In 1902, Arsenic Did Wonders For Your Complextion, According To This Old Catalogue

We've all heard horror stories of products that were sold back in the day. For me, radium will always be the stupidest supplement ever advertised, but "Dr. Rose's French Arsenic Complexion Wafers" above, come a close second. The first words of the advertisement declare it as "completely harmless". Oh boy...

Over at Mental Floss, there's a collection of 11 such gems, including the wafers here. The article does an excellent job of summarising just how terrible these thing were:

These poisonous wafers were advertised as being "simply magical" for the complexion, their most striking effects "being brought about by their steady use". They were guaranteed to improve "even the coarsest and most repulsive skin and complexion" — especially if you're into the lurid pallor of death.

Yes, your complexion would be the least of your troubles after giving these a crack.

It's easy enough to find images from this catalogue and others of the same era on the internet. Take this photo stream on Flickr from user CharmaineZoe that contains a number of questionable products, including some uncomfortable-looking body braces for women.

It makes you wonder what products people will look back on in 100 years and exclaim "They used what? Surely they must of known how bad that was?" Anyone care to guess what said products might be?

[Mental Floss]

Image: Mississippi Library Commission Reference Blog

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