Of Wafers, Lozenges, Essence & Magnetic Powders

On September 13, 2011 by admin

 Dr Velpeau’s Magnetic Love Powders

WANTED! An industrious and strictly honest man in each County in the State to take orders by samples for Velpeau’s Magnetic Agents. Salary first year $800, and small commission, payable monthly. For full particulars address Dr. M. Velpeau, 422½ Broadway, N. Y., sending stamp. Source: The Sauk County Standard, (Baraboo, Wisconsin) 18 July 1855 —————————————————————————————–

This advert might not leap out from the thousands of similar mid-19th-century US ads seeking salesmen for books, farming equipment, store goods etc., but the product behind it is quite unusual. If the industrious and strictly honest man wrote for particulars, the reply wouldn’t tell him much about the job. Instead, it would ask him to send $2 for a sample of the product. Only on the arrival of the sample would he discover that he was expected to sell Dr Velpeau’s Magnetic Love Powders. At this point, most industrious and strictly honest men probably put the episode down to experience and went to look for a more reputable and less embarrassing business opportunity. The particulars sent with the sample claimed:

These powders, properly administered, are warranted irrespective of age, circumstances or personal appearance, to win them the love or unchanging affections of any one they may desire of the opposite sex. The enamoured person had to work out a way of getting the object of their affections to eat the powder, and then wait in anxious lovelorn anticipation until absolutely nothing happened. As one newspaper joked: Only think of it! For two dollars, any enterprising young man – no matter if he is as poor as an editor, and as ugly as a baboon, can through the instrumentality of these powders, make himself “lord” of the most charming lass of “sweet sixteen” to be found within the limits of our friend’s agency, which comprises four counties!

Velpeau’s real name was J C Merrill – perhaps the pseudonym was an attempt to associate the powders with famous French surgeon Alfred Velpeau – and according to the New York Times, his scheme attracted up to 40 letters per day. In late 1855, angry (and still single) customers began writing to the Mayor of New York to complain about ‘Velpeau’. Merrill was arrested for fraud but released when he promised to discontinue business and return the complainants’ money. Six weeks later, however, he was still selling the powders and pocketing the cash, so he was arrested again, charged with defrauding a variety of people, and locked up. As for the spurned lovers, they presumably had to find another way of attaining their goal – the obvious solution being to become richer and better looking.


Mr. Crucifix

 Goss & Co. According to a correspondent of the Monthly Gazette of Health (vol 5 1825), the proprietor of Goss & Co was a former shop assistant going by the unlikely name of Mr Crucifix. While Mr Crucifix insisted that his company had genuine surgical credentials, it had a terrible reputation among the medical profession. The Medical Adviser and Guide to Health and Long Life, edited by Alexander Burnett, particularly had it in for him, mounting a sustained campaign against Goss & Co in 1824: Goss and Company!

“Good God! Was there ever such a heap of filth and infamy as this swindling firm of straw! Was there ever such a cancer upon society – such an adroit and plausible system of rapacious plundering! ”

The Adviser also remarked that the letters M R C did not stand for Member of the Royal College, but for MURDERING, ROBBING CHARLATAN. ”Domus et placens uxor.”—HOR. Thy house, and (in the cup of life, That honey-drop) thy pleasing wife. H A P P I N E S S “the gay to-morrow of the mind,” is ensured by marriage; ”the strictest tie of perpetual Friendship” is a gift from Heaven, cementing pleasure with reason, by which, says Johnson, we approach in some degree of association with celestial intelligence.” Previous, however, to entering into the hallowed obligation of marriage, it becomes an impressive duty not only to regulate the passions, but to cleanse the grosser nature from those impurities which the freedom of unrestricted pleasure may have entailed upon it.

To the neglect of such attention, are attributable many of those hapless instances, which while they excite the commiseration of the beholder, should also impress him with the fear of self-reproach. Luxurious habits will effeminate the body—a residence in the tropics will too much relax the elastic fibre—but more especially does the premature infatuation of youth too frequently reduce the natural dignity into a state of inanition, from whence the agonized sufferer more than doubts the chance of relief. To all such, then, we address ourselves, offering hope–energy–muscular strength–facility; nor ought our advances to appear questionable, sanctioned as they are by the multiplied proofs of twenty-five years successful experience. The easy cares of married life are sometimes disturbed by the want of those blessings which twine the nuptial wreath—for the female habit is often constitutionally weak —yet it can be strengthened, and deficient energy improved into functional power.

 In every case of syphilitic intrusion, as well as in every relaxation of the generative economy, we pledge our reputation to cure speedily and permanently. Earnestly solicitous to expel the unfeeling empyric from the position so presumptuously taken by him, we deviate from general principles with less hesitation; and confident in our own honourable integrity as Members of the College of Surgeons, we invite sufferers of either sex, (especially those entering into matrimonial life) at once to our house, where daily attendance is given for personal consultation; and immediate answers are returned to country letters, which must minutely describe the case, and contain a remittance for advice and Medicine, which can be forwarded to any part of the world, however distant. No difficulty can occur, as the Medicine will be securely packed, and carefully protected from observation.

