Dr Ray Vaughn Pierce (pictured, courtesy of Project Gutenberg) was an über-quack whose laboratory in Buffalo, NY, produced millions of dollars worth of patent remedies. As well as the Pleasant Pellets shown below, there were Dr Pierce’s Anuric Tablets, Dr Pierce’s Favorite Prescription, Dr Pierce’s Vaginal Tablets, Dr Pierce’s Extract of Smart-Weed and Dr Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery – a licorice-flavoured tonic that reportedly contained quinine, opium and alcohol and was advertised as giving men “an appetite like a cow-boy’s and the digestion of an ostrich.”
Pierce ran an opulent hotel for invalids, the first incarnation of which burnt down in 1881. The rebuilt hotel is said to have included among its guests the Sundance Kid and Etta Place in 1901.
His company, the World’s Dispensary Medical Association, gave away freebies such as calendars and notebooks to advertise the products, and Pierce’s own book, The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English, was a vehicle for recommending his own medicines. As well as the laboratory in Buffalo, the company had a British branch at Great Russell Street, London.
Dr Pierce was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1878 and served one term. After his death in 1914 his son, Dr Valentine Mott Pierce, continued the business and Pierce products were still available as late as the 1970s.
Falling Off A Log.
“As easy as falling off a log,” is an
old saying. When it was first uttered
nobody knows. Nothing is easier, un-
less it is the taking of a dose of Dr.
Pierce’s Pleasant Pellets. These act
like magic. No griping or drenching
follows, as is the case with the old fash-
ioned pills. The relief that follows re-
sembles the action of Nature in her hap-
piest moods; the impulse given to the dor-
mant liver is of the most salutary kind,
and is speedily manifested by the disap-
pearance of all bilious symptoms. Sick
headache, wind on the stomach, pain
through the right side and shoulder-
blade, and yellowness of the skin and
eyeballs are all remedied by the
Source: The Daily Gazette (Xenia, Ohio) Friday 8 April 1892