It turns out Dr. Pierce was the most famous patent-medicine peddler of all time. In addition to hawking his Pleasant Pellets, he sold a million bottles of Dr. Pierce's Smart Weed. I wonder what was in that? My research indicates that his elixirs also usually contained opium.
I also turned up the following New York Times "article" from 1894:
[The pellets help with] "a multitude of distressing diseases, such as headaches, indigestion, biliousness, skin diseases, boils, carbuncles, piles, fevers and maladies too numerous to mention. If people would pay more attention to properly regulating the action of their bowels, they would have less frequent occasion to call for their doctors' services to subdue attacks of dangerous diseases. . . . Dr. Pierce prides himself on having been first to introduce a Little Liver Pill to the American people. Many have imitated them, but none have approached his Pleasant Pellets in excellence. . . . To relieve distress from over-eating, nothing equals them. They are tiny, sugar-coated, anti-bilious granules, scarcely larger than mustard seeds. Every child wants them."
It seems like Dr. Pierce was a little mixed up about the liver and the bowels. Or maybe he thought they were the same thing?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Dr. Pierce's Pleasant Pellets
About four blocks from my house there's a really cool old barn with an original turn-of-the-(last)-century advertisement.