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Victorian Association for the Prevention and Cure of Tuberculosis.
Advice to consumptive patients. (Melbourne : The Association, 1920-30?)
[Zwar BT, Hon. Sec.] Tuberculosis was a big public health problem here until the late 1950s, but it is starting to emerge again among people who were not born in Australia or who are immunosuppressed for one reason or another.
Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society.
The crime of mosquito breeding. (Melbourne : CMLA Society, 1920-30?)
In the period between the two World Wars the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society, produced a series of pamphlets on topical health issues “published and distributed for the benefit of its Policyholders.” There are 9 titles in this collection, of which 2 are displayed, but there may perhaps be more. The first, on mosquito breeding (never seen as a problem in southern Australia) was chosen for the wonderful picture of larvae hatching in the broken beer bottle. The text was reviewed by R Hamlyn-Harris DSc, of Brisbane.
Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society. Who loved the most? (Melbourne : No colophon, 1925?)
This pamphlet deals with the Schick test for diphtheria. The moral of the story, told in pictograms, is that the mother who really loved her boy allowed him to have the pain of a needle, to spare him later suffering and death.
Australian Home Beautiful (Homecrafts No. 39): edited by Sue Flay.
Diets : eating for health. (Melbourne : United Press, "Herald" Buildings, 1930-39?)
There is a large number of popular books and pamphlets dealing with health topics. The pamphlet may have a barrow to push (a particular regimen or food supplement) but often, as here, it gives conventional advice. My interest in this one centres on the charming picture, and the conviction that “Sue Flay” is actually a well-chosen nom-de-plume.
Pleasance's Pharmacy, 275 Chapel St., Prahran [CM Pleasance]
A list of 40 of the principal homoeopathic remedies ... compiled at Pleasance's Pharmacy. 4 p. : 22 cm. Melbourne : no colophon, 1890-1900?
Homoeopathic medicine, based on the principle that ‘like cures like’ (that is, diseases are cured by small doses of the very drug which can produce the symptoms of the disease), attained credibility during the cholera outbreaks in Vienna in the mid 18th century, when it was shown to be associated with better survival rates than conventional (i.e. allopathic) medicine. The comparison was actually between doing nothing, and dehydrating the patient by blood-letting, so such a result is not surprising. The claim that a medicine is the more powerful the greater number of times it has been diluted has always been difficult to defend, but the fact remains that for nearly a century homoeopathy was an important part of domestic medicine. It will be remembered that Prince Henry’s Hospital (now The Melburnian apartments) started life as the Homoeopathic Hospital. Honest traders, such as C M Pleasance, were important suppliers.
Foster-McClellan Co., 76 Pitt St, Sydney.
Egyptian dream book. New edition. (Sydney : John Sands, 1910?)
A pretty pamphlet, used as a vehicle to advertise Doan's Backache Kidney Pills, and other nostrums. The testimonials are an integral feature of all these publications, and the latest date used here is 1910, so that was taken as the date of publication.
F. Coutts & Sons.
The acid cure...etc. Adelaide : W C Rigby, sole consignee for SA, 1890-1900?)
This broadsheet is a favourite because it appeals to two of my interests – domestic medicine and medical poetry. The Adelaide agent for Francis Coutts has reprinted the eulogistic poem by John Rae – A tribute from a pen obscure / to Coutt’s perfect Acid Cure – from the North Melbourne Advertiser of 12 October, 1883. You can be sure this was paid for, as were the testimonials on the verso, in all probability.
Chamberlain's Pty Ltd.
Have you eye appeal? : how to obtain that elusive quality. Sydney : no colophon, 1938
Chamberlain's Pty Ltd.
How to win £20 : profit by experience. (Sydney : no colophon, 1935?)
These two items were issued by Chamberlain's Pty Ltd, 508-528 Riley St., Sydney. They are characterised by extraordinarily good artwork (How to win £20 appears to be signed ‘Benilong’). The year 1938 is described as ‘the 42nd year of Chamberlain's Remedies in Australia – if this is so, they arrived in 1897.
De Witt, EC & Co. (Australia) Pty Ltd., PO Box 26, St Kilda, Melbourne
De Witt's 200 year calendar and book of horoscopes. Melbourne : Stockland Press, 1930
This pamphlet advertises De Witt's kidney and bladder pills. Its date of publication is indicated by the list of Melbourne Cup winners, which ends at 1929 [not in BIBAM]
Dr. Williams' Medicine Co. of Australasia, Canada Buildings, 6 Dalley Street, Sydney. How to do a lot of things. Sydney: S.T. Leigh & Co., 1905?
Who could fail to be attracted by the splendid name “Pink Pills for Pale people?” They contained iron (though not in quantities sufficient to combat the prevalent anaemia in young women, known as chlorosis), and arsenic (a stimulant). The pill was invented by George Taylor Fulford, of Canada; he sent his nephew Charles to Australia to peddle the nostrum, along with the equally-alliterative Bile Beans for Biliousness. There never was a “Dr. Williams,” and the pills were recommended for a breathtaking range of illnesses. George Taylor became a Senator in Canada, received a public funeral when he died, and left five million dollars in his will.
Also on display in the large upright cabinet:
The Julian Smith needle sharpener.
Julian Augustus Romaine Smith (1873-1947) went to secondary school and university in Adelaide, but the Adelaide Hospital dispute of 1895-6 drove Smith, and other medical students, to Melbourne. He had a brilliant undergraduate career, and after working at the Melbourne Hospital, in Gippsland, at St Mary’s Hospital in London, and in partnership with Frederick Dougan Bird, he took his definitive post on the surgical staff of St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne. Two of his inventions were aimed at making the transfusion of blood easier. In those days, blood transfusions were given directly from donor to patient, and Smith invented the rotary pump to expedite this. It is illustrated in Item 24, and is now used in all dialysis machines. Needles were not then disposable, and he invented the machine on display in order to keep them sharp. Smith was also a remarkably good photographer, both in technique and composition.
Sir Hiram Maxim’s Pipe of Peace and Maxim Inhaler.
Hiram Maxim (1840-1916) was a remarkable man. Born in the USA, he went to England in 1881 to further his inventive, eccentric genius. Of the many inventions, two are particularly remembered. One is the Maxim gun, which made him a huge amount of money. This allowed him to fund the development of his heavier-than-air machines (powered by steam, mind you), one of which he claimed to be the first to lift off the ground.
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