Modern quackery might be full of terrible, life-threatening health advice, but it's really not got a patch on the golden age of radium-based medicine, when the newly discovered radioactive material was held to cure practically anything, especially in suppository form. Yowch.
If this was 15 May 1915, we could all be attending the Illinois State Medical Society's annual meeting at the Masonic Temple in Springfield, Illinois.And if we went to booth 18, we could've bought some fine, newish radium-based products that would be enjoyed drinking or bathing in. And all for the cause of human progress, the radium-based nonsense promised cures for all sorts of ills: rheumatism, dandruff, dull teeth, gout, sexual problems, general malaise, and on and on…
Many of these companies employed the real stuff, affecting thousands of people, radium-based cure-alls being ingested, injected, applied and bathed-in. For example, there were numerous companies distributing 'radium water" (such as "Radithor" by William J.A. Bailey's company), radium suppositories ("in a cocoa butter base"), toothpaste ("Doramad", distributed by Doramad Radioaktive Zohncreme during WWII, to Germans), cosmetics ("Tho-Radia"), and many different varieties of radium-enriched healing belts (to be worn or slept on). There were plenty of other products that used the "radium" name but didn't actually use the substance itself, further selling the idea of its usefulness on the individual level. There was radium beer, nail clippers, starch, cigars, polish, headache tablets, razor blades, butter and of course, condoms.