JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

3 Days Cure for Men: 1920

3 Days Cure for Men: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "U.S. Public Health Service." Dubious nostrums for, um, down there. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Of French Origin

Nostrums and Quackery, Vol 2, 1921


"Restoria for Bad Blood" is sold by the Restoria Chemical Company of Kansas City, Mb. The label declares the presence of "alcohol, 34 per cent."— an admission that is required by the Food and Drugs Act. Restoria is sold as a sure cure for syphilis. It is "the Miracle Medicine," "the Medicine of Last Resort," it is "Safer—Surer—Cheaper than the Serum Treatments," it contains "no mercury—no arsenic, ask the druggist." No information, of course, is given as to what Restoria contains, except the information that the law demands. It is said to be "of French origin, and has been known and prescribed throughout Continental Europe for more than fifty years."

While Restoria is recommended for rheumatism, kidney trouble, lumbago, eczema, and the omnipresent "catarrh," it is especially and particularly featured for syphilis or "blood poison." Here are some of the things the booklet has to say regarding syphilis and its treatment with Restoria and by other means:

"Restoria goes to the seat of the disease. It cleanses the Blood, as it were, eradicating from it every trace of the Syphilitic virus."

"One month of Restoria treatment may be equal to the services of the most eminent specialist, for whose skill you would be required to pay hundreds of dollars."

"… to the average doctor this dreadful malady [syphilis] is only a name, and the patient is looked upon as a horrible example on whom he (the doctor) may practice and profit while he prescribes."

"The average physician is utterly incapable of handling this dreadful malady. He lacks the experience, but he will not tell you so. He will assume a knowledge he does not possess. He will do the best he can for you. He will fill you with mercury or arsenic, perhaps, and make a helpless wreck of you in time; and all the while charge you all the fee he can get."

"The unfortunate Syphilitic is considered common prey, and any physician is justified in trying anything on him, and charging three prices for the service."

Restoria was first brought to the attention of The Journal in November, 1917, by a letter from the Council of National Defense, written by the chairman of the Subcommittee for Civil Cooperation in Combating Venereal Diseases. The letter stated that the Restoria concern had had the effrontery to write to the Venereal Disease Committee of the Council of National Defense, asking for a recommendation of Restoria! More than a year later — in April, 1919 — a physician informed The Journal that there was an effort to finance Restoria, and samples had been sent to him at the request of a friend who had been invited to take some of the stock.

An unopened, original bottle of Restoria was submitted to the Association's laboratory, and tests were made to determine the presence or absence of mercury, arsenic or iodids. The report may he summarized thus:

Restoria contains no mercury or arsenic, but does contain iodid, probably potassium iodid, and calculated to potassium iodid corresponding to 1.693 grams in 100 c.c. It also contains much vegetable extractive, some alkaloidal drug, and a bitter oil or oleo resin.

(From The Journal A. M. A., Aug. 9, 1919.)

Interesting ingredient

I notice that alcohol and opium are part of the "cure." I guess at least you "feel" better!


I knew I shouldn't have googled gleet, but it's like watching a trainwreck. I did it and I am glad I wasn't eating anything as I might have lost it! Nasty!!

Microzone Quackery

Nostrums and Quackery, Vol 2, 1921

Microzone Medicine Company

Writes a physician:

"The enclosed envelope with contents was sent to my son, who is drafted for the Army. Evidently all of these boys are getting it. Something ought to be done to protect the boys."

The envelope contained a card on one side of which was printed a picture of the "Heart of Hot Springs, Ark.," headed "World's Garden of Health Controlled by U. S. Government." On the other side the Microzone Medicine Company of Hot Springs, Ark., advertises "the only treatment which will positively cure inherited or contracted specific blood poison permanently." Further, the recipient is told that "out of 7,000 patients who have taken our treatment … not one has failed to be cured permanently. Many were cured privately at home by mail." In addition to the card, the envelope contained two crude facsimiles of ten dollar Confederate bills, on the back of which "Microzone," the "King of all treatments for blood poison," was advertised, "$25 for full treatment."

The Microzone Medicine Company, according to material in our files, is operated by a quack, one J. M. Byrd, whose license the Arkansas authorities revoked in 1913. In a letter written in 1914 Byrd said: "I am now confining myself to the sale of a syphilitic cure … and I can make more money in that way and make it much easier than to do a general practice." At the same time Byrd was advertising a pamphlet with a salaciously suggestive title. Now, it would seem, Mr. Byrd would make more easy money by selling a fake syphilis cure to the young men who make up the National Army. Some men make a living out of war by robbing the dead on the battlefields; they at least do not impair the efficiency of the army. Other men rob the boys in khaki while they live, taking both money and health. They do this at a safe distance from the firing line and use as an instrument the United States mails.

(Journal of the A. M. A., Sept. 8, 1917.)

Clears up your service record

It sounds as if some of these nostrums would be useful if one had a Dishonorable Discharge, particularly one from the Foreign Lesion.

An Ounce of Prevention

Somehow, I suspect that the people who made the Ounce Prophylactic would also be willing to sell you the Pound of Cure Injection if necessary.

Biting nails

I'm assuming the nail in Day 1's teeth is to help prevent him from crying out in pain, as in biting the bullet.

The Google warnings prompted me to check Wikipedia for gleet instead, where I was subjected only to a verbal description. Thank heavens.

In the future

our descendants will watch archival videos of Cialis, Hoodia, and Cognex commercials and think the same thoughts that this photograph invokes in us.

Consult your physician.

"Manhattan Injection," the name and instructions notwithstanding, is "for external use." It should not be confused with, but may well be used with, "Manhattan Internal Remedy."

This may be a silly question but --

Why is the "1st day man" holding a pencil between his teeth?

Yes to the Scrabble query

Readers of James Boswell's London Journal (1762-63) will be well familiar with gleet, as dear Jamie couldn't seem to go more than a couple of months or so without another bout.

BOSWELL. But by G-D, Madam, I have been with none but you, and here am I very bad.

LOUISA. Well, Sir, by the same solemn oath I protest that I was ignorant of it.

BOSWELL. Madam, I wish much to believe you. But I own I cannot upon this occasion believe a miracle.

Shoulda read comments first

I Googled "gleet" and really wish I hadn't.

I love the progressive pictures of the cure. His gleet is so bad he can't even bring himself to brush his hair.


Inject it where?!?! I don't think so.


Yikes! Injecting or self medicating sounds worse than an embarrassing visit to your Dr.

Weather Forecast

Violent thunderstorms with possible hail or gleet.

A ruling, please

Is "gleet" an acceptable word in Scrabble?

Yikes! Did they work?

I had to Google "gleet." (Note: Don't Google "gleet"!) I sure hoped these cures worked for the men. What was available for the gals? Antibiotics all around!

Manhattan Injection

That label might be the worst thing I've read in my life.

Gentlemen's Club

What, nothing for the ladies?

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2023 Shorpy Inc.