STRENGTH, VITALITY, MANHOOD.
A Valuable Treatise on Nervous Exhaustion, Loss of Strength, Mental Depression, Exhausted Vitality, and all special diseases and weaknesses of man; their causes, and means of cure.
This book not only contains valuable remarks on how to preserve strength and retain the powers to an advanced age, but points out the best means of restoring Exhausted Vitality, Poverty of Nerve Force, Mental Depression, and will especially interest those who wish to fit themselves for business, study or marriage. This brief work is the only one that contains any sensible advice to the inexperienced, and to all young and middle-aged men will not only prove instructive but a valuable safeguard.
Sent sealed on receipt of 4 penny stamps to any address, by
CHARLES GORDON, 288, Great Horton Road, Bradford, Yorks.—Advt. Copyright.
Source: The Illustrated Police News, 22 December 1900
Other than the romantic-haired individual in the illustration, this advert doesn’t offer much to distinguish itself from the plethora of late 19th-century ads promising restored manhood or cures for nervous debility. Should you send off your 4 penny stamps, however, you would receive a 43-page booklet recommending a ‘concentrated herbal remedy’ with the brilliant name of Gordon’s Vital Sexualine Restorative.
The Restorative cost a rather steep 22s a bottle, and was a red-brown syrupy liquid that was to be taken at a dose of one teaspoonful in a glass of water three times a day. The pamphlet claimed it would cure a range of problems:
Onanism, Night Emissions, Seminal Losses, Waste of Vitality, Brain Fag, Depression, General Weakness, Loss of Energy, Nervous Debility, Spermatorrhoea and Variocele.
On the bottle label was a list of even more conditions, including Brain Wreckage and Nerve Tire.
Described as a ‘Brain Fertiliser’, the product was supposed to ‘create nervous fluid, brain matter and nerve force.’ It:
Brightens the intellect, improves the memory and mental faculties, restores strength, and promotes a renewal of life in the entire system.
The BMA analysed the mixture in 1911 and found it to consist of iron, calcium, sodium and potassium hypophosphites, quinine sulphate, citric acid, sugar, colouring and water. As they dryly pointed out:
Metallic hypophosphites are not generally considered to be “concentrated herbal remedies.”
Gordon (who used the meaningless letters P.M.B. after his name in an attempt to impress punters) sold a number of other medicines for the not-so-discerning gentleman. There were the Viro-Erectile Elixir, the Varixolene Liniment, the Bubo Compound, Gentiana Tonic, Gravolene, and anti-syphilitic and anti-gonorrhoeal mixtures. And, as I’m sure you will be delighted to know, the range was completed by the Gleet Compound.