Private diseases

Here’s another medical-related ad from the June 22 1907 Toronto Globe:


If you’re wondering what “gleet” is: it’s a gonorrhea-related watery discharge. (Yuck.) Galvinism (now called electrophysiology) is the stimulation of a muscle using electric current – I don’t know whether it was any use against gleet, but I suspect not.

Dr. Graham had been in business for a while at the time this ad came out: the Toronto city directories list him as having set up shop at 198 King Street West sometime between 1885 and 1890. At the turn of the century, he moved to Clarence Square; the 1900 directory lists his office at King Street and his residence at Clarence Square, but later directories show both his home and residence at the new location. He appears in the 1910 directory but not the 1912 one, which suggests that his career as a physician lasted a bit less than a quarter of a century.

1 Clarence Square is now gone – there is a gas station on the site – but other houses in the square are still standing, and are now nice-looking old houses and businesses.


Scotsmen badly treated

From the June 22 1907 Toronto Globe comes this report:


The article doesn’t go into details about how badly the Scotsmen were treated, or how they were treated badly. It’s interesting that the 250 settlers appear to have all been men.

According to Wikipedia (the go-to source for the lazy!), Portage la Prairie was first settled by non-indigenous people in the 1850s. By 1907, it was established enough that it became a city, having become a town in 1880. The Scotsmen mentioned here weren’t the first Scotsmen in Portage la Prairie, as a Presbyterian church had been founded there in 1881. I guess some unscrupulous person imported some impoverished immigrants and then exploited them.


Electric belts

Recently, I looked up the June 22, 1907 edition of the Toronto Globe. I discovered that older newspapers have very interesting ads, as they are (a) very wordy, and (b) not necessarily constrained by the principle of truth in advertising.

For example, there were two ads for electric belts. I’m not sure exactly what they did – apparently, not much – but the ads suggested that they did a whole lot of wonderful things. Here’s the first one:


And here’s the other:


I looked these fine gentlemen up in the online Toronto city directories, and discovered that neither Dr. Sanden nor Dr. McLaughlin appear to have actually been real people.

The city directory for 1908 lists the Sanden Electric Company at the 6 Temperance Street address, with the proprietor being F. H. Curtis (later replaced by W. E. Burkholder). This company appeared in the 1917 city directory, but there was a fire in the Dineen Building that year, which may have driven it out of business, as I could not find it after that.

The 1908 city directory also has a listing for the Doctor McLaughlin Company, managed by a gentleman named Ira C. Olmstead. The firm had moved to 237 Yonge by 1912, and was gone by 1917.

If you want to learn more about the history of electric belts, this article in the Atlas Obscura web site is for you. It shows that the Sanden and McLaughlin companies were actually Canadian branches of firms based in the United States, as it contains U.S. ads for both belts. The article mentions that ads for belts became less common after 1910, as the American Medical Association began to crack down on this sort of thing.

The BBC has a more general article on the history of self-electrification as a Victorian-era therapeutic tool.


Belleville is growing

The February 11 1914 edition of the Toronto Globe contained this item of filler:


I guess it was good news that Belleville was growing, but it is a little odd to see this in the paper.

By the way, Belleville’s population as of 2016 is 50,716 in the city itself, or 92,540 in the metropolitan Belleville area.


Lazy digestive organs

When looking at old newspapers, I’ve determined that constipation was more of a problem ages ago than it is now. For instance, here’s an ad from the September 28 1927 Globe:


Exercise those bowel muscles and make them strong!

The only references I could find to Tillson’s Natural Bran on the Internet were to other ads from 1920s publications.


Chicken rustlers

From the September 28 1927 Toronto Globe:


So if I read this correctly, two men stole 70 chickens and four ducks from farms in Brantford and Woodstock, and then drove all the way to St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, in a 1927 vehicle, with all 74 fowl in the vehicle with them? That was a tremendous, albeit criminal, achievement.


Toronto’s official crest

The June 8 1960 edition of the Toronto Daily Star stated that the “college of hearalds” had approved this official crest for the City of Toronto:


The Wikipedia page for the Toronto coat of arms provides a slightly different version of this crest – the maple leaf and gear have swapped positions, and the indigenous Canadian on the left has been rendered differently. The coat of arms was redesigned in 1998 after Metro Toronto was amalgamated.


Oofy Glue

Here’s a piece that appeared in the February 15 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I think Oofy Glue appeared regularly in the Daily Star at that time – I’ll have to double-check. A Google search turned up nothing at all  – Oofy, whoever he is, has been lost to history. Perhaps it’s just as well.



Here’s a notice that appeared in the February 15 1924 Toronto Daily Star:


I’m reasonably certain that this refers to Josef Lhévinne (1874-1944), a Russian-born pianist and piano teacher. Considered a master of piano technique, he wrote a book, Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing, which appeared in 1924.

His real surname was actually Levin; an early manager changed it because “Lhévinne” sounded more distinctive and less Jewish.


Fanny Parker Candies

Here’s an ad from the February 15 1924 Toronto Daily Star:


A Google search for “Fanny Parker Candies” turned up nothing, but it did reveal that Fanny Parker (1875-1924) was a member of the Scottish suffragette movement who took part in increasingly militant actions. She appears to have had nothing to do with the candies of the same name – and, in fact, naming a candy after her seems singularly inappropriate, since she was sometimes force-fed by the authorities after going on hunger strikes.

My guess is that “Fanny Parker” was intended to sound like Fanny Farmer, a chain of American candy stores (founded by the same person who originated the Laura Secord chain in Canada).