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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"It's so easy, a child could do it."

Advertising images can say so much without ever uttering a word. The Victorian advertisers understood this well and capitalized on the concept. Dr. Isaac Thompson's Eye Water had at least eight different images (that I know of) showing the use of this product by children. Applying a medicine to the eyes would seem to be a delicate affair requiring skill and a steady hand, but everyone in the Dr. Thompson card series display nothing but confidence and capability. Who needs a doctor? With this medicine, you don't even need an adult!

The eye water was promised to be good "for all complaints of the eyes," so, not only are children using it and applying it, the suggestion is also implicit that the person suffering from things that may be causing vision problems (blurriness, obstructions, and even partial blindness) could nonetheless apply the medicine to themselves.

As the second image demonstrates, use of this medicine allowed one to "doctor" another - painlessly and effortlessly, of course. Then the last image shown today shows another form of patient - a cat. Besides the "good for man or beast" implications, the image also demonstrates that animal owners could treat their own beasts and not have to undergo the expense of a veterinarian, either. No matter how adept the girl in this picture, I can't help but admire how calm and patient the cat is, too!

In all of the images, the children are dressed impeccably, not making the least little mess of their clothes or surroundings with spills. In the hands of children, the 25-cent bottle is money well-spent, although by the upscale look of their clothes, it looks like their parents didn't have to worry a whole bunch about a quarter for a bottle of medicine.

This medicine was said to have been "in constant use since 1795," and it existed until at least 1939, but its heyday was from the 1870s through 1890s. These cards date to about 1880s.

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