Stanback (headache powder)

Pharmacist Thomas M. (Dr. Tom) Stanback created a headache relief compound at a Thomasville drugstore.  In 1911, Stanback moved to Spencer, opened a drugstore, and started a limited commercial production of the powder.  With great success, Stanback sold his headache powders to railroad workers and repairmen, who spread the word about the pharmacist’s powders as they traveled to other railroad towns.  Stanback hired his first salesman, his younger brother Fred Stanback, to sell the powders to commercial retailers.

By 1931, Stanback Medicine Company opened a production facility in Salisbury, NC.  The Block Drug Company purchased Stanback’s in 1998, twenty five years after it purchased B.C. Powders.   

 Other North Carolina headache powders include B. C. Powders 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).