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Wright's coal tar vapourisers

(81 Posts)
PRINTMISS Sat 09-Feb-13 07:51:12

Does anyone remember these - I have a terrible cough/cold at the moment, and sorted mine out from about 50 years ago! Had it when the children were small at the advice of the doctor, and they work a treat, although you cannot get them now, I believe. Anyway mine was out again last night a bit the worse for wear, but had a great night's sleep. They are 'lamps' rather like a miner's lamp. Round, about 8 inches high, with a hole in the base for a night light - an oval hole in the side, and on the top a container with a hole at the top for a block which soaks up Wrights coal tar vapour, the night light warms this up, and the vapour is really soothing. I think 'elfnsafety might have something to do with not being able to get them any more. I will not be able to use mine after this time, as we have now run out of fluid.

glassortwo Sat 09-Feb-13 07:55:48

Print goodmorning smile I had one when DS had whopping cough, then various episodes of croup etc, he still suffers with his chest to this day, it was used alot but a friend borrowed it and I never got it back. sad

absent Sat 09-Feb-13 08:15:39

I'm not sure about Wright's coal tar, but a huge range of vapourisers , including Vicks, is available. Thry are now safer and no longer use a nightlight – who wants the bedroom curtains going up in flames at three o'clock in the morning?

Gally Sat 09-Feb-13 08:22:43

I had one of those. I used it when the children had croup. It had a lovely smell! The late MrG's mother used to take him to inhale the tar vapours at roadworks when he had a cold - poor child! shock He should have been tucked up in bed.

JessM Sat 09-Feb-13 08:29:28

Good lord! Lets think about that for a moment. Coal tar is a chemical product made from coal. So why would you want to inhale this stuff? I just looked it up and it can be incorporated into skin preparations. But inhaling?
There were a lot of patent medicines on the market that were harmful or downright dangerous. Maybe this was one of them?

glammanana Sat 09-Feb-13 08:31:48

gally I remember our dad taking us out when the steamroller was laying the tar as my brother always suffered with a bad chest we wpold all be put into the big pram and pushed around the streets inhaling the fumes.

vampirequeen Sat 09-Feb-13 08:38:34

It's a shame they no longer exist. I remember having them lit in my bedroom when i was small.

Coal tar has the lovliest smell.

shysal Sat 09-Feb-13 09:07:51

The vapourizer worked a treat, but the house would smell for days afterwards. I used to use the Wright's Coal Tar soap, which I see is still available, it smelt so clean! I use Dove bar now, kinder to the skin.

JessM Sat 09-Feb-13 09:14:16

Tar inhalation. More madness from time gone by. Remember this was in the era where your parents were fully convinced that cigarettes were really good for you because they helped you clear your chest!
(is it coal tar that goes into Jeyes Fluid? I used to wash the back yard down with that when I had dogs. Is that the smell?)

Nelliemoser Sat 09-Feb-13 09:29:16

Yes I had one for the kids when they were small with colds and seemed to work with the odd croup outbreak. I liked the smell. But it clung to the soft furnishings.

I was told children with whooping cough would be taken down to the town gasworks to sniff the coal tar left by the gas production process.

Greatnan Sat 09-Feb-13 09:30:38

Coal tar is still used in shampoos and seems to be effective. It is the active ingredient in some high-priced products.

Marelli Sat 09-Feb-13 09:39:43

DH and his pals were small they used to stand around watching the tar being laid then pick bits off the road and chew it shock!

annodomini Sat 09-Feb-13 09:46:59

I always liked the smell of tar when the steam rollers were on the job. We used to live across a field from the gas works, but when we had whooping cough nobody suggested taking us over there. I used the vaporisers when the boys were chesty or croupy, but I think they changed the formula later and it didn't smell so tarry.

PRINTMISS Sat 09-Feb-13 09:58:07

It does make the place smell, I must agree, but I think that is worth it for the comfort it gives. As for setting the curtains alight, just do not put it where it is likely to do that, and I do stand mine in a bowl of water on a metal plate, well away from anything flammable. Each to his own of course, and there is so much other stuff flying around in the atmosphere, no one knows what we are inhaling.

Greatnan Sat 09-Feb-13 09:58:52

We used to pop the bubbles with a stick - a forerunner of bubble wrap? I still love the smell of hot tar.

Marelli Sat 09-Feb-13 10:08:35

I love the smell of tar when they are mending the roads - and can anyone remember getting it on their white ankle socks when it melted on a hot summer's day? My mother used to try to remove it with doubt while smoking her cigarette - she never seemed to be without one shock.

vampirequeen Sat 09-Feb-13 10:10:49

I use a coal tar shampoo when I have eczema on my scalp. It's wonderfully soothing and leaves my hair so soft.

Marelli Sat 09-Feb-13 10:17:06

I use one of those shampoos as well, vampirequeen. Doesn't eradicate it, but I'm sure it helps a bit!

annodomini Sat 09-Feb-13 10:48:52

My mother used to make me shampoo with that when I had awful dandruff as a teenager. It didn't work, but then nothing did. Time and maturity were the cure. Teenage hormones were probably the cause.

harrigran Sat 09-Feb-13 10:51:43

Children with whooping cough were all taken to sniff the tar fumes when the road menders were busy. Modern mothers would not go there, they would be at the doctor's getting drugs. We were taught to use these methods of easing croup and it was common to see very large steaming kettles, inside a blanket tent, while a baby was being treated. We used to use the Friars balsam inhalers too, now that did leave a horrible sticky mess.

Sook Sat 09-Feb-13 11:29:55

I was eight years old with just a couple of weeks to go before I fulfilled my dream to be a bridesmaid, when I fell over and scraped my forehead badly. After the wound was cleansed and all the grit removed, my mum gently lathered a bar of Wrights coal tar soap and rubbed it across the wound, this was repeated twice daily until a huge brown scab appeared, It fell off in one piece just days before the wedding leaving clean pink skin below. At the age of fifty eight I don't have any noticeable lines on my forehead either.

I was always taken to sniff the tar when roads were being mended to keep chesty coughs at bay.

Friars Balsam was always used to clear nasal passages and it worked a treat. I tried to buy some last year but it was unavailable locally.

nanapug Sat 09-Feb-13 12:14:43

Gosh, those vaporisers saw my children through many a snotty night. Wonderful things. That brought back a memory xx

TwiceAsNice Sat 09-Feb-13 13:26:12

That was a blast from the past! I always used one for my oldest daughter who is now 37. I remember it would throw a shadow on the wall and sometimes she would wake up in the night and it would scare her but it worked a great. She uses a different one for my 3 year old GD but it doesn't,t seem so effective to me. It also helped my second child,s croup.

Galen Sat 09-Feb-13 13:46:17

Bad chest? Take walk round the gasworks in westbromwich

JessM Sat 09-Feb-13 14:24:40

Harrigran - steam good, hydrocarbons bad. And don't diss the drugs. If my father had had "drugs" i.e. antibiotics for his rheumatic fever when he was a child he would not have died at 34!