9 Cures for Your Old-Timey Ailments from the Late 1800s

Do you suffer from Early Excesses, Female Weaknesses, or Rupture? If so, these ads from the late 1800s are ready to sell you a cure.


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Do you suffer from Early Excesses, Sour Eructations, Softening of the Brain, Female Weaknesses, or Rupture?  If so, these advertisements from the late 1800s are ready to sell you a cure.


June 4, 1892

This location is now a seven-unit condo. One of them can be yours for $4.5 million, a price that is likely to bring on nervous debility.


June 4, 1892

Our research didn’t reveal what this exotic cure for hemorrhoids might have been, but one currently can visit a shrine in Japan that claims to relieve your piles by dipping your backside in a river and then pointing it in the direction of a holy egg.


July 8, 1892

According to the Notices of Judgment Under the Food and Drugs Act, Issue 4001; Issue 5000, the company was unable to prove that theirs medicines cured the listed diseases, and “on July 27, 1915, the defendant company entered a plea of guilty to the information, and the court imposed a fine of $50.”


July 16, 1892

All of these adjectives for this cure – positive, speedy, harmless – sound great, except we can’t quite determine the meaning of “almost inexpensive.”


July 30, 1892

A treatment that addresses hysteria, fits, nervous prostration caused by alcohol and tobacco, softening of the brain, involuntary losses, self-abuse, and over-indulgence sounds like the perfect antidote for the day after Halloween.


January 6, 1894

One can only guess what kind of rupture was being cured; more information would have been helpful. As a side note, the Mutual Life Building at 10th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia is still in use, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The current ground-floor tenant is a Starbucks.


January 6, 1894

Bright’s disease was a name given to a range of kidney diseases at the time. In the late 1890s, the Bedford Mineral Springs billed itself as “one of the most celebrated and romantic mountain resorts in the country,” according to a brochure at the time. The resort offered the Magnesia Spring, the Sulphur Spring, the Pure Spring, and the Iron Spring. The Magnesia Spring appeared to be the source for the bottled water.


January 11, 1896

According to the New England Historical Society, James Cook Ayer, The Sarsaparilla King of Lowell, Massachusetts, “would become the most successful patent medicine manufacturer of his age. He accumulated one of the great fortunes of the era, an estimated $20 million.” While some of his concoctions proved to be effective, the Sarsaparilla didn’t work.


January 25, 1896

We’re not sure what the cure was, but it’s safe to say that any ladies’ “womb troubles” should not be addressed by an electrochemical battery company.

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  1. The first ad on top is just so wonderful in what it says, I can only add that the FREE TO MEN font has what I considered (until now) to be kind of of a Hippie-era font, which it kind of was, but goes waaay back before then.

    In #2, I’m only vaguely familiar with the term ‘piles’. I’d heard it, wasn’t sure what it was, and instinctively didn’t ask to find out.

    #3 just sounds too good to be true; even at the time! However, is it possible that it could have helped with some of them, maybe a little? The only time I heard the term ‘sick headache’ used was by Mrs. Stevens (Darren’s mother) on ‘Bewitched’; one of the show’s most underrated characters.

    #4 kind of scares me, having nothing to do its cost.

    #5 once again mentions self abuse, this time followed by over indulgence…

    #6 sounds like it would very well require an operation and being hospitalized!

    #7 could help with the kidneys I suppose.

    #8 was a tasty old fashioned soft drink I had as a kid once in an Old West saloon while vacationing in central California.

    #9 had to have provided every POST staffer with a good laugh, male or female. It had me laughing out loud! It’s so bad it’s wonderful. They were doing it with a straight face, and paying the POST money to run it. I’d like to know more about this company. Seriously.


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