Samuel Solomon (1745—1819): quack or entrepreneur?

Dr Samuel Solomon’s name is unlikely to have any particular significance for most people today. Even in Liverpool, where he gained fame and fortune, very few would be capable of identifying him.1 Some Liverpool Jews, having heard their parents or grandparents refer admiringly to ‘Dr Cowan’ or ‘Dr Lowenthal’, might imagine him to have been a devoted physician who treated the sick, perhaps without charge, in the early decades of the twentieth century. Yet Samuel Solomon was neither a general practi? tioner nor a communal worthy. He made his name over 200 years ago on the strength of patent medicines that he devised and marketed with brilliant advertising and vast commercial success.2

Although it is generally assumed that the facts regarding Solomon’s life and career are too well known to require further investigation, references to him in many books show gaps and inconsistencies even about when and where he was

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