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14th century Traveling charlatans promote curing products and services through street performance.


“Doctors” “mounted the bench” (hence, the name: mountebank) , a stage, table or box, at fairs, street corners, in market squares or wherever they could find an audience, to convince the crowd of its desperate need for his medical miracle cures.

1449 King Henry VI grants Flemish-born John Utynam a patent for making stained glass.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines a patent as:

“The exclusive right to make, use or sell an invention for a specified period.”

1552 King Edward VI grant Henry Smyth a patent for making Normandy glass.

1608 Mountebanks appear in Venice.

To draw the largest crowd and to keep its attention fixed as long as possible, the mountebanks resorted to a wide variety of entertainment including, among others, jugglers, musicians, magicians, and clowns.

Small scale spectacles alternated with their lectures that demonstrated how their tonics and services would surely cure any ailment his spectator had, whether he was aware of it or not.

1618 A Paris mountebank inspires the work of Molière.

In England, nostrum makers succeed in obtaining “Royal Patents” for their curing tonics and elixirs.

1683 Thomas Sydenham publishes Treatise on the Gout.

Sydenham argued gout was the result of “ease, voluptuousness, high living, and too free an use of wine and other spirituous liquors”.

He thought bleeding and purging could be counterproductive driving “peccant humours” further into the extremities.

Sydenham recommended a light diet, plenty of fluid, and regular doses of a digestive remedy he called bitters - distilled alcohol infused with watercress, horseradish, wormwood, and angelica root.

1698 First patent medicine - Epson Salts.

Magnesium sulfate is an inorganic salt with the formula MgSO4X where 0≤x≤7.

It is often encountered as the heptahydrate sulfate mineral epsomite, commonly called Epsom salt.

The overall global annual usage in the mid-1970s of the monohydrate was 2.3 million tons, of which the majority was used in agriculture.

1711 Sal Volitile patented.

Ammonium carbonate is a salt with the chemical formula (NH4)2CO3.

As it readily degrades to gaseous ammonia and carbon dioxide upon heating, it is used as a leavening agent and also as smelling salt.

1712 Richard Stoughton patents Stoughton's Elixir.

The first patent medicines to appear in America came from England.

In the eighteenth century medical theorists believed that disease could be driven from the body only by a substance as appalling as the illness. Therefore, the worse a medicine tasted or smelled, the greater its corrective power. These foul-tasting, foul-smelling products had ingredients that had an effect on the body, thus giving the illusion of a cure in action. Bateman's Drops, Dalby's Carminative, and Godfrey's Cordial contained the sedative opium. Hooper's Pills purged the digestive system and induced menstruation. British Oil and Steer's Opodeldoc were both liniments containing ammonia that irritated the skin.

1858 Erasmus Bond receives a patent for quinine Tonic.

Quinine-laced Tonic Water is one outcome of three centuries of military and medical efforts to overcome malaria.




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