Eno’s Fruit Salts was one of the best known proprietary medicines in the world.
James Crossley Eno (1827 – 1915) served as an apprentice chemist before opening a small shop of his own on Groat Market in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Eno’s Fruit Salts were being marketed by 1874. First developed for drunken sailors, it was sold as a hangover and indigestion remedy. The sailors helped to establish the reputation of the product overseas.
Unable to cope with the scale of demand, Eno left Newcastle to establish a factory at New Cross, London in 1876. The firm employed 50 people by 1884.
An analysis in the British Medical Journal in 1903 found Eno’s Fruit Salt to consist of sodium bicarbonate, tartaric acid and citric acid.
Harold F Ritchie (1881 – 1933) of Toronto was the agent for sales in Canada from 1907.
Eno died in 1915. His estate had a gross value of £1.6 million.
The business was acquired by Harold F Ritchie in 1928 for a reported £1.5 million.
Eno Proprietaries Limited had a paid-up share capital of £2 million in 1934. By this time Eno’s Fruit Salts was one of the best known proprietary medicines in the world.
Eno’s Fruit Salts were sold in 83 countries. It was advertised in 73 countries with 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. Latin America and Asia are its largest markets.