Dr. Hoffman’s Red Drops

One of the things I love about certain neighborhoods here is that you can still see some really old advertisements on the sides of buildings. (What I’d like to know is what the heck paint did they use that lasts for a hundred years?!) This is a favorite of mine:

Vintage Advertisement on the side of an old building in Soulard, St. Louis, MO

What the heck were Dr. Hoffman’s Red Drops, you say? Well, so did I say… Read on…

I was sure I wasn’t the only person curious about this sign. So, I directed my fingers to the trusty Google and, sure enough, there were several hits about this sign. Turns out, this ad may date all the way back to the 1880s. The third line of advertisement claims it will cure “Colic, Cramps, and Cholera Morbus,” with the fourth line giving a further guarantee that the amazing drops are also the “World’s Greatest Diarrhea Cure.” LOL

Since we know these buildings date from the 1870s and that the last outbreak of cholera in St. Louis was in 1866, it’s reasonable to surmise that the vintage ad dates from at least the 1880s, when cholera was still fresh in people’s minds.

Today, there are no more Dr. Hoffman’s Red Drops. That’s probably OK. But, man, that paint, though. Whatever that stuff is, it did it’s job really well!

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