The ‘Instra’ Warmer

Source: The Sporting Times, 28 January 1899. Although this product isn’t solely medical, its advertising did claim that it could prevent chills, colds, rheumatism and lumbago, and alleviate toothache, neuralgia and sciatica. Whether or not it could effectively combat these ailments is doubtful, but it nevertheless sounds like a useful …

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Barrett’s Mandrake Embrocation

BARRETT’S Mandrake EMBROCATION CURES {HEADACHE! EARACHE! TOOTHACHE!} INSTANTLY. Unequalled for Sprains, Bruises, Overstraining of the Muscles, Cramp, Rheumatism, Sciatica, Lumbago, Gout, Neuralgia, Chilblains, Bronchitis. To be had retail of all Chemists, 1s. 1½d., 2s. 9d., and 4s. 6d., postage 3d. extra ; or direct from the Sole Proprietor, JOSHUA BARRETT, …

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Vigor’s Horse-Action Saddle

Source: Country Life Illustrated, 8 Jan 1897 (this image from a later facsimile edition) Unusually for anything involving exercise, this contraption looks almost fun. Although perhaps not completely  ‘a perfect substitute for a live horse’ – at least, not if you wanted to travel somewhere – it was well-received as an …

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The Continued Adventures of Baron Spolasco

In the last post, we left Baron Spolasco recovering from a traumatic two nights on a storm-battered rock after a shipwreck claimed the life of his eight-year old son. . After writing his Narrative of the Wreck of the Steamer Killarney, the Baron at last made it to Bristol, where …

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Baron Spolasco and the Wreck of the Killarney

On 19 January 1838, the steamer Killarney set sail from Cork, bound for Bristol. On board were 37 people and 600 pigs, and ahead of them was the most violent storm in more than half a century. The steamer was forced to turn back, and anchored at Cove for a …

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Omega Oil

  The Omega Oil company, which had London and US branches, had its work cut out to get the product noticed among pages of attractive pictorial adverts. But get noticed they did. The constant flow of new designs together with the unique selling point – It’s green – helped create …

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The Zerret Applicator

And now for something completely different… We leap forward into the 1950s today with this Public Service Announcement from the US Food and Drug Administration. The presenter is actor Raymond Massey and his advice is all too relevant today. ‘There are no Z-rays’ is undoubtedly the best line of the film, …

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Harness’ Electric Corset (with podcast)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4870668/podcast.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download. Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, 31 December 1892 . I’ve decided to have a go at doing a podcast. It’s about 13 mins long and goes into much more detail than the post below, so if you’ve got time, do …

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Dr Lowther's Powders and Drops

MR. ELIAS GROVES, of Clapham, attests, that he was afflicted upwards of a Year and half with a most violent windy Disorder, to so great a Degree, that the Wind would roll about, as it were, all over his Body, and occasion him frequently to be discharging it in a …

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Bile Beans, part 2

Just a quick post today while I languish on my sickbed without any useful remedies to console me. Following on from a previous post about the Bile Beans for Biliousness, Jane Ellen, Senior Archivist at the University of Melbourne Archives kindly sent me this image, probably from the 1930s. It …

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