Joseph Triner
1861 - 1918

Czech Immigrant - Chemist
Manufacturer - Business Man



Most articles list Joseph Triner's birth as March 19, 1861 at Kacerov, Kralovice, district of Plzen.  Online records do not seem to be available to verify that the date is correct.  Online, there is a record for Matej Triner marrying Anna Siroky on February 5, 1862 in Kacerov.  There is an index record for the birth of a Joseph Siroky, born to the daughter of Joseph Siroky at Kacerov #2 on March 15, 1861 at Kacerov #2.  (1) The family, listed as Tryner, Mathias, 43, Anna 35, Josef 19, arrived from Port Bremen to Port New York City on February 24, 1880 aboard the ship General Werder. (2)

Joseph Triner married Katerina Wecker (Vecker) on September 27, 1884 in Chicago.  Katerina was born on January 17, 1864 at Naceradec #94 to John Wecker and Katerina Wasa.  (3) Katerina's parents were married on January 2, 1854 at Nacerdec #154. (4) The family, arrived in the USA on July 15, 1868 from Bremen to New York City aboard the ship Gessner, listed as Wenzel 36, Cath 36, Anna 6 and Cath 6. (5)

In the History of Cook County, Volume 1, published in 1909, the editors provide a summary of Joseph Triner and his accomplishments.

"JosephTriner, manufacturing chemist, importer and exporter, was born in 1861 in Kacerov, county of Kralovic, near the beautiful city of Pilsen in Bohemia. He received his education in the schools of Slane. With his parents, Matthew and Anna Triner, he came to the United States in 1879, directly to Chicago, and was engaged in different occupations, until in 1890 when he established his present business on  a very small scale. This business was a great success from the very start, due to Mr. Triner's business ability and untiring personal management, and to his popularity, especially among his country men. The wide circle of his friends is growing steadily and embraces all nationalities, because he gives everybody" a square deal." His first factory was on Ashland avenue, near West Eighteenth street, but very soon it proved to be too small for the rapid growth of the business and Mr. Triner had to build a large, perfectly modern factory, which is a model of cleanliness in both the  offices and laboratories. It is situated on South Ashland avenue and Hastings street, and all departments are under the management of experienced professional men. The best known preparations manufactured there are Triner's American Elixir of Bitter Wine, and Triner's Angelica Bitter Tonic, both of which received the Gold Medal, the highest award in the recent Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at Seattle, Wash. Mr. Triner employs quite a number of intelligent traveling men and city salesmen. His family life is very happy. He was married in 1884 to Miss Catherine Wecker, daughter of John and Catherine Wecker, of Chicago, and lives in his residence at 1018 South Ashland boulevard. The family consists of four daughters and one son. His eldest son, Leo, died six years ago, after an operation for appendicitis, being fifteen years old. With the family lives Mrs. Anna Triner, mother of Joseph Triner, her husband having died several years ago. Joseph Triner is a member of the Chicago Association of Commerce, the Illinois Athletic club, the Knights Templars, a Thirty-second degree Mason, and belongs to several Bohemian benevolent and national societies. He always takes an active part in all public questions. Mr. Triner greatly enjoys traveling during his vacation and he has visited all parts of the United States and Europe. Being in good health and full of energy he certainly has a brilliant career before him." (6)


Advertisements placed by Joseph Triner in various USA publication.
Top: Left to Right: C, D, E, F  Bottom: Left to Right: G, H, I, J

Denní Hlasatel -- April 07, 1917

It is an honest pride which a national group in the United States feels when by its presence in the great melting pot it has contributed values to the character of the whole nation. Among the traits most appreciated in America are perseverance, assiduousness and undaunted spirit. The New York University incorporated these three virtues into its motto as far back as eighty-five years ago. How this sentiment has permeated the whole country is best shown in the completion of the Panama Canal, the creation of which had met with innumerable obstacles, which were overcome by American pertinacity. The Czech people have always counted obstinacy and resoluteness as its national characteristics, and so proven itself as a valuable increment to the American nation.

The building, 1333-1339 South Ashland Avenue, houses the big business which is founded and headed by the most outstanding Czech-American industrial chemist, Josef Triner. He succeeded in creating his establishment, the chemical laboratory, through his spirit which could not be dampened by reverses, some of them threatening his enterprise with the violence of a tornado. Today, after thirty-seven years, the Triner Chemical Laboratory stands on a firm basis.

Josef Triner was born in 1861 in Kacerov near Kralovice, Bohemia. He went to school in Kladno, then to high school in Slana. He would have continued his studies, but the means of his parents being limited, he came to Chicago with his father and mother in 1879, and has been a resident here ever since. After having moved through various occupations, he finally introduced into the market his specialty, Triner's "Bitter Wine." In the ensuing business activity, he found the proper outlet for his mercantile ambitions. He also improved the quality and the usefullness of his product, the curative and restorative powers of which were recognized and acknowledged by the authorities in Washington, D. C., so that his wine was permitted to be sold as a medical remedy without a license.

