No More Baldheads, No More Dandruff

Whether they promised to cover a bald head with a mop of curls, to rejuvenate greying locks or to produce manly whiskers on the smoothest of chins, hair-related products appear in numerous Victorian and...
Dr Batty's Asthma Cigarettes

Victorian asthma cigarettes: who was Dr Batty?

While browsing your local newspaper in the 1890s, an asthma-cure advertisement might distract you from tales of the latest sensational crimes. 'Agreeable to use, certain in their effects, and harmless in their action, they...

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?'...

If the patient is not alarmed

I just rediscovered this book, which I've owned for years but had forgotten about. It's a marketing publication produced by Elliman and Sons, who manufactured the hugely popular Elliman's Embrocation (for people) and Royal...

Armbrecht’s Coca Wine

Between now and Christmas (and probably beyond) I'll be taking a different tack with the Quack Doctor and posting more frequently but more briefly, showing just pics of medical adverts, snippets about strange cases,...
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,...

Guest Post – Dickens, Holloway and product placement

. I'm pleased to welcome guest blogger Leslie Katz, who has investigated whether Charles Dickens was approached to promote the famous Holloway's Pills in one of his novels. . For many years during the nineteenth century, the...

Hunt’s Remedy

ADvent Calendar Day 7 Take THAT, Death! POW! The skeletal figure of the Grim Reaper drops his scythe and cowers before the might of a strong, healthy opponent wielding a bottle of Hunt's Remedy. The Remedy...