Feel Better Now: Vintage Medicine Ads from the Past

Sometimes we all feel a little under the weather, and when we do, we reach for the medicine cabinet for a little something to make us feel better. With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at some of our favourite old ads in the world of medicine in this month’s edition of the Vintage Ads Series.

Have a look at the 10 ads we’ve pulled for you and leave a comment to let us know which one you think is the most outrageous, or your favourite.

And in case you’ve missed any of the previous entries in the Vintage Ads Series, have a look back and see what we’ve featured so far.

Vintage Beer Ads                               Vintage Car Ads
Vintage Cigarette Ads                     Vintage Fast Food Ads
Vintage Candy Ads                           Vintage Lingerie Ads
Vintage Horror Movie Posters      Vintage Shaving Ads
Vintage Christmas Ads                    Vintage Winter Ads
Vintage Valentine’s Day Ads         Vintage Vacation Ads

Alka Seltzer

Alka Seltzer has been on pharmacy shelves for a long time. But until today I had never seen it advertised with the benefit of prolonging a day of shopping. The benefits are never ending!


Better Than Whiskey!
There’s an old family cure in my family for coughs that mixes whiskey and brown sugar, but apparently we’ve been doing it wrong because Aspironal is better than whiskey for colds and flu. Remember that next winter.

Bayer Aspirin

Another added benefit ad on the list. I’d never heard of or thought of using aspirin for a sore throat. But if this ad from the February 1937 edition of Good Housekeeping is to be believed, maybe we should all give it a try.

Crosby’s Vaporising Inhaler

“Vaping” is all the rage these days, but it’s not new. Way back in the late 1800’s Mr. Crosby’s vaporising inhaler cured Asthma, Bronchitis, Hayfever and more!

Dr. Miles’ Nervine

“Since I’ve been taking Nervine nothing bothers me.” Dr. Miles was dedicated to keeping everyone on an even level with his nerve tablets and liquid. Even mothers were able to stay calm all day.

Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills

We’re not exactly sure what Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People did, but we’re curious. Accept no Substitute.

Lloyd Manufacturing Co. Cocaine Toothache Drops

Toothache? No problem, just dab a little cocaine on it and you’ll be fine. This ad is likely from the first decade of the 1900’s, and we’d love to see the sales numbers.

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup

Mrs. Winslow probably helped a lot of mothers. Especially this one who is trying to comfort her teething baby while also dealing with her 2 other daughters, no easy task!


Hospital Tests prove Pepto-Bismol works where Soda and Alkalizers fail!
Pepto-Bismol has always tried to be that trusted brand you can turn to whenever you’re in need.
“P.S. Mothers! Pepto-Bismol is effective, mild, safe for children, too. They love its wonderful flavor!”

Bonus: Coca-Cola for Headaches and Exhaustion!

Coca-Cola, not just for those hot summer days when you need a refreshment! Pour a cold glass for yourself today and fight back against headaches and exhaustion!

Joshua Murray

Joshua Murray

Fuelled by ideas, opportunity and coffee, Joshua attacks the social media landscape every day with a purpose. His experience in retail, customer service and public relations have combined to give him a 360 degree view of social media for brands and he is committed to helping all of his clients leverage their voice in the social sphere.

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