Sergeant's Pet Products
Sergeant's Pet Products is a good example of how a national brand of pet care products developed. Polk Miller was a druggist in Richmond, VA, and the founder of the Polk Miller Drug Company. He was also an avid hunter and sportsman who loved his hunting dogs. He compounded a variety of medicines and remedies for his own dogs and those of friends and relations. In 1868 he founded a new company named for his favorite hunting dog, Sergeant, an English Setter. In addition to medicines, Polk Miller's advice on dog care was distilled into a series of booklets on the subject. The front cover of the booklet featured Polk Miller himself and his dog Sergeant.
Each section of the booklet provided a description of a canine affliction, along with symptoms to watch for, and a treatment, typically a product offered by the company. Purchasing a product entitled the consumer to free advice from a company department run by a veterinarian.
When Miller's relatives took over his company in the 1890s, he embarked on a much-longed for career as performer of "Negro dialect" stories and a banjo player specializing in "plantation melodies" and he traveled the United States with a group of African American musicians. He dies in 1913.
The company still exists, following some examples to see how it developed until today: