Feeling No Pain

Sometimes, not often, a read through a Wikipedia entry is priceless. I could rewrite this story to connect better with the Warburton Building that once stood at 11th and Broadway but I think its enough just to post a picture and note that a dental parlor bearing the name “Painless Parker” occupied the second floor above a pharmacy. Behind that name lies quite a story and here it is verbatim from Wikipedia

Edgar R.R. “Painless” Parker (1872–1952) was a flamboyant street dentist described as “a menace to the dignity of the profession” by the American Dental Association and yet “much of what he championed – patient advocacy, increased access to dental care and advertising – has come to pass in the US.” He attended Philadelphia Dental College which would become Temple University dental school. After 6 weeks without a single patient, Parker decided to advertise. He hired one of P.T. Barnam’s ex-managers to help him take his practice on the road. He created the Parker Dental Circus, a traveling medicine show with his dental chair on a horse drawn wagon while a band played. The band attracted large crowds and hid the moans and cries of patients who were given whiskey or a cocaine solution that he called “hydrocaine” to numb the pain. He charged 50 cents for each extraction and promised that if it hurt, he’d pay the patient $5.
At one point he claimed to have pulled 357 teeth in one day, which he strung on a necklace.
He legally changed his first name to “Painless”, when he was accused of breaking a false advertisement law by claiming that his dentistry was truly painless.
When business thrived, he hired assistants and established a chain of dentistry business. In the end, Parker ran 28 West Coast dental offices, employing over 70 dentists, and grossing $3 million per year.

 

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