PIGEON MILK THE GENTLEMAN'S FRIEND Fits vest pocket (no liquid). Does not stain. Stricture impossible. Cures Gonorrhea and Gleet in 1 to 4 days. A safe, sure cure. Mailed (sealed) to any address for $1. Ask druggists or write, RUST MEDICAL COMPANY, DETROIT, MICH. Source: Sandusky Daily Register (Ohio) 1 April 1891 (sorry about the bad scan.) This one comes from the "men will buy any damn thing if we randomly associate it with boobs" school of advertising. Rust Medical Company displayed marketing genius when they plastered their product name over the one place on the whole page a man's eyes would immediately travel to. Especially the kind of men in need of this remedy. Other adverts for Pigeon Milk reveal that it was an injection - not in the modern hypodermic sense but in the sense of using a needle-less syringe to squirt the stuff straight up the affected part. Allen Vegotsky, in his 2004 article on Dr Hatchett's Drug Store Museum, describes the pack as containing a bottle, syringe and a tin of pills, somewhat accounting for the hefty price. (The ad's 'no liquid' assertion is puzzling, though.)
There is a natural substance called pigeon milk – it's a curdy secretion produced by both hen and cock pigeons to feed their young. They regurgitate it for pigeon junior to gobble down, but when he's full, they can swallow what's left and keep it for next time. And here is where the marketing ploys fall down, because if I were a man, I for one would not want even a fake version of pigeon sick anywhere near my most prized appendage.