November 4, 2010

Vintage Drugstore Carnival: 'Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic'... Does a body good!

In this chill tonic, which came out in 1878, Edwin Wiley Grove found a way to bottle a quinine (only known malaria medication of the time) mixture that would eliminate the bitter taste. This tasteless tonic, which some claimed wasn't all that tasteless, was quite an improvement over taking straight quinine for fever and chills caused by malaria. A sweet syrup and lemon flavor was added to the quinine, along with cinchonine and cinchonidine, which were the main ingredients in crystal form within the tonic. The chill tonic was so popular that the British army made it standard issue for every soldier going off to mosquito infested lands and, by 1890, more bottles of Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic were sold than bottles of Coca-Cola.

So much success... All achieved with a marketing campaign like that one??!
Boy, have times changed.

~ Image taken from the postcard book, "Just What the Doctor Odrered": Health and Grooming in the Classic Age of Advertising. Published by Prion Books Limited, London. ~


  1. I took a picture (or is that 'PIGture') of this very advertisement on the wall where I was eating at a place in Colorado that featured all manner of fried foodstuffs. Pretty apropos, I'd say.

    I had fried okra in hopes that it would be green and vegetably enough to assuage my gluttonous guilt. It did not.

  2. Gosh - and just think - I can make myself fat simply by making poor food choices! Who knew it could be as easy as partaking of a tonic?


  3. Well, obviously I don't want to look like a child-pig, but if the alternative is malaria sickness? Well... I dunno.

  4. "New Anti-Light Coca-Cola - we'll fatten you up in no time"

    Would that have sold, too?

    Anthony! How delightful it is to "see you" again! :) I'm not sure if you remember me, but I was the one suggesting you should visit Finland and Moominland. (I still think that you should)

    Anyway, I got an irresistible urge to find your blog again (I had forgotten the address) and finally I did - and it's nice to see that the quality of it is as good as ever! Keep up the good work!

    Greetings from the land of snow,
    literally :)

  5. Finonymous! It's wonderful "seeing you" around here again, too! Thank you, also, for your SUPER NICE message. I always enjoy "hearing" such positive feedback (not like I get a whole lot, though...), so you can just about bet that you made my day!

    I can still only WISH to visit the land of Fins & Moomins. Some day, maybe... ;)


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