August 20 1886 The Almonte Gazette
Open-air Concerts.— Hamlin’s Wizard Oil Concert Company No. 6, now engaged in giving open air advertising concerts on the streets of Almonte, will remain some days longer. We desire to call our readers’ attention to what we have to say regarding this company in another part of this issue of the Gazette.
The Wizard Oil people are endorsed by the press of Perth, Smith’s Falls, Carleton Place, Ottawa and other towns and cities of Canada, and it is well worth your time and trouble to attend these entertainments, which are free from all the vulgar accompaniments usually attendant upon open air street performances. The concerts begin at 8 o’clock p.m., and will be continued until furthur notice.
Hamlin’s Wizard Oil Co. was a patent medicine manufacturer and distributor, founded in 1862 by John A. Hamlin and Lysander B. Hamlin as “J. A. Hamlin & Bro”, and reorganized in 1881 as “Hamlin’s Wizard Oil Co.” They were most well-known for the product their company was named for, “Hamlin’s Wizard Oil”, which they promoted with travelling sales troupes who performed medicine shows across North America.
Drawn by four white stallions, it served as a mobile performance stage, with a built-in parlour organ and lockers crammed with Hamlin’s medicines. Wizard Oil was emblazoned in gigantic letters across the sides. The troupe consisted of a driver, a lecturer and a male quartet. Hamlin enforced a rigid dress code. Some competitors posed as Indians, Quakers or mysterious healers from distant lands, but Wizard Oil president John Hamlin wanted his wagons and employees to project an image of professionalism. All employees were contractually bound to dress identically in high silk hats, frock coats, gray vests, striped trousers, spats and glossy patent-leather shoes.
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