1. Poisonous cigarettes (to cure asthma).
In case the idea of smoking to cure asthma wasn’t crazy enough, the active ingredients are Stramonium, also known as Datura, the most awful drug in the world, and Belladonna, also known as Deadly Nightshade. Yes, that Deadly Nightshade.
5. A corset, surging with electricity.
The “very thing” for ladies, apparently. What’s great about this particular advert is that it doesn’t explain how adding electricity to an item of clothing actually helped. This glaring problem was actually never explained and the product was later revealed to be a scam.
7. A machine gun, for kids.
When I was a kid, we usually made do with making that ‘RATATATAT’ sound when playing soldiers. Apparently the kids of the 50s were allowed this magazine-fed automatic pellet machine gun that ‘develops deadly target skill’. I somehow doubt that this could be sold today.
8. Perversion glasses.
Ah, pervy old X-ray Specs. Not that they ever worked - either to see through clothes or through to people’s bones (this advert weirdly seems to imply that they do both). What it doesn’t say is how dangerous it would be to wear a radiation source as spectacles.
9. Radioactive face cream.
It really makes you glow. Unlike X-Ray Specs, these products really did have a highly radioactive source in them - radium. Before the deadly effects of radium were discovered, it was hailed as a miracle cure and was added to almost everything, including beauty products like this.
14. Kidnapping-simulation tool.
Nothing wrong with ventriloquism, but there’s something sinister about this. Besides having some nondescript ‘instrument’ lodged in your mouth, this ad seems to indicate that the most fun you can have throwing your voice is pretending that people are trapped inside trunks.