The ad below, from 1896, is interesting since the product claims to be "the only chain lube on the market - by which they mean the only "dedicated chain lube" product, not used otherwise for something else.
Ad for Russia chain lube
from "The Referee and Cycle Trade Journal: a Weekly Record and Review of Cycling and the Cycle Trade." Volume 17, Number 1 - May 7, 1896.
Full volume of issues
Russia Chain Lubricant Use the Best - It is the CheapestSo the main advantage of this product is that it goes on clean, unlike graphite. And then a bit of comparative advantage in lubrication is claimed too, why not.
Improvement is the order of the day
The only chain lubricrant on the market. Will not soil the hands or clothes, keeps the chain bright and clean. As a lubricant it is superior to any Graphite on the market. Can be handled with a kid glove. It positively will not gather dust, and will save wear on the chain and sprocket wheel.
"Ha ha, you're a sight! Why don't you use Russia Chain Lube, same as I do?"
"I will hereafter. No more graphite for me!"
I can't imagine why it was called "Russia" chain lube . . .