legitimate business would resort to advertising and no bank would lend
to one that did.
Despite being mistrusted, from the start, advertising rapidly emerged
as a lucrative business. Early admen, working as space brokers for newspapers, discovered that they could increase a paper’s revenue by a third.
The ads endorsed mostly patent medicines, which were neither patented
nor medicinal. These dubious remedies—Drake’s Plantation Bitters, St.
Jacob’s Oil and Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound—promised to
cure everything from liver problems and respiratory afflictions to sexual dysfunctions. Most contained a high percentage of alcohol, while
others mixed in doses of either opium or morphine. By the turn of the
century patent medicines were a $75-million business. One critic com-
Jordan Seiler, Republika, Warsaw, Poland, giclée print with digital augmentation,