Demons and the Grim Reaper, starring as ailments in this nineteenth century ad.
This large public domain advertisement is from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. The ad consists of two parts, an upper and lower frame.
In the uppermost frame, a man is being tormented by a hoard of angry devils, which represent the ailments: headache, toothache, nausea, and others. The man is clearly not well, and the Grim Reaper is looking over his shoulder from the background.
In the second frame, we see the same man after taking a swig of Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator. The devils are swept away and the subject appears to be basking in a heavenly glow.
One might assume that the heavenly glow is the result of a strong dose of opiates, or cocaine, as these were common ingredients in over-the-counter medications at that time.
This advertisement image was published in 1863. This pre-1923 publication date insures that this image is in the public domain.
4 megabyte TIFF. Hosted at the Library of Congress.