Don’t be gulled by misleading advertisements

This 20-page booklet from about 1927 appears at first glance to be an official publication intended to raise public awareness of the ‘preposterous claims concerning so-called “patent” medicines, which are a disgrace to any civilised nation and a bar to human progress.’ The cover’s references to the Home Office and …

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The Mormon Elder’s Damiana Wafers – the most powerful invigorant ever produced

The Mormon Elder's Damiana Wafers

As a target of drug manufacturers, impotence has stood the test of time. In the late 19th century, mail order remedies and relatively anonymous purchases from a chemist were ways of avoiding the embarrassment of visiting a doctor – and judging by the amount of spam devoted to the subject …

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The tracks of a spider whose legs had been dipped in ink

Doctors’ handwriting has long had a poor reputation, and I was amused to find this specimen, sent in to The Chemist and Druggist by an appalled pharmacist in June 1874. A couple of months later, the magazine reported that the Scientific American had reproduced the prescription, commenting that it: might …

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