Ramey’s Medicator: an inventor’s survival

Ramey's inhaler

Advertisements for Ramey’s Medicator claimed that it would overcome ‘death dealing disease.’ What most customers didn’t know, however, was that the inhaler would never have existed at all if its inventor had not survived a gruesome surgical ordeal. The Medicator was patented by Alfred H Ramey and Frank D Rollins …

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How to grow tall

ADvent Calendar Day 11 Rochester, NY, might ring a bell for attentive followers of this calendar, as it made an appearance on Day 8 as the location of the New York Institute of Science. That it was home to another dodgy organisation is no coincidence. Thomas Adkin, the Institute’s President, …

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The Century Thermal Bath Cabinet

ADvent Calendar Day 10 The Century Thermal Bath Cabinet Company was a leading player in the vogue for portable Turkish baths for home use at the turn of the 20th century. The luxury was not without its dangers; newspapers occasionally reported cases of the alcohol stove setting light to the …

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Smedley’s Chillie Paste

ADvent Calendar Day 9 Smedley’s Chillie Paste was for topical application only, but if you should be tempted to swallow a spoonful of this capsicum-based rub, you would probably be able to cure yourself of a head cold… or of owning a head altogether. According to adverts from the 1870s, …

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The intangible power that controls human destiny

ADvent Calendar Day 8 The marvellous book on offer from the New York Institute of Science in the first decade of the twentieth century was called The Philosophy of Influence, and promised ‘The secret of power, the science of health. Life’s mysteries unveiled.’ One would have to wait a little …

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Figuroids

.ADvent Calendar Day 3 .The three female figures in Figuroids’ publicity were designed to illustrate the product’s promise: ‘If you are like the STOUT girl—you will become like the MEDIUM girl—and finally like the DAINTY girl—by taking Figuroids.’ . Launched in the UK in 1907 by Canadian doctor George Dixon, …

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The devil in disguise

Hall's Coca Wine - 1897 ad from Country Life

John Michael Smith is one of those fleeting figures who cross history’s pages when they get into trouble and then disappear, leaving only a hint of a life where destitution is more prominent than criminality. At the age of 11 he lived in Lodge Lane, Derby, with his mother and …

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Happy Christmas from The Quack Doctor

………………………………………………………………………………….. FATHER CHRISTMAS AND THE DOCTORS Old Christmas comes but once a year, Of that there is no question; But when he comes we all feel queer, Hurrah for indigestion! Dyspepsia follows in his train, The Stomach-ache attends him; And every sort of inward pain A gay enjoyment lends him. …

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No More Baldheads, No More Dandruff

Whether they promised to cover a bald head with a mop of curls, to rejuvenate greying locks or to produce manly whiskers on the smoothest of chins, hair-related products appear in numerous Victorian and Edwardian adverts. There was a huge choice of potions, lotions, devices and even pills for bringing …

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Dr W. S. Rice’s Rupture Method

I had this post all specially planned for 21 May 2011 and now you tell me today has nothing to do with ruptures? Honestly, I don’t know why I bother. Well, I might as well post it anyway – I get the feeling not many Quack Doctor readers will be …

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