In 1893, Dr. Gilbert Hess, having trained and received degrees both as 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; and oh, did he sell! 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 skill, traveling from town to town with horse and buckboard wagon 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, Hess & Clark, Inc. employed 260 workers and 30 full-time salesmen. The two men quickly became successful and valued "paying it forward" to the benefit of their community by 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 J.L. Clark in 1942, the company of Hess & Clark continued but was finally purchased by Vick Chemical in 1955. Over the next several years subsequent buyouts occurred.
One of the best known products ever produced by Hess & Clark was Dr Hess Udder Ointment. Originally developed for treating chapped teats and udders of dairy cattle, farmers were soon remarking as to 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 powder treatments for agricultural use. By 1999 ( approx.) the production of Dr Hess Udder Ointment was discontinued completely. When the formal announcement was made, pleading calls from around the country riddled the factory with testimonial after testimonial of Dr Hess Udder Ointment's healing strength not only for skin abrasions and dryness, but also for burns, bruises, diaper rash, chafing and more!
After hearing of the discontinuation, the Great-Granddaughter of original founder J.L Clark began to purchase from local dealers over 200 cases of Dr Hess Udder Ointment product to ensure that she had enough for generations of her family and extended family members to use. "There is just nothing else like it," Polly Clark Tribe explains. "It's like a little miracle cream in a jar!" Word spread that she had a generous supply and soon she was turning down callers from anxious customers insisting on keeping the remaining 4 cases for herself.
The idea thus was born to recover the original formula and begin the re-manufacturing Dr. Hess Udder Ointment. Tyler and Polly Tribe began the company organization and the manufacturing process in the Fall of 2006. First sales of the recovered product began in January 2008 with the reemergence of Dr. Hess Udder Ointment. During the Spring of 2008, Dr Hess Products began to expand the product line with the Dr Hess Udder Stick, a smooth and healing lip balm based on the original formula. Company growth since 2008 has skyrocketed due to rediscovery from past customers and the new awareness of new satisfied customers to the Dr Hess Product line. The Dr Hess Product line again expanded in 2010 with the introduction of Dr Hess Udder Ointment for Diabetic Skin Care and Dr Hess Bull Balm for Men.
Over the last six years, Dr Hess has continued to grow and place products into major retail chains and expand our market footprint. Most recently, Dr Hess Products announced the exciting news of our corporate headquarters returning to it's original home in Ashland, Ohio. The new partnership and operational team in Ohio is already off and running to take Dr Hess far and wide in the marketplace.
Additional: A Personal Note from Founder and Co-Owner, Polly Tribe -
"Past customers who rediscovered us were elated to see its return. Story after story of this “miraculous” healing ointment used many years ago came to us by letter, email and phone calls. In fact, just recently, I 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 Dr Hess Udder Ointment jar which she keeps by her bedside revealing only the slightest amount of the treasured ointment remaining.
Dr. Hess Udder Ointment was part of my childhood. It was what we relied on for skin dryness to cuts and burns. When I began having children myself, it was the instant remedy for my own tired and cracked feet. Simply put, it was hard to imagine my children and their children not having the benefits of Udder Ointment that I and thousands of other users have enjoyed for over 100 years.
As Dr. Hess Products, LLC, we are continuing in the tradition of our fathers and believe in the American spirit of hard work and giving back. My Great-Grandfather, J.L. Clark, using only a $250 partnership investment, a buckboard wagon and pure American determination, built a thriving business in the early 1900’s with MD and Veterinarian, Dr. Gilbert Hess. He built and equipped the town hospital before building his own home, reduced his own salary to not even a single penny during the Great Depression saving every job in the company, and served his community through countless hours of volunteer work until his early death in 1942.
We have been pleased to continue the spirit of giving by sending cases of Dr Hess Udder Ointment to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan dealing with the harsh dryness of the heat and abrasions of the sand. We have also sent many samples to cancer clinics for patients who are confronted with the side effects of chemotherapy. Our company is also thrilled to be continuing in the tradition of my 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.
We appreciate your interest in our story of Dr Hess Products. We hope you will become part of the Dr. Hess Family.
Polly Tribe, Founder/Co-Owner
Dr Hess Products, LLC"