A devil of a cure

One must always be grateful for small mercies. When a giant jazz-hands Satan is trampling amok on your planet of residence, you can at least gain comfort from the fact he has kept his underpants on. This depiction of Old Nick was registered as a trademark in 1915 by the …

Continue reading

Failure of ‘606’

ADvent Calendar Day 20 This 1915 advertisement is perhaps not as wacky as some of the products I’ve featured this month, but I find it interesting because it names neither the medicine nor the disease it aims to cure! The mentions of ‘blood poison’, ‘Mercury and Potash treatment’ and ‘606’, …

Continue reading

The Mormon Elder’s Damiana Wafers – the most powerful invigorant ever produced

The Mormon Elder's Damiana Wafers

As a target of drug manufacturers, impotence has stood the test of time. In the late 19th century, mail order remedies and relatively anonymous purchases from a chemist were ways of avoiding the embarrassment of visiting a doctor – and judging by the amount of spam devoted to the subject …

Continue reading

Dr Hammond and his Electric, Curative & Phosphoric Vitalizer

Source: The North Wales Chronicle 18 April 1868 In a series of letters to the Medical Circular in the 1860s, Francis Burdett Courtenay, under the pseudonym ‘Detector’, exposed the villainous practices of a breed of quacks preying on men who suspected they had spermatorrhea. Spermatorrhea (an excessive discharge of semen) …

Continue reading

The Brinkerhoff System

THE Brinkerhoff System —–OF—– RECTAL MEDICATION!! Piles, Fistulal Fissue [sic], Polypsus, Pru- ritus, and Rectal Ulceration Permanently and Pain- lessly Cured. Rectal Ulceration is the most dangerous of all Rectal Maladies, owing to its undermining the system before its victims realize their dan- ger, this being due to the scarcity …

Continue reading

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. Burchell’s Famous Little Sugar Plums, and here again we see a proprietor tempting punters with …

Continue reading

Laxora

Source: The Graphic, Sat 23 August 1879 Laxora was introduced to Britain by its French proprietor, P. Guyot, in 1877, and at once attracted positive attention from the medical press. It sounds a pleasant medicine to take – The Medical Times and Gazette described it thus: They consist of a …

Continue reading

Some remarkable cases of worms

This post departs from the usual because it’s not directly related to an advertised remedy, and no one involved is out to make money from selling cures. While I was researching the Sugar Plums for Worms, however, I came across many interesting stories showing the impact of parasites on individuals’ …

Continue reading

The Famous Little Sugar Plums

Source: The General Advertiser, 19 Jan 1748 . I mentioned the Purging Sugar Plumbs for Worms early in the life of this blog, but didn’t include much beyond the ad itself, and I hardly had any readers then anyway, so I think it’s worth revisiting – especially as this advert …

Continue reading

Dr Young’s Rectal Dilators

Source: Detroit Medical Journal August 1905 As you can see, this ad is aimed at the medical profession, and the product was (and still is) accepted by orthodox practitioners as helpful for certain conditions – it was not so much the dilators themselves but the claims made about their efficacy …

Continue reading