I was a tub of fat!

ADvent Calendar Day 18 Korein claimed to contain Fucus vesiculosis (bladderwrack), which enjoyed a vogue as a weight loss supplement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Association analysed...

Merchant’s Gargling Oil

ADvent Calendar Day 14 If people evolved from apes, why are apes still selling Gargling Oil? Ask this fellow, taking a break from evading sasquatch hunters to advise punters that Merchant's liniment is good for...

Madame Fox’s Life for the Hair

ADvent Calendar Day 13 'Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new'. The advertisers of Madame Fox's Life for the Hair quoted from 2 Corinthians as they sought to usher in 'a new...

The sparkle of perfect health

ADvent Calendar Day 12 The Favorite Prescription was just one part of a range marketed by Dr Ray Vaughn Pierce in newspapers, almanacs, pamphlets and on the side of barns across the late 19th-century US....

Smedley’s Chillie Paste

ADvent Calendar Day 9 Smedley's Chillie Paste was for topical application only, but if you should be tempted to swallow a spoonful of this capsicum-based rub, you would probably be able to cure yourself of...

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...

Figuroids

.ADvent Calendar Day 3 .The three female figures in Figuroids' publicity were designed to illustrate the product's promise: ‘If you are like the STOUT girl—you will become like the MEDIUM girl—and finally like the DAINTY girl—by...

Dr Ralph’s Pills

ADvent Calendar Day 2 Dr Ralph's Pills and the 'Ralphian Theory' appear to have been inspired by the Hygeist principles of James Morison, who introduced Vegetable Universal Pills to Britain in 1825. Joseph Ralph's system,...
Hall's Coca Wine - 1897 ad from Country Life

The devil in disguise

John Michael Smith is one of those fleeting figures who cross history's pages when they get into trouble and then disappear, leaving only a hint of a life where destitution is more prominent than...

For the blood is the life

The Quack Doctor is currently providing Victorian remedies for Sky Living’s online newspaper, The Inquisitor, which accompanies the channel’s new ten-part drama, Dracula. If you are visiting the site for the first time via...