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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Godfrey’s Inhaler

This mainstream medical product enabled the inhalation of vapour for the treatment of asthma, hay fever, coughs, colds and other respiratory problems. The vapour was created by combining hydrochloric acid and ammonium chloride, which were provided in attractive little glass bottles – one clear and one emerald green. There are …

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Bomb the first sneeze with Kilacold

  If you think a chlorine bomb sounds more like something from the battlefield than the medicine cabinet, then you’d be right about the origins of this 1920s remedy. The product, and a brief trend among physicians for treating colds with chlorine, arose from experiments made by the US Chemical …

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Munyon is ready…

Would you buy a homeopathic remedy from this man? Source: The Morning Times (Washington D.C.) 13 December 1896 James Monroe Munyon’s pompadour hairstyle was a familiar feature of American newspapers around the turn of the 20th century. Having tried his hand at teaching, law, social work, publishing and song-writing, he …

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The ‘Instra’ Warmer

Source: The Sporting Times, 28 January 1899. Although this product isn’t solely medical, its advertising did claim that it could prevent chills, colds, rheumatism and lumbago, and alleviate toothache, neuralgia and sciatica. Whether or not it could effectively combat these ailments is doubtful, but it nevertheless sounds like a useful …

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Dr Pierce’s Nasal Douche

. . This Cut illustrates the manner of Using DR. PIERCE’S Fountain Nasal Injector or DOUCHE. This instrument is specially designed for the perfect application of DR. SAGE’S CATARRH REMEDY. It is the only form of instrument yet invented with which fluid medicine can be carried high up and perfectly …

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The Pure Drops of Life

Source: The Morning Chronicle, 27 August 1803 THE PURE DROPS of LIFE; or, Vegetable Extract, prepared only by T. M. Lucas, V.D.M. Road, near Bath. Sold, by special appointment, at Messrs. H. and W. Humphries, No. 87, Fleet-street; No. 2, Haymarket; Mr. G. Long, No. 13, Great Newport street, Long …

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Hance's Candy

Apologies for the lack of background information or ironic commentary on this one, but I’m too busy celebrating the launch of my first novel. For more info on that, have a look at my website. Otherwise, today’s ad has a suitably literary (or least vaguely poetic) section.                H A N …

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Sir John Hill's Pectoral Balsam of Honey

Sir John Hill (the “Sir” came from a Swedish title) started out as an apothecary and also tried his hand at acting before becoming a prolific writer. He edited the British Magazine from 1746-50 and produced a huge variety of works including plays, advice on marriage and child-rearing (under the …

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Holland's Balsam of Spruce

Holland’s Balsam of Spruce is in the tradition of other tree resin remedies, such as Solomon’s Balm of Gilead and the Balsam of Mecca. Given that nearly 170 years later, a cure for the common cold remains as elusive as ever, this medicine would have been worth a punt – if …

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