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A Look Back: The dental manufacturing industry in Springville

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By Jolene Hawkins

Looking back to the dreaded pain of having your teeth worked on, and you will find that Springville had a company that was formed by Dr. R.B. Waite.

Known as the Anitdolar Manufacturing Company, the company would relieve the pain of teeth extractions and of the drilling of the teeth for filling. Along with the pain-free work, the modern advances of proper care of the teeth were introduced.

Dr. Waite was born in Springville on Feb. 28, 1871. He attended Griffith Institute and began his dental career in 1891, just after he graduated from the Philadelphia Dental College.  After entering practice with his father, Carlos, he opened his own dental office in Springville.

During his years of dental practice, he developed and perfected a local anesthetic that in a short time was known throughout the world. He experimented with a new kind of tube for toothpaste, which would need no caps, and patented the invention.

Antidolar is a Spanish word meaning “without pain.” This preparation was used to deaden the pain during having a tooth pulled and for minor surgery. The Waite Local Anesthetic, which is Novocain or cocaine with a mixture of other drugs, was prepared in the plant that was located in the Waite Building here in town.

Other preparations for the dentist are made as well. Topanol, a surface contact anesthetic, which was applied to the spot where the hypodermic needle would be inserted, helps to make the feeling of that penetration considerably less.

Soketol was a surgical dressing in the form of gauze strips that were impregnated with liquid was helpful in removing pain and the healing of the gums and sockets after excavation. Waite’s Dental Cream was another item that was made.

Almost all of the floors of the Waite Block, built in 1909, were used by the company, as well as one building in the rear where the toothpaste was mixed and distilled water that was made in a triple Marine Distilling plant, each having the capacity of 10 gallons per hour.

The liquid base into which the Novocain or cocaine was introduced is made in large glass containers in a laboratory on the second floor. The base is filtered in a vacuum made by a powerful pump. Only distilled water was used.

The bottles, cartridges and samples used to convey the preparation are capped or coked with care. The anesthetic is also prepared in a tablet form for a dentist who prefers to make his or her own solution.
As for the dental cream, Antipyo, was made with the highest grade edible olive oil and when applied to the teeth and brushed, becomes a foamy lather, which penetrates between the teeth, cleaning and sterilizing them.

It prevents decay, heals the gums and stops a toothache. An automatic machine was used for filling the tubes after the mixture was made. The collapsible cleaned tubes were placed on a mouthpiece, a lever was then pressed and the proper amount was then pushed into each container and then closed automatically by the device.

Antipyo mouthwash should follow this brushing as it neutralizes the acid and is antiseptic that will destroy the bacteria of decay and the bacteria which produces inflamed gums. A perfect combo going far for the health of both your teeth and gums.

At one time 60 people were employed by the company, along with 12 salesmen that would call upon different dental supply houses. H.B. Hooper was the superintendent, F.L. Lieser the office manager and B.J. Rogers the purchasing agents.

George Jones was engaged in 1902 in charge of the advertising for the anesthetic business. On a side note, do you know why Dr. Waite’s office was upstairs and not on the ground floor? Apparently, if you were healthy enough to climb the stairs to get to his office, you were healthy enough to have your teeth worked on.

If you look around some of the antique shops, you can still find small bottles that were made here in town with the Anitdolar stamped on the side.

What stories would you like to see here? Let me know and I will do my best to make it happen. Come and see us at 23 North Buffalo St. any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the second and fourth Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Call us at 592-0094 or shoot us an email at lucybensleycenter@gmail.com.

Nothing to do and it is Thursday evening? Stop by the Mercantile Heritage Building located at 17 Franklin St. at 7 p.m. and hear some good ole music by the Mercantile Band.

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