Weston's Wizard Oil

Weston was an entertainer who toured Australia and New Zealand from the 1860s to the 1880s, putting on free two-hour shows featuring jokes, songs and comic tales that incorporated lots of plugs for his products. A NZ correspondent to London’s The Era in August 1872 wrote of Weston as follows: FRANK WESTON, the Wizard …

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Hance's Candy

Apologies for the lack of background information or ironic commentary on this one, but I’m too busy celebrating the launch of my first novel. For more info on that, have a look at my website. Otherwise, today’s ad has a suitably literary (or least vaguely poetic) section.                H A N …

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Sir John Hill's Pectoral Balsam of Honey

Sir John Hill (the “Sir” came from a Swedish title) started out as an apothecary and also tried his hand at acting before becoming a prolific writer. He edited the British Magazine from 1746-50 and produced a huge variety of works including plays, advice on marriage and child-rearing (under the …

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Dr. Stolberg's Voice Lozenge

 I don’t have much info on these lozenges, but other similar products of the time tended to be based on cayenne pepper. Later in the 19th century, cocaine also became a popular ingredient, albeit in very small amounts. In 1844, according to the  Eclectic Magazine, Dr Stolberg “bequeathed the secret of his voice lozenge – …

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Keating's Cough Lozenges

A 1s 1½d tin contained 50 lozenges, and the recommended dose was one or two lozenges at bedtime and up to 10 during the course of the day. The ingredients were morphine, ipecacuanha, extract of licorice, and sugar, held together by tragacanth gum. .      KEATING’S     COUGH        LOZENGES. “94, …

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Carrington's Life Pills

Carrington’s Life Pills were made principally of capsicum, so they might well have cured your cold — if having your entire head blown off could be said to constitute a cure. The Reverend Caleb Carrington was Vicar of Berkeley from 1799 until his death in May 1837, and his eventful incumbency …

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Holland's Balsam of Spruce

Holland’s Balsam of Spruce is in the tradition of other tree resin remedies, such as Solomon’s Balm of Gilead and the Balsam of Mecca. Given that nearly 170 years later, a cure for the common cold remains as elusive as ever, this medicine would have been worth a punt – if …

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Barclay's Dr. Bateman's Pectoral Drops

  Bateman’s Drops had been around since the 1720s and were prepared by various suppliers, hence the specification that these were Barclay’s Bateman’s Drops rather than anyone else’s. The main ingredients were aniseed, camphor and opium, so the drops would have at least a temporary effect and could be rather dangerous …

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