February 9, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
Franklin Miles

Franklin Miles always dreamed of being a lawyer and took up the study of law.
But he soon switched to medicine because he didn't feel he was tall enough to be a lawyer of great stature. Size would not matter to a country doctor.

Miles set up a medical practice in the bustling railroad town of Elkhart, Indiana, population 6500, in 1875 at the age of 30. He became known as an eye and ear specialist. His wife died prematurely and Miles immersed himself in his work which soon went beyond his daily practice and house calls.

He carried out careful medical research and developed his first drug: "Dr. Miles' Restorative Nervine." It was a calmative and Miles marketed the bottle in a package with an interior and exterior shot of a man's head. The drug was still available 100 years after it was introduced.

His patients were soon requesting his home remedies and Miles considered selling goods not only over his own counter but in other pharmacies and drug stores. In 1884 he set up the Miles Medical Company. Success was modest until George Compton, an innovative merchant, came on board in 1887. The Miles name became famous through imaginative and aggressive advertising. They published the informative and popular Miles Almanac in 1902 and it would appear every year until paper shortages caused by World War II.

Miles retired to Florida in 1906, suffering from chronic bronchitis. Miles began a second career in horticulture, eventually becoming known as the "father" of Florida's subtropical fruit and vegetable industry. Miles held classes on his Ft. Myers plantation for truck drivers and conducted many agricultural experiments.

Miles remained president of Miles Laboratories until his death in 1929, just as an effervescent aspirin and bi-carbonate was being readied for market. Alka-Seltzer would quickly catapult Miles Laboratories to even greater prominence.

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