clysterThe Aperitive Vase, a cure for constipation, is somewhat coyly advertised here, but adverts from earlier in the 1840s left less to the imagination:

The apparatus is a fountain in miniature, so small that when filled it may be concealed in the pocket until it can be used conveniently; when, by an hydraulic double-action within it, the water which it contains is propelled into the bowels, and instantly procures the desired relief, as effectively as a dose of opening medicine. The Fountain may be used by the most nervous lady without the knowledge or aid of any second person. (The Era, Aug 13 1843)

 Image: Detail from Réaction. Distraction. Précipitation by Charles Philipon, 1850s. Courtesy of the US National Library of Medicine.      


      T H E   U S E   O F   W A T E R  as  an  aperient  is  neither
distasteful  nor  injurious  as  opening  medicines  are:  its  operation
is instantaneous, and without the slightest  uneasiness;  consequently
it is found to be a remedy  preferable  to  every  other  for  Indigestion,
Costiveness, Bile,  &c.  But  those  who  desire  to  relieve  effectually
the stomach and bowels by  this  natural  physic,  and  to  resort  to  it
comfortably, must apply it  with  the  APERITIVE  VASE,  constructed
for invalids and ladies, and sold only at Scott and Llewelyn’s  Medical
Repository,  369,  Strand,   the  third  house  from  Exeter  Hall.  Also,
SONIFERS, by which a deaf person may magnify voices to the  pitch
at which he hears distinctly. Descriptions sent post free, on receipt of
two letter stamps.


Source: The Daily News (London) Saturday 31 January 1846


Dr Scott and a business associate, Mr Pine, revealed the extent of their medical knowledge in 1844 when a 5-year-old boy was rushed to their premises after falling into the river near Waterloo Bridge. According to the inquest report in the Medical Times (6 July 1844), Scott ‘looked at the child, and exclaimed— “Be off with you—take it to Charing Cross Hospital.”‘ The rescuers set off the for the hospital but the child died on the way.

 Now giving due force to these circumstances, said the Medical Times in reference to Scott’s advertisements, but more especially to the singular rejection of this poor child for treatment, and supposing for a moment that Dr. Scott, like thousands of others, really has no other title to doctorship but his own sovereign will, what a significant instance we have before us of the mischief of empirical pretensions.


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