The 1953 copy of Bradbury’s F451 was a Killer.

img_5255e53aa7b0aThe Special Edition of Fahrenheit 451 was bound in fire-proof asbestos (the slow and silent killer).
Ray Bradbury’s iconic dystopian novel focused on a future American society where books are outlawed and firemen hunt down and burn books rather than put out house fires.
Shortly after the book was published in 1953, a run of 200 special editions was produced.
These books, bound in white with red cover text, included both a printed signature on the cover and an actual signature inside.
More significantly, the books were bound in covers of asbestos, a fireproof mineral that has been linked to the deaths of millions of workers over many years.
Even in 1953 they were well aware of its dangers.
Image courtesy of Bauman Rare Books.
via Which Book Was Released In An Asbestos Lined Hardcover Edition?

Kent Fags had Asbestos Filters in the 1950s.

It’s hard to think of anything more reckless than adding a deadly carcinogen to a product that already causes cancer—and then bragging about the health benefits.
Yet that’s precisely what Lorillard Tobacco did 60 years ago when it introduced Kent cigarettes, whose patented “Micronite” filter contained a particularly virulent form of asbestos.
Smokers puffed their way through 13 billion Kents between March 1952 and May 1956, when Lorillard changed the filter design.
Six decades later, the legal fallout continues a Florida jury has awarded more than $3.5 million in damages to a former Kent smoker stricken with mesothelioma, an extremely rare and deadly asbestos-related cancer that typically shows up decades after the initial exposures.
Lorillard and Hollingsworth & Vose, the company that supplied the asbestos filter material, face numerous claims from mesothelioma sufferers, both factory workers who produced the cigarettes or filter material and former smokers who say they inhaled the microscopic fibers. (The companies insist that hardly any fibres escaped.)
“Micronite” one ad boasted, is “a pure, dust-free, completely harmless material that is so safe, so effective, it actually is used to help filter the air in operating rooms.”
Kent was Lorillard’s response to the health scare of the early 1950s, when the link between smoking and lung cancer began drawing wide attention. Tobacco companies scurried to roll out filters to calm jittery smokers and keep them from quitting in droves.
The health benefits would prove illusory, but the switch to filters averted the potential loss of millions of customers. “The industry’s own researchers admitted that filters did nothing to make cigarettes safer,” notes Robert Proctor, a Stanford University historian whose 2012 book, Golden Holocaust, covers Big Tobacco’s tactics in painstaking detail.
“Philip Morris scientists in 1963 admitted that ‘the illusion of filtration’ was as important as ‘the fact of filtration.”
via Remember When Big Tobacco Sold Asbestos as the “Greatest Health Protection”? | Mother Jones.

‘The Long Suffering Woman and Family.’


The poor wife and daughter scrape together some meagre clothes to take to the Pawn Shop, so that they can buy another bottle of booze for the drunkard husband asleep and almost comatose.
If he gets upset and punishes them and the kids as well the cards are stacked his way in the 19th Century.
And today, in most cultures women and their children are still open to that physical harm, mental abuse and abject poverty for them and their loved ones.


Bex Powders and Tablets.

“Have a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down,” advised advertisements for Bex, a cure-all manufactured from 1965 by Beckers Pty Ltd manufacturing chemists in Sydney. 
Bex was recommended for headaches, colds and flu, all nerve pains, rheumatism, and for “calming down” the overexcited.

Bex powders were taken by dissolving them in water or a cup of tea, and some people took as many as three powders a day.
Bex contained:
Aspirin – Chemically known as acetylsalicylic acid, this drug acts on the body as an anti-inflammatory, helping to alleviate pain, fever, headache and other symptoms. 
The maximum recommended daily dose of aspirin is 1 g (1000 mg), as it can lead to stomach bleeding.  A single bex powder (approximately 1 gram) contained 420 mg of aspirin.
Phenacetin – This chemical was widely used with aspirin and caffeine as a fever and pain reliever.  It acts primarily on the nervous system, targeting the sensory tracts of the spinal cord, the brain and the heart. 
It was withdrawn from use in 1983 due to its damaging action on the kidneys and carcinogenic properties. Each Bex powder contained 420 mg of phenacetin.
Caffeine – Found in coffee, tea and soft drinks, caffeine is a powerful nervous system stimulant.  In combination with aspirin, it can give greater pain relief than aspirin alone.
More than 250mg of caffeine a day can lead to unpleasant side effects like sleeplessness, irritability and heart palpitations.  A single Bex powder contained approximately 160mg.
In the 1960s, housewives routinely used Bex to get through the day. However, once it was recognised that these substances were addictive and large doses of phenacetin taken by habitual uses were resulting in widespread kidney disease, analgesics came under government regulation in the 1970s.
via Bex Powders | School of Medical Sciences

Pain & Early Dentistry.

With all those gleaming, stainless-steel tools readied for painful prodding, few people look forward to visiting the dentist.
But modern dentistry is a walk in the park compared with archaic methods of treating oral maladies:
Be glad you’re not seeking treatment for mysterious “tooth worms” or using dentures filled with the syphilitic teeth of dead soldiers.
“By the time Washington was elected president, he only had one natural tooth remaining in his mouth.”

“Dentistry, as we understand it today, didn’t emerge as a licensed profession until the end of the 19th century, although practitioners had been calling themselves dentists since the late 1700s,” says Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris, who studies the history of science, medicine, and technology, and is the creator of The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice.
Before dentistry became its own field, tooth-related issues were handled by any ordinary doctor, though little was understood about oral health and the reasons teeth might decay.
This early 20th-century copy of an ancient Roman bridge shows how false teeth were secured with metal loops. © Wellcome Library, London.
The important role of healthy teeth wasn’t lost on the ancients: Since at least 3000 B.C., people in the Mesopotamian region used the frayed ends of fibrous twigs or chew sticks, also known as miswak or siwak sticks, to clean their teeth.
“Different cultures have used twigs from trees and shrubs with wood grain that is very intertwined,” says Scott Swank, a dentist, historian, and curator of the National Museum of Dentistry.
“You peel the bark off and chew it to get the fibers to fray out, and then you use those frayed fibers to clean your teeth. They’re still used today in some parts of Africa and the Middle East.”
Please read on via Bloodletting, Bone Brushes, and Tooth Keys: White-Knuckle Adventures in Early Dentistry | Collectors Weekly.

Electrical Therapy in Medicine & Dentistry, 1910.

14714618191_d7fcb09c86_oA selection of images from High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910) by champion of electro-therapeutics Samuel Howard Monell, a physician who the American X-Ray Journal cite, rather wonderfully, as having “done more for static electricity than any other living man”.
Although the use of electricity to treat physical ailments could be seen to stretch back to the when the ancient Greeks first used live electric fish to numb the body in pain, it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries – through the work of Luigi Galvani and Guillaume Duchenne – that the idea really took hold.
Monell claims that his high frequency currents of electricity could treat a variety of ailments, including acne, lesions, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, depression, and hysteria.
Although not explicitly delved into in this volume, the treatment of this latter condition in women was frequently achieved at this time through the use of an early form of the vibrator (to save the physician from the manual effort), through bringing the patient to “hysterical paroxysm” (in other words, an orgasm).
These days electrotherapy has been widely accepted in the field of physical rehabilitation, and also made the news recently in its use to keep soldiers awake (the treatment of fatigue also being one of Monell’s applications).
Please go to the Website to fully appreciate the other Images via High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910) | The Public Domain Review.