Don't Spit on Sidewalk Brick

Don't Spit on Sidewalk Brick

Dr. Samuel J. Crumbine

Dr. Samuel J. Crumbine (1862–1954) of Dodge City was one of the leading figures in the field of public health in the early 20th century. Beginning in 1904, he served as secretary of the Kansas State Board of Health for 20 years.

Dr. Crumbine was concerned about the spread of tuberculosis and other diseases and campaigned for their prevention. He became particularly concerned after observing tuberculosis patients spitting on the floor of a train. As part of his public health campaign, he convinced brick manufacturers to imprint the slogan, “Don’t spit on the sidewalk,” on their product. The bricks were widely distributed around the county and state. Capital City Vitrified Brick and Paving Company and the Coffeyville Vitrified Brick and Tile Company were the major manufacturers of these bricks.

Dr. Crumbine's public health crusade argued for pure food and drugs, the elimination of houseflies and rats, water and sewage sanitary control, and the prevention of tuberculosis. He succeeded in abolishing the common drinking cup, the common or "roller" towel, and spitting in public places. He promoted these campaigns with simple and easy to remember slogans, such as "Bat the Rat,” “Swat the Fly," and “Save the Baby.”

The Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award was established in 1955 in his memory and is awarded each year to local environmental health jurisdictions that demonstrate unsurpassed achievement in providing outstanding food protection services to their communities. Dr. Crumbine was the model for the character of “Doc Adams,” played by Kansan Milburn Sone, on the television show Gunsmoke.

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