Sunday, May 22, 2011

LEFT INSIDE: Patent Medicine Ad

Lane's Tea is one of the many popular patent medicines that was in use as early as 1906.  I found it mentioned in an ephemera catalog devoted solely to patent medicines, an advertisement in a 1909 Albany NY area newspaper, and a passing reference in a 1922 medical address given to the Indianapolis Medical Association titled "Physical Inequality of School Children." 

My favorite bit of info comes from the Sept 24, 1938 issue of Journal of American Medical Association.  In a lengthy column titled "Bureau of Investigation" abstracts taken from FDA notices and judgements are listed.  Lane's Tea is one of the guilty parties
Lane's Tea.—Kemp & Lane, Inc., LeRoy, N. Y. Composition: Claimed to consist of senna, anise seed, fennel seed, licorice root, elecampane root and coriander seed. Specimen was reported infested with insects. Fraudulently represented as a remedy for "faulty intestinal elimination." —[AT. J. 26816; July 1937.1]
This advertisement shown below is in the form of a four page pamphlet. I scanned all four pages in order from front to back. I found it in an old book that dated from the 1920s.  I learned from the National Museum of American History website that Lane's Cold Tablets (illustration of box inside the ad) wasn't manufactured until after 1927. That pretty much dates this pamphlet to 1927 or later.


  1. Now I'll spend the rest of the day wondering what constitutes "faulty intestinal elimination." Too much? Too little? Sporadic?
    Continuous? I could go on, but I won't.

  2. I had some of that problem this past week while ill, but am better now. Prune juice solved the "faulty intestinal elimination" part of it.