Cold and flu season is upon us and for relief from sore throats and painful coughs, many turn to Luden’s cough drops. For as long as we can remember, Luden’s has been a staple in many medicine cabinets and the trusted remedy parents turn to when comforting their children.
But where did this internationally known, favorite over-the-counter cough suppressant get its beginning? In Pennsylvania’s Americana Region, of course!
William Henry Luden, inventor of the menthol cough drop and founder of the Luden’s company and brand, called Reading, Pennsylvania his home. He was born in Reading in 1859 after his father, a jeweler, had immigrated to this region from the Netherlands.
At age fifteen, Luden quit school to become an apprentice candy maker. His knack for entrepreneurship and interest in business soon became apparent when he opened his own candy company in 1879 in his mother’s kitchen, located in the back of his late father’s shop.
William wanted to stand out from his competitors and he succeeded in that vision. While other candy makers sold their products going door to door, Luden convinced stores to display and sell his confections. He sold popular moshies, hard candies, chocolates, nut treats, holiday novelties, and of course, the menthol cough drop.
He provided railroad workers with samples of his cough drops, which proved more convenient than carrying vials of menthol to relieve cold symptoms. This marketing strategy effectively resulted in Luden’s drops gaining national word of mouth.
Luden’s cough drops have been a family-favorite for over 140 years, and William Luden’s legacy continues to live on in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region and beyond. Great things happen here!