To every consumptive person there is hope of life
and health, for, incredible as it may seem, a
specific which cures Consumption has at last been
found. Seeking year after year, working early
and late, complete success has at last crowned
the efforts of that renowned Specialist, Derk P.
Yonkerman, and to-day hundreds of former con-
sumptives, once hopeless and helpless, testify with
joy and heartfelt gratitude to the healing power
of his remarkable discovery. This latest product
of science is, we believe, destined to revolutionize
the treatment of consumption, for it has cured after
all other remedies tried and failed and changes of
climate proved unavailing; so potent is its healing
power that even cases pronounced hopeless have
been by it restored to perfect health.
If you are in consumption you may prove for
yourself the virtue of this wonderful specific.
………….. ABSOLUTELY FREE
Simply send your name and address to the Derk
P. Yonkerman Co., Ltd., Dept. 444, 6, Bouverie
Street, London, E.C., and they will forward by
return of post a free trial treatment, together
with explicit directions for the treatment and
cure of Consumption. Don’t delay. If you have
Consumption your life is in danger and you
should not hesitate to avail yourself of this
Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper, Sat 4 February 1905
A rare foray into the 20th century today, with Derk P. Yonkerman’s Tuberculozyne. Yonkerman hailed from Michigan – or to be more precise, a town named Kalamazoo. (Which I had only ever heard of as the name of the cat in Della and the Dealer, but I looked it up and the modern-day city looks absolutely delightful.)
In 1882 Yonkerman graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College and began practising at the Cleveland Veterinary Infirmary in Ohio. In 1901, after tests on cattle, he announced a treatment for TB, claiming to have discovered a way of introducing copper into the blood in order to kill the bacilli (Davenport Daily Republican, Iowa, 6 June 1901). By early 1902 the product was being advertised in the US, and it reached Britain about a year later.
In the UK, a month’s treatment cost £2 10s and comprised two bottles of liquid labelled No 1 Tuberculozyne and No 2 Tuberculozyne. After every meal, the patient had to put thirty drops of each into a glass of milk, stir well and drink immediately.
The BMA analysed the two mixtures and found No 1 to contain potassium bromide, glycerine, oil of cassis, tincture of capsicum, cochineal to give it its bright red colouring, caustic soda and water. No 2, a brown liquid, was glycerine, essential oil of almond, burnt sugar, water and 0.01% copper. The estimated cost of ingredients for the two together was 2½d.
Patients could send off for a free sample, which was a ½oz bottle of each liquid. If they did not go on to purchase further supplies they would receive regular letters offering increasing discounts.
In 1912, the American Medical Association publication, Nostrums and Quackery, quoted the BMA analysis and noted that, whereas in the past British quacks had once been a nuisance to America, ‘the current has set in the other direction and now instead of the American public being fleeced by the English medical fakers the American quack is finding the English public “good pickings”‘. This was due in part to the US Food and Drugs Act of 1906, which meant quacks like Yonkerman had to be very careful what they claimed. The British laws were less strict, allowing for much more exaggerated claims in the advertising and packaging.
Secret Remedies: What they cost and what they contain, British Medical Association, 1909
Nostrums and Quackery: Articles on the the Nostrum Evil and Quackery reprinted, with Additions and Modifications, from the Journal of the Americal Medical association, 2nd ed. 1912