Saturday, July 16, 2016

Thomas' Eclectric Oil beats the world

Here's another Victorian trade card for Dr. Thomas' Eclectric Oil, which I first wrote about last summer. It features a young girl in a red hat and a product-branded blouse that must have been way ahead of its time.

In short, Eclectric Oil was cooked up by Dr. S.N. Thomas, contained a good bit of fish oil and sold well in the second half of the 19th century (making its bottles quite common today). It might have also contained opium, and it, of course, positioned itself as a miracle cure for many, many ailments.

The reverse side of this card, which measures 2¾ inches by 4¼ inches, is filled with testimonials for Eclectric Oil. Here are some of them:

  • "Had rheumatism; used Thomas' Eclectric Oil; got out in one week." — JAMES DURHAM, East Pembroke, N.Y.
  • "Never saw a medicine in my life that gave such universal satisfaction." — C.R. HALL, Druggist, Grayville, O.
  • "Tramped upon by a horse, and for a year the pain through my hips was so bad, could not rise upon my feet. Thomas' Eclectric Oil helped me beyond description." — JOHN FUNK, Springfield, O.
  • “Sat up in bed and coughed until the clothing was wet with perspiration. Two bottles of Thomas’ Eclectric Oil cured me.” — E.H. PERKINS, Creek Centre, N.Y.
  • “Has magical pain-killing and healing properties.” — O.J. DOESBERRY, Proprietor Holland City News, Holland, Mich.
  • And my personal favorite: "Thomas' Eclectric Oil beats the world." — H.C. HOBERMAN, Marion, O.

This card was part of a set, per the fine print on the back: "Full set of cards will be sent on receipt of three-cent stamp. FOSTER, MILBURN & CO., Buffalo, N.Y."

If you interested in more about this card, Joseph Crisalli discussed it in humorous fashion in a 2012 post on Stalking the Belle Époque.

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