A digested history of Eno’s Fruit Salts

Eno’s Fruit Salts became one of the best known branded medicines in the world.

James Crossley Eno (1827 – 1915) operated a small chemist’s shop on Groat Market in Newcastle upon Tyne. He had introduced Eno’s Fruit Salts, an indigestion remedy, by 1874. It became popular among sailors, who helped to establish the reputation of the product overseas.

A 1924 advertisement

Eno soon found himself unable to meet increasing demand for his product, and he relocated his business to a factory at New Cross, London, from 1876. The business employed 50 people by 1884.

Eno’s Fruit Salts consisted of sodium bicarbonate, tartaric acid and citric acid, according to an analysis for the British Medical Journal in 1903.

Harold F Ritchie (1881 – 1933) of Toronto was the Canadian sales agent from 1907.

J C Eno died in 1915. His estate had a gross value of £1.6 million.

The business was acquired by Harold F Ritchie for a reported £1.5 million in 1928.

Eno Proprietaries Limited had a paid-up share capital of £2 million in 1934.

Eno’s Fruit Salts had become one of the best known proprietary medicines in the world. The product was sold in 83 countries. It was advertised in 73 countries using 26 different languages.

The principal factory was in London, but there were two large factories in North America, and nine smaller factories across the rest of the world.

Eno Proprietaries was acquired by Beecham for £1 million in 1938.

Eno’s Fruit Salts remained a major Beecham product as late as the 1970s.

Now owned by GlaxoSmithKline, Eno is still widely sold across the world as an antacid for the relief of indigestion. Its largest markets are in Latin America and Asia.

 

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