Curing hernias and masturbation: an extremely rare medical prospectus, ca. 1825

Curing hernias and masturbation: an extremely rare medical prospectus, ca. 1825

Godefroy & Co. Prospectus, of Beschrijving van de elastieke mechanieke lies-, dij- en navel-breukbanden, zonder riemen [...] gefabriceerd door de h.h. Salmon, Ody, Hart en co. te Londen [...]. [Amsterdam], [ca. 1825]. 8vo. 32 pp. With one full-page woodcut showing two trusses. Self wrappers, stab-stitched. Untrimmed, but in poor condition, with the leaves frayed and (water)stained.


Extremely rare prospectus of Godefroy & Co., describing a variety of trusses to help cure hernias.


It details the causes of hernias and describes in full detail the trusses (with price lists) that the firm offers to cure them. Interestingly, the prospectus also includes a remarkable description of a chastity belt ("corset de sureté contre l'Onanisme") for school children (boys?), who all too often show the signs of physical decline as a result of masturbation, as the prospectus notes. The anonymous author links masturbation to a wide range of ailments including deafness, hollow eyes, muteness, heart palpitations, physical weakness, and even "dying a long and miserable death".


Godefroy & Co. was an Amsterdam based firm producing (and apparently also wholesaling) trusses. The company was located at 129 Warmoestraat, Amsterdam, with a branch in Brussels.


WorldCat lists a single copy only (in the University Library Amsterdam); cf. De atlas: Amsterdamsche zondags-kronijk, no. 24, 17 july, 1831, c. 16.

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