Author Archives: Colin Garon

Colin is a current PhD candidate in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan.
A table titled "Identifying Marks of Real and Fake Salvarsan," with four columns titled "Tomasses' Product," "Clements' Product (Lot A)," "Clement's Product (Lot B)," and "The Genuine." Entries in the table are marked as 'packing,' 'tubes,' 'contents of tube,' 'label on tube,' 'serial number,' 'insert circular,' 'ampule,' 'label on ampule,' 'contents of ampule,' and 'chemical analysis.'

Fake, Real, Real, Fake: Salvarsan on the US Medical Market

1913, Chicago: A reporter, assuming the name Edward Donlin, enters a downtown medical establishment that has advertised widely in Midwestern newspapers offering Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s new miraculous cure for ‘blood poison’—syphilis—for a price. ‘Donlin’ pays $2 in fees, then the consultation begins. He feigns concern about recent hair loss, and the doctor (who, matching the picture in advertisements, wears a Van Dyke beard) laughs strangely then turns grave: it is certainly syphilis. He recommends a Wassermann test, a recently-invented syphilis diagnostic, for $20 and Ehrlich’s Salvarsan for $30. Pleading financial difficulty, the reporter holds him off with a $2 down-payment and departs. (read more...)