Last year I reading old newspapers in the archives of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum trying to find local tidbits. I came across an ad circulated in the local newspapers in 1901. A plea of help had been written by a lady barely 19 about the dilemma of her father. He had become a slave to the drink and was creating chaos within the family unit.
“My father had often promised Mother to stop drinking and would do so for a time and then return to it stronger than ever. One day after a terrible spree he told us he could not stop drinking,” she said.
Their hearts turned to stone with his predicament, and mother and daughter both realized their only solution was to try the tasteless Samaria Prescription which they had read about in the newspapers. They got dear old Dad to consume this potion without his knowledge in his tea, coffee, and food. Either his tastebuds were gone or so was his mind, because only one packet was needed to cure her father of the liquour habit. Miraculously his appetite and zest for life immediately returned for the good.
Fifteen months later dear old Dad remains a sober dear old Dad. The young lady was so elated she requested the elixir company to send her another booklet for her friend whose Mum and Dad were also floating down that same river of sin. Not to fear because the Samaria Remedy Company of Toronto was offering anyone and everyone free samples in plain sealed envelopes and any correspondence was to be sacredly confidential.
In 1915 another advertisement for the miraculous cure was advertised in the Toronto Sunday World and Roy Blanford from Michigan City offered his home address to anyone that was curious to what Samaria did for him, his wife, and his blessed four children. By this time it claimed not only to cure alcoholism, it was also now the end-all cure for nail biting. No word if readers dropped in on Roy to hear how he beat his habit– or even chew the fat about “Equisine”!
In the early 1900s, two scientists theorized that addicts built up antibodies to alcohol when drinking heavily. Emboldened no doubt by the advent of vaccines in various other areas of medicine—Louis Pasteur had invented them 30 years earlier and they were the subject of intense medical study—they created “a vaccine for alcoholism.” They did this by administering alcohol to horses until they became dependent on it, and then injecting their blood into other horses. The scientists’ reports claimed that, after being vaccinated, the second batch of horses would not drink alcohol. This led a San Francisco-based company to attempt to isolate antibodies from the horse blood and apply them to the cut skin of addicts to vaccinate them against further alcoholism. The treatment was ineffective.
This story was from my book “Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place” available on Amazon and at Wisteria 62 Bridge Street Carleton Place.