The Gray Specter of Infection

I can't even read the whole headline without laughing, especially because I'm not supposed to laugh at the spectre of infection.

Which IS creepy, I'll admit.

Blue-Jay Corn Remover, by Bauer & Black, 1927.  Artwork by Walter W. Seaton.

There are many other Blue-Jay ads out there, some quite funny.  But this "Gray Specter of Infection" is a powerful image they used at least three other times.  See them

full size 1000x1262 (from

They moved to bruises, not corns, as the source of doom, and the artwork stayed sinister.  Sadly I have not located any of these in large sizes or better quality.


Ooh, the Gray Specter of Infection! It sounds like a good plot for a horror movie. *g*

(Though to be fair, in the days before antibiotics getting an infected foot was potentially much more dangerous than now. OTOH, I wonder how many people were actually killed trying to get rid of a corn!)
In 1924 President Coolidge's 16 yo son was in a hurry to play tennis. He changed his shoes, but didn't take the time to put on socks. He got a blister, it got infected, and he was dead in a week. Infection was a serious risk in those days.
My mom used to cut her corns with a razor blade and nothing bad ever happened to her!

Though seriously, it's true that infection was a serious danger then. But what scare tactics!
Speaking of infection, I don't want to tell you what's going on at St. Marks Place lately! Adolph Kasviner would have his hands full.
"Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, come see these fine young local ladies try their hand in the 115th annual Essex County Fair Amateur Corn Paring competition!"
Yep, infection could kill quickly back then. And for a generation that had just survived the influenza epidemic of 1918, any specter of disease was chilling.
Vaguely. Chiropodists seem to deal more with the corn-type afflictions, podiatrists with the bones/surgery/etc. That's my uninformed reply though.
Gray Specter of Infection? Is he any relation to Arlen Specter (formerly) of the Senate? [looking closer] Oh, hell yeah! They have got to be related!