About the object
Invented in the 1800s, this muscle rub was used by people and animals – tell us a story that features you & your furry creatures…
The Elliman family came to Slough in 1845, and James Elliman Senior set up a drapery business while he developed his soon-to-be-famous embrocation, which he had been experimenting on for years before deciding to market it. The embrocation was first sold in 1847, as a rub for animals. By 1850 it was being sold for use by humans, as an aid for aching muscles and joints.
The success of the embrocation persuaded Elliman to close his drapery and open a factory dedicated to the production of the embrocation. He claimed that his success was down to two things – firstly, the quality of the product, and secondly to his policy of spending half of his profits on advertising, an unusual move in those days. The advertising slogan was ‘An Excellent Good Thing’, and Elliman, Sons & Co is credited with being the first company to use a cartoon strip in its’ advertising.
James Elliman Senior made both his sons, James Junior and Samuel, partners in the company, and they took it over following his death in 1870, opening a new factory in Chandos Street. Samuel died in a hunting accident in 1884, and James Junior took sole charge of the company.
The company continued to flourish, and by 1911 the embrocation was being sold in 42 countries. There were two products – ‘Universal Embrocation’ for humans, and ‘Royal Embrocation’ for animals – but there was no difference between the two!
The embrocation was made from eggs, turpentine and vinegar. Eggs were imported from Ireland and from China. When the turpentine was added to the mix, the fire brigade had to be on alert!
When James Elliman Junior died in 1924 the company was taken over by other members of the family, and it remained a family business until 1961, when it was taken over by Horlicks and the Chandos Street factory was closed. Elliman’s Embrocation is now made by GlaxoSmithKline.
As part of our Make With the Museum series at The Curve Club, you can make Elliman’s Embrocation Happy Horse – an easy to make equine with just one paper plate (and do some maths at the same time)!