Join the Sears Roebuck Chapter of the Hair Club
Today, we’re constantly bombarded by advertisements for products that promise to enhance our looks or bodies in some way or another. Apparently, this was also the case back in 1902. Long before the advent of the Hair Club for Men (and for Women) for the follicle-challenged, there were “hair switches”, early 20th-century versions of weaves, extensions, wigs, and toupees.
Change Your Body – No Surgery Required!
It Can Cure Everything!
One of the best sections of the Sears catalog is the one devoted to health products. You can find a cure for everything there – mostly because nearly all the medicines claim to cure everything. Take Dr. Hammond’s Nerve and Brain pills for example. Though the box has “nerve and brain pills” emblazoned across it, the ad claims that the pills, “a boon for weak men,” can cure any disease for which they are intended. Here’s the catch – the pills are “intended” for just about every ailment under the sun, including but not limited to: low spirits; lifelessness (Lifelessness? Really? I wonder what the success rate was on that one); sense of goneness or emptiness of the stomach in the morning (I’m pretty sure that a good breakfast could cure that one, but I digress…); rumbling sensations in the bowels, with heat and nipping pain occasionally; short breath on exertion; cold feet; and constant feeling of dread.
The bath cabinet falls into the miracle cure category, too. What’s a bath cabinet, you may ask? This is a bath cabinet:
Bathers sat enclosed in these personal saunas, while their bodies received a rejuvenating steam treatment. According to the ad, “a five-minute bath in a Brown cabinet starts the millions of skin pores at work expelling the dirt, impurities, and poisons from the system”. And it could all be had at just $5.25. That’s 1902 dollars, of course. Today, that would be roughly $122.12. It’s not cheap, but it still seems like a pretty good deal, considering how healthy the device is supposed to keep you.