What Exactly Was In That Love Potion 100 Years Ago?
The secret “love potion” ingredient? It’s at the end of our story.
It’s the 21st century. You’d think the number of people who believe in magic spells and potions would be declining. Unfortunately it is not. For proof look at how China is helping to wipe out the rhinoceros by buying rhino horns through poaching. These uneducated fools believe that the rhino’s horn contains “medicinal” value to make a man virile.
Should we expect with more information and better education humanity has become more enlightened about patent medicine? Probably not. The internet has spread just as much misinformation as fact. And there’s one more factor to consider: people have has always been rather gullible when it comes to falling for quackery.
No, things have remained the same and unscrupulous people have pushed secret and magic love potions upon ignorant hopefuls from time immemorial.
Here in New York City almost 100 years ago, is proof that the city has always been a central repository for all sorts of hucksterism.
This article is from September 20, 1919 and appeared in the New York Sun. By the way, what a great term for fortune teller – “seeress.” Continue reading →
100th Anniversary Of The Forgotten Brooklyn Explosion That Killed Two Sets Of Young Brothers
While wandering the bucolic grounds of the Evergreens Cemetery on the Brooklyn – Queens border you come across many interesting monuments. There are Triangle shirtwaist fire victims, General Slocum memorials and many historic notables. And then there are the monuments like this one that are inexplicable on first inspection.
Zimmer inscription monument
Higgins inscription monument
Two sets of brothers each between 7 and 11-years-old all dying on March 13, 1915 and are buried together. This unique memorial has an angel, with a few fingers and toes missing, head bowed in sorrow, standing between the two columns that are connected at the top by a triangular stone with the Gospel of Luke quotation inscribed across it, “Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Me”.
My first thought was that the boys were probably cousins or related in some other way and died in a house fire.
But checking the news accounts from the following days reveals a senseless tragedy of two unrelated families children just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Zimmer boys, Henry age 11 and Herbert age 7, of 186 Warwick Street and the Higgins boys, Alex age 11 and Arthur age 8 of 174 Warwick Street were close friends and neighbors growing up a few doors from each other. Continue reading →
“Gee. Look At That Pair Of Skinny Scarecrows. Why Don’t They Try Sargol?”
Early 20th Century Advertising
As this 1915 ad proclaims it is “no longer necessary to be “thin scrawny and undeveloped.”
Our thin conscious society today might be a good market for this product, except for the fact that the United States is thefattest country in the world, so we don’t need any help in putting on weight.
The usual cause for being too thin in the early 20th century was poverty and disease, not bad eating habits. People suffering from tuberculosis, diabetes, malassimilation of food, chronic diarrhea, Bright’s Disease and other malady’s were prime candidates to use Sargol. And since hundreds of thousands of people were concerned about being underweight they looked anywhere they could for cures. Sargol promised them the hope that they could put on weight.
But as with most ads of this nature, the Sargol Company was selling quackery.
Sargol started their business in 1908 and teamed up with Parke, Davis & Co. to manufacture their fat pills. Sargol was sold primarily through mail order to the public by taking out hundreds of ads in newspapers, magazines and almanacs to push their nostrum. The ingredients in their “miracle” drug was nothing more than saw palmetto; calcium; sodium; potassium; lecithin and nux vomica.
Sargol’s scam netted them over $3 million before the government fined them $30,000 in 1917 after a thirteen week trial and shut them down for good.
In this rare photograph the dapper and relatively slender Babe Ruth stands on frozen Lake Winnipesaukee in his Red Sox warm-up jacket. With Babe is his first wife Helen Woodford who was just 16 when they married in 1914. While the Babe may not look very happy at least he does not look too cold.
Babe’s marriage never interfered in his womanizing. His appetite for women was Continue reading →
The Second Avenue Elevated (El for short) was one of four elevated train lines that ran in Manhattan. This photo was taken 100 years ago today on Wednesday, January 13, 1915, and shows the view looking north from the 14th street station and First Avenue. That is correct, the Second Avenue El ran on First Avenue up until it turned west on 23rd Street to continue north on Second Avenue.
