Radam's Microbe KillerFamous for its trademark showing someone walloping the living crap out of a reanimated skeleton (if skeletons can be said to possess any living crap), Radam’s Microbe Killer was a fraud.

Its inventor, William Radam, published a book, Microbes and the Microbe Killer (189o) describing at great length his quest for a cure for his own rheumatism, which he believed to have been caused by microbes. A florist and nurseryman, Radam associated the killing of microbes in the human body with the killing of pests on plants. He sought to find a harmless antiseptic gas that would cleanse the human body just as fumigation destroyed the bugs in his greenhouses.

In the book, Radam is unspecific about the methods that led to his claimed success, saying vaguely “A little more improving, and I had the antiseptic that proved to be an antiseptic, without having experimented upon my body.” (p49, revised edition 1895) Analyses, however, showed that the remedy was more than 99% water, with traces of sulphuric acid, sulphurous acid and ash (Journal of the A.M.A., 1910)

For more in-depth information about Radam, his remedy, and the opposition he encountered, there are interesting articles at The North Texas Skeptic and Quackwatch.



Nearly   all   well-read   people   are  familiar
with   the   scientific   investigations  of  Profs
Koch and Pasteur,  respectively  of  Germany
and   France,   as   well  as  a  number  of  other
scientists of almost equal renown, whose ex-
periments have proven conclusively that all
diseases are causes by microbes in the blood.
They are called microbes, because they are a
living   matter,   and  only  discovered  by  the
aid   of    powerful   microscopes.       But  until
William Radam discovered his Microbe Killer
Medicine    there   was   absolutely   nothing
known in the annals of  Medicine  that  would
destroy these Microbes or Germs of Diseases
existing   in   the   blood.   The  Microbe  Killer
does Kill the  Microbes  in  the  blood  without
fail, as the thousands of testimonials we have
in our possession demonstrate.
Microbes   being   the  cause  of  all  diseases,
Microbe  Killer will therefore cure  them.
Ladies and  gentlemen  desiring  light  upon
the Microbe Theory, as well as upon any dis-
ease they may be afflicted with, are cordially
invited to call and get pamphlets for full  par-
ticulars. We will  forfeit  $1000  if  any  single
one  of   our  testimonials  can  be  proven  as
not genuine.
For  sale  by  E.C.   FLEMING,  Druggist,  No.
South Detroit Street

Source: The Daily Gazette, Xenia, Ohio, 16 November 1889


  1. I’ve got a jug marked ” Keep Jug tightly corked, Wm. Radam’s Microbe Killer No. 1.”

    It’s in excellent condition and still has the original cork broken off in the spout.

    Any idea of it’s worth ?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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