Best Grease in the World!

Frazer Lubricator Co. / Pic Ad Co., BEST GREASE IN THE WORLD! EVERY BOX MARKED FRAZERS! Chicago, [1876 or later?]
Broadside on very thin stock, 20 ½"h x 27"w at sheet edge, uncolored

A charming and extremely rare broadside advertisement for Frazer’s Grease, touting its superiority to petroleum-based products. The ad depicts two horse-drawn buggies, one with a collapsed front axle and its driver complaining “Here I am broke down ! ! Axle completely worn out, and my Wagon in use only Six Months. If I EVER USE PETROLEUM AXLE GREASE AGAIN, MAY I BE HANGED!” The other driver looks on complacently and recommends Frazer’s Grease, because “Petroleum Grease, both white and black, will ruin your Axles EVERY time.”

The text of an 1888 copyright infringement case between inventor Samuel Frazer and his former firm provides a history of the early years of the Frazer Lubricator Co:

“In 1856, or thereabouts, appellant, Samuel Frazer, commenced, at Galena, Illinois, the manufacture and sale of an axle grease, known and designated in the trade as “Frazer’s Axle Grease.” It was also called “Frazer’s Grease,” and “Frazer’s Lubricator.” The process of manufacturing this grease is Frazer’s own discovery. The product of the discovery is obtained by combining rosin oil, lime, sal-soda, palm oil, and water in certain proportions. The rosin oil used for this purpose is produced by the distinctive distillation of rosin, also a discovery of Frazer’s, for which he received a patent in 1860. In 1868, with a view of changing the location of his business from Galena to Chicago, he formed a copartnership with George B. Swift, Edward Hunter, and Otis S. Favor, under the firm name of Frazer, Swift, & Co., which was subsequently changed to that of the Frazer Lubricator Company. In February, 1870, John A. Packard became a member of the firm, and Frazer retired from it.” (Abraham Clark Freeman, ed., The American State Reports, vol. 2 (1888), p. 74.)

The broadside lists Frazer corporate offices at 111 ½ Michigan Ave., Chicago and 104 Maiden Lane, New York. This allows us to assign it a terminus post quem of 1868, as the firm moved from Galena to Chicago in that year. However, a Google search no mention of a 104 Maiden Lane address prior to 1876, suggesting that year as an alternative date of earliest publication.

OCLC #191290406 lists a single example, held by the American Antiquarian Society and (as of Feb. 2014) incorrectly dated to 1858. That impression is a variant, with an additional line below the “104 Maiden Lane” address, listing the firm of J.A. & W. Bird & Co., Boston as agents.


Evenly toned and some mends along fold separations and edges, but about excellent for such a fragile item.