Septone Soap - A Shampoo

In the 1850s William B. Riker established a patent medicine business in New York City. He was selling a preparation known as Riker’s Septone as early as 1878, and Wm. B. Riker & Son was still selling products into the early 20th century. The company had several drug stores in New York. In the first decade of the 20th century, Riker merged with Jaynes Drug Company of Boston and with Hegeman Drug stores of New York, creating a chain of over 100 stores.
A 1908 advertisement for Septone states that it is a shampoo of "remarkable value." It "accomplishes wonders for sparse and falling hair," and "nourishes and strengthens the roots, gives the hair vigor and youthful beauty." Septone also "destroys dandruff germs." This particular bottle probably dates around 1910. The Septone Soap was one product in Riker’s "Beauty Builders," which also included Violet Toilet Water, Dresden Face Powder, Violet Cerate Face Cream, and Violet Excelsis Talc Powder. The "Beauty Builders" were marketed as "natural and helpful aids to feminine loveliness." The company advertised Septone Soap until the early 1920s.
Currently not on view
Object Name
hair care product
date made
ca 1910
Riker Laboratories, Inc.
Physical Description
paper (container material)
cardboard (packaging material)
glass (container material)
alcohol, 20% (product active ingredients)
overall: 6 cm x 4.5 cm x 13.4 cm; 2 3/8 in x 1 3/4 in x 5 1/4 in
overall, box: 5 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in; 13.335 cm x 6.35 cm x 4.445 cm
overall, bottle: 5 in x 2 1/4 in x 1 3/4 in; 12.7 cm x 5.715 cm x 4.445 cm
place made
United States: New York, New York
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Hair Care Products
Health & Medicine
Hair Care Products
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Hair Care and Enhancement
Beauty and Health
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Hair Care Products
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Hair Care and Enhancement
Beauty and Health
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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