Minard's "King of Pain" Liniment

From Kook Science

ᴍɪɴᴀʀᴅ'ꜱ ʟɪɴɪᴍᴇɴᴛ
Creator(s) Levi Minard
Year created c. 1860s

Minard's "King of Pain" Liniment (or, Minard's Liniment) is the brand name for a pain relief ointment that was originally manufactured in the 1860s by Levi Minard, an eclectic practitioner from Nova Scotia.


Minard's "King of Pain" Liniment, advertisement, 1908.

Minard's Liniment was produced by separate companies on either side of the Canada-U.S. border for nearly ninety years: the Canadian brand, through C. C. Richards & Co. and later Minard's Liniment Co. Ltd. in Nova Scotia, and the American brand, through Nelson & Co. and later Minard's Liniment Mfg. Co. in Massachusetts. The brands were eventually brought under the singular ownership of British pharmaceutical company Beecham Group in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively, which was itself merged into SmithKline Beecham in 1989, before, finally, the Minard's brand was sold by SmithKline Beecham in 1998 to Stella Pharmaceutical of Oshawa, Ontario, the modern-day Canadian manufacturers of the liniment.


As the story goes, Levi Minard sold the formula for his liniment to William Johnson Nelson, Minard's brother-in-law (William Nelson)'s son, sometime in the 1870s. By 1887, Nelson had apparently sold the formula to C. C. Richards & Co., a partnership between Charles Churchill Richards and Cap. Augustus Cann; however, Nelson continued to sell Minard's Liniment in Massachusetts as Nelson & Co.

In 1905, C. C. Richards & Co. was sold to L. C. Gardner & Co. (Lindsay Cann Gardner), while the Minard's Liniment trade was handed off to a new joint stock company, Minard's Liniment Co. Ltd., formed by Royal Securities Corp. Ltd. This new company's management authority was, within three years, fully vested back into the hands of Augustus Cann, L. C. Gardner, and C. C. Richards. It would remain a major part of Yarmouth manufacturing sector until the 1960s, when Minard's Liniment Co. Ltd. was sold to Beecham Canada Ltd. (Ontario), and, in 1967, the Yarmouth factory shuttered as operations were relocated to Weston, Ontario.

Minard's Liniment Mfg. Co. (Boston, Mass.) advertisement, 1904.

United States

On the other side of the border, from 1882 (or '85), the liniment was still sold by W. J. Nelson, with his nephew, Orris Wentworth Nelson, and his brother, John Lockhart Nelson, as Nelson & Co. at 273 Commercial St., Boston, Massachusetts, and, from 1891, as Minard's Liniment Manufacturing Company, a Maine corporation.[1][2] In 1899, Minard's Liniment Mfg. Co. was re-incorporated in Massachusetts by J. L. Nelson, O. W. Nelson, and Alice M. Nelson.[3] When J. L. Nelson retired in 1904 and returned to Nova Scotia, O. W. Nelson took over the operations of the company, ultimately relocating the factory to South Framingham.

Minard's Liniment Mfg. Co. was renamed to Minard Company by the 1920s, and later relocated to Hyannis, Massachusetts, where it continued to operate until selling its trademarks to Beecham Inc. of Clifton, New Jersey in the early 1970s.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Bureau of Chemistry performed an analysis in 1915 on Minard's Liniment, sold through Minard's Liniment Mfg. Co. of Boston, finding "it to be a thick white emulsion containing ammonia, ammonium chlorid, turpentine, camphor, and ammonia soap."[4]


  1. "Minard's Liniment M'f'g Company, No. 273 Commercial Street", Boston, Its Commerce, Finance and Literature, A. F. Parsons Pub. Co., 1892, p. 163, 
  2. "Minard's Liniment Manufacturing Company", Boston and Its Points of Interest, New York: Mercantile Ill. Co., 1894, p. 325,, "No. 273 Commercial Street. -- The enterprise of the business men and manufacturers of Boston is in no way exhibited to better advantage than in the economical concentration and distribution of merchandise, and in this respect reference is made to the business conducted under the head and style of Minard's Liniment Manufacturing Company, the office and laboratory being located at No. 273 Commercial Street. This company is the producer and promoter of one of the most popular specialties of the day, the sign of Minard's liniment being familiar to every person who has suffered rheumatism, neuralgia, chilblains, croup, stiffness of the joints, chapped or cracked hands, swellings and tumors, diphtheria, hoarseness, pains in the chest, side or back, blotches, ringworms, old sores, bites of insects, pimples, etc., while the liniment is also an excellent hair restorer. The business was established in 1885 by Mssrs. Nelson & Co., and in 1891 the company was incorporated under the style of the Minard's Liniment Manufacturing Company, under the laws of Maine. Every facility is given for the manufacture of the famous remedy, a four-story building being occupied and fifteen hands employed. There are four commercial travelers on the road in the interest of the firm, and the company have agencies throughout the United States, Bermuda, South America, and the West Indies. This liniment was made over thirty years ago by Dr. Minard, of Nova Scotia, and that is how it gains its name. Dr. Minard was a skilled physician, and in addition to the liniment he invented various remedies that included spruce as an ingredient, and Minard's spruce balsam is famous for its efficacious cure in cases of coughs, colds, bronchitis, and all throat and lung diseases. Every reputable drug house handles Minard's liniment and Minard's spruce balsam, and the name is a household word. The liniment and balsam are made from the purest ingredients, and the records of the cures by these special remedies is great. As a proof of the merit of Minard's liniment, the company has given away millions of sample bottles, only asking the receives to speak of it just as they found it. The results have been marvelous, as the sale of Minard's liniment is the largest of any liniment in the world. It is endorsed by physicians, used by clergymen, lumbermen, fishermen, farmers, miners, and pronounced by all users as being the best inflammation allayer and pain reliever ever offered to the public. It is a large three-ounce bottle, and retails for twenty-five cents. The treasurer, O. W. Nelson, and general manager, W. Nelson, are both Nova Scotians. Both gentlemen are workers, full of energy and push, with a full knowledge of the business, and there cannot be a doubt but in the near future the sale of the Minard's liniment will outrun any other patent medicine in the world." 
  3. "A Massachusetts corporation just organized...", The Pharmaceutical Era (New York: D. O. Haynes & Co.) 21 (13): 416, 30 March 1899,