The Quack Doctor by Charles Green
The Victorian age was one of scientific and medical advance. Useful new drugs were developed, such as quinine, atrophine, digitalin, codeine and iodine. Many diseases were described and classified. And, in 1858, Parliament passed the Medical Act which was an attempt to regulate the unqualified and unscrupulous 'quacks' who often promoted their dubious cures on the streets, or in newspapers and magazines.
Today, many of those advertisements are available to view on a website known as The Quack Doctor. Here, the writer Caroline Rance is compiling a fascinating resource of 'historical remedies for all your ills', where posts are often accompanied by the author's wry, informed commentary.
The VV recommends a visit. But, for now she will display just a few of The Quack's discoveries. And, considering her previous post on the charlatan, Madam Rachel, it seems somehow apt to concentrate on those constructs, potions and pills pertaining to matters of feminine grace and beauty.
Let us start with a woman's crowning glory. The Quack Doctor reports on the 'curious Tricosian Powder', a product from 1851 that promised to restore greying hair to its former lustrous hue -
Dr. MACKENZIE’S IMPROVED HARMLESS ARSENIC COMPLEXION WAFERS will produce the most lovely complexion that the imagination could desire, clear, fresh, free from blotch, blemish, coarseness, redness, freckles, or pimples. Post free for 4s. 6d. ; half boxes, 2s. 9d.— S. HARVEY, 5, Denman St., London Bridge, S. E. Use Dr. MacKenzie’s ARSENICAL TOILET SOAP 1s. per Tablet; No. 2, unscented, 6d. per Tablet. Made from Purest Ingredients, and Absolutely Harmless.
BEWARE OF THE MANY IMITATIONS. Have Dr. Mackenzie’s or none.
One of Dr Mackenzie's reckless imitators
Finally, considering the figure, why not be at the forefront of fashion and wear a sturdy corset, powered by that magical ether - the force of electricity?
And, if you're inclined to learn something more of this stimulating undergarment, then the VV suggests that you visit Caroline Rance's blog, where the very subject is covered in an excellent podcast.