Guest post: England’s ‘only female doctor’?

Esther Jane Neumane

Last year, The Quack Doctor featured some bottles from the collection of Michael Till, including this gorgeous and rare example of Cavania’s Wonder-Worker Lotion. A father and daughter team, Professor and Mademoiselle Cavania practised in the north of England during the 1860s and 70s. The prospect of formal medical qualifications … Continue reading

Dr Hammond and his Electric, Curative & Phosphoric Vitalizer

Source: The North Wales Chronicle 18 April 1868 In a series of letters to the Medical Circular in the 1860s, Francis Burdett Courtenay, under the pseudonym ‘Detector’, exposed the villainous practices of a breed of quacks preying on men who suspected they had spermatorrhea. Spermatorrhea (an excessive discharge of semen) … Continue reading

McAlister’s All-Healing Ointment

McALISTER’S ALL-HEALING OINTMENT OR WORLDS SALVE Has been an old family nurse for the past twenty years, and known all around the world as the most soothing and healing ointment in existence. McALISTER’S ALL-HEALING OINTMENT Never Fails to Cure. Salt Rheum, Scrofula, Ulcers, Small Pox, Sore Nipples, Mercurial Sores, Erysipelas, … Continue reading

Sparks and Son India-Rubber Urinals

Far from being a quack remedy, this device must have been a boon to desperate travellers everywhere. Surgical instrument maker William Huntly Bailey, whom we have met before, described the problem:  If there is any inconvenience in travelling on the railway, it is on account of the few stoppages, and … Continue reading

The Guttae Vitae, or Vegetable Life Drops

Although no proprietor is shown in the following advertisement, the Vegetable Life Drops were one of several cures touted under the name Dr Walter De Roos. De Roos was an enigmatic character and the name was purported to be an alias for one John (or George) Robinson, who might well have bought the business in 1858 from … Continue reading

Beetham's Corn & Bunion Plaster

 It’s interesting that this advert uses the phrase “worth a guinea a box.” This slogan was plastered everywhere in the second half of the 19th century, advertising the famous Beecham’s Pills. Mr Beetham wasn’t necessarily copying his near-namesake, however. The phrase was around before Thomas Beecham adopted it in 1859, so the satisfied customer … Continue reading

Renovating Essence of Azilica

        I have absolutely no idea what was in this medicine, so instead of a witty and/or informative comment, here is a picture of a fellow epitomising health and manly vigour. The image is from the Dictionnaire encyclopédique Trousset, published in Paris between 1886 and 1891, and is reproduced courtesy … Continue reading

Self-Adjusting Curative and Electric Belt

                  ELECTRICITY IS LIFE. HEALTH AND MANHOOD RESTORED                 (WITHOUT MEDICINE.) CURE YOURSELF by the PATENT SELF- ADJUSTING CURATIVE AND ELECTRIC BELT. Sufferers from Nervous debility, Painful Dreams Mental and Physical Depression, Palpitation of the Heart, Noises in the Head and Ears, Indecision, Im- paired sight and memory, … Continue reading