Smith’s Beard and Moustache Elixir, 1878.

6a00d83542d51e69e201a511ddb31a970c-500wiThere was perhaps nothing so satisfying to a fellow in America in 1878 than to have a massive moustache–or at least the idea of one, a call to high fashion in hairstyles for men.
But since not everyone could produce a garden on their upper lip there was always someone around to take advantage of the necessity of hope–in this case, the hope was provided by Smith & Co of Palatine, Illinois.

They sold a concoction of some sort that promised (on three applications) to produce a heavy moustache and/or beard with ‘no injury”.
The detail from the following snippet, which is actually a tiny detail from a full-page sheet of ads (see below)
6a00d83542d51e69e201a73de8feae970d-500wi
A little research reveals the packet for the miracle-growth:

6a00d83542d51e69e201a3fd2e0565970b-500wi

Moustache elixir[Source, Historic New England site]
I’m sorry now that I didn’t collect these before-and-after images, as I’ve seen dozens over the years–this one was a little too beforey-and-aftery to pass up.
via Ptak Science Books: Absurdist, Unintentional.

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