In due course of time, Mr. Triner succeeded in having other remedies admitted; namely, Triner's Angelica Bitter, Triner's Liniment, Cough Remedy, Red Pills, Triner's Aromatic Liquid Extract, and others.

The founder of the business supports every decent Czech enterprise. He is a member of the C. S. P. S. (Czecho-Slovak Aid Society), the Taborites, Forresters, Czech Beseda, etc. He was treasurer of the Cesko Americka Slovanska Rada (Czech-American National Council), Illinois Manufacturers' Association, Illinois Athletic Club, holds a life-membership in the Press Club, and the Art Institute; and he is also a 32nd degree Mason.

Mr. Triner is married, his wife Mrs. Katherine Triner, nee Wecker, gave his four daughters, and two sons. One of the latter died in the prime of life; the other, Joseph Triner, Jr., is a student at Columbia University, New York, studying medicine and pharmacology. (7)

Before radio, television, and the Internet, mass communication, and advertising was done using the newspaper.  One of Joseph Triner's skills was using newspaper advertisement to promote his company products.  He advertised in English, Czech and Polish newspapers (the ones found so far).  One form of his early advertisements was the testimonial of an individual who had tried his product, liked it, and that testimonial was printed in the newspaper. (Advertisements above: Left to Right - K, L, M)

Triner placed ads in newspapers across the country.  Almost always, that advertisement mentioned to look for identification on the product, that it was a Triner Company product, not something which looked similar to that of his company.

Joseph Triner would eventually employ Jaroslav Vojan to head his advertising department.  A summary of Vojan's time with the Triner Company was published by.... and is found below.


"The biographies of the men who have built up Chicago and extended the reputation of this great city throughout the world are well worth reading. To select one of the successful men of the city and give a history of his life is as interesting as it is instructive. Dr. Jar. E. S. Vojan was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1872, came to this country 16 years ago and till 1916 worked intensely among his fellow countrymen as editor of various dailies and weeklies and for three years (1909-1912) as general manager of the Bohemian-American Press Association. He was the first secretary of the Chicago central committee of the Bohemian National Alliance, which was in connection with Prof. Masaryk, the present first president of the Czechoslovak Republic, and which financed the valiant fight of this great leader for the independence of Czechoslovakia. A graduate of the old University of Prague, Dr. Vojan stood at the head of the journalistic profession among the Bohemian-Americans. Thomas Capek, in his book, "The Bohemians in America" (Boston and New York, 1920, page 216, says: "Dr. Vojan is a writer of subtle intellect and of pronounced artistic taste. His articles are noted for faultless phrasing and literary finish."

In August, 1916, the late Joseph Triner, who was always very lucky in selecting his leading men, placed Dr. Vojan at the head of his advertising department, where the new manager soon developed all his eminent qualities. Joseph Triner Company advertises the famous Triner's American Elixir of Bitter Wine, an unsurpassed remedy for stomach troubles, and all other Triner's remedies in 800 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada in 27 languages. Dr. Vojan, who reads and writes in more than half of this number and knows the psychology of all those various nationalities, is just the very man who can manage the advertising campaigns of such polyglot character. His work is highly successful, and if the Joseph Triner Company has beaten in this year all the previous records of its business rise, the advertising department has surely a lion's share in this remarkable achievement. Triner's American Elixir of Bitter Wine has been tested by time. This remedy was placed on the market by Joseph Triner in 1890, and has won wide acceptance under the title of American Elixir of Bitter Wine. At first, as is usually the case, the returns were very modest, but Joseph Triner had all the courage and persistence of his Czechoslovak ancestry, and in addition to this an abiding confidence in the merits of his elixir. This confidence, persistence, business ability and the proved value of the remedy formed a combination that could not fail of success and, as has been said, the elixir won and retained nation-wide popularity.

Some years ago Joseph Triner died, but his son, Joseph Triner, Jr., has conducted the business along lines of enlarged success. The plant is located at the corner of South Ashland avenue and Hastings street, and is recognized as a model of cleanliness and scientific equipment. Stomach trouble is one of the most prevalent ills of the human race and a remedy that brings relief deserves wide popularity. Overeating, lack of exercise, hasty eating of food, are frequent causes of stomach trouble, and promptly to meet and correct these conditions is the mission of the American Elixir of Bitter Wine. Through scientific knowledge, backed up by extended experience, Joseph Triner succeeded in preparing the remedy fitted to meet the ills which so generally prevailed. The ingredients of his compound were the best that could be found in the vegetable kingdom to accomplish 'the remedial work. Taking into consideration the scientific formula and the efficiency of this elixir, combined with the honorable business methods of Joseph Triner, Jr., who has so ably taken up the work laid down by his father, the success of this remedy can be considered a natural and inevitable result." (8)

Google Translation February 4, 1918 Denni Hlasatel Notice of Triner Death

The grievous report comes from St. Petersburg, Fla. Mr. Jos. Triner, the founder of the American-famous wholesaler and now chairman of the incorporated Joseph Triner Company since December 10, succumbed to the lingering disease of hardened blood vessels that had long gnawed at the strong root of his life until it finally won. Surrounded by his dearest, self-sacrificing his wife and all four daughters, the rare man, who has an excellent place in the history of Czech-American self-academy, breathed a sigh of relief. The son, Mr. Josef Triner Jr., Secretary of the Joseph Triner Company, alone could not be present at the last moments of his father, he was an officer in active service bound by his duty in Chicago. At the age of 57, a man has left us who will remain a permanent model of indomitable endurance.

Born on March 19, 1861 in Kačerov near Královice in Bohemia, he came with America to his parents in 1879 and tried his hand on a number of professions, until finally in 1890 he launched "Triner's Healing Bitter Wine". thereby finding a field in which he could develop his business skills with all his might. The product was the first of its kind in America, and  Triner had no choice but to experience all the pioneering woes. The obstacles that stood in the way of the commercial success of the product, behind which no capital stood, were great. However, the enterprising spirit of the man could not be misled even by being knocked back several times, so it was only natural that the plant from a small beginning on the 18th and May Streets later grew into today's large plant on the corner of Ashland Ave. and Hastings Street where building no. 1333- 1343 S.  Ashland Ave. hardly enough the commercial boom of this large-scale factory of popular family medicines. The deceased built his business and grew up with him to the point that he found his greatest pleasure in it.

Even a year ago, after 8 o'clock in the morning or before, he came to the office and left it in the evening, just like all true big businessmen, the Americans are the main artery of their plant. ........ Then, when the disease subsided for a moment and allowed him to go out, it was bitter to see his joy, which he always missed for a short visit to the race. At the same time, His mind was still working for the benefit of the company, which remains his permanent helper, and shortly before he left for Florida, the plant was incorporated, which now passes under the command of his son, Mr. Joseph Triner Jr., in whose hands the proven top skills of the office, headed by J. V. Štěrba (General Manager), Fr. Sedlák (cashier) and Dr. Soldier (advertising manager), continue to flourish in honor of its founder. In early December, he went to Florida to avoid the impending bad winter. His rarely self-sacrificing wife, Mrs. Kateřina Trinerová, who had been caring for her beloved husband all day and night since August, and Miss Anna Trinerova's daughter went with the patient, and at Christmas his son, Mr. Jos, arrived for a short visit. Trimer and son-in-law Dr. Lagorio. Then, a week ago, when the patient's strength began to wane rapidly and his eyesight faded, they made them worry.  The other three married daughters, Mrs. Kamila Wenter, Ella Lagorl, and Libuše Klaus, leaving for Florida, where they arrived on time to spend their last days with their dear father.

Triner was a member of many Czech associations, especially the Order of Loyalty of Art. 8. Č. S. P .S., Bed Prokop Veliký, J. T., České Besedy, Uměleckého klubu, from English associations we present especially Arcana Lodge No. 717 A. F. <ř A. M. (he was a 32nd Mason). Illinois Manufacturers Assn., Illinois Athletic Club, Press Club, Art Institute, etc. Of his many past federal merits, we mention in particular His former zealous amateur work and, more recently, the management of the treasury function of the Czech-American National Council. Apart from his grief-crushed wife, son and the above-mentioned four daughters, he leaves the son-in-law Wentera, Dr. Lagorl and Klaus and five grandchildren (Ruth and Willie Wenter, Frances and Charlotte Lagori and Naom Klaus), as well as many relatives.

The day of the funeral will be appointed, as long as the body of the deceased will be taken from Florida to Chicago.  The funeral of Mr. Joseph Triner. In a way that was most dignified, Czech Chicago parted ways with one of its foremost members.  The funeral, which took place yesterday afternoon, took place from the Masonic hall on Miliard ave. and 23rd Street, was the most verbal proof, what general seriousness did the deceased enjoy in all our circles and how deeply the Czech Chicago wished for his premature losses. An hour before the funeral ceremonies, the hall, in which the corpse of the deceased had been displayed on a hearse, was opened to provide an opportunity for hundreds of his friends and acquaintances to say goodbye to him. It was a truly endless procession that revolved around the hearse. There was a look on everyone's faces, and it was clear that everyone was fully aware of the loss that had befallen them.

