The newly discovered wonder of radioactivity in the early twentieth century awaited a commercial application which was eagerly supplied by innovative entrepreneurs.
Radithor was a highly radioactive cureall manufactured and sold by William John Aloysius Bailey, a con artist in the late 1920’s. Eben M. Byers was a millionaire socialite who was the 1907 US Amateur Golf Champion and the Chairman of the AM Byers Iron Foundry. He was a handsome and dashing figure popular in all circles of society, though when chronic pain interfered with his golf, he began to take an interest in radithor for relief. Byers became the “poster boy” for radithor, and drank 1,400 bottles between 1927 and 1930. He subsequently developed cancer of his jaw and skull, marking the end of his life and the beginning of regulations regarding the sale of radioactive substances.