B. C. Powders

Commodore Thomas Council created one of the most popular headache powders in 1906 at Germaine Bernard’s pharmacy in Durham. Combining their surname initials, Council and Bernard named their headache medicine “B.C. Powder” in 1910. The introduction of B.C. Powders coincided with Durham’s tobacco boom, and factory workers became loyal customers. In 1917, Council and Bernard hired their first salesman to distribute their product beyond the South. 

In 1928 the growing company opened a production facility to meet increasing demand.  Block Drug Company of Jersey City, New Jersey purchased B.C. Powders in 1967.  By 1972, production had moved to Memphis, Tennessee.  While all B.C. Powders achieved national recognition and obtained a national market, its primary customer base remained in the Southeast.

Other popular North Carolina headache powders include Stanback and Goody’s.  


“Headache powder is a regional remedy”, (Bowling Green, KY) Daily News, September 21, 1989; “F.B. I. Rules Out Tampering In a Fatal Cyanide Poisoning,” New York Times January 8, 1993; William Powell ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 2006).