Augustin Thompson (Union, Maine on November 25, 1835 – June 8, 1903) was a physician, businessman and philanthropist who created the Moxie soft drink and the company that manufactures it (now part of the Kirin Holdings Company of Tokyo, Japan).
Early life and Civil War service
Thompson was born in Union, Maine on November 25, 1835.
On October 1, 1862 he enlisted in the Union Army and, nine days later, was commissioned as captain of Company G, 28th Maine Volunteer Infantry. He saw action in the Siege of Port Hudson in Donaldsonville, Louisiana as well as minor action at Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida. He was wounded in action and developed tuberculosis which led to his discharge in August 31, 1863.
In October 1864, Thompson rejoined the Union Army and was commander of the 7th Company Unassigned Maine Infantry Volunteers which was organized at Augusta and served from November 2, 1864 at Fort Popham in Phippsburg, Maine guarding the approaches to the key shipbuilding city of Bath. After the defeat of the Confederacy, Thompson was, along with his company, mustered out of service on July 6, 1865. Later he was granted, through an act of Congress, brevet (i.e. honorary) promotions to major and lieutenant colonel in recognition of his distinguished service during the Civil War.
After the war ended, he went on to attend Hahnemann Homeopathia College and graduated with honors at the head of his class.
Upon graduation he settled in Lowell, Massachusetts where he set up his medical practice in 1867. By 1885, Dr. Thompson's practice had become highly successful and he was said to have one of the largest patient lists in New England.
The tonic, based upon his original patent medicine "Nerve Food" created in 1876, was first released as a syrup in 1884. Aside from profit motive, it was Thomspon's intent to produce a medicine which did not contain harmful substances such as cocaine or alcohol. In 1885, he received a trade mark for the term "Moxie" and released it as a carbonated beverage.
Moxie proved to be a commercial success but, about 1889, Thompson decided to resume his medical practice. He entered into an agreement with William Taylor, a Moxie agent in upstate New York, whereby Taylor became the Moxie lessee in Massachusetts and established The Moxie Nerve Food Company with Thompson as general manager with a salary of $5,000 per year. This annual income was sufficient to provide Thompson with the financial independence needed to pursue his other interests.
Thompson spent the rest of his life as a playwright, developing marketing campaigns for Moxie, as well as writing letters to newspaper editors reflecting his diverse interests including geography, economics, legal issues, and politics. He was an advocate for the Free Silver movement, which was the major issue in the presidential campaign of 1896.
Thompson supported the Spanish-American War saw the importance of the United States expanding its sphere of influence to include the annexation of the Philippines and other territories.
In 1902, Thompson sought a copyright for his book, The Origin and Continuance of Life: Together with the Development of a System of Medical Administration on the Law of the Similars, from a Discovery of its Principles in the Law of Natural Affinities. The book contained an illustration of his latest invention, the Thompson Vitalizer, which was a device consisting of tanks of compressed gases, tubes, and other components. Thompson desired to establish a number of parlors, along the east coast to allow the public to benefit from his invention.
- Doctor Augustin Thompson. Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage. Published 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2010. Archived June 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- ""The Road To The Sea" Preserved: The 28th Maine Infantry at Donaldsonville, La.". Department of the Maine Secretary of State. 2000-03-29. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-02.[dead link]
- Frank N. Potter (1981). The Moxie Mystique. Donning Company. ISBN 0-89865-145-X.
- Frank N. Potter (1987). The Book of Moxie. Collector Books. ISBN 0-89145-348-2.
- Bowers, Q. David, The Moxie Encyclopedia, Vestal Press, 1985. ISBN 978-0-911572-43-8
- Grace, Roger M., "Is Hires the Longest Marketed Soft Drink? Or Moxie? Or...?", Metropolitan News-Enterprise newspaper, Los Angeles, Thursday, November 17, 2005, p. 15
- Potter, Frank N., The Book Of Moxie, Paducah, KY : Collector Books, 1987. ISBN 0-89145-348-2.