Warner’s Safe Cure: Newspaper Advertisements

It seems that virtually every medium available to H. H. Warner carried his pitch to the patent medicine buying public. In the age the preceded broadcast media, newspapers were the principal way to reach out to the public at large. Fortunately, copies of those newspapers including their advertisements still exist and I have been able to pull out a few of the Warner’s Safe Cure ads that ran from the early 1880’s until into the 1920’s.  As you will see, many of the ads take on a familiar formula and incorporate testimonials that proclaim that Warner’s Safe Cure saved the user from certain death. Although the ads are not limited to Safe Cure, many of them continue the pitch that Warner made when he first introduced his line of Safe Cures – the kidneys are the key to good health.

The above advertisement is the earliest I have found to date. It ran in the Fort Wayne News on June 11, 1880. Notably, it mentions parenthectically “Formerly Dr. Craig’s Kidney Cure”.  Clearly, Warner had not established himself and wanted to ride the coattails of Craig. The ad also lists the early Safe Cures including: Kidney & Liver Cure, Diabetes Cure, Nervine, Bitters and Safe Pills.  With an almost biblical flourish, it says “Read! Save Thyself.”

A close look at the ad reveals that it looks almost amateurish. Most of the print is typeset, but the graphics look almost hand-drawn. Needless to say, it would be a few years before Warner would have a full marketing department at his disposal.

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