PACHSmörgåsbord: Patent Medicines

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dr. Jayne’s Family Medicines: A Philadelphia based Patent Medicine Company

Dr. Jayne’s was one of the first patent medicine companies in the U.S. to issue annual almanacs. By the 1850s the company was one of the most successful patent medicine companies in the U.S. This post looks at Dr. Jayne’s efforts to brand and protect its patent medicines, and then concludes with some brief reflection on the value of studying patent medicines.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 10/11 at 10:31 PM

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wright’s Indian Vegetable Pills

Another bit of local patent medicine history. This copy of Wright’s almanac was sold at Frank T. Landis’s shop in Womelsdorf, PA.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 10/18 at 04:33 PM

Monday, March 08, 2010

Medicines for the Faithful

This (long) post offers some thoughts about Peruna and its continued success into the 20th century. I suggest that Peruna’s success needs to be seen within the context of a continuing belief in astrology, particularly amongst certain populations in the U.S. I highlight the ways that Peruna’s astrological claims would resonate with the Amish and Mennonite communities.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 03/08 at 01:47 PM

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Marketing Drugs, Then and Now

An article in the NY Times reports on Mary Ebeling’s recent research on direct marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. It recalls for me the techniques used a century ago to sell patent medicines.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 01/29 at 12:06 PM

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Scurvy Epidemic: Direct-to-Consumer Drug Marketing in 17th-Century England

In the 1670s and 1680 scurvy became a “popular disease” in England. Scurvy grass was thought to cure scurvy and a whole host of other diseases and distempers. Scurvy grass was marketed directly to the public, sold in bookshops and brandy stores. The techniques used to market scurvy grass can seem oddly similar to more recent efforts to sell patent medicines and pharmaceuticals.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 04/25 at 12:44 PM

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Energy Drinks—Today’s Patent Medicines

The renewed attention directed at energy drinks and their efficacy recalls efforts a century ago to outlaw patent medicines.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 01/02 at 12:55 PM

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Medical Marketing Pamphlets

Another pamphlet of useful knowledge used to market medical services. This one comes from 1937 and the offices of Dr. Wm. A. Walker in New York.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 01/29 at 10:16 AM

Friday, February 08, 2013

More Patent Medicine Artifacts

In addition to the almanacs and trading cards and other ephemera, patent medicine companies also used their bottles to market their products.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/08 at 11:25 AM

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  • The views and opinions expressed on this blog are strictly those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science.

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