Tuna – a vegetable compound

There’s often something a bit fishy about patent remedies, but this one appeared before the advent of canned tuna and, for the average non-sea-going punter, the name did not have the piscatorial associations it has now. A company called Fels and Davis began promoting it in 1879, but by the following …

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The ‘Instra’ Warmer

Source: The Sporting Times, 28 January 1899. Although this product isn’t solely medical, its advertising did claim that it could prevent chills, colds, rheumatism and lumbago, and alleviate toothache, neuralgia and sciatica. Whether or not it could effectively combat these ailments is doubtful, but it nevertheless sounds like a useful …

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Capsuloids Hair Restorer

Source: Black & White, 19 March 1904 Chief among the ills to which flesh is heir in the springtime is the provoking habit of our ‘crowning glory’ to come off in handfuls, leaving us with the parlous prospect of a denuded poll. So says a 1904 advertorial recommending Capsuloids as …

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Baron Spolasco and the Wreck of the Killarney

On 19 January 1838, the steamer Killarney set sail from Cork, bound for Bristol. On board were 37 people and 600 pigs, and ahead of them was the most violent storm in more than half a century. The steamer was forced to turn back, and anchored at Cove for a …

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Whitehead’s Essence of Mustard

WHITEHEAD’S ESSENCE OF MUSTARD. —– CHILBLAINS are prevented from breaking, and their tormenting itching instantly removed, by WHITEHEAD’s ESSENCE of MUSTARD, universally esteemed for its extraordinary efficacy in Rheumatisms, Palsies, Gouty Affections, and Complaints of the Stomach; but where this certain remedy has been unknown or neglected, and the Chilblains …

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The Pure Drops of Life

Source: The Morning Chronicle, 27 August 1803 THE PURE DROPS of LIFE; or, Vegetable Extract, prepared only by T. M. Lucas, V.D.M. Road, near Bath. Sold, by special appointment, at Messrs. H. and W. Humphries, No. 87, Fleet-street; No. 2, Haymarket; Mr. G. Long, No. 13, Great Newport street, Long …

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Dr Carter Moffat’s Ammoniaphone

Source: The Graphic, Sat 25 October 1884 The format of this one makes it a bit tricky to type out, but if you click on the advert, you should then be able to zoom in and read it. The Ammoniaphone was an instrument designed to help singers and public speakers …

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Swaim's Panacea – part 2

For part 1 about Swaim’s Panacea, click here. Within a few years of establishing his products, William Swaim was enjoying the benefits of endorsements from some of Philadelphia’s most eminent physicians, including Nathaniel Chapman, William Gibson, William Pott Dewees, Thomas Parke and James Mease – and he didn’t even have …

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Wine of Cardui

WINE FOR WOMEN! Woman’s modesty and ignorance of danger often cause her to endure pains and suffer torture rather than consult a physician about important subjects. Pains in the head, neck, back, hips, limbs and lower bowels at monthly intervals, indicate alarming derangements. McELREE’S WINE OF CARDUI is a harmless …

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The Modena Fossil

. This is perhaps the most bizarrely named product yet featured on this site. It is not surprising that it should be obscure to the modern observer, but in fact it made no sense to the denizens of the early 19th century either. . . ……………HEALTH ……….A MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERY. …

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