ornament deprivation by dissipation

recently nursemyra was reading a not very well written but nonetheless interesting book about medical murderers, most of whom seemed to be into poisoning their spouses. one of these dastardly doctors was Edward Pritchard and you can read about him on this blog.

The book claimed he was very proud of his fine beard which he combed and trimmed with pomatum every morning. I’d heard of pomade before but not pomatum, they appear to be similar unguents, but don’t confuse them with the recto rotor unguent  will you?

Pomatum, an unguent, formerly prepared from apples, lard, and rosewater, triturated together to the consistency of an ointment. Pomatums are commonly used to dress the hair; and as many are deprived of that ornament, chiefly by dissipation, mercenary adventurers amuse the public with various preparations, which are sold to the credulous with the specious pretence of rendering the hair long and thick.


Published in: on November 11, 2008 at 8:11 am  Comments (20)  

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Its quite a beard though…

  2. yeah isn’t it? could hide a lot of poison in a beard like that

  3. probably some small rodents as well

  4. Now if only he could have transferred all that luxuriant hair to the top of his head, he would have been something. He seems to have been a nasty man.

  5. he was indeed. his wife and mother in law suffered terribly, the poison he used was antimony.

  6. “…rendering the hair long and thick” Works best if the buyer is also a bit thick.

  7. That’s quite a happy little blog you sent us to Nurse.

  8. One of my favourite films is “Oh, Brother where art thou” – pomade figures a lot ………

  9. At least Dr. Hartley Hawley Crippen used hyoscine on his wife, which I gather was a rather peaceful way to go. Is that case in your book?

    the book was about lesser known murders so Crippen didn’t feature. Can’t remember if any of the others used hyoscine but antimony was used a lot

  10. Isn’t it weird that in all those old black and white portraits the sitter tends to be staring wistfully into the distance. Presumably mulling over their personal grooming / poisoning options…

  11. “Unguent” sent me to the dictionary! Poison, eh? Did the book mention what kind?


  12. Th-th-th-that’s a… a… C-c-combover! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! How terrifying… what a scary bastard…

  13. He lied about his age too …. 40???? No way!!!

  14. apparently he was considered handsome. seriously!

  15. Evidently a man long of beard, short on style.

  16. Big on religion too though I’m not sure how he reconciled that with murder

  17. I don’t want to deprive the ladies of my ornament, that’s for sure.

  18. ah, hell, a quick scoot under the car and get a glob of axle grease… works just as good, as well as covering up those pesky gray hairs!

  19. Religious people, from where I sit, seem to be the most comfortable of any with murder, the more wholesale the better. Cf. The Inquisition

  20. i like to dress my hair in sexy underwear.
    there’s no deprivation or dissipation in that.
    however, it is arguably ornamental.

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