We’re Off to See the Wizard — The Poisoner’s Handbook?

Standard

Hamlin's_Wizard_Oil_poster.jpg

The Almonte Gazette 1902

Mrs. Adam Clark, of Port Elmsley,who sought the aid of the Wizard in Carleton Place as related last week, came back on Sunday after also visiting friends. Though having positively guaranteed a cure, when confronted she quailed. She would not now guarantee, the product. 

To be so thrown down after making that long journey was a species of cruelty and callousness of the fibre of a car wheel. She came straight back, deceived up to the hilt, but not in despair, having formed the resolution to nourish her own vital essences and see if perchance the antidote may not lay at hand within her own system.

3725188a-web-min2.jpg

Who or what was ‘the Wizard’?

Hamlin’s Wizard Oil was an American patent medicine sold as a cure-all under the slogan “There is no Sore it will Not Heal, No Pain it will not Subdue.”

First produced in 1861 in Chicago by former magician John Austen Hamlin and his brother Lysander Butler Hamlin, it was primarily sold and used as a liniment for rheumatic pain and sore muscles, but was advertised as a treatment for pneumonia, cancer, diphtheria, earache, toothache, headache and hydrophobia. It was made of 50%-70% alcohol containing camphor, ammonia, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine, and was said to be usable both internally and topically.

Traveling performance troupes advertised the product in medicine shows across the Midwest, with runs as long as six weeks in a town. They used horse-drawn wagons and dressed in silk top hats, frock coats, pinstriped trousers, and patent leather shoes—with spats. They distributed song books at the shows and in druggists Performers included James Whitcomb Riley, singer and composer Paul Dresser from Indiana, and southern gospel music progenitor Charles Davis Tillman.

At these gatherings John Austen Hamlin delivered lectures replete with humor borrowed from the writings of Robert Jones Burdette.

Grinnell College research points out that the Hamlins claimed efficacy for Wizard Oil on not only human beings but also horses and cattle, one poster displaying an elephant drinking the stuff by lifting the bottle with the trunk. Bottles came in 35¢ and 75¢ sizes.[Carl Sandburg inserted two versions of lyrics titled “Wizard Oil” together with a tune into his American Songbag (1927).

In 1916, Lysander’s son Lawrence B. Hamlin of Elgin, by then manager of the firm, was fined $200 under the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act for advertising that Hamlin’s Wizard Oil could “check the growth and permanently kill cancer”. –Files from Wikipedia

Read the Almonte Gazette here

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

2 responses »

  1. Hello,
    I am the daughter of the girl in the photo, Catherine Schreiber, an am curious where you obtained the photo, as it is a rather rare photograph for Hamlin’s Wizard Oil.
    I thank you for any information you can give me.
    Thank you,
    Dorothy Bergan

    • Good morning I got it on Google Image–https://www.google.com/search?q=wizard+oil&rlz=1CARJNJ_enCA916&sxsrf=ALeKk03CYHqu92JmqWoslX6xe5JUG9CeKw:1617630920275&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiflIXjoOfvAhUXU80KHQGdCXAQ_AUoA3oECAEQBQ&biw=1366&bih=617

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s