Is anyone today using Listerine as a cure for gonorrhea? With maybe one or two bizarre exceptions, the answer is no. But in the 19th century, the odds would have been much higher.
When it was originally marketed over 100 years ago, Listerine was sold as a treatment for gonorrhea, as a floor cleaner and as a powerful antiseptic, according to the best-selling book "Freakonomics." Those uses may be a bit surprising, considering the product is today used for dental hygiene.
Listerine is not alone. Other products were once used for purposes other than those we use them for today. Coca-Cola was originally said to provide a cure for morphine addiction, impotence and headaches, and LSD was sold as a tool for psychoanalysis and personal growth.
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned: Sometimes, it takes a few tries to get a product's purpose just right.
Below are some products and discoveries that were once marketed as something else:
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