We couldn't let this go by without comment. Last week we worked with a group of health care professionals looking at the history of medications and the establishment of medical authority. Among the materials were several patent medicine advertisements from the early 1900s. This one for Beecham's Pills just gave us all the creeps.
First of all, the quote "The Best Wife I Ever Had!" Okay, does that mean he has had many wives and this is the best ever? Also, is it supposed to imply some kind of ownership? He seems a bit possessive in his stance. Then there is the look on his face. "Look" is too nice a word, let's say leer in his eye. She is a little worrisome as well with her sly grin and holding the little bottle of pills to make the OK sign.
Just what were Beecham's to cause such a wondrous transformation? According to Wikipedia, they were a laxative made up primarily of aloe, ginger and soap. At least they seem pretty harmless unlike some of the other medicines that were advertised. Their message, though, was more disturbing.
To see it ask for the December 1907 issue of Pearson's, Sine Serials PA4.P35 V. 24 1907:Dec.