A. W. Percy, a buggy whip salesman, was traveling with his family from New York to their new home in Waco, Texas in 1898 when his young son Albert became sick with an upset stomach. The family stopped in Kentucky and found a local physician, Dr. McDonald who prescribed a bismuth subsalicylate-based remedy. Albert recovered but became sick again upon arrival in Waco. A. W. Percy, who had received a copy of the prescription, asked the local pharmacist, W. S. Merrick, to compound the medicine for his son.Thus began their partnership and the launch of Baby Percy Medicine.
In 1904, the Merrick Medicine Company was founded by Merrick and Percy. In 1938, Baby was dropped from the name of the sole product sold by the company. Percy Medicine still retains its original formula of bismuth subsalicylate, calcium hydroxide, potassium carbonate, rhubarb extract, sugar, cinnamon, and orange flavoring. Until 2010, Percy Medicine was still produced at the original factory at 8th and Webster Streets in Waco, but since that time manufacturing has been outsourced to a company in Texarkana. Because Percy Medicine contains 5% alcohol, the Merrick company holds the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s oldest continuously active industrial alcohol permit, first issued in 1939.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. (2000, December). Good things come in small batches at Waco company. TABC Today, 4(3), 1, 3. Retrieved from http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/publications/tabc_today/Today0012.pdf
Lewis, T. V., Bardillo, R., Schaeffer, S., Hagemann, T. M., & McGoodwin, L. (2006, March). Salicylate toxicity associated with administration of Percy medicine in an infant. Pharmacotherapy, 26(3), 403. Abstract retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16503721