The January 23 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for Dr. Chase’s Nerve Food, in which they offered to send $10.00 to anyone who bought it and didn’t feel better afterwards.


Dr. Chase’s Nerve Food originated in the 19th century, and was one of the many products created by Dr. Alvin Wood Chase (1817-1885). Weird Science has a short entry on Dr. Chase’s Nerve Food, and the Canadian Pharmacists Journal has a scholarly article on almanacs advertising Dr. Chase’s patent medicines.

So, suppose that you’ve picked up $10.00 from the Dr. Chase Medicine Co. Ltd., and you’re not sure what to do with it. One option, in an ad on the same page of the paper, was to recement your furnace:


The Carter Furnace Company had moved to 2581 Yonge by 1955, and does not appear in the 1960 city directory.

Another option was to buy a pair of glasses and pocket $0.50 in change:


King Optical existed into at least the mid-1960s. In 1965, they had a branch near Yonge and Dundas (at 276 1/2 Yonge Street), and a branch in Scarborough. I’m not sure when they ceased to exist.


King Clancy

The November 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail included one page that had two ads featuring Toronto Maple Leaf star King Clancy.

The first ad was for a pair of skates that you could buy at Simpson’s:


The King himself was going to be at Simpson’s that day!

The second ad featured King endorsing Eno’s Fruit Salt:


I find it hard to believe that 7 out of 10 NHL players took Eno’s Fruit Salt regularly, but I do not know that for sure.

King Clancy (1902-1986) was at the end of his career when these ads came out – in fact, just about exactly at the end of his career, as he retired six games into the 1936-1937 season after a slow start. He later became an executive with the Leafs, holding that position until he passed away.

This blog has covered fruit salts a few times before – here’s the Wikipedia entry on fruit salt.


Gain or lose weight

The February 29 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe is another paper that contained both an ad for a weight-gain product and an ad for a weight-loss product. Conveniently, they’re in the same column.


McCoy’s Cod Liver Extract Tablets were just cod liver oil in tablet form – presumably, they provided the same health benefits as cod liver oil itself.

I have no idea what D.H.D Obesity Tea did, but I’m suspicious of a weight-reduction method that doesn’t involve exercise or dieting.


Mosby’s Tonic

The September 14 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for a tonic that supposedly contained 15 herbs.


A Google search for Gilbert H. Mosby turned up an interesting story: Mosby, who was from Cincinnati, earned a fortune during Prohibition selling a tonic named Konjola. This tonic was likely popular because of its high alcohol content.

Mosby also created tonics named Vola, Indo-Vin, and Van-Tage, but his company chose to use none of those names in Canada. He had previously declared personal bankruptcy in 1934 after an expensive divorce, so Mosby’s Tonic might have been something of a fresh start for him.

Naturally, I looked up the testimonial names in the 1938 Toronto city directory:

  • Mr. F. Snary of 72 Lappin Avenue turned out to be a real person; his given name was Francis, and he worked as a driver. (He was still at 72 Lappin in 1947.)
  • Sadie Golden of 347 Indian Grove was the husband of Henry, a sales manager. I have no idea whether she actually was a lifelong resident of the city and had hundreds of friends.
  • The Alps Restaurant was listed at 2872 Dundas Street West, and its owners were Tony Manzuris (mentioned in the ad) and Peter Makris. Mr. Manzuris lived down the street at 2387 Dundas West. (Mr. Makris lived there also.) In the 1941 directory, Mr. Makris was listed as the sole owner, having moved to 1660 Bathurst, and Mr. Manzuris was not listed in the directory at all; perhaps he had passed away from taking too much Mosby’s Tonic or not enough of it. Or maybe he just moved out of town. He didn’t go off to war and come back, though, as he was not in the 1947 city directory. (By then, Mr. Makris was an insurance agent.)

Mosby passed away in 1944 after falling and hitting his head; he was 57.



Here’s an ad from the June 11 1947 Toronto Daily Star that’s just plain weird:


What’s weirdest about this ad is that Abbey’s Effervescent Salt is actually a laxative, though the ad copy doesn’t mention it directly – it just says that Abbey’s “acts gently, effectively”. I’m not sure whether a laxative is the best remedy for overindulging, but then I’m not a medical doctor, am I?

Compare this ad to one that appeared in the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star, which went straight to the point:


Abbey’s Effervescent Salt had been around since the 19th century. The company published a book in 1898 titled Abbey’s Effervescent Salt: The Foundation of Health.

