Happy Christmas!

Burdock Blood Bitters, late 19thC

ADvent Calendar Day 24 I hope you’ve enjoyed the daily posts during December – I’ve had fun compiling them! I leave you with a festive late-19th century trade card for Burdock Blood Bitters or ‘B.B.B.’ This famous tonic, which was around 20% alcohol, was advertised as the solution to numerous …

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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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The Cordial Balm of Rakasiri – part 2

For part 1 of this article, click here. There’s also a transcript of an 1818 Rakasiri advert here. In 1828, a ‘nervous young man’ who had wasted more than 10l. on the Cordial Balm of Rakasiri went to a magistrate and succeeded in getting his money back. During the proceedings, …

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The Cordial Balm of Rakasiri – part 1

Source: The Morning Chronicle, Saturday 12 December 1818. For transcript, click here. On this site I include anything medical or surgical provided it was advertised, so not all the remedies were considered quackery in their time. Some were endorsed and prescribed by reputable doctors, and many were no worse than …

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Wine of Cardui

WINE FOR WOMEN! Woman’s modesty and ignorance of danger often cause her to endure pains and suffer torture rather than consult a physician about important subjects. Pains in the head, neck, back, hips, limbs and lower bowels at monthly intervals, indicate alarming derangements. McELREE’S WINE OF CARDUI is a harmless …

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Hood's Sarsaparilla

Hood’s Sarsaparilla was big business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – you can get an idea how big from this picture of the Massachusetts laboratory. Adverts for it were everywhere, and there were also spin-off products such as calendars and cookbooks. GOOD BLOOD GOOD BLOOD Is essential …

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