Force of Life Chemical Co.

From Kook Science

Force of Life Chemical Co.
Formation 19 September 1903
Dissolution 1906-1907
Headquarters New York City, NY

The Force of Life Chemical Company was a distributor of proprietary medicines and food supplements, beginning with their namesake "Force of Life" product, a compound of lecithin and unidentified vegetable products, as well as specific remedies for dyspepsia, heart and kidney troubles, rheumatism, catarrh, consumption, piles, and a laxative agent. The company was incorporated at Wilmington, Delaware on 19 Sep. 1903, and operated out of offices on Broadway in New York City, New York until its voluntarily dissolution following scandal from a widely-publicised fraud trial in 1906 credited to the intervention of President Theodore Roosevelt.


Incorporation papers were filed at Wilmington, Delaware on 19 Sep. 1903 by S. S. Adams, Jr., C. C. Pierce, L. Irving Handy; however, these names seem to have quickly disappeared from the leadership of the company, as E. Virgil Neal and his associates ran the concern and populated the board.


  • President, E. Virgil Neal (1904)
  • President, James R. O'Beirne (1905-1906)
  • Vice-President, James A. Tedford (1904-1906)
  • Treasurer, Arthur H. Williams (1904-1906)
  • Secretary, Frederick H. Wilson (1904-1906)
  • Auditor, Solon L. Slade


  • E. Virgil Neal (1904-1906)
  • Edwin E. Keeler (1905-1906)
  • William F. Acton (1905-1906)
  • Robert T. Bagley (1904-1906)
  • James F. Pierce (1904-1906)
  • Luther Bartlett Little (1904-1906)
  • James A. Tedford (1904-1906)
  • C. W. Robbins (1904-1906)
  • A. N. Williams (1904-1906)

Product Line

Force of Life

The lecithin-based supplement branded "Force of Life" was originally advertised from 1903 as the discovery of A. Wilbur Jacksone,[i] under whose name the same product was advertised for nearly a year prior to the incorporation of the Force of Life Chemical Co. Jacksone's early 1903 advertisements encouraged readers to write him at 173 West 83rd street in New York City; his offices were, after incorporation, removed to 1932 Broadway, the same building as the company. His name would disappear from advertising subsequently, being replaced by William Wallace Hadley, an "eminent thaumaturgic panopathist" who, it was claimed, had brought a woman back to life, a feat credited to his "mysterious control over disease and death" and his discovery of "the vital principle of life itself, the dynamic force that creates and maintains existence."[ii]

Life Ray Capsule

The company sold a small capsule, described in press accounts as resembling a "short 22-caliber Flaubert cartridge" with a "cover of glass and copper," intended to irradiate company medicines as well as drinking water with the "great dynamic force of life" that is given off by the element radium. Fortunately for the customers who ordered this product, the capsules sold by the company did not actually contain the promised radium, but rather, according to Samuel Hopkins Adams' in his 1905 series of articles on The Nostrum Evil, "a mixture of corn starch and calcium sulfid."

Press Coverage

Rumours of relocation to Elmira, NY (1905)

On Trial (1906)

Charges Brought by U.S. Gov't


All Defendants Discharged

  • AP (24 Apr. 1906), "FORCE OF LIFE CHARGES DISMISSED.", Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, NY): 6,, "A decision discharging all the defendants in the hearing of the Force of Life Chemical company was given by United States Commissioner Ridgway. The hearing was upon a charge of conspiracy to defraud which was brought against the following officers of the company: E. Virgil Neal, former president; Dr. William W. Hadley, medical director; A. H. Williams, treasurer; and Miss Laura M. Wilson, a stenographer." 

Legal Records

"What is this Mysterious Vital Fluid of Life?" (Nov. 1903)


A. Wilbur Jacksone

Force of Life Co.

W. Wallace Hadley


  1. A. Wilbur Jacksone may have been Abram Wilbur Jackson (January 31, 1848 - December 23, 1908), or the Neal syndicate may have simply borrowed his name. Jackson was a physician and electro-therapeutic enthusiast active in New York from the 1890s, where he received press attention for his public statements against the Keeley Cure and its practitioners, decrying their method of curing alcoholism and morphine addiction. Jackson wrote about lecithin in a November 1903 article for Bernarr Macfadden's Physical Culture magazine, and also sold lecithin supplements outside of any direct association with Force of Life Chemical Co.
  2. "By his mysterious control over disease and death, Dr. Wallace Hadley of this city, has made the human heart beat again in the body of a woman rescued from the grave. And as a result of his successful experiments he makes the startling statement that no disease should cause death. He claims to have discovered the vital principle of life itself, the dynamic force that creates and maintains existence. Since making this discovery the cures made by this man of science have been so remarkable, the restorations of life and health that he has brought about have been so marvelous, that he is credited with possessing some power over disease and death not given to ordinary mortals. He seems to have absolute control over human life and the diseases that attack it."