By Anupum Pant
Advertisements in the past were far more dishonest than the ones we come across these days. By promoting quack applications and building a multi-million dollar empire in those days, businesses were far ahead of today’s corporations in terms of dishonesty.
Read about Radioactive batteries here. [Link]
One such advertisement by a German company under the brand name of Doramad, till the year 1945, was able to convince thousands of people to shell their money on a specially formulated toothpaste that contained a little amount of Thorium – a naturally occurring radioactive element. The toothpaste sold for astronomical prices and brought in big money to businesses and individuals. It claimed that the radioactive element present in the toothpaste would bring the users great health benefits and would make their teeth shine brighter.
After it was certain that Germany would lose the war, a German company the Auer Company rerouted thorium from the Nazi atomic program in the year 1944. Thus, the company saw a future for nuclear materials in cosmetics and created Doramad toothpaste.
The Doramud brochure came with information like this:
Its radioactivity increases the defenses of teeth and gums. The cells are loaded with new life energy, the bacteria are hindered in their destroying effect. This explains the excellent prophylaxis and healing process with gingival diseases. It gently polishes the dental enamel so it turns white and shiny. Prevents dental calculus. Wonderful lather and a new, pleasant, mild and refreshing taste. Can be applied sparingly. – [SadAndUseless]
Another man by the name of Alfred Curie sold a similar toothpaste that contained both Thorium and Radium. This person was in no way related to Marie Curie, yet he did not leave the chance of making a big buck using that name.
More than just Radioactive Toothpaste
It did not stop there. Alfred also managed to make his other radioactive cosmetic products extremely popular among the common people. He sold cremes, powders and lip-sticks under the brand name of Tho-Radia. These cosmetics claimed that they would transform your dull skin into an extremely healthy rejuvenated skin.
During those times when the science behind radioactivity was still being studied by the famous scientists like Rutherford and Marie Curie, radioactivity was not well understood by the common people. Random people claimed that Radium was the cure for everything and made a lot of money out of this propaganda. In fact, even in newspapers one could find seriously mis-informed headlines like –
Radium Makes Blind Girl See
Who knows, people in the future might find the ads we see today, as shocking…