Wikipedia has a generic entry on fruit salts – Abbey’s was apparently created as a competitor to Eno’s Fruit Salt.


Wyeth’s Sage and Sulphur Compound

The January 18 1924 Toronto Globe contained this ad for Wyeth’s Sage and Sulphur Compound.


The Hair Raising Stories website has a brief entry on this compound. It was apparently trademarked in 1909, and the company was fined in about 1921 because its brand name was misleading. I have no idea whether it worked or not, but there is no modern equivalent, so I assume it was either unsafe or ineffective.


Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription

The March 31 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contains this rather brief ad:


The modern lettering in the ad conceals the fact that Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription is quite old – it was created by Ray Vaughn Pierce (1840-1914), a graduate of the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati and a member of the House of Representatives in 1879 and 1880. He was the author of The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser (1888), which is available at both the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg.

I found a number of articles on the Favorite Prescription:

  • The Skeptical Inquirer has an article about Pierce and his various patent medicines.
  • The Biofort blog has an article about the Favorite Prescription. It points out that some of the herbs in it could dampen sexual appetite and could also induce menstruation, thus serving as a way to induce abortions in pregnant women.
  • The National Museum of American History has a more recent bottle of the Favorite Prescription, which apparently dates from 1949.

The most interesting thing about Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription (to me) was that The Ladies Home Journal analyzed it in 1902 and determined that its ingredients included alcohol, opium, and digitalis. Dr. Pierce sued the magazine for $200,000 and removed these ingredients from the product; when the magazine could not reproduce their initial sampling, they lost the suit and were forced to pay up.



The August 25 1931 Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for a patent medicine:


I couldn’t find much on Professor R. L. Mulveney’s remedies, except for an image of a Mulveney’s “Mother’s Friend” bottle. Searching the Toronto city directories revealed that Mr. Mulveney started his business somewhere between 1905 and 1910, back when 211 Ossington Avenue was 167 Dundas Street. This address became 211 Ossington Avenue in 1918.

Mr. Mulveney passed away in 1928 or 1929: the 1928 directory listed him at 211 Ossington, but the 1929 directory listed his widow and the name of the firm (“Prof. R. L. Mulveney”), which was now being run by his widow and son. The 1929 and 1930 city directories included an ad for a tapeworm remedy:


A Google search for “Mulveney’s B’Well” indicated that there were newspaper ads for this medicine into the 1950s. The firm stayed in business until at least the 1960s, and the corporation was dissolved in 1976. Today, 211 Ossington houses a store that provides products for dogs.

Mrs. W. O. Banner, who wrote the testimonial that appears in the ad, was actually a real person. Here’s the City Directory listing for 1931 for that stretch of Gerrard Street East:


Since I had the 1941 city directory open, I looked it up too – by then, Mr. Banner had passed away, but his widow still lived at that address.


Creepy Kruschen people

So far, I have run across four ads for Kruschen Salts, and the people in them all look really creepy.

The first one is from the August 21 1923 Toronto Daily Star:


That old guy in the water looks happy, but he looks a bit strange, as if he is on uppers or something. But he’s normal-looking when compared to the older guy in ad in the September 27 1927 Toronto Daily Star:


The young man is in despair because he wants the creepy old guy to go away. In this ad, I notice that the sole importer of Kruschen Salts has changed. Perhaps they just found a Toronto distributor as well as a Montreal one.

Next, we have an ad from the November 21 1932 Toronto Daily Star:


This “wonderfully active” 66-year-old woman (Mrs. E. W.) looks a bit more normal, except for those eyes: once again, she looks like she’s high on amphetamines or something. It’s deeply disturbing.

The last one is from the March 31, 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, and I think it’s the creepiest one of all:


Oh my God, the zombies are attacking! Run before it’s too late!

I couldn’t find out much about Kruschen Salts, other than it has been around for a while. A British site mentions that it first went on sale in 1922. One of the ads here claims that Kruschen Salts contains six salts, but the website lists only sodium chloride as its current active ingredient.


King of pain

Here’s an ad from the August 25 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

Photo 2018-03-24, 6 08 37 PM

Not sure why they singled out baseball, but here we are. King of Pain!

Wikipedia has an entry on Minard’s Liniment. The liniment was apparently created in Hants County, Nova Scotia, in the 1860s by Dr. Levi “The King Of Pain” Minard. The active ingredients are camphor, ammonia water, and medical turpentine. Not to be taken internally.

A geocaching website has an article on Levi Minard. At the age of 52, he graduated from the Eclectic Medical College in Cincinnati, Ohio.