Don’t be gulled by misleading advertisements

This 20-page booklet from about 1927 appears at first glance to be an official publication intended to raise public awareness of the 'preposterous claims concerning so-called “patent” medicines, which are a disgrace to any...

No glister-pipe, bum-peeping apothecary

The following speech appeared in a comic 18th-century booklet called The Harangues or Speeches of Several Famous Mountebanks in Town or Country, which makes fun of high-profile medical salesmen by attributing to them wild...

Paul Gage’s Tonic Antiphlegmatic Elixir

Source: The Liverpool Mercury, 30 December 1851 . Phlegm is generally white, greyish, or of a yellow colour, with streaks of black; its consistency varies from the limpidity of water to the thickness of jelly. This vivid...

Gordon’s Vital Sexualine Restorative

STRENGTH, VITALITY, MANHOOD. ­A Valuable Treatise on Nervous Exhaustion, Loss of Strength, Mental Depression, Exhausted Vitality, and all special diseases and weaknesses of man; their causes, and means of cure. This book not only contains valuable...

The Famous Montpellier Venereal Little Bolus

Source: The General Advertiser, 6 March 1744. Click here for transcript. I wonder if this advert looks familiar to regular readers. The writing style and capitalisation, and even the medicine's name, are reminiscent of Mr....

Swaim's Panacea – part 1

SWAIM'S PANACEA.—This Medicine has acquired a very extensive and established celebrity in Europe and America, and its virtues are known and acknowledged by many of the most respectable physicians of both countries. As an alterative, and in various...

The Guttae Vitae, or Vegetable Life Drops

Although no proprietor is shown in the following advertisement, the Vegetable Life Drops were one of several cures touted under the name Dr Walter De Roos. De Roos was an enigmatic character and the name was purported to be an alias...

To Fat Persons

This is an interesting advert because there is nothing blatant about it. It doesn’t appear to be selling anything and it’s difficult to see what Mr. F. Russell has to gain. To the average...