1907 Kissing As A Crime

Forsyth St. & #7 Highway - 1907 looking north

Forsyth St. & #7 Highway - 1907 looking north

In May of 1907, a most unpopular suggestion was being made by Dr. Somers, Health Office of Atlantic City. Kissing, he said, spread grippe, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, whooping cough, typhoid fever, diphtheria, erysipelas; meningitis, tuberculosis and so on. Dr. Somers recommended legislation to make kissing a crime and to have posters put up in public places. He conceded that posters  "on verandahs, in cosy corners, shady nooks, or moonlit lawns" won't work.

In response to this "keen discussion", Dr. T.A. Slocum recommended Psychine, pronounced "Si-keen". Not only an oral antiseptic but able to cure "every organ of the body" even if it be "terribly diseased or wasted". 

Medical science had yet to resolve some issues we take for granted. Newspaper readers were assured that smoking did not cause cancer. In the same year, 1909, Dr. Chas. E. Page of Boston declared, "I have been following the records of appendicitis operations ever since the craze started, and I confidently believe that the day is coming when the people will finally realize that the cutting of the appendix is a criminal operation."

For the more elderly, the degeneration of their health was a daily concern. The new medicine men were not slow to capitalize.

"Ayer's Cherry Pectoral is not a simple cough syrup", the hucksters cried, "It is a strong medicine, doctor's medicine. It cures hard cases, severe and desperate cases, chronic cases of asthma, pleurisy, bronchitis, consumption." As an aside, it produced "hair vigour".

If, however, it was hair that you wanted, you could do no better than the "Evans Vacuum Cup". Gentlemen could sit beneath this "remarkable invention" like you would an old fashioned hair dryer, and hope that hair would literally be sucked out of their heads.

Despite his competitors' efforts, Dr. Chase's remedies remained best sellers for almost a century. "After graduating from the Eclectic College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio", the doctor is said to have traveled widely perfecting his concoctions. As early as 1867, he was selling into Canada and by 1884 was manufacturing here. By 1908, a box of his Kidney Liver Pills was in one out of three Canadian homes.