Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

by Darcy O'Neil on December 2012

One of the historical blights on the soda fountain was the cure all patent medicines that were hocked for every know illness. Some were marketed as health supplements, while others were cures for specific ailments. The one common thread they all shared was their spurious health claims. This didn't go unnoticed and many publications from the period made barbed statements about  the nature of the practice.

Some of the illustrations are still relevant today, especially "The Endless Search" with the ghost of Ponce de Leon standing over the shoulder of a old man who is reaching for a tonic saying: "They laugh at me, but they still keep it up!".

Don't forget to check out these great Temperance illustrations from the 1800s, some of the first drinking and driving illustrations and a soda fountain from Detroit.

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

The Endless Search

Old man reaching for a bottle of "Glycero-Phosphate of Sodium," a patent medicine that apparently restores youthfulness to aged people. The spirit of Juan Ponce de León stands in the background, laughing. [1901]

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

Partners in the Bogie Business

"Prof. Scarem" presenting his latest findings on microbes to a crowd of frightened onlookers, and "Dr. Fakem" selling the latest protection against microbes to a crowd of eager consumers. "Scarem" and "Fakem" a [1900]

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

Dope

The 7 Ages of Dope [1906]

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

Drug Poster

The many items that were conidered unhealthy, circa 1871 [1871]

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

Dope-fiends-1911

The political parallel of patent medicine [1911]

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

Doping the Baby

The theatrical aspect of the health supplement world. [1907]