Homocea

Source: The Graphic (London) 13 October 1894 I haven’t tried to transcribe this for obvious reasons, but I think it should be clear enough, and you can click to make it bigger. Some of the assertions on the sleeves of those elegant arms sound better than others; ‘touches the spot …

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Empress Josephine Face Bleach

In a testimonial included in another Empress Josephine Toilet Co. advert, “Mrs Jos. C. Morton” wrote: Some years ago I ruined my skin and complexion by the use of worthless face powders. Pimples would raise up in large lumps all over my face. They oft times resembled more closely a …

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Pigeon Milk, the Gentleman's Friend

. 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) …

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Ambition Pills

At first glance I thought this showed pictures of three men, but no – it’s the same fellow, transformed from the seedy old roué on the left into a fine specimen of manly vigour,  ambitious to take on the world and all its laydees. The perkiness of a chap’s moustache …

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Charles Forde's Bile Beans for Biliousness

While Bile Beans were initially pitched as a cure for biliousness, the influenza epidemic of 1899 was too good an opportunity to miss. Horrible though the ‘flu was, a lot of people would recover after a week or so anyway, and it was an easy matter for quacks to point to …

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Eno's Fruit Salt

 Invented in the 1850s by James Crossley Eno of Newcastle, the Fruit Salt sold like hotcakes to sailors looking for something to keep them healthy on long journeys. The product is still available today – now manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, it sells in vast quantities worldwide and is a popular ingredient …

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J Gerred, Medical Herbalist (and poet)

Joseph Gerred’s talents as a medical herbalist surpassed his poetic abilities, though judging by the verse in the following advert, that’s not saying much. Born in 1816, he took up herbalism in the 1830s, while also editing his own newspaper, The Devonshire Times. In 1856, Gerred was accused of libel after his paper …

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Alex Ross's Complexion Globules

This double advert shows only a fraction of the cosmetics range sold by Alexander Ross. He sold several products for the hair, including his famous Cantharides (Spanish Fly) Oil for curing baldness, and Golden Hair wash that turned the hair “a golden colour after a few usings.” Other products included …

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Dr Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People

Here’s another big-business remedy, this time originating in Canada. “Dr Williams” was a brand name, and the pills were manufactured by George T. Fulford of Brockville, Ontario. Born in 1852, Fulford went into the patent medicine business in 1886 and four years later bought the rights to the Pink Pills recipe from Dr William …

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Dr. Pierce's Pleasant Pellets

Dr Ray Vaughn Pierce (pictured, courtesy of Project Gutenberg) was an über-quack whose laboratory in  Buffalo, NY, produced millions of dollars worth of patent remedies. As well as the Pleasant Pellets shown below, there were Dr Pierce’s Anuric Tablets, Dr Pierce’s Favorite Prescription, Dr Pierce’s Vaginal Tablets, Dr Pierce’s Extract of Smart-Weed and Dr …

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