Avoiding the trickcyclist and nutpicker: First World War home remedies and miracle cures

I'm delighted to welcome author Suzie Grogan to The Quack Doctor. Suzie's latest book, Shell Shocked Britain: The First World War's Legacy for Britain's Mental Health was published in October 2014. In this guest post,...

A Patent-Medicine Song, 1892

Some of the most famous patent medicine brands of the late Victorian era found their way into this humorous song by John Johnston, MD, in 1892. Originally from Dumfriesshire, Johnston settled in Bolton in...

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...
Esther Jane Neumane

Guest post: England’s ‘only female doctor’?

Last year, The Quack Doctor featured some bottles from the collection of Michael Till, including this gorgeous and rare example of Cavania's Wonder-Worker Lotion. A father and daughter team, Professor and Mademoiselle Cavania practised in...
Grimstone ad, 1840

Mr Grimstone and the Revitalised Mummy Pea

In a Highgate garden known as the Herbary grew plants destined to invigorate nostrils all over the world. Savory, rosemary and lavender scented the air, while orris-root thrived under the carefully cultivated soil. Dried,...

Stay Vigorous at Seventy

ADvent Calendar Day 23 Ah, good old John Harvey Kellogg – everyone knows the cornflake-inventing, masturbation-disapproving, enema-giving sanitarium owner of Battle Creek, Michigan. It’s not much of a surprise that he would be promoting something...

Why smoke and spit your life away?

  ADvent Calendar Day 22 Advertised with this beautiful Art Nouveau poster designed by William H Bradley, Narcoti-cure claimed to put smokers and tobacco-chewers off their habit for life. 'Why smoke and spit your life away?'...

To whiten hands and skin

ADvent Calendar Day 21 The juxtaposition of 'harmless' and 'arsenic' is quite amusing, but the manufacturer's assertions about the product's safety were more believable than they might now appear. In the 1890s, the fashion for...

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...

The Acme Worm Bouncer

ADvent Calendar Day 19 This wonderful product name conjures up an image of Wile E Coyote speeding along a dirt road on a go-kart-mounted trebuchet, firing little worms at Road Runner until the cart hits...