Steers’s Opodeldoc seems to have been fairly reputable, but it was also easy to mix it up yourself, hence the proprietors’ attempts to convince the public of the superiority of their version. The opodeldoc (a general term for this type of liniment rather than a brand name) was made from soap, spirit of wine, camphor, rosemary oil and sometimes spirit of ammonia. The Mr. Steers referred to in the ad was – or at least claimed to be – the son of the inventor.


CAUTION: The innumerable Counterfeits and Imi-
tations of this Medicine render it absolutely necessary to
guard the Public against the Impositions that are daily practised.
Various Druggists, and other designing Persons (some taking
the advantage of being of the Name of Steers, and others ven-
turing to use both Mr. Newbery’s and Mr. Steers’s Name in
their Bills), have disseminated, throughout the Town and
Country, many spurious sorts of Opodeldoc, infinitely inferior
in Quality to the real Preparation. All Purchasers therefore,
who would wish to avail themselves of the Virtues of Dr. Steers’s
genuine Opodeldoc, are requested to observe very particularly,
and as the only means to prevent their being deceived, that the
Name of F. Newbery is engraved on the Stamps which are past-
ed round the Directions on the outside of each Bottle; and as
this Distinction has been made by order of the Commissioners of
the Stamp Office, no Person can imitate it without being guilty
of Felony. The Efficacy of the Medicine is so universally ac-
knowledged in Chilblains, Rheumatisms, Bruises, Sprains, and
other external Complaints, that any particular specification of
its Virtues is unnecessary.
Sold in London, only at MR. NEWBERY’S (the only Ware-
house for Dr. James’s Powder), No. 45, in St. Paul’s-church-
yard, a few Doors from the corner of Cheapside; and at Mr.
STEERS’S Medicine Warehouse, Old Bond-street, on the left
Hand from Piccadilly, five Doors beyond Stafford-street, in
Bottles, Price 2s. each, Duty included, or Six for 10s. 6d.

Source:  The Times, Wednesday 8th January 1794


    • I used to get the local chemist to mix equal measures of glycerine, rosewater and opodeldoc together a recipe passed down from my mother, it was the best thing for chapped hands, beat any hand creams or lotions.
      sadly no chemist can do this, possibly because opodeldoc is no longer available.

      • Yes I Know what you mean. My mother used to send me to a chemist called Gooseman, on Corporation Road, Grimsby for a bottle of Opodeldok. He would mix it in the back of the shop,Rose water, glycerine and opodeldok. A bottle probably about half a pint for a shilling. This was the 1950s, and I never had chapped hands. Wonderful stuff. My son along with my sister, have now bought the ingredients and are about to try their hands (no pun intended) at mixing a batch.

  1. My mother (born 1919) used to get the pharmacist in Boots to make her a bottle of glycerine and opodeldoc to use on her very badly cracked heels. It worked well! If anyone knows where to get some I’d like to have some.

  2. I tried a local chemist today, to try and get some opodeldoc and glycerine ( olive oil will do as good as glycerine ) in a 60%/40% mix. The chemist, Day Lewis was just not interested. This is the best treatment for stiff muscles, I used to use it all the time when engaged in sport. Someone should market this stuff as it is better than all the modern heat rubs !

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