Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Cleopatra's Needle" as a patent medicine ad and as it stands today.

Back when I was running on about obelisks I mentioned that one had been moved to New York's Central Park amid much hoopla.  Hoopla, you say?  Why any public excitement was exploited by the crafty advertisers of 19th century patent medicines and this was no exception.  Behold a trade card from the late 19th century:

Vaseline is of course still being manufactured, one of the very few patent medicines to survive to the modern era.  Here is the same view today....the hieroglyphics do seem to have suffered a bit over the years...
The photo is from whose website is both candid and informative on the subject.  This particular obelisk has had the distinction of being, more or less, swiped twice.  First the Romans moved it from Heliopolis to their main settlement at Alexandria in 12 BC.  Of the diplomacy involved in it moving from Alexandria to New York City in 1879, well, given the current tensions between the US and Egypt perhaps the less said the better.

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