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.
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.
Shown here are several different types of medical chests from a private collection
|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.
|A later, c.1900 physicians leather drug kit. Note metal caps on vials|
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.|
|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.|
|Pictured is a book about Dr. Raspail
by Dora B. Weiner.