Friday, April 9, 2010

Saraka Round the Clock

So many questions...

Why are they all talking about constipation at the 1939 World's Fair? Well, because Saraka happened to have an Exhibit in the Hall of Pharmacy, that's why (it pays off to check around in Google, all right - you learn all sorts of weird things you never dreamed you'd know when you woke up in the morning).

However: if constipation is due to lack of exercise and the kind of things you eat - um, why not exercise and eat things with fiber in them? Just a thought.

In what "unusual way" does Saraka work? All we know is that it "E-X-P-A-N-D-S 17 times" inside a person. Seventeen times! That is just plain scary. You'll never find a bowl of bran flakes doing anything weird like that! And see how happy bran flakes make a person? Check it out, then come on back and look at the expressions on these folks' faces! Not so happy with the Saraka Experiment, are they?

However, at least there are no "sharp seeds or scratchy particles" in it. Take that, Bran Flakes! And best of all? It gives you "intestinal exercise." And you won't even have to get up and walk around the World's Fair or anything.

The House of Saraka, by the way, was a noble family from Dubrovnik. I am not sure if they have any connection with this amazing "modern diet aid," though.

And here's a fun science fact: in 1940 the American Journal of Digestive Diseases published a paper about how Saraka, a "gum laxative" (which sounds, does it not, like an oxymoron), actually managed to make some people more constipated. That Bran Flake guy could have told us that, I'm sure.

There are many amazing Saraka ads over at the Gallery of Graphic Design - I see some follow-up posts in the future, possibly in verse form (because it is just that inspiring!). And there is a lovely photo of a yellow Saraka tin with some of its friends here at Flickr.

[Giant version right over here; it's from Life, February 6, 1940.]

12 comments:

Barbara said...

It expands to 17x its size? Whoa Nellie, no thank you! Yipes!

Bossy Betty said...

What if I want scratchy seeds and particles?

Eric said...

17 fold? That sounds more effective than the usual 4 pots of coffee and a 300 ft bungee jump.

Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

My God, could that nurse look more condescending?!

Tori Lennox said...

I don't think anything should expand 17 times like that. Scary!

Mimi said...

They couldn't get 2 more constipated people and make it an even 220,000? Come on.

Amanda said...

Several things cross my mind looking at this ad: 17 times expansion is very scary. 218,00 people, really? And why on Earth should it cause "gripping pains" or have "scratchy particles"? Is it ripping up your intestines or is it made of thorns and briars? Sounds really scary! I think I'll just stay away.

Amy said...

Why did they talk to that many people about constipation? Was it a widely discussed topic? can't see many discussion it now in today.

Harsha said...

Hi! i am now your new follower.

JD at I Do Things said...

"Saraka supplies this bulk in an unusual way."

Uh, no thanks, scary nurse. I'll take my bulk in ordinary and aboveboard ways, thanks. Yes, even with seeds and scratchy particles. It's the very scratchiness that makes the bulking agents work!

Also the "17 times" confuses and scares me. Do you feel it happening? Are you like, "OK, that was number 14. 3 more to go!" And what does it even MEAN?

I think I'll take a pass.

Lidian said...

Barbara - No thanks indeed.

Bossy Betty - Yeah, what if we like them? How do they know?

Eric - But not quite as much fun, of course.

Heather - No, she couldn't. She has been practicing!

Tori - Not unless it is something in a horror movie about to eat some metropolis (in which case, of course, it might need Saraka...)

Mimi - It must have been a slow day at the World's Fair!

Amy - It really was a top topic from the Victorian period on - there are tons of these ads, and the people in them generally look miserable (except for that Bran Flakes guy)

Harsha - Hi, thank you and welcome!

JD - Yes, I wonder how they know it was exactly 17? (On second thought, I don't really want to know)

Bill said...

The fellow who inquires about cost seems to have stolen at least one eyebrow from Joan Crawford.