Cased Drug Kits & Apothecary Items

Historical note:  In the early part of the 1800's, there were no drug stores and a household would typically have to administer medications which were available to the servants or other members of the family.  The mahogany case above would be typical of one used in a household of obviously well-to-do people.  In the colonies, these medical cases were used on the "plantations" and contained all sorts of plant extracts and chemicals of dubious use.

bpharm.jpg (24039 bytes)  apoth3.jpg (39244 bytes)  apoth2.jpg (47889 bytes)

An English, c.1810 apothecary cabinet or "spice-cupboard" with hidden poison compartment door sliding out in the back of the cabinet.  The compartments contain bottles or various herbs and drugs.

BMC - POISON COMPARTMENT.jpg (67907 bytes) BMC - OPEN.jpg (81260 bytes) BMC - DRAWERS.jpg (73529 bytes)

    LMC - OPEN.jpg (73124 bytes) LMC - FULLY OPEN.jpg (129325 bytes) LMC - BOTTOM DRAWERS.jpg (78564 bytes)

AMC - DRAWER.jpg (174515 bytes) AMC - OPEN.jpg (141181 bytes)

PAINTERS FIELD CASE (PFC).jpg (105218 bytes) MMC - OPEN.jpg (179721 bytes)

PfMC - OPEN.jpg (113528 bytes) PfMC - DRAWER.jpg (104113 bytes)

Shown here are several different types of medical chests from a private collection   

st5.jpg (63874 bytes) st4.jpg (82584 bytes)

TMC - DRAWER.jpg (50952 bytes) TMC - OPEN.jpg (57944 bytes)

WMC-I - POISON COMPARTMENT.jpg (65727 bytes) WMC-I - DRAWERS.jpg (87601 bytes) WMC-I - OPEN.jpg (86222 bytes)

SMC - BOTTOM DRAWER.jpg (77946 bytes) SMC - MIDDLE DRAWER.jpg (59750 bytes)

Post  1886 leather and wood medical kit with drugs by Sharp and Smith. Note cork caps on vials.  Has letter to original owner, Dr. Smith. 

 

ksharp.jpg (27970 bytes) ksharp2.jpg (56678 bytes)
A later, c.1900 physicians leather drug kit.  Note metal caps on vials drug1.jpg (17981 bytes) drug2.jpg (39494 bytes)

Warning!  The drugs and chemicals found in the above traveling kits or any other early medical kit can be extremely hazardous to your health.  Given the era from which these medical items originate, it is not uncommon for them to contain cocaine, morphine, or other  Class One narcotics in illegal quantities as well as other cardiac stimulants.  Never empty the bottles, leave them sealed.  Never uncork the bottle and smell the contents.  Be very cautious about even cleaning the kit as the "dust" may in fact be a potent or potentially fatal drug.   The seemingly innocuous names of the contents on labels may  be substitutes for the name of more dangerous drugs.

A French, c, 1840 medical case from the followers of Camphor based theory of treatment by Dr. Raspail.  Raspail was known as the "poor man's doctor".  Fruitwood case with brass corners and handle. mvc-207s.jpg (34545 bytes)mvc-204s.jpg (35640 bytes)
A medical case of drugs and therapy which was based on Camphor.  The bottle tops are fruit wood.  All glass bottles are hand blown and square. braph2.jpg (20591 bytes)mvc-203s.jpg (43115 bytes)mvc-202s.jpg (42341 bytes)
Pictured is a book about Dr. Raspail by Dora B. Weiner.

 

braph.jpg (19693 bytes)mvc-205s.jpg (34811 bytes)

 

 

Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index
 

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Civil War Medical Collections 

 

Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016