This is the oldest advert featured on The Quack Doctor so far – it’s from a 1705 edition of Daniel Defoe’s periodical A Review of the Affairs of France. Defoe began the publication in February 1704 as a weekly opinion piece, but by the time of this example he was publishing it every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If I were a trendy, down-with-the-kids TV historian I’d say “he was an 18th-century blogger!” But I’m not, so I won’t.
This advert was one of a few that Defoe repeatedly used depending on how much space he had left to fill. Look out for a couple of others at a later date.
The Royal Essence for the Hair of the Head
and Perriwigs, being the most delicate and
charming Perfume in Nature, and the greatest
Preserver of Hair in the World, for it keeps that
of Perriwigs (a much longer time than usual) in
the Curl, and fair Hair from fading or changing
colour, makes the Hair of the Head grow thick,
strengthens and confirms its Roots and effectually
prevents it from falling off or splitting at the
ends, makes the Powder continue in all Hair longer
than it possibly will, by the use of any other thing.
By its incomparable Odour and Fragancy it
strengthens the Brain, revives the Spirits, quickens
the Memory, and makes the Heart chearful, never
raises the Vapours in Ladies, &c., being wholly free
from (and abundantly more delightful and plea-
sant than) Musk, Civet, &c. ‘Tis indeed an un-
paralled fine Scent for the Pocket, and perfumes
Handkerchiefs, &c., excellently. To be had only
at Mr. Allcrafts, a Toyshop at the Blue-Coat Boy
at the Royal Exchange in Cornhill. Sealed up, at
2s. 6d. a Bottle with Directions.
Source: A Review of the Affairs of France, with Observations on Transactions at Home, Tuesday 13 March 1705
Notes: Fragancy and un-paralled are as they appear in the original. Chearful was a normal 18thC spelling.