Medical Supplies

Time was (and still is, no doubt) when households kept stocks of proprietary remedies for many ills and ailments. Here we see a small selection of bottles and tins of household medicaments.

Medicine bottles and tins at Market Lavington Museum

Medicine bottles and tins at Market Lavington Museum

The near bottle contains cresolene, a mixture based on coal tar which was used as a disinfectant or antiseptic. It was not to be taken internally but rather used as an ointment to clean wounds. It could be put in a special heater so that fumes could be breathed. It was manufactured between 1881 and 1950 and was probably, of limited medical value.

The blue bottle once contained blood mixture which was advertised as a cure-all. Again, it probably had very limited medical value.

The Green coloured bottle once held Eclectic Oil.  It was another cure-all. It claimed to cure toothache in five minutes and lameness in two days. Again, it was just about worthless as a medicine. An earlier name had been eclectric oil – a portmanteau word for what clearly claimed to be a portmanteau product.

The brown bottle bears the legend Hardy and Son, Chemist of Salisbury. As this company produced ‘aerated waters’ this is probably a fizzy drink bottle.

The tin contained mustard ointment which, supposedly, gave warmth and relief to aching muscles.

It is often said that ‘The lesson from history is that we don’t learn from it’ Most of our bottles are 100 years or more old. They didn’t do much then but people still persist in buying quack remedies. Your best bet out of this collection was probably the fizzy drink!


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