Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Watkins man

Some time ago I wrote about Carter's Little Liver Pills and strangely enough have had a number of 'hits' from all over the world by people seeking information about the little pills.

Carter's Little Liver pills in fact had nothing to do with the treatment of the liver. The main ingredient was a laxative. The US Federal Trade Commission took 8 years of investigation before they could demand that the company remove the word 'liver' from the name. Carter's LLP was a sponsor on a popular US radio show. Here is an advert from the show. The liver part of the name used was probably an early recognition of the 'shitty liver' syndrome. In fact the US FTC allowed Carter's to recommend that an end to your miseries could be had by a jolly good bowel evacuation

Another of my medicinal memories from the 1950s in Australia was the 'Watkins Man'. The Watkins Man knocked on the back door of our house and opened his wonder case of samples and took orders to be delivered later, or sourced from the boot of his car. I never remember him coming into the house. I have a feeling it was company policy to knock at the back door and not enter the house even when invited.

The Watkins man had a rival, the Raleigh Man who had a similar kit. Stories go that in farming areas there was a camel man...probably an Afghan who sold middle eastern cutlery and fabrics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember the Watkins man coming to our front door. Nutmeg was one of his specialties. I still have one of his old square green and brown nutmeg tins, not quite empty.