A fire-eater kindling fire in his lungs with the remedy Thermogène. Colour lithograph by Leonetto Cappiello, 1909.
- Cappiello, Leonetto, 1875-1942.
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On Thermogène, Helfand, loc. cit., writes as follows: "Thermogene has been on the European market since about the turn of the century. Composed of soft cotton wadding, it is meant to be applied as a plaster to any part of the body where heat would be beneficial. Capsicum, which makes up 40% of the product by weight, is the active ingredient. While Thermogene has been actively promoted since early in the century, no advertisement in its history has had greater impact than a poster by Lionetto Cappiello first published in 1907: it showed a fire-eating circus performer, his arms holding the product close to his chest, along with claims for cough and rheumatism. Cappiello's poster became one of the best known of all commercial posters published in the twentieth century, and brought Thermogene to a world-wide audience."
Rennert, loc. cit.: "In 1896 a pharmacist named Van de Broek created a product made from cotton or wadding impregnated with a cayenne pepper-based substance--hence the orange colour. ... The company [which makes Thermogène] is now owned by the Thuasne group"