Hamlin's Wizard Oil

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Hamlin's Wizard Oil Liniment
Hamlins Wizard Oil.jpg

a.k.a. "The Great Medical Wonder"
Medical Claims The copy promises "There is no Sore it will Not Heal, No Pain it will not Subdue"; more particularly, it is branded as a cure for rheumatism, neuralgia, diphtheria, colic, diarrhoea, and general pains and inflammations.
Creator(s) John A. Hamlin, Lysander B. Hamlin
Year created 1859 [1]
Vendors Hamlin's Wizard Oil Co.

Hamlin's Wizard Oil was a liniment produced by Hamlin's Wizard Oil Co., promoted as a pain remedy and general cure for a variety of ailments and afflictions. During its hey-day, it was one of the more successful patent medicines, thanks to their use of colourful advertising and travelling sales troupes that performed entertaining medicine shows in small towns and cities across the United States.

Composition

There are claims that Hamlin's Wizard Oil and Kickapoo Indian Oil are both based on "Flagg's Instantaneous Relief", the concoction of Prof. E. H. Flagg.[2] What-ever the truth may be, most recipes proposed for Hamlin's oil agree that the main constituent is alcohol, combined with oils of sassafras and clove, camphor, and often aqua ammonia and turpentine, potentially in addition to other tinctures.

Oleson's "Secret nostrums and systems of medicine" (1890), citing a Dr. Douglas, lists the basic formula for Hamlin's Wizard Oil as follows: "Alcohol (1 pt), gum camphor (1 oz), oil sassafras (½ oz), tincture of myrrh (½ oz), tincture of capsicum (½ oz), and chlorofrom (½ oz)."[3]

Alternately, "Dr. Chase's New Receipt Book" (1889) gives his recipe for Hamlin's Wizard Oil as: "Spirits of camphor, ½ oz.; aqua ammonia, ¼ oz.; oil of sassafras, ¼ oz.; oil of cloves, 1 dr.; chloroform, 2 drs.; spirits of turpentine, 3 drs.; dilute alcohol, 3 drs."[4]

Advertising

References

  1. "Hamlin's Wizard Oil Co.", Origin, Growth, and Usefulness of the Chicago Board of Trade, 1881, p. 359, http://books.google.com/books?id=jHxQAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA359 
  2. Bethard, Wayne (2004), Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs: Frontier Medicine in America, p. 117, http://amzn.to/2eOLOIV 
  3. Oleson, Charles W. (1890), "Hamlin's Wizard Oil", Secret Nostrums and Systems of Medicine: a Book of Formulas, p. 86, https://archive.org/stream/secretnostrums00oles#page/86/mode/2up 
  4. Chase, Alvin W., "Hamlin's Wizard Oil", Dr. Chase's New Receipt Book, or Information for Everybody, p. 27, http://www.gutenberg.ca/ebooks/chase-newreceipt/chase-newreceipt-00-h-dir/chase-newreceipt-00-h.html