Hamlin’s Wizard oil, launched in 1861, was a famous patent medicine of the late 1800s and early 1900s meant to be used as a liniment. According to the ad shown here, it was a remedy of rheumatism, neuralgia, toothache, headache, diphtheria, sore throat, lame back, sprains, bruises, corns, cramps, colic, diarrhea, and all pain and […]
You may be wondering what articles about patent medicines are doing on a site about food. Well, the patent medicine industry and the food manufacturing industry are connected more than you may think.
Early mass-produced food companies got their advertising chops from the patent medicine makers before them. They used much the same type of outrageous health-related claims to market their food products. Nothing is new. The same kind of thing is still happening today, but with even more sophisticated lip-service to science and medicine.
Some of the first ready-made breakfast cereals certainly followed the patent-medicine advertising route. And we can't forget that today's soda industry started out as the patent-medicine industry, as served up in drug stores by creative pharmacists. Why do you think Coca-Cola is so good at advertising? They built on a tradition of successful marketing.
Most of us use bleach quite often to either clean and sanitize our homes or to whiten our whites. Household bleach is actually sodium hypochlorite but the basis is chlorine. Chlorine is a bactericidal AND a virucide. In other words, it will effectively kill many bacteria and viruses. So, can you blame the patent medicine […]
If you have a fireplace and have ever had to clean it out, you are familiar with creosote. As well, if you’ve ever taken a walk on the tracks, and noted the sticky black coating on the railroad ties, you’ve discovered creosote. It is a by-product of the burning of wood or coal, which leaves […]
Although Bayer, or Freidr. Bayer & Co. of Elberfeld, Germany, had already created its first aspirin product by 1894, the company decided to hold off on moving forward with it in favor of another product: heroin. The company introduced their heroin product in the Autumn of 1898. It was a hydrochloric salt of heroin, soluble […]
Blood poison was often used during the 1800’s and into the early 1900’s as a general wastebasket diagnosis to explain many common non-serious and serious conditions. Although blood poison, in those days, could mean the same thing as an infection of the blood introduced through a wound, it was just as often a way of […]
During the last part of the 17th century, a curious thing happened. Folks began to distrust medicine, which was becoming more and more complex and hard to understand while embracing cures that were based on new and emerging science. This period saw the rise of radioactive remedies based on radioactive isotopes like radium. There were Radione […]