Dr. Hess Udder Ointment

Owner and great-granddaughter of Dr. Hess, Polly Tribe appears on Studio 5.

In 1893, Dr. Gilbert Hess, a Medical Doctor and a Doctor of Veterinary Sciences, teamed up with Ashland, Ohio business man J. L. Clark and the business of Hess & Clark farm remedies was born.

Hess was the inventor and remedy developer and Clark was the salesman. The duo became almost instantly successful due, in part, to Dr. Hess’ education, projecting superiority over inventors who produced “unscientific” medications, and Clark’s outstanding marketing skills, travelling from town to town with horse and buckboard leaving free samples with owners and farmers which ensured later sales.

By 1897, the company had begun building what was to become one of the largest factories in Ohio and by 1915 employed 260 workers and 30 full-time salesmen. The two men became wealthy and used this wealth to benefit their community; building a hospital, starting a student endowment, supporting the County Children’s Home, the American Red Cross, and several other local charities.

After the deaths of Dr. Hess in 1923 and Mr. Clark in 1942, the company of Hess & Clark continued but was finally purchased by Vick Chemical in 1955. Over the years several subsequent buyouts have occurred.

One of the best known products ever produced by Hess & Clark was Udder Ointment. Originally developed for treating chapped udders of dairy cattle, farmers were soon remarking about the healing effect it had on their own hands. Chronic dryness and cuts were quickly healing on both cow and farmer. Udder Ointment was widely used as both a veterinary remedy and a home remedy all across the country.

With each buyout of the Hess & Clark product line, Udder Ointment became more and more of a tangent product with each business focusing more and more on chemical production such as pesticides and powder treatments for agricultural use. Finally, in 1999 ( approx.) the production of Udder Ointment was discontinued completely.

When the formal announcement was made, pleading calls from around the country riddled the company with testimonial after testimonial of Udder Ointment healing not only skin abrasions and dryness but burns, bruises, and especially effective on diaper rash!

After hearing of the discontinuation, Polly Tribe began to purchase from local dealers over 200 cases of Udder Ointment product to ensure that she had enough for generations of her family and extended family members to use. Word spread that she had a generous supply and soon she was turning down callers from anxious customers keeping the remaining four cases for herself.

The idea was born to recover the original formula and begin remanufacturing Dr. Hess Udder Ointment. Polly and her husband Tyler began the company organization and the manufacturing process in the Fall of 2006. First sales of the product began in January 2008 with Dr. Hess Udder Ointment and Dr. Hess Udder Ointment for Baby Butts. During the Spring of 2008 they also developed the Udder Stick, a healing lip balm, after the request of several consumers who wanted the original formula in a more solid form. Sales during 2008 were minimal, relying mostly on word of mouth from past users who had been familiar with the earlier Hess & Clark Udder Ointment.

Those customers who rediscovered them, however, were elated to see its return. Story after story of this “miraculous” healing ointment used many years ago came by letter, email and phone calls. In fact, just recently, they received an email from a son of a thankful elderly mother who has used Udder Ointment for the past 50 years. He even included pictures of her old Udder Ointment jar which she keeps by her bedside revealing only the slightest amount of the treasured ointment remaining.

In January of 2009, Polly focused her marketing efforts on independent retailers ranging from independent pharmacies to hospital gift shops. The response to Dr Hess Products has been exciting resulting in an 1100% increase in sales from the previous year. Currently, the company also focuses on direct to consumer marketing by exploring social media outlets as well as various blogging communities.

Dr. Hess Udder Ointment has been pleased to continue the spirit of giving by sending cases of udder ointment to Iraq for soldiers dealing with the harsh dryness of the heat and abrasions of the sand. The company is also thrilled to be continuing in the tradition of their Great Grandfather by forming a non-profit arm of Dr Hess Products, in his name, which will give a percentage of profit to various charities annually.

To learn more about Dr. Hess Udder Ointment, check out their website at www.udderointment.com

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