Strange case: ‘At all events the blade fell’

guillotine

Injuries acquired in unusual circumstances, spurious news stories of medical happenings, bizarre or gruesome reports from doctors’ casebooks… Strange cases is an occasional feature on the Quack Doctor that reproduces these tales. Today we meet a morbid Parisian who ended up spiting his face. Model of Guillotine Severs Owner’s Nose A citizen of Paris, a …

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Poison. To be applied night and morning.

I have some wonderful pictures to share with you today thanks to collector Rex Barber from Perth, Western Australia, who owns several hundred 18th – 20th century proprietary remedy lids. Rex has exhibited his collection as far afield as the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors’ 2012 show in Reno, NV. …

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Ali Ahmed’s Treasures of the Desert

Between March 1852 and September 1853, monthly instalments of Bleak House tempted readers with their eyecatching illustrated covers and affordable price of one shilling. Within these covers, the ‘Bleak House Advertiser’ promoted commercial products, from new publications to false teeth and from wigs to bedsteads. Inserted in part fourteen, however, …

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The Poor Man’s Friend

Source: Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, 20 July 1826 In 2003, the Daily Mail ran a story titled: Beeswax is ‘miracle’ cure. The article referred to an 18th/19th-century ointment called The Poor Man’s Friend, a popular remedy for wounds and skin conditions. The reason it hit the 21st-century press was that its …

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Albert's Grasshopper Ointment

Grasshopper Ointment was registered in 1874 and the name was trademarked in 1884. It was still listed in Martindale’s Extra Pharmacopoeia in 1989, where the ingredients were given as rosin, yellow beeswax, larch oleoresin, arachis oil, white soft paraffin and copper acetate – but no grasshoppers. The copper would have …

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Samaritan Water

The proprietor of this remedy, Thomas Greenough, was better known for his other preparation, the Lozenges of Tolu, which were for coughs and colds. The Samaritan Water, patented in 1779, was not widely advertised, but the lozenges continued to be sold by Greenough’s successor at Ludgate Hill, R. Hayward, during …

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Clarkson's Specific for Bad Legs

Another very long advert today. Thomas Clarkson was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, but his method of cure, which isn’t named in this ad, was a patent medicine by the name of Clarkson’s Specific for Bad Legs. Initially, Clarkson treated the afflicted in person, but because this often meant they had …

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