The Comstock Brothers Medicine Company was an established American company working out of New York City before they set up a branch operation in Brockville. The company shipped thousands of boxes of pills and bottles of their medicine around the world, the most famous being Dr. Morse’s Indian Root Pills.
Edwin Comstock founded the company sometime in or before 1833 with his brother Lucius. After Edwin’s death in 1837 the company underwent many changes and partnerships. Much of the history of the company is found via lawsuits and court documents as it changed hands within the family many times. Lucius continued the company with another brother, which ultimately ended in 1841, from 1841-46 Lucius worked with his mother-in-law. Edwin’s son William Henry Comstock joined the partnership that subsequently opened the office in Brockville and Morristown.
In 1864, William H. Comstock bought Dr. Howard Medicine Company of Brockville. The company shifted its operations from New York City to Brockville and built the Comstock Building on Court House Avenue to house the firm. In 1867, Comstock expanded to Morristown, New York and the New York City operations ceased.
The company employed both men and women. Through the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s the average wage for women was $3 to $5 while men made $ 7 to $12. Comstock went on well into the 20th century. After 1959 Comstock declined and in 1960 the company was liquidated and patents sold off. The Comstock building was demolished in 1966.
More information of the Comstock business may be found in the book written by Robert Shaw,History of the Comstock Patent Medicine Business and of Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills,
Smithsonian studies in history and technology, no.22, 1972.