Enlarging the photo, at track level we can see the next station at 19th Street. At street level there is little activity, with a few people going about their errands. We see on the left side of the street a wall advertisement for Mecca Cigarettes and on the right side of the street on the second floor, a pawn shop window advertisement saying they’ve been “here since 1880” and a warning to any criminals that they have Holmes Electrical Protection (inventors of the modern burglar alarm).
The Els in Manhattan were discontinued over a 17 year period. The first to shut down was the Sixth Avenue El in 1938, followed by the Ninth Avenue El in 1940 and the Second Avenue El in 1942. The Third Avenue El ceased service in 1955 (the Bronx part of the Third Avenue line continued running until 1973), bringing a close to the era of Manhattan elevated trains.
Before plastic surgery and breast implants became the way to change your natural assets, there were charlatans preying upon young girls and women’s insecurities. Growing up I remember reading magazines in the 1970’s and 80’s and constantly seeing the ads saying you can increase your bust size with creams, ointments or exercises. Most of the ads did not describe exactly how the transformation would occur.
In 1911 The Proposed McCarren Bridge Was To Replace The “Old” Brooklyn Bridge So It Could Be Reconstructed
Existing & proposed bridges New York City 1911 – note the four lower Manhattan bridges instead of three (click to enlarge)
From the New York Tribune of January 1, 1911 comes this illustration showing New York City with its existing bridges and some proposed new ones.
Sandwiched very tightly between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge connecting lower Manhattan with Brooklyn, is a proposed new bridge which was to be called the McCarren Bridge named after “Long Pat” McCarren (1847-1909) a state senator who was Brooklyn’s Democratic political boss during the late 1800’s.
Once the proposed McCarren Bridge became a reality, city engineers planned to close and rebuild the Brooklyn Bridge. The engineers feared that the increase in heavy traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge would necessitate additional strength being added, otherwise a support or cable might give way causing a horrible catastrophe. Borings were even made at the site, but the McCarren Bridge was never built.
Other proposed bridges in the illustration show the Hell Gate Bridge which was begun in 1912 and completed in 1916.
Further north on the Harlem River connecting upper Manhattan with the Bronx is another proposed bridge that was never built nestled between the University Heights/West 207th Street Bridge and Washington Bridge. This bridge would have been located at 177th Street in the Bronx and was to be called The Morris Heights Bridge. Continue reading →
10,000 Girls Celebrate May Day In Prospect Park, 1919
Brooklyn May Day celebration 10,000 girls at Prospect Park 1919
I may not be 100 years old, but I do remember being in public school celebrating May Day with a traditional maypole dance.
May Day in New York has other connotations and since the 1890’s May Day has been known for communists, socialists, union activists and workers marching (sometimes together, sometimes separately) around the city protesting and trying to bring attention to their causes.
But here we see a time when the world was finally at peace, a few months after the conclusion of the Great War (World War I). Soldiers with their hats on can be seen in the extreme foreground observing and enjoying the festivities.
10,000 Girls in Brooklyn, N.Y. May Day fete
Shouts of joy ring through Prospect Park as happy children dance, play games and sing. Photo shows a general view of thousands of girls of the Brooklyn Girls’ Branch of the Public Schools Athletic League in their annual May Day fete in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York. (photo credit: Central News Photo Service May 2, 1919)
“What To Do Before And After The Wedding” Among Other Things
So, how did people learn about sex and seduction 100 years ago? From a book of course. This ad appears in the 1915 World Almanac and was just too good not to share.
The text reads:
How To Make Love
(NEW BOOK) Tells how to Get Acquainted; How to Begin Courtship; How to Court a Bashful Girl; to Woo a Widow; to Win a Heiress; how to catch a Rich Bachelor; how to manage your beau to make him propose; how to make your fellow or girl love you; what to do before and after the wedding. Tells other things necessary for Lovers to know. Sample copy by mail, 10 cents.