Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People

One of my favourite places to visit is the Archant Archive Library, in Norwich. Whilst gingerly turning the brittle pages of the Norwich Mercury, from the year 1916, I come across an irresistible advertisement for Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People. I spot another, and then another … and I’m hooked.

Fateful Years for Women

The most fateful years in a woman’s life are those between forty-five and fifty. Many of the sex enter this term under depressing conditions.

These are the words that first grab my attention. I read on:

Among the commonest symptoms are headaches, feverish flushes, palpitations, dizziness, backache, depression, and other well-recognised disturbances of health which signalise that the blood requires attention. Women stand in need of rich, red blood all their lives, but never more so than at middle life, when the nerves also are weak and overwrought.

I must say, my nerves do feel weak and overwrought. I read on:

So, if you suffer, avail yourself today of the health-help of Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.

I definitely need some pink pills.

But avoid common pink pills; ask for Dr Williams’.

Of course.

To Weak Mothers

A change would benefit her jaded system, and rest might improve her blood so as to give the nerves better ‘tone’.

Yes, I like the sound of a change and a rest. My blood does need improving, and my nerves really could do with a bit of toning. A holiday would be nice – a stroll through the streets of Paris with Colin Firth, or a few days in a Premier Inn, also with Colin Firth …

… And I’m back.

But best of all for women ‘worn out’ is a course of Dr Williams’ Pink Pills, which make new blood, rich with the elements on which the nerves thrive.

Oh yes, I could do with some new blood.

Refresh your blood and feed your nerves with Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.

Where can I get these gems?

Obtain them from any dealer, but avoid common pink pills; ask for Dr Williams’.

Debility on the Increase

The forlorn appearance of so many men and women reminds us that general debility is on the increase.

I agree. There are a lot of people with a forlorn appearance – especially behind the counter at McDonald’s.

The advert lists the symptoms of general debility:

Poor digestion; languor; weak, painful back; wakefulness at nights; periodic headaches; distressing fatigue.

I’ve got all of those. Except for wakefulness at nights. But I suppose that’s because of my distressing fatigue

For all such run-down conditions, new blood is the most reliable cure. Sufferers should begin at once to make their blood rich and red with Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.

About Your Daughter

Perhaps you have already noticed that your daughter in her ‘teens’ has developed a fitful temper, is restless and excitable, and often in need of gentle reproof.

Well, duh!

Apparently, these are the symptoms:

Poor digestion; languor; wakefulness at nights; distressing fatigue; headaches; feverish flushes; palpitations; dizziness; backache; depression …

Pretty much the same as for women in middle life, weak mothers, and debilitated people. I read on:

Should you notice any of these disturbing signs, lose no time but procure for her Dr Williams’ Pink Pills, for her unhealthy girlhood is bound to lead to unhealthy womanhood. They give to sickly drooping girls health, brightness, and charm, with colour in the cheeks, sparkling eyes, a light step, and high spirits.

Damn. I wish I’d known about this elixir when my own daughter was a sickly drooping girl.

RIP Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People

At home, I Google Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.

The Canadian firm, G T Fulford & Company, trading as Dr Williams Medicine Company, launched the pink pills in 1890. Comprising mainly ferrous sulphate and magnesium sulphate, this moderately beneficial yet brilliantly marketed product reached weak mothers and sickly drooping girls all over the world. In the 1970s, after more than 80 years in production, Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People were withdrawn from the market.

That’s rather a shame, really. Perhaps I’ll just have a glass of red wine.

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