Part 1- Tales of the Chatteron House Corset — Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place- can be found here.
Sensitive subject read at your own risk
During the Victorian era you had the medical and moral community who actually opposed the use of condoms as STDs were seen as punishment for having sex out of wedlock. On top of that, by the early 1800’s condoms cost $1 to buy. Remember that in that era a dollar was a lot of money, for some folks it could be a quarter of a days pay. Most items were valued in terms of cents, even by the time of the Old West. So a dollar was closer to what fifty dollars or even a hundred dollars is today. How would you like to pay $50 for just one condom? If you were paying a quarter of what you make in a day you weren’t going to just go and buy another each time you used one, you’d go bankrupt fast if you were sleeping around a lot. The rubber condom would drop the cost to six to twelve dollars during the last twenty-five years of the 19th century, making it more affordable but still, you had the moral crusaders of the day to contend with.
Then there was douching, which had been around since before the 1830’s as newspaper ads from the 1830’s include ads for what was called a female syringe. This was made up of chemicals such as alum or sulfates of zinc or iron. .
Doctors used arsenic and mercury to treat syphilis before the introduction of penicillin in the 1940s.
One company sold heroin tablets to relieve asthma symptoms.
Old medicines and antique urinals?
Cocaine drops for toothache came on the market after doctors discovered its pain-relieving qualities. One Belgian company even promoted cocaine throat lozenges as “indispensable for singers, teachers and orators.” Dentists and surgeons also used cocaine as an anesthetic.
While doctors of the late 1800’s considered these drugs legitimate, a whole range of shady patent medicines, sometimes called “nostrums,” also flourished during that period.! People bought nostrums from traveling medicine shows, and the cures beckoned boldly from billboards and newspaper and magazine ads. “You couldn’t get away from them,” Whorton says. “They were inescapable.”
Also, as the state of legitimate medicine evolved, new cures replaced the old. When doctors began treating syphilis with penicillin, a grateful generation was spared the toxic effects of arsenic and mercury, including inflammation of the gums, destruction of the teeth and jaws, and organ damage. Opium and other addictive drugs also fell by the wayside once scientists realized their pitfalls. Novocain replaced its predecessor, cocaine, as an anesthetic.WEB MD
The Photos are of actual prescriptions from The Chatterton House (Queen’s Hotel) Carleton Place. The majority are prescription forms or handwritten scraps issued by local physicians Richard F. Preston and Matthew A. McFarlane. Local druggists were: City Dispensary,W.S. Robertson, McEwen’s Drug Store and Muirhead’s Drug Store. When Peter Prosser Salter was owner of The Chatterton Hotel for a few years and it appears Salter had hired a desk clerk who perhaps also engaged as well in the druggist field.
Photos from the The Chatteron House Register from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum