INFLUENZA EPIDEMICS WERE NOT CONFINED TO HUMANS, and of course, horse influenza created its own ephemera. There had been outbreaks reported in newspapers in different parts of the country at different times – Victoria in 1890-91, New South Wales 1893 and 1896. The death rate amongst effected stock was about 5%.
This later 1908 pamphlet of 8 pages details the history of the disease (annual outbreaks), symptoms (mostly accompanied by a cough), complications, nursing and prevention of spread. The 1908 outbreak appears to be extensive and newspaper reports are found in city and country newspapers for Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
The writer advises:
As a homely and readily available remedy, three ounces of whisky four times a day, with one drachm of extract of quinine in it twice a day, may be given……………
However the progress of science (and commerce) is later acknowledged:
An Influenza Anitoxin is prepared by Messrs. Parke, Davis, and Co., for use as a preventative and cuative agent…Certain of the practising veterinary surgeons in Melbourne have already adopted this scientific method of sunjugating the disease amongst valuable patients……….
The importance and love for the horse is represented in these concluding remarks:
Nurse him, coddle him, bandage is legs, keep him warm, groom him frequently with straw wisps or woolen cloths, and keep up his strength by nutritious feeding.
How or why did collector Andrew H go beyond his collecting parameters of human health and illness?
To answer your question, the Horse Cough Paste tin was the result of an unexpected bonus when I purchased several items as a job lot at a collectables’ auction in the late 1980s, probably just before the Ephemera Society kicked off. The lot in question consisted of several old tins of throat lozenges and the like, from old chemist shop stock. The Horse Cough Paste was manufactured by Hood & Co, dispensing chemists, of Elizabeth Street Melbourne. The business had been in the same premises since at least the 1870s, until it’s closure in about 1984, at which time some of these items came onto the market.
This product seems to have been on the market between 1917 and 1940. There was an earlier New South Welsh supplier of a like product – Pott’s. Given the frequent advertising giving way to nothing, it looks like cough paste was superseded. (Once again comments based on a Trove newspaper search, so the date range provided more accurately reflects when the product was advertised rather than available.)
Dr Geoff Crawford says
Fascinating stuff about horse influenza. They were able to identify the disease before the causative organism was identified. Viruses were not identified as entities until the early 1900s and not visualised until the development of the electron microscope. It is interesting that they said they developed an “antitoxin” for EI. Viruses do not produce toxins so I wonder what it was.
I would love to speak to you more about your collecting.