Thursday, October 25, 2007

Guaranteed to cure

Today we got a card from our friend Seraphim Honeywell, lawyer by profession and also warden of the Orthodox parish in Oxford. On the front of the card was a reproduction of a full-page ad published in 1893 in The London Illustrated News promoting the sale of the Carbolic Smoke Ball, guaranteed to cure coughs, colds, catarrh, asthma, bronchitis, throat deafness, snoring, sore eyes, influenza, hay fever, headaches, croup, whooping cough and neuralgia. A hundred pound reward was offered to anyone who took the remedy and afterward contracted influenza. Testimonials were provided by such distinguished users as the Bishop of London (“The Carbolic Smoke Ball has benefitted me greatly.”) and a list was provided of aristocrats and other notables to whom the medicine had been supplied, including the Duke of Edinburgh and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

While there was no claim made that this excellent product also would cure kidney illness, one assumes any medicine so all-powerful as this could easily restore kidneys to mint condition.

Ah, if only we had known there was a non-surgical alternative!

Sadly, the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company was successfully sued by a user, Mrs. Carlill, who had contracted influenza. The company ended up going into liquidation.


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