ADvent Calendar Day 18
Korein claimed to contain Fucus vesiculosis (bladderwrack), which enjoyed a vogue as a weight loss supplement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Association analysed Korein in 1915, however, they reported that it was 40% sassafras oil and 60% petrolatum, presented in red gelatine capsules. It is possible that customers did lose weight while using it, either because of the effects of the toxic sassafras on their digestive system or because the accompanying product booklet recommended a restricted diet.
Some of Korein’s ads advised the reader to ‘Show your overstout friends this advertisement’ – after which terrible moment you presumably weren’t friends any more.