Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Antikamnia Chemical Company

medical calendar

Antikamnia calendar 1900 - french

Antikamnia medical calendar 1900

Antikamnia calendar 1900 - francais

calendar Antikamnia 1900

Antikamnia 1900

Antikamnia calendar 1900 rear cover

Antikamnia chemical company stamp

1897 antikamnia calendar january/february

antikamnia medical calendar 1897

1899 antikamnia medical calendar

1899 medical calendar - dance of death by Louis Clusius

antikamnia tablets - doctor's pocketbook

antikamnia tablets

After beginning his working life as a printer's apprentice, Louis Crucius (or Crusius) completed the necessary requirements to graduate as a pharmacist in 1882 and a doctor in 1890 in St Louis, Missouri. While he was studying he worked in a pharmacy and made humorous sketches that were placed in the window of the store. A collection of these drawings was published in 1893 ('Funny Bones'). He lectured in histology and anatomy and eventually came to be a Professor of Anatomy but died in 1898 from kidney tumours.

Although he gave most of his drawings away, Crucius sold a number of them to the Antikamnia ('opposed to pain') Chemical Company which had been established in St Louis in 1890. They produced antikamnia medicines containing the coal tar derivative, acetanilid, an anti-fever drug with pain relieving properties somewhat related to paracetamol, but which would be later shown to be a toxic compound not to mention addictive. Antikamnia was mixed with substances like codeine and quinine to enhance the pain relieving effects.

30 of the Crucius 'dance of death'-inspired drawings were used to make 5 years worth of Antikamnia Chemical Company calendars - between 1897 and 1901. They had a fairly aggressive marketing campaign in which the calendars (aimed at the medical fraternity) as well as postcards and sample packs were distributed to doctors in the United States and overseas.


bioephemera said...

Oh, wonderful!!

Unknown said...

I'd just like to say this blog is BRILLIANT, and I found you through Scribal Terror (Gail). Beautiful stuff!

B said...

So wonderful, so warped.

Unknown said...

Thanks for making such a great blog, I really love it.

By the way, sorry for asking lame questions but... I'm trying to find the RSS link, to add it to my netvibes page, but I can't find it. Can someone help me, please?, thanks.

peacay said...

Cheers. I neglected to mention how I found this. Someone emailed from a venerable nameless institution and I googled their name. And then I hit 'images'. One of these twisted little memento mori illustrations was staring back at me. How could I not take it home with me?

Hans, you'd be looking for this..

Unknown said...

pk, thank you very much!

Karla said...

These were so weird that even my mother (who does not really go for weird things) was intrigued.

Anna MR said...

pk, I have tagged you with the Thinking Blogger award. Hopefully there'll be a badge to follow. your site has blown my mind for a year now. Thank you.

M32 said...

Great, excellent, etc. Congrats on BoingBoing mention!

danielthomas said...

hey, where do you find these images? very interesting!

Marco Siegel-Acevedo said...

I have been logging on to BibliOdyssey for some time now, and I have to tell you, peacay, what a pleasure it is to drop in. It's like having a magic curio shop/gallery on the corner. You never know what you'll find.

Marco Siegel-Acevedo said...

PS I've posted some scans from one of Lynd Ward's "novels in woodcuts" at my site Hokum in a sort of homage (to Ward and to BibliOdyssey!) Snag 'em if you like.

Marco Siegel-Acevedo said...

I wonder how using memento mori in promotional material would fare in test-marketing these days...

On second thought, I seem to remember a recent ad campaign from an outdoor sports company using skeletons in the wild wearing their indestructible gear, e.g. disgorged from a shark or left on the slopes of a mountain.

Nina said...

I love your blog! Do you mind if I link you?

Nina said...

I think your pretentious hat really goes with your eyes.

peacay said...

Thanks Marco!

Narnia, people playing along at home will find your 2nd comment a bit odd. Heh. The wonders of crossposting. My eyes are actually on the internet. As is one of my hats. But a link would require a personal (as opposed to public) request.

Sakthi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Very nice, peacay!

Just thought I'd let you know this post got referenced in the Morbid Fact Du Jour for 7/20/07, which will probably be archived here:

"Angela sends a link to some EXCELLENT morbid artwork from the turn-of-the-century. I'd KILL for an original of one of these - wouldn't you?"

Unknown said...

Wow, thanks for sharing these. I've made a post linking to yours, just so you know.

Ratna said...

I'm researching "death" as it is used in advertising. Does anyone know of any such use besides The Antikamnia Chemical Company?


peacay said...

Ratna, my initial thoughts would be to find an encylopedia of advertising and also to contact some sort of funeral society/agency/organisation.

I think otherwise you could cruise advertising history websites because the symbol of death - eg. grim reaper - has been used extensively, particularly in the 20th century such as for AIDS campaigns and the like (but of course goes way back). For some of these repositories you could check here under publications but that would by no means be comprehensive.

I guess I'd also try a bunch of search strings at somewhere like NYPL.

wustl said...

Fascinating from the perspective of an archivist. Washington University in St. Louis Department of Special Collections did an exhibit last year for Halloween with all sorts of creepy woodcuts, lithographs, books, and more. Wish we'd had some of these in our collection, especially with the St. Louis connection. They would have fit perfect!

Post a Comment

Comments are all moderated so don't waste your time spamming: they will never show up.

If you include ANY links that aren't pertinent to the blog post or discussion they will be deleted and a rash will break out in your underwear.

Also: please play the ball and not the person.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Creative Commons License