Bad Breasts, 1872
I do love an advert for a Victorian “cure-all”. Here we have Holloway’s Ointment in an advert from 1872.
It claims to cure (deep breath) – coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, irregular action of the heart, bad legs, bad breasts, ulcers, abscesses, wounds, sores of all kinds, “the depraved humours of the body will be quickly removed”, gout, rheumatism, neuralgic pains, “skin diseases, however desperate, radically cured”, scald heads, itch, blotches on the skin, scrofulous sores or king’s evil, dropsical swellings, paralysis, burns, bunions, chilblains, chapped hands, corns, contracted and stiff joints, fistula, gout, glandular swellings, lumbago, piles, sore nipples, sore throats, scurvy, sore heads, tumours and ulcers.
It came in a lovely pot.
Thomas Holloway, the founder of Holloway’s Ointment, died in 1883 as one of the richest men in England. At that point Holloway’s were spending an incredible £50,000 a year on advertising the products, but unsurprisingly, contemporary analysis of the ointment showed that it contained little of medicinal value.