Not to be outdone by Ty Cobb, Harry Hooper and Joe Jackson who also endorsed the new “miracle drug” from DAE Health Laboratories in Detroit in 1916, Napoleon Lajoie took his turn in an advertisement for Nuxated Iron.
Napoleon Lajoie–World’s Greatest Veteran Baseball Player–‘Comes Back’ says Nuxated Iron Has Given him Tremendous New Force, Power and Endurance After 23 Years’ Service He Can Now Go Through The Hardest Game Without Fatigue–Physicians’s Opinion
Lajoie’s testimonial for the product said:
“When a man gets past forty, some people seem to think he is finished, especially where athletics are concerned. But I believe the way I play today proves that the strength, vitality and youthful ginger which are the chief assets of young fellows, can be possessed to just as a great a degree by a man of my age if he keeps his body full of iron. Nuxated Iron has put the ‘pep of youth’ into my whole body.”
Most doctors disagreed with Lajoie’s assessment.
The Journal of the American Medical Association took notice of the Nuxated Iron ad campaign and in October of 1916 had this to say about the “miracle drug:”
“Newspapers whose advertising ethics are still in the formative stage have, for some months past, been singing—at so much a song—the praised of “Nuxated Iron.” The public has been that this nostrum is what makes Ty Cobb, “the greatest baseball batter of all time,” a “winner” and is what helped Jess Willard “to whip Frank Moran” besides being the “untold secret” of Willard’s “great triumph over Jack Johnson.”
All that DAE would say about the ingredients were:
“Formula—The valuable blood, nerve force and tissue building properties of this preparation are due to organic iron in the form of ferrum peptonate in combination with nux vomica (strychnine) phosphoglycerate and other valuable ingredients.
But alas, The AMA Journal was not impressed with the claims made by Nuxated Iron’s endorsements:
“The Journal felt that it owed it to the public to find out just how much iron and nux vomica there were in ‘Nuxated Iron.’ Packages of the nostrum…were subjected to analysis.”
What the analysis found was that the formula that made Ty Cobb a “winner,” offered no health benefits:
“There is only one-twenty-fifth of a grain of iron in each ‘Nuxated Iron’ tablet, while the amount of nux vomica…is practically negligible…In a dollar bottle of ‘Nuxated Iron’ the purchaser gets, according to our analysis, less than 2 ½ grams of iron; in 100 Blaud’s Pills, which can be purchased at any drug store for from 50 to 75 cents, there are 48 grains of iron.”
To sum up their analysis The Journal called the claims made by Nuxated Iron “the sheerest advertising buncombe.”
Cobb was said to have earned as much as $1000 for his endorsement, there is no record of what Lajoie was paid.
Nuxated Iron remained on the market until at least 1921; although by then they had sought a higher power to endorse the product.
Portions of this post appeared in one about the Cobb advertisement for Nuxated Iron, published February 15, 2013.