Royal Reels: Gambling


The illustrated cover had a Trade Mark picture of horses, the name CUPISS at the top, in the middle CONSTITUTION BALLS, and at the bottom, HORSES & CATTLE. John Yeldham was described as the ‘Sole Representative: Australia and New Zealand’ (the latter crossed out) for ‘Francis Cupiss Ltd., England, Makers of the World’s Celebrated Constitution Balls for Horses and Cattle’, and there was a Sydney Box G.P.O. address. The red 3½d Christmas 1957 stamp was canceled with a boxed SYDNEY/ 18 4-PM 18/ 27 FEB/ 1958/ N.S.W. AUST. with a roller cancel ‘NAVY-ARMY -RAAF/ OFFER GOOD CAREERS/ AND SECURITY’. The cover was addressed to Messrs. Rocke Tompsitt & Co. Ltd., 292 Flinders Street, Melbourne, Vic., and the reverse was not seen (Figure 1).

The only advert I could find linking the U.K. and Sydney companies was in the Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 1934 was an invitation to meet Mr. John Yeldham, Special Representative for Francis Cupiss, Ltd. Diss, Norfolk, Eng., who will be in attendance in our R.A.S. Pavillion and will explain the wonderful medical preparations compounded by the late Francis Cupiss, M.R.C.V.S. of Diss, Norfolk ….for the diseases of which horses, Cattle, Sheep, Pigs and Dogs are subject (Figure 2).

 Numerous advertisements for Cupiss’s veterinary products exist in England and the following item for his CONSTITUTION BALLS for THE HORSE and NEAT CATTLE particularly appeals to me, with his allusion to Army horses (Figure 3).

Usually his adverts are much more wordy and are often accompanied by testimonials, usually from the landed gentry. Francis Cupiss M.R.C.V.S. is identified as the author of the “Prize Essay on the Disease of the Liver of the Horse” (Figure 4).

 Francis Cupiss was born in London in 1798, and was educated At Huntingdon Grammar School. He was apprenticed to a Chemist and Druggist in London and attended the London Veterinary College becoming a Member of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on May 11, 1822. After teaching on the staff for a short while, love of the country brought him to Diss, Norfolk where he could combine the business of a Chemist with that of a veterinary surgeon with a practice of some 10-15 miles radius of Diss, forming the company in 1830. In 1838 he wrote a thesis on the “Liver of Horses” for which he was awarded a Silver Medal from the Royal Veterinary Society. In 1874 he and his wife visited a disused Private School and decided to buy the property and moved the entire business to this new address and renamed the site “The Wilderness” which is where the company has remained to this day.

Cupiss manufactured his “Constitution Balls”, which are still produced to-day to his original formulae, together with “Grease Balls”, “Constitution powder”, “Tonic powder” and “Diuretic powder”, all used in his own practice, and which is dispatched by post and rail to various chemists throughout the land and exported abroad. A company trademark was drawn up depicting a horse “out of sorts” above a horse “all right” and this remains to this day unchanged as the company logo (Figure 5).

 Francis Cupiss died in 1888 aged 89, having passed on his secret formulae to members of his staff and in 1904 the company became a Limited Company under the guidance of Mr. Aubrey Cupiss, a nephew of the founder. Over the years the Clarke family took over the management of the company in 1950 with Francis Cupiss’s grand-niece retaining a share in th company until her death in 1979. The company now has the grandson of the first member of the Clarke family as the managing director, and the Granddaughter and Great Grandson as fellow directors.A picture of Francis Cupiss is seen in Figure 6.

Categories: Business, Science