Vodcast: The Great Pox in Early Modern Europe

Fellow history blogger The Groovy Historian invited me to do a vodcast about syphilis. Here’s the result! You can sign up to The Groovy Historian’s Youtube channel for regular history videos, and follow him on Twitter at @GroovyHistorian

Pockey Warts, Buboes and Shankers

As the old saying goes, ‘A night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury,’ and Dr Newman’s Anti-Venereal Pills were just one of a plethora of clap and pox remedies advertised in 18th-century newspapers. The relatively anonymous purchase of a pea-sized bolus offered the customer a level of secrecy, but that …

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The Poor Man’s Friend

Source: Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, 20 July 1826 In 2003, the Daily Mail ran a story titled: Beeswax is ‘miracle’ cure. The article referred to an 18th/19th-century ointment called The Poor Man’s Friend, a popular remedy for wounds and skin conditions. The reason it hit the 21st-century press was that its …

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The tragic story of Ching’s Worm Lozenges

    ..   What is any self-respecting quack to do in the face of criticism?   The answer in 1804 was exactly the same as it is now – turn nasty and threaten to sue the arse off everyone.   The name ‘Ching’s Worm Lozenges’ might suggest that this will be an icky-parasite …

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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, …

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Swaim's Panacea – part 2

For part 1 about Swaim’s Panacea, click here. Within a few years of establishing his products, William Swaim was enjoying the benefits of endorsements from some of Philadelphia’s most eminent physicians, including Nathaniel Chapman, William Gibson, William Pott Dewees, Thomas Parke and James Mease – and he didn’t even have …

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Swaim's Panacea – part 1

SWAIM’S PANACEA.—This Medicine has acquired a very extensive and established celebrity in Europe and America, and its virtues are known and acknowledged by many of the most respectable physicians of both countries. As an alterative, and in various diseases, particularly in cases of inveterate corruption of the blood descending to …

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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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