Old Timey Health Info

consumer health cover

Consumer Health

I snagged this little book from a public library and it is still in circulation as of this writing. It covers basics of medical services, treatment costs, and some basic consumer information about hospitals and insurance. It doesn’t look like a textbook, but it sure reads like one. Also the cover is less than interesting, which adds to the textbook feel. There are many passages about costs and treatments that no longer apply.

This book was probably one of the projects out of the consumer activism of the 1960s and 1970s. Ralph Nader was one of the big players during this time with his book Unsafe at any speed which targeted auto safety.

It is an interesting slice of consumer health history, but it has no business on a public library shelf in 2022. Besides, this book looked pretty beat up. I think we can safely send it to the big discard dumpster in the sky.

Stay healthy,



choosing medical services

decisions before going to the hospital

health products

eye ware and pills



  1. But I like the cover! What’s not to like about a naked man wrestling a lion, for only 69 cents? Or so it appears to offer…

  2. I thought “I’ve never heard of phenacitin”, and that’s because it was banned in Canada in 1973 and the US in 1983.

    It metabolizes to acetaminophen most of the time, except when it doesn’t and causes cancer and kidney failure or destroys your red blood cells. It might have killed Howard Hughes by destroying his kidneys; he genuinely suffered from chronic pain, so he took it along with everything else.

    This book should have been weeded about the time Howard died. It’s literally worse than having nothing, except the sections on quacks remain sadly relevant.

    1. Similarly the reference to “children’s aspirin” – banned for under 12s in 1986 and for under 16s in 2002 (in the UK, I don’t know the rates for the US).
      Absolutely agree about the quackery remaining depressingly relevant.

    2. Similarly the reference to “children’s aspirin” – banned for under 12s in 1986 and for under 16s in 2002 (in the UK, I don’t know the dates for the US).
      Absolutely agree about the quackery remaining depressingly relevant.

  3. It took me awhile to figure out what the guy on the cover was fighting (think it’s a lion). The attached slogan appears to be incomplete: “Vin Vitae gives strength and health”. They left out “… and renders clothing unnecessary”.

    1. This is a depiction of Hercules carrying out his first Labor — to battle the Nemean Lion.

  4. I’m curious if it’s been checked out at all in the last 30 years.

  5. I find the vintage quack doctor ad on the cover to be *very* interesting. Apparently drinking the “wine of life” will make you strong enough to fight lions while completely naked. If I ever have to fight a lion, I’ll do it with my clothes on, thank you very much. 🙂

    1. And it’s a weird thing to put on the cover of a book in 1971. It looks like a book about olde-tymey patent remedies, not a then-up to date book about serious medicine.

  6. It’s an interesting comment on what used to be called “classical education” that an old-timey advertiser assumed that their audience would readily recognize a depiction of Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion, and its association with Strength, while a modern audience that reads a library blog seems to include a lot of people mystified about “fighting a lion naked.” Stodgier folks than me would see it as a negative, but I’d like to think it means that the space that used to be taken up with that is now devoted to the history of Juneteenth or something arguably more relevant that I didn’t learn at school.

    1. And less stodgier folks might point out that the commentary on this blog is often full of sarcasm, which doesn’t mean people don’t recognize classical imagery.

    2. I know after this mighty deed, Hercules wore the lion’s skin, but I really hope he had a tunic or at least a loincloth rather than just wandering naked around Greece taking on deadly animals and flashing the Greek ladies.

      1. Well whatever he wore, ancient Greek artists — and their Renaissance and neoclassical imitators — were going to show him naked or mostly naked anyway. It was standard convention to depict heroes in the buff with well-formed bodies. (And with somewhat small genitals, since big ones were associated with a lack of restraint in that area, e.g. satyrs.)

        And yah, that does seem like an odd thing to put on a textbook that’s not about old-time patent medicines and such.

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