Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Ghost signs (102): Marshall's Lysol

On my way to the ghost signs walk around Stoke Newington, I jumped off the bus early to photograph this advertisement for Marshall's Lysol. It reads 'Ask for Marshall's chemists brand Lysol. [It's the?] genuine'. Unfortunately, the sign is partly obscured by a vinyl advertisement for a minicab company - itself somewhat vintage, judging by the '01' telephone code.


Lysol is a brand of disinfectant, and Marshall's seem to have marketed under the name 'Marshol' as well as Marshall's Lysol. The Lysol brand was founded in Germany in 1889 but soon gained worldwide popularity. It was so toxic that drinking Lysol was a not-uncommon method of committing suicide - London poet Charlotte Mew killed herself this way in 1928 - and was advertised in the United States as a (dangerous, ineffective) method of birth control. Lysol remains a major brand in the USA, now owned by Reckitt Benckiser. 



5 comments:

Sam Roberts said...

One night I'll have enough beer in my to rip off the taxi cab sign to come back the next day and get a photo of the sign in its entirety...

Philip Wilkinson said...

Lysol has a grisly literary history. In T S Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes, Sweeney tells of a murderer who kept his victim 'With a gallon of lysol in a bath'. Gruesome stuff, but it's a good sign.

CarolineLD said...

Oh, more gruesomeness! It's a wonder that the brand survived, really.

Sam, it's so tempting!

Stephen Barker said...

How perfect all this gruesomeness is for Halloween!

Ralph Hancock said...

In Sweeney Agonistes (published in 1932, but begun in 1918) Eliot seems to be referring to the 'Brides in the Bath' murders committed by George Joseph Smith in 1915.