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Item #: CWB13249
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Newspapers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries contain advertisements for patent medicines and other "snake oil” type medicines that were guaranteed to cure every imaginable ailment. Usually, these medicines contained nothing more than sugar water, alcohol, addictive drugs, and even traces of chemicals that would be considered poison.Ads almost always included testimonials from people who were upstanding members of the community and had supposedly tried the product being sold. Occasionally a recommendation would come from a doctor. Almost all of them had something in common – the person making the recommendation was often from some other far-off state. This left the buyer in a position where they had to trust that the newspaper was accurate, somewhat like buying products off of a late-night infomercial today and discovering it was too good to be true.Technology in the 21st century allows us to search old newspapers from across the country and find references to our local area that were being run in other states. Recently, my eye caught an advertisement in a newspaper out of Sacramento, California, dated July 10, 1907. The ad is written in paragraph form as if it’s a news story. In giant bold letters at the top, it says, "DOCTORS PRESCRIBE” and is followed by, "Dr. W.S. Lewis, prominent physician of Canton, Pa., says: ‘I have used Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey for years, and regard it as the safest and most reliable tonic stimulant.’ The well-known temperance doctor recalls in his letter a case of a minister’s son whose life he saved by the use of Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey.”Then the testimonial begins. "On October 1st, 1906, Dr. Lewis wrote: ‘I take pleasure in advising you that I have used Duffy’s Malt Whiskey in the sick-room for many years, and consider it the purest, safest and most reliable tonic-stimulant I ever used. Even with children it never has any nauseous effect. Some fourteen years ago, I recall very distinctly having a case of sthenic bronchitis in Edwin, son of Benjamin Tracy, minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Canton, Pa. One evening I was summoned in haste and found the patient dying from sheer exhaustion, hurried out my hypodermic needle and injected one-half ounce of Duffy’s Malt Whiskey in each limb. To the surprise of all, the boy began to breathe and could soon take a little Duffy’s Malt Whiskey in milk. Brother Tracy was a rank temperance man but said that thereafter he would never condemn whiskey when used in the proper place, being satisfied it saved his boy’s life. I have been a temperance man all my life but have always been a firm believer in the use of Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey for medicinal purposes. I also claim that after one has passed fifty-five years (for then one is on the downward path of life), one should take Duffy’s Malt Whiskey as a tonic-stimulant. It renovates the system, opens up the secretions, gives life and vigor to the generally broken-down tissue and increases longevity. I have no other interest, either direct or indirect, in Duffy’s Malt Whiskey than that it has proven to me a genuine article in these days of adulterations.’ The doctor’s letter is one taken at random from thousands of similar ones received extolling the virtues of this great family medicine.”Edwin would have been around 31 years old at the time the circumstances described took place. Whether the injection of whiskey into his limbs actually did anything or not, he did live until almost 85 years of age.The ad goes on to say, "Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey is distilled wholly from malted grain by a most expensive method which has never been made public. This private process ensures quality and flavor. Its softness, palatability and freedom from those injurious substances found in other whiskies make it acceptable to the most sensitive stomach. It acts as an antitoxin which destroys and drives out all disease germs. Its results are free from that depressing effect caused by poisoning the blood with many medicines. It is a tonic and invigorant for old and young, and its medicinal properties make it invaluable to overworked men, delicate women and sickly children. Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey has been analyzed many times by the best chemists during the past fifty years and has always been found to be absolutely pure. CAUTION – When you ask your druggist, grocer or dealer for Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey be sure to get the genuine. It’s the only absolutely pure medicinal malt whiskey and is sold in sealed bottles only; never in bulk. Price $1.00. Look for the trade-mark, the ‘Old Chemist,’ on the label, and make sure the seal over the cork is unbroken. Illustrated medical booklet and doctor’s advice free. Duffy Malt Whiskey Co., Rochester, N.Y.”Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey was made in Rochester, New York, by distiller Walter B. Duffy. Unlike the other patent medicines of his time that secretly incorporated alcohol in their product, Duffy proudly proclaimed that his medicine was in fact whiskey. During the Spanish American War, taxes were levied on liquor, but the deputy commissioner of Internal Revenue ruled that Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey was considered medicine and therefore exempt from taxation. Duffy then promoted his product as the only whiskey recognized by the U.S. government as medicine.In 1905, Duffy ran an ad showing the pictures of what were purported to be three clergymen who endorsed the use of Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey. A journalist with "Collier’s Weekly” looked into this claim and discovered one man ran a "get-married-quick” business and accepted $10 for his image to be used. The second man was a racehorse owner and internal revenue collector. The third man was an actual clergyman who was forced to resign by his congregation once the ad came out. An 11-part series on patent medicine in "Collier’s” exposed Duffy as a fraud and led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, finally preventing companies from hiding what was in their product. This led to the end of the patent medicine era in the United States. Walter B. Duffy died in 1911. In the end, Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey was found to be nothing more than whiskey with a little sweetener added to make it more palatable for the ladies and children.
Shipping Weight: 1 lb
Item # CWB13249
 $45.00 USD