To raise false hopes

Antidipso British Monthly Dec 1903

I appeared on Great British Railway Journeys, series 7, episode 11, on 18 Jan 2016. The episode is available on BBC iPlayer, and here’s some more information about one of the remedies featured:   ‘Tears and prayers are of no use,’ warned the eyecatching pictorial advertisement in the Penny Illustrated …

Continue reading

Why smoke and spit your life away?

  ADvent Calendar Day 22 Advertised with this beautiful Art Nouveau poster designed by William H Bradley, Narcoti-cure claimed to put smokers and tobacco-chewers off their habit for life. ‘Why smoke and spit your life away?’ advertisements asked. ‘Why suffer from dyspepsia, heartburn and drains on your vital force?’ The …

Continue reading

The devil in disguise

Hall's Coca Wine - 1897 ad from Country Life

John Michael Smith is one of those fleeting figures who cross history’s pages when they get into trouble and then disappear, leaving only a hint of a life where destitution is more prominent than criminality. At the age of 11 he lived in Lodge Lane, Derby, with his mother and …

Continue reading

A pleasant time and a pleasant tomorrow

  We all have those Facebook friends – you know, the ones who make it clear what a wild, fun and edgy life they lead by announcing that they’re, like, sooooo hungover lol. Well, perhaps their troubles would have been easier to bear in 1955, when a party-pak of Quaff-Aid …

Continue reading

Armbrecht’s Coca Wine

Between now and Christmas (and probably beyond) I’ll be taking a different tack with the Quack Doctor and posting more frequently but more briefly, showing just pics of medical adverts, snippets about strange cases, and occasional photos of health-related objects from the past. For the time being I don’t have …

Continue reading

Torpid Liver Positively Cured

I’m sure all The Quack Doctor’s readers have leapt out of bed bright and early this morning, clear-headed, sparkly-eyed and ready to go out and grab all the exciting opportunities that the New Year presents. But if you know someone who is feeling a little more fragile right now, you …

Continue reading

Habitina – an infallible remedy for addiction

Source: The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette,17 April 1907 —————————————————————————————— Following on from the last post, we remain in early 20th-century America. But while Mayr’s Wonderful Stomach Remedy was fairly harmless (albeit rather revolting), this nostrum was notorious for the damage it caused in just 6 years of existence. Between 1906 and …

Continue reading

The Elixir of Opium podcast, plus award news

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4870668/McMunn.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadA couple of weeks ago a I did a post about McMunn’s Elixir of Opium, and because I had quite a bit of information about it, I intended to do a podcast. Unfortunately I was suffering from the worst cold ever (N.B. every cold …

Continue reading

McMunn’s Elixir of Opium

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4870668/McMunn.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download Source: Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery (Louisville, KY), July 1855 Click here for Transcript There are no prizes for guessing what was in this. First formulated in the mid 1830s by Dr John B McMunn (or M’Munn), it became a big hit …

Continue reading

Dr. Haines' Golden Specific

  Dr James Wilkins Haines was a Quaker physician from Cincinnati, and you can learn more about his eventful life at Karen Campbell’s Quaker Genealogy blog.   In 1917 the American Medical Association denounced his remedy (by then known as “Haines’ Golden Treatment”) as “a cruel humbug.” On analysing the powders, …

Continue reading