Victorian "before-and-after" advertising trade card marketing Parker's Tonic shows an illustrated conversation - between a broken-down old man in a green coat and white cap slumped in a red chair next to a robust, healthy man in a blue jacket about dive into the good meal on the table as he pours himself a small glassful of the tonic - regarding the miraculous restorative effects of Parker's Tonic. The back contains ad copy for Parker's Tonic and two other Parker products - Parker's Hair Balsam and Floreston Cologne - all manufactured by Hiscox & Company of New York City. This card would have been handed out by the merchants where these products were sold.
This is an example of "before-and-after" advertising, which depicts both a common problem and how it was solved by using the advertised product. Before-and-after trade cards give a glimpse into "the way we were" during the late 1800s.
Formed in 1875 by David Hiscox, Hiscox & Company produced several of their own patent medicine remedies, most notably Parker's Ginger Tonic, touted as a cure for a broad range of diseases and conditions including stomach, kidney or liver disease, consumption (tuberculosis) and asthma (to name just a few) by rejuvenating the blood, a common notion at the time. Tired or impure blood was commonly thought to be the cause of many illnesses, and this type of "cure-all" was very common at the time. It is unclear whether there actually was a "Parker" who developed the recipe, or whether the Parker name was also one of Hiscox's creations.
Other Hiscox patent medicine products included Parker's Hair Balsam (never fails to restore the youthful color to gray or faded hair); Greve's Ointment (for catarrh, muscular pains, chilblains, rough or chapped skin, piles, burns or skin diseases), Hindercorns (cures corns and removes calluses and bunions); and Floreston Cologne!
Card measures 4-1/4" x2-3/4". Lithographer is unknown.
PHOTO NOTE: The scanning process distorts the clarity of the images displayed, particularly in the gallery view. The muted "grainy" look is definitely a distortion. The clarity is excellent when viewed in person. Slight creases, small blemishes, minor defects and discoloration (in any) are exaggerated by the scanning process, and much less noticeable when viewed in person.
CONDITION NOTE: Great condition for its age. There are no tears, folds or creases. The lithography is ever so slightly out of square on the rectangular card. Occasional spots of age discoloration, and one letter along the lower border is very slightly scuffed. The back has light discoloration from glue residue where it was attached to an album.
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1880s Victorian Patent Medicine Advertising Trade Card - Parker's Tonic - Parker's Hair Balsam and Floreston Cologne - Before-and-After Advertising