‘Eat! Eat! Eat!’ Those notorious tapeworm diet pills

Sanitized Tape Worms - a spurious 'vintage' ad

Peoria, Illinois, 1912: the horror begins. A society lady, encouraged by a friend’s success with an easy new weight-loss treatment, pays $25 for ‘two rather large and suspicious-looking pills.’ Her husband sends the pills to be analysed by the Washington public health service, and before long a ‘government secret official’ …

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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 Korein in 1915, however, they reported that it was 40% sassafras oil and 60% petrolatum, …

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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 taking Figuroids.’ . Launched in the UK in 1907 by Canadian doctor George Dixon, …

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Dr Walter’s Medicated Rubber Garments

My Scottish grandma could be rather forthright at times and was wont to sum up the appearance of passers-by with the succinct phrase ‘She’s no stranger to a fish supper.’ Had grandma been around in the early 20th century, however, perhaps she wouldn’t have had as much opportunity to make …

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Allan's Anti-Fat

Source: The Belfast News-letter, Tues 3 June 1879 This ad is unusual in appealing not to the potential consumer but to her weedy, emasculated little husband. (Presumably he’s her husband, because he seems stuck with her.) Most ads for Allan’s Anti-Fat, however, were aimed directly at people wishing to lose …

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Every Woman's Flesh Reducer

Diet products that promised you could eat what you like and not have to do any tedious exercise had a market in the early 20th century, even though today’s media would have us believe that everyone in the good old days was more robustly active than us morally decrepit modern …

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To Fat Persons

This is an interesting advert because there is nothing blatant about it. It doesn’t appear to be selling anything and it’s difficult to see what Mr. F. Russell has to gain. To the average reader, this could simply be a kind-hearted gentleman so excited about having lost weight that he …

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