Categories
History

Complex and Mysterious Mechanism

In 1938 when Dr. Jayne’s used the Mensch als Industriepalast image, the company was recycling an image it used at least as early as 1934. The description at the top emphasized modern, mechanized picture of the human body: “A picture of the World’s most complex and mysterious mechanism.” By 1938 the image had lost that […]

Categories
History

Dr. Jayne’s Mensch als Industriepalast

In 1926 Fritz Kahn created his famous “Mensch als Industriepalast,” a fascinating, modernist depiction of the human being as a chemical factory, staffed with industrious little workers, replete with control centers, machines, conduits, communication wires (see the copy at the NLM). In an impressive display plagiarism, Dr. Jayne’s almanac for 1939 included a strikingly similar […]

Categories
History

More Patent Medicine Artifacts

Moving boxes in my office, I came across two patent medicine bottles. The smaller one comes from Philadelphia’s own Dr. Jayne’s. Dr. Jayne’s started selling its tonic in the 1840s and became incredibly successful. By the end of the century, the factory occupied the entire city block on Chestnuyt between 2nd St. and 3rd St. […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

A Historical Perspective on DTC Drug Marketing

An article in the NY Times reports on a recent research about Direct-to-Consumer drug marketing. The article draws attention to authority and power of a “survey” in convincing consumers to self-diagnos and to request particular drugs. All this sounds a lot like the techniques used a century ago to market patent medicines. At that time […]