Over-the-Counter Poison?!


Poison. Its not quite something we see so directly out there besides the obvious products that help control pests like rats and mice.

In the Victorian Era, however, Poison was sold over-the-counter for various uses. Arsenic, being the more widely used and sought after was used with washing and as an aid to help women improve their complexions. Check out this newspaper clipping from back in the day to see just how widely they were marketed and pushed.


Two other popular poisons during this time were Cyanide which was in just about everything including your wallpaper and Strychnine, which was used primarily in pest control products.

It is not a surprise that people didn’t live very long back then besides the obvious reasons like TB. I would like to say that maybe all these toxic products played a roll in that.

Some of the immediate side-effects of digesting Arsenic include vomiting, diarrhea to possible death depending on the amount. Symptoms of poisoning by Cyanide and Strychnine include frothing at the mouth, muscle spasms, asphyxiation, convulsions, cardiac arrest and even instant death. With that being said these products fueled the 19th Century Murder Era.