6 beauty products for women from the 1913 Eaton’s catalogue

Just 50 cents for a freckle remover that may contain bleach and mercury



1. Lewis’ Rum and Quinine hair tonic: The catalogue says this tonic will “promote the growth of the hair and prevent it from falling” and will “renew the vitality of the hair.” What they don’t mention is whether the main ingredient—pure rum—will leave your hair sticky. Four-ounce bottle, 25 cents

2. Parisian ivory hair brush: Made of finely carved elephant tusks, this brush boasts “15 rows of long bristles, extra-large brush, finest quality.” $4

3. Madam Helene’s freckle cream: While the catalogue simply says this cream is “for the removal of freckles,” common ingredients for freckle creams at the time included bleach and mercury. 50 cents

4. The Ladies’ Comfort: A rubber serviette which, when attached to a “truss” (a belt that goes around the waist and between the legs) “conforms to the shape of the female body” and is paired with a pack of absorbent cotton. $1.25

5. Vaux’s scalp sprayer: This elaborate tool looks a bit like an elegant comb attached to a syringe. The catalogue boasts that it “applies hair tonic directly to the roots of the hair. Avoids waste, makes every drop count.” 75 cents

6. Female rubber urinal: The diagram of elaborate rubber tubes, with a wide maxi-pad-shaped cup at the top, had no accompanying description in the catalogue, besides the words “no exchanges.” $3


Originally published in Maclean’s Book of Lists, Volume 2 (2013)