The Yankee Rubber Baby

ADvent Calendar Day 16 I’ve been studying Victorian advertising for about five years now and the products that bring astonishment and chuckles from others usually appear very bog-standard to me. This, however, remains the strangest ad I have seen in all that time. It often crops up in the Illustrated …

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Claxton’s Patent Ear Cap

ADvent Calendar Day 4 ‘It has often been observed by experienced elders, that since it became the fashion for babies to discard caps, protruding ears are but too common. They are very ugly, and the ear-cap just invented is a safe preventive, without the heat that made the cap objectionable.’ …

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Mother’s Friend

In honour of the birth of The Quack Doctor’s new baby niece, who arrived early Saturday morning in the car park of Harlow Hospital, this post looks at a liniment that claimed to make labour a doddle. Mother’s Friend was on sale in the US and Canada by the mid-1880s, …

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Sago Jenkinson and the Case of the Witched Child

When Nancy Harborough took her sick child to a local celebrity doctor in 1844, she probably didn’t expect to receive advice worthy of Matthew Hopkins two centuries earlier. As it was, the whole sad episode ended up in court, and as the Hull Packet put it: The facts of the …

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Curlypet

Australian Women’s Weekly, 17 Jan 1962 . Although I focus on medical advertising here at The Quack Doctor, I do like to feature the occasional beauty product when it catches my eye. I stumbled on this mid-20th-century Australian hair lotion while failing to find something else I was looking for. …

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Atkinson & Barker’s Royal Infants’ Preservative

Source: The Patriot (London) 12 September 1853 It is no misnomer Cordial! —no stupefactive, deadly narcotic! —but a veritable preservative of Infants! Regular readers of The Quack Doctor might be able to hazard a guess at the active ingredients of this product. Like other infant quieteners, it did contain a …

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The tragic story of Ching’s Worm Lozenges

    ..   What is any self-respecting quack to do in the face of criticism?   The answer in 1804 was exactly the same as it is now – turn nasty and threaten to sue the arse off everyone.   The name ‘Ching’s Worm Lozenges’ might suggest that this will be an icky-parasite …

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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 …

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Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup

    Originating in New York in the 1840s, Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup was a dangerous concoction. Parents often did not realise that it contained morphine, and sadly, as the American Medical Times put it in 1860, were “relieved of all further care of their infants” through its use.   …

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