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Early Days Heyday of the Patent Medicine Almanac Almanacs at NLM Credits
Banner for Time, Tide, and Tonics: The Patent Medicine Almanac in America written in green letters

Introduction

The first almanacs consisted of a astrological calendar, showing the days on which therapeutic blood-letting should not be performed. By the eighteenth century they often included brief articles of health advice. In the early nineteenth century, pharmaceutical manufacturers began to buy advertising space in these popular and widely circulated publications. In 1843, C.C. Bristol of Buffalo, N.Y., brought out its own almanac to advertise Extract of Sarsaparilla. This precipitated a flood of almanacs published by pharamceutical companies. By the late nineteenth century, they had evolved into colorful and heavily illustrated works, displaying catchy and clever cover art.

Almanacs, first produced in the middle ages for their astrological information, were, in the nineteenth century, adopted by patent medicine manufacturers to advertise their wares. By the end of the century they had evolved into colorful and heavily illustrated works, displaying catchy and clever cover art.