Below are some fascinating images of vintage pharmacological packaging and label design, which I purchased at an auction of a closed pharmacy a few years ago. They appear to be mainly from around the 1930s with some going up to the 1960s. Many of the items included the original outer box, plus the inner container – which gives us much more context of the design than just one element of a design.
Interesting to see how language or terminology on pharmacy packaging has changed since this time too. Such confronting sounding ailments – carbuncles, catarrh, furunculosis…..
I remember “Bex” from my childhood when it was the common drug of choice for cold and flu symptoms – looking at the ingredients now – it is no wonder it made everything seem better :). Manufacture of Bex started around 1930 and was popular until it was withdrawn in 1983 due to safety concerns.
Bex was a strong compound analgesic which was popular in Australia for much of the twentieth century. It came in the form of A.P.C. (aspirin–phenacetin–caffeine) tablets or powder, containing 42% aspirin, 42% phenacetin, plus caffeine.
Bex was a product of Beckers Pty Ltd. of Pym Street, Dudley Park, South Australia. It was advertised with the phrase, “Stressful Day? What you need is a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down”.
Bex powders were the housewife’s drug of choice in the 1950s and 1960s until they were shown to be highly addictive and found by Dr. Kincaid-Smith to be responsible for causing kidney disease when taken in large doses. (source:Wikipedia)