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Usage conditions apply
Danderine Scalp Tonic was first marketed around 1895 by the Knowlton Danderine Company of Chicago, Ill. The trademark was registered in 1908, after the company became part of the Neuralgyline Company (soon to become Sterling Products) of Wheeling, W.Va. In the early 1900s, the company used celebrity endorsements including those of Miss Jessie Bartlett Davis, a famous opera singer, and many members of the House of Representatives.
Advertisements usually featured women with floor-length, wavy hair, often accompanied by personal testimony. Elias W. Knowlton’s young daughter, Frances Marie, also appeared in advertising and on the box. During this period, the Danderine slogan was "Grows Hair and We can Prove it!" Danderine was still being sold as late as 1945 and was later followed by Double Danderine, which claimed to kill the dandruff germ on contact. Double Danderine was sold from about 1940 through 1963. The Danderine trademark was last owned by Medtech Laboratories of Cody, Wyo.
In the 1920s, Danderine was marketed as a "Beauty-Tonic," "To Beautify your Hair" and make it "twice as heavy and plentiful." This box dates to that period.
The indications or uses for this product as provided by the manufacturer are:
Intended to Assist in Cleansing Dandruff from the Scalp, thus Aid in Stopping Falling Hair and Assisitng the Growth of Hair.
Currently not on view
Object Name
hair tonic
hair care product
Other Terms
Cosmetics; Patent Medicines; Drugs; Liquid
date made
after 1918
Knowlton Danderine Co.
Sterling Products Inc.
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
United States: West Virginia, Wheeling
Physical Description
wax (container material)
cork (container material)
cardboard (packaging material)
glass (overall material)
paper (packaging material)
overall, box: 6 5/8 in x 2 1/2 in x 1 5/8 in; 16.8275 cm x 6.35 cm x 4.1275 cm
overall, bottle: 6 in x 2 3/8 in x 1 5/8 in; 15.24 cm x 6.0325 cm x 4.1275 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Gary P. and Sandra Baden
Hair Care Products
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Hair Care Products
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Hair Care and Enhancement
Health & Medicine
Beauty and Health
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I live in a converted barn in the Peak District in England, I have just replaced a doorframe in a small cottage which is part of the property. Part of the packings holding the frame in place was a page of a Sheffield newspaper from 18th November 1918, one week after the end of the First World War. One of the advertisements is for Danderine, with a picture of a girl with long flowing locks! I have photocopied and framed both sides of the page, they proudly sit a few yards from where it was discovered. I thought you might be interested.
Judging from her 1900-1905 journal and expenditure lists, it’s possible my grandma purchased (for $.25 each) bottles of Danderine during that time frame. Before being established in Chicago, I believe this product was originally “invented” in Oklahoma. My grandma lived in both IL and OK at that time. Note: I can’t be totally definitive of the dates, however, because at some later date she could have filled unused diary pages with different expenditure lists....(She was definitely of the “waste not, want not” mentality.)
Mystery Molle Theatre on Old time radio includes advertisements of Double Danderine; that kills the germs that cause dandruff. If you can identify the episode that includes this commercial then you have a more definitive timeline.
I am going through my Mom's diary. She has an entry for 10/29/43 that says she used Double Danderine which should mean it was sold before 1946 as stated in the article.
We have now found evidence in newspaper ads that Double Danderine was on sale as early as 1940. I have amended the record to read "Double Danderine was sold from about 1940 through 1963." Thanks to everyone for your continued interest in this long-lived product! (Curator's Reply)
"Thanks for your help in researching this product's history. So far, we have been able to document the sale of Double Danderine - through newspaper advertisements for the product - to as early as 1945, a year earlier than we previously thought. We haven't found evidence of it being on the general market before 1945, although we will keep looking."
"I actually have a letter that I just found inside of an old mirror that was a letter written to a customer from the Knowlton Danderine Co. (envelope dated 1909). (Letter dated May 17, 1909) It states what the product is and asking her to continue to use the product to make her hair beautiful. Has a picture of the main building I am guessing Chicago, IL (also England) but the letter is from West Viriginia to this lady who lived in Stephens, GA. I was wondering if anyone may know how much something like this is worth---b/c it always very neat to find something old like this that can be treasured....?? Any info about the letter would be well appreciated---I love history and learning more about this would make my day...."

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