GOSS & Co., (M.R.C. Surgeons). 7, Lancaster Place, Waterloo Bridge, Strand, London. *** Just published (Twenty-First Edition), 1st, The AEGIS of LIFE, a similar commentary on the above Diseases.— 2d. HYGEIANA, addressed exclusively to the Female Sex.— 3. The SYPHILIST, a Treatise on Lues Venerea, Gonor- rhoea, &c. May be had at 23, Paternoster-Row, London; F. Hobson, Leeds; and of all Booksellers, Price 5s. Source: The Leeds Mercury, Saturday 29 April, 1837

A correspondent to the Medical Adviser described his experience thus: “When I wrote to Goss & Co., I enclosed a pound bill, and asked their advice. I received a letter by return of post, asking all particulars, (useless to them), for example whether I was fair, tall, handsome, and many other things of little consequence. I was quite disgusted; they concluded with a request for 5l., and they would send me a box of medicine. I received the medicine and a modest request for 25l. and they would cure me … Their medicine I took to a Chemist, and he said I could have got it, bottles and all, for 5s. ”


Champion Damiana Wafers

Damiana is a shrub long reputed to have aphrodisiac effects, and is still used in herbal medicine to boost libido. P.N. George sold a variety of products that were despatched with the utmost discretion. As well as the “Rubber Goods” advertised below, there was also a “Male and Female Combined Preventive Appliance,” and if you were having trouble deciding, you could consult the illustrated catalogue. If the Damiana wafers weren’t enough to get you going, Mr George could also supply cards showing “The Sixteen Positions of Matrimony” or steamy popular literature such as The Honeymoon, and what occurred, The Confessions of a Lady’s Maid, or Boudoir Intrigue, and Confessions of a Gay Young Footman; or Secrets of High Life Exposed. CAUTION!!—Men, Be Careful! Use my Sanitary Rubber Goods. Men’s best Rubber Goods, 2s., 3s., 5s., 7s. per dozen, post free, with my 32 page Illustrated List of every known and up-to-date Rubber Appliance. “Men who are Weak” should send at once for my “Champion” Damiana Wafers. They restore the lost vigour, and are a remedy for Spinal Exhaustion and General Weakness. Send at once. Post free, 2s. 9d. per box; two boxes, 5s. “Men who are Strong” preserve and increase your strength by taking my “Champion” Damiana Wafers. The only genuine strength preservative.

Send at once. Post free, 2s. 9d. per box; two boxes, 5s. Sandalwood or any other capsules sent post paid 2s. 9d. per box. P. N. GEORGE, 10, HOLYWELL STREET, STRAND, LONDON. N.B.—Any of the above goods sent privately at prices quoted to any adult reader of this paper. Write your name and address clearly.


Renovating Essence of Azilica



Here is a picture of a fellow epitomising health and manly vigour. The image is from the Dictionnaire encyclopédique Trousset, published in Paris between 1886 and 1891, and is reproduced courtesy of Old Book Illustrations. HEALTH and MANLY VIGOUR GUARANTEED ̶ The RENOVATING ESSENCE OF AZILICA. ̶ One packet of this remedy will convince the most sceptical of its surprising invigorating virtues; it may be taken with the greatest safety and certainty by all who suffer from weakness, lowness of spirits, depres- sion, nervousness, and debility.

 Females would do well to take this remedy, as, by quickening the circulation and enriching the blood, it imparts health and bloom to the most impaired constitution, and is a remedy for relaxation, spermatorrhӕa, and all the distressing con- sequences arising from early abuse, indiscriminate excesses, or too long residing in hot climes. It has restored bodily and sexual strength and vigour to thousands of debilitated persons, who are now in the enjoyment of health and the functions of manhood; and what- ever may be the causes of disqualification for marriage, they are effectually subdued by this wonderful discovery.

Parties taking the above remedy are entitled to the advice of a Medical Man, Free of Charge. Price 1s. 6d. per Package, to which are added advice and directions for self-cure. ̶ Sole Agents : Winnall, High Street, Bir- mingham ; Mander and Weaver, Victoria Street, Wolverhampton ; Hutchings, Dudley; C. Britten, Wednesbury; W. Britten, Tipton and Prince’s End; Osborn, High Street, West Bromwich. Source: The Birmingham Daily Post, Thursday 23rd January 1868


May’s Celebrated Love Lozenges 

 This advert doesn’t specify whether you have to take the lozenges yourself in order to exert a magnetic influence on the object of your affections, or whether you’re supposed to give him or her one (a lozenge, that is) under the pretence that it’s a delicious bon-bon. But in either case, who could resist ordering the “extra-strong” version? MAY’S CELEBRATED LOVE LOZENGES. SURE and safe, pleasant in taste, certain in effect; gains the undying love and affection of any one you wish; none can resist their magnetic influence. In boxes, post free, 9 stamps; extra strong, 13 stamps. The best are the cheapest.—Mr. MAY, Pharmaceutical Chemist (by diploma), 22, Heaton-road, Peck- ham-rye, London. N.B.—Beware of Spurious Imitations. Y.S.—Latin prescriptions translated into English, six stamps. Source: Reynolds’s Newspaper (London), Sunday 4th January, 1874.

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