900-1909, Advertising, Flora Street, Good for what ails you and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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