Drugs of the 1950s from Mac William’s Shelves– Iodine, Liniment and Camphor Oil

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Drugs of the 1950s from Mac William’s Shelves– Iodine, Liniment and Camphor Oil

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Photo-thanks to Doris Blackburn/ Karen Blackburn Chenier — now located at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

Once upon a time having rheumatoid arthritis was a really serious problem and chances are if you lived in the area you went for a walk over to Mac Williams to see what he could do about your Rheumatism and Neuralgia.

Everyone thought only old people got this disease. It was like this: “there’s gramps, limping along slowly, leaning heavily on his cane. He has the rheumatiz.” Or “there’s gramma, crocheting winter scarves–slowly, slowly–with gnarled, misshapen fingers, but she rarely complains. She has arthritis.”

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Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

There were other misconceptions back in the olden days, too.  Did you know everyone thought osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis were the same disease? There wasn’t much you could do for it and chances are what Mac Williams had available were hopeful, but mostly useless.

For instance Mac would probably tell you that you could rub hot vinegar on your sore joints. Or, you could gulp down a refreshing glass of orange juice –with cod liver oil–right before bedtime. That liniment in the photo looks like it might be soothing; it probably still exists in some form that you can buy online today.

Tincture of idodine

God how I hated iodine! My Grandmother would bend my leg up and pour the whole bottle on that cut— boy, did that smart! It always left you with an orange stain and Grammy would blow on the cut while she was trying to stop you from freaking out. Of course I was known to have a scream that was heard as far as East Farnham some days if I saw Dr. Roy come near me with a needle– so no one ever interrupted their day when they heard Linda Knight scream. Ever- they knew medical madness was afoot with that young Knight gal.

Camphorated Oil

Although many people have no idea of what camphorated oil is, they have heard of it from an old song. In this song, sung to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” John Brown’s baby had a cold upon its chest, so he rubbed it with camphorated oil. As the song suggests, camphorated oil is good for colds and flu and my Grandmother sang it to me each time she pulled that darn bottle out.

Camphor oil is known for it’s strong, nasty aroma. Large doses can be toxic, but Grammy Mary Louise Deller Knight ignored all that I swear. She said she always had things in her medicine cabinet to make you feel better — and she did– but I can still smell them 60 years later.  Did you know a treatment for schizophrenia, initially was through an injection of camphor oil. And let’s not forget that same oil was used as a balm on cold sores and chapped lips. Yuck!!

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Photo thanks to Lorraine Nephin- Bruce Sadler’s vintage Canadian newspapers

relatedreading

Before and After in Carleton Place — Mac Williams and The Good Food Co

The Savoy Medicinal Truffle at Pattie’s Drugstore

Who was the “Drugstore Woman” in Asselstine’s Rexall?

I Will Take Some Opium to Go Please —The “Drug Dispensary” at the Chatterton House Hotel

What the Heck was Electric Soap? Chatterton House Hotel Registrar

Do You Know Where Mary Cook Once Worked?

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.

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