Old English Patent Medicines in America

Old English Patent Medicines in America

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Old English Patent Medicines in America by James Harvey Young, George B. Griffenhagen

Published:

1959

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Old English Patent Medicines in America

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Bateman's Pectoral Drops, Godfrey's Cordial, Turlington's Balsam of Life, Hooper's Female Pills, and a half-dozen other similar nostrums originated in England, mostly during the first half of the 18th century. Advertised with extravagant claims, their use soon spread to the American Colonies.To the busy settler, with little time and small means, these ready-made and comparatively inexpensive "remedies" appealed as a solution to problems of medical and pharmaceutical aid. Their popularity brought forth a host of American imitations and made an impression not soon forgotten or discarded.

Book Excerpt

require the patentee to furnish precise specifications with his application.[12] When Hooper was called upon to tell what was in his pills and how they were made, he replied by asserting that they were composed "Of the best purging stomatick and anti-hysterick ingredients," which were formed into pills the size of a small pea. This satisfied the royal agents and Hooper went on about his business. In an advertisement of the same year, he was able to cite as a witness to his patent the name of the Archbishop of Canterbury.[13]

[11] John Hooper, "Pills," British patent 592, July 21, 1743.

[12] E. Burke Inlow, The patent grant, Baltimore, 1950, p. 33.

[13] Daily Advertiser, London, September 23, 1743.

Much less taciturn than Hooper about the composition of his nostrum was Robert Turlington, who secured a patent in 1744 for "A specifick balsam, called the balsam of life."[14] The Balsam contained no less than 27 ingredients, and in his patent specifications Turlington

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