Funeral ceremonies were performed according to the rite of the Masonic Order, in which Joseph Triner took one of the foremost places. After the ceremonies, the remains were accompanied to the Czech-National Cemetery by a huge number of cars. In the Masonic Hall 1 in the crematorium hall on the cemetery, Dr. Soldier, his words left an indelible impression on the promises of all who heard them. The memory of men such as the late Josef Triner will not disappear with their departure. It will be a rich source of painful and yet happy memories of those closest to the deceased, and will be a shining example to others of how to work and live. (9)

Denní Hlasatel -- 10 October, 1918

The late Mr. Joseph Triner, founder of the reputed firm Joseph Triner And Company, Chicago, was treasurer of the Czech-American branch of the Czech National Council in Prague. In his last will, he left $1,000 to the Czech National Council in Prague, for the explicit purpose of aiding Czech independence.

Mrs. Catharina Triner and Mr. Joseph Triner, present head of the mercantile concern, are executors. They decided that the moment the Czechoslovak National Council, which represents the Czech National Council in Prague in the pursuit of Czech independence, is recognized by the Government of the United States, the amount becomes due for payment to Professor Masaryk, head of the provisional government of the future Czechoslovak independent state.

Mr. Triner, accompanied by Dr. Jaroslav Salaba Vojan, called on Professor Masaryk in the Blackstone Hotel yesterday and delivered the money. He expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to fulfill the last wish of his father, to aid the cause which is dear to all American Czechs--and to do it through the venerable hands of Professor Masaryk.

Buried in Lot 287, Section 15: Joseph Triner 218749442  (1918), wife, Katerina 204764823  (1938),  Joseph's father, Matej 218749578 (1905), Joseph's mother, Anna, 218749679 (1915), and Joseph and Katerina's son, Colonel Joseph Triner Jr. 193818019 (1969).  Buried in Lot 285, Section 15: wife Katerina's father, John Wecker, 221449076 (1910), wife Katerina's mother, Katerina Wasa Wecker, 221449119 (1909).


(A) Advertisement - Jednou Za Cas, August, 1916, Page 5 (Publication of the Bohemian Arts Club of Chicago.

(B) Advertisement - Denni Hlasatel, Newspaper, Chicago, Illinois, August 2, 1916, Page 6.

(C) Advertisement - Amerikan Kalendar, Publisher August Geringer, Chicago, Illinois, 1893, Page 6.

(D) Advertisement - Denni Hlasatel Newspaper, Chicago, Illinois, May 7, 1916, Page 2.

(E) Advertisement - Amerikan Kalendar, Publisher August Geringer, Chicago, Illinois, 1917, Page 353.

(F) Advertisement - Author Mucha - Commissioned by Triner -

(G) Advertisement - Amerikan Kalendar, Publisher August Geringer, Chicago, Illinois, 1906, Page 329.

(H) Advertisement - Amerikan Kalendar, Publisher August Geringer, Chicago, Illinois, 1910, Page 327.

(I) Advertisement - Amerikan Kalendar, Publisher August Geringer, Chicago, Illinois, 1904, Page 27.

(J) Advertisement - Kvety Americke Newspaper, Omaha, Nebraska May 22,1918, Page19.

(K) Advertisement - Polish language newspaper, Wiarus, Winona, Minnesota, Thursday, March 13, 1902, Page6.

(L) Advertisement - The American Israelite Cincinnati, Ohio, Thursday, October 25,1900, Page 2.

(M) Advertisement - The Plattsmouth Journal Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Thursday, August 27, 1908, Page6.


(2) Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

(3) January 7, 1864, Naceradec 94, Book 28, Image 117, Beroun, Prague Archives

(4) January 24,1854, Naceradec 154, Book 13, Image 50, Benesov Prague Archives

(5) Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

(6) "History of Cook County, Illinois", Editors: Weston A Goodspeed and Daniel D. Healy, Hammond Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1909, Pages 832 - 833.

(7) Denni Hlasatel Newspaper, Chicago, Illinois, April 7, 1917, Page 3.

(8) The Chicago Eagle Newspaper, Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, November 13, 1920, Page3.

(9) Denni Hlasatel Newspaper, Chicago, Illinois, February 4, 1918, Page 7.


The Friends of the Bohemian National Cemetery of Chicago published an excellent article on Joseph Triner in their newsletter, "Heritage Happenings".  It can be found online:

The Chicago Czech Consulate, at its Facebook site, has a 2017 Czech Beer Festival PDF.  It includes information on Joseph Triner and several images of advertisement art Triner commissioned from Alphonse Mucha.