The Patent Medicines Industry in Georgian England

Constructing the Market by the Potency of Print

  • Alan Mackintosh

Part of the Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Modern History book series (MBSMH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 1-24
  3. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 25-71
  4. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 73-118
  5. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 119-152
  6. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 153-188
  7. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 189-210
  8. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 211-229
  9. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 231-259
  10. Alan Mackintosh
    Pages 261-274
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 275-320

About this book


In this book, the ownership, distribution and sale of patent medicines across Georgian England are explored for the first time, transforming our understanding of healthcare provision and the use of the printed word in that era. Patent medicines constituted a national industry which was largely popular, reputable and stable, not the visible manifestation of dishonest quackery as described later by doctors and many historians. Much of the distribution, promotion and sale of patent medicines was centrally controlled with directed advertising, specialisation, fixed prices and national procedures, and for the first time we can see the detailed working of a national market for a class of Georgian consumer goods. Furthermore, contemporaries were aware that changes in the consumers’ ‘imagination’ increased the benefits of patent medicines above the effects of their pharmaceutical components. As the imagination was altered by the printed word, print can be considered as an essential ingredient of patent medicines. This book will challenge the assumptions of all those interested in the medical, business or print history of the period.


Medical market Drugs Consumer goods Print history Marketing Advertising Health Mountebanks Booksellers

Authors and affiliations

  • Alan Mackintosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of LeedsLeedsUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-69777-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-69778-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site