ADvent Calendar Day 14ADvent Calendar Day 14

If people evolved from apes, why are apes still selling Gargling Oil? Ask this fellow, taking a break from evading sasquatch hunters to advise punters that Merchant’s liniment is good for both man and beast. It was mainly an external remedy for bruises, wounds, skin diseases, burns etc, but people could also take it internally to treat asthma, stomach cramps or any unidentified pains.

Adverts gave the dose as 15-20 drops on sugar, and as the ingredients were petroleum, soap, ammonia water, oil of amber, iodine tincture, benzine and water, the sugar was no doubt a necessity.

 Merchant's Gargling Oil, late 19th century

Established in 1833 as a single product for both people and animals, the Oil could be quite messy for human use. In the 1870s it began appearing in two versions – the one for people was lighter in colour. Adverts, however, reassured customers that it was still fine to use the ‘beast’ version, for ‘it will stain and discolor the skin, but not permanently.’