Over a century of giving: How a pharmacist turned mining speculator became Santa Claus for hundreds of Timmins children – by Tijana Mitrovic (CIM Magazine – June 29, 2020)


For over a hundred years, the children of Timmins’ Schumacher neighbourhood have received a little something under their Christmas trees from a special benefactor, a mining entrepreneur named Frederick W. Schumacher.

Schumacher, a Danish immigrant, was working as a pharmacist and patent medicine wholesaler in Waco, Texas, in the late 19th century when he ordered a full train-car of Peruna medicine, meant to cure excessive congestion known as catarrh.

When Dr. Samuel Hartman, the high-society doctor of Columbus, Ohio, who invented Peruna, heard the size of the order, Hartman decided to personally deliver the shipment to Texas. Upon meeting Schumacher, Hartman asked Schumacher to come to Ohio and work for him.

In Columbus, Schumacher eventually took over the advertising for the drug. Peruna became extremely popular across the country. At its peak, product sales reached US$100,000 per day and Peruna became the largest-selling proprietary medicine in the U.S. despite it being little more than a mix of water and alcohol. Peruna’s success turned Schumacher into one of the Columbus’s wealthiest men.

After the Food and Drug Administration passed a new Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, leading Hartman and Schumacher to dilute the medicine, Schumacher made a career change. He joined the rush to northern Ontario to find precious metals.

For the rest of this article: https://magazine.cim.org/en/voices/over-a-century-of-giving-en/