The Century Thermal Bath Cabinet

ADvent Calendar Day 10 The Century Thermal Bath Cabinet Company was a leading player in the vogue for portable Turkish baths for home use at the turn of the 20th century. The luxury was not...

The Dolly Dimpler

ADvent Calendar Day 6 Designed to create adorable dimples where there were none before, devices like this appeared in the 1920s. Evangeline Isabella Gilbert of Rochester, NY, filed a patent in 1921 (not granted until...

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...

ADvent Calendar 1: The Health Jolting Chair

  Every day until Christmas, The Quack Doctor will be showing a different historical health-related advertisement. First is this brain-refresher and household blessing - the Health Jolting Chair (1885), courtesy of the US National Library...

10 Victorian products for Movember

As more than a million people across the world spend this month growing moustaches to raise awareness of – and funds for – Movember's men's health projects, here are a few 19th-century products to help them...

Bailey’s Rubber Complexion Brush

  A harmless alternative to the arsenical preparations then in vogue for improving the complexion, Bailey's rubber brush was intended to improve the circulation, clear the pores and allow the blood to free itself of...

The Diagraphoscope – a wonder-working machine

Twentieth-century businessman X. W. Witman saw a lot of potential in X-rays. Doctors might get excited about their emerging medical application, but for him X-rays offered something even better – the chance to get...

Bomb the first sneeze with Kilacold

  If you think a chlorine bomb sounds more like something from the battlefield than the medicine cabinet, then you'd be right about the origins of this 1920s remedy. The product, and a brief trend...

Dr W. S. Rice’s Rupture Method

I had this post all specially planned for 21 May 2011 and now you tell me today has nothing to do with ruptures? Honestly, I don't know why I bother. Well, I might as well...

The Electropathic and Zander Institute

Regular readers might remember Cornelius Bennett Harness, who carried on a lucrative business in electro-magnetic products in London in the 1880s and 1890s. I have blogged about his Electric Corsets and the Ammoniaphone, an...