Weston's Wizard Oil

Weston was an entertainer who toured Australia and New Zealand from the 1860s to the 1880s, putting on free two-hour shows featuring jokes, songs and comic tales that incorporated lots of plugs for his products. A NZ correspondent to London’s The Era in August 1872 wrote of Weston as follows: FRANK WESTON, the Wizard …

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Hood's Sarsaparilla

Hood’s Sarsaparilla was big business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – you can get an idea how big from this picture of the Massachusetts laboratory. Adverts for it were everywhere, and there were also spin-off products such as calendars and cookbooks. GOOD BLOOD GOOD BLOOD Is essential …

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Walker's Jesuits Drops

Robert Walker obtained the King’s Royal Letters Patent for his remedy in 1755, and on his death, surgeon Joseph Wessels took it over. The drops were still around, under the name Wessel’s Jesuit Drops as late as the 1870s. In 1843, the Medical Times published a note stating that the …

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Carrington's Life Pills

Carrington’s Life Pills were made principally of capsicum, so they might well have cured your cold — if having your entire head blown off could be said to constitute a cure. The Reverend Caleb Carrington was Vicar of Berkeley from 1799 until his death in May 1837, and his eventful incumbency …

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Dr. De La Motte's Sassafras Chocolate

The sassafras tree is native to North America,  and its healing properties were valued by Native Americans long before it became an export to the Old World. This 1848 advertisement lifts most of its text verbatim from Dr Richard Reece’s book, The Medical Guide, published in 1828. Neither Dr De La Motte nor the retailer can …

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Dr. Steers's Opodeldoc

 Steers’s Opodeldoc seems to have been fairly reputable, but it was also easy to mix it up yourself, hence the proprietors’ attempts to convince the public of the superiority of their version. The opodeldoc (a general term for this type of liniment rather than a brand name) was made from soap, spirit of …

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