Sunday, June 17, 2007

Snake oil salesmen - 1858

I posted last year about my own "snake-oil salesman," Devier J. Smith here.

I posted a "cure" for catarrh that I found in the newspaper archives here (this is one of my most popular posts!).

In searching for newspaper articles about Seaver people on, I ran across these advertisements in the New York Times of 19 March 1858 (page 7) in the "Medical" column:


Specific mixture for the cure of Gonorrhoea,
Gleet, Strictures, and similar disorders. It makes a
speedy cure, without the least restriction of diet, drink,
exposure, or change in application to business. Further,
the disease cannot be contracted if a does of the Antidote
was taken when exposed. Repeated experiments and long
experience have proved that it will radically cure any
case that can be produced. This desirable result is ob-
tained in from two to ten days; and as it neither creates
nausea nor offends the palate, and renders unnecessary
all deviation to diet or interruption to usual pursuits,
sound sleep or healthy digestion, the disease is thus re-
moved as speedily as is consistent with the production of
a thorough and permanent cure. Its ingredients are en-
tirely vegetable, and no injurious effect, either constitu-
tionally or locally, can be caused by its use.

Price, One Dollar per Bottle
C.H. RING, General Agent,
No. 192 Broadway, New-York.
M.S. Burr & Co., No. 1 Cornhill, Boston.


of years confined his attention to diseases of a certain
class, in which he has treated a vast number of cases,
without an instance of failure. The remedies are mild,
and there is no interruption to business or change of diet.
Separate consulting rooms.

Dr. Watson's work, the cause and cure,
is the only one which clearly explains the nature and
mode of treatment of the venereal disease in its different
forms: also Spermatorrhoea or Seminal Weakness, and
Premature Exhaustion - the result of early indis-
cretion, excess, or other causes. Anatomical plates of a
superior kind, and drawings of every form of disease.

Price $1, No. 55 Walker St., a few doors west of Broadway.


I wonder if Dr. Watson sold Dr. Jeffries' antidote? Did he mark up the price?

I didn't know what "gleet" was so I looked it up in Wikipedia and the Wiktionary. I'm sorry I looked! Messy stuff.

It's fascinating what gets handed down in family papers and what advertisements you can find in the newspaper. Our literate ancestors read these papers completely. I wonder what the young men and women thought about these ads?

I wonder how many hits I'll get from folks looking up "gonorrhea" on Google? And "gleet."

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