Ampoules of penicillin, 1943.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
Three glass ampoules of penicillin, taken by James Jarche for Illustrated magazine in 1943. Each small glass bottle or ampoule contains a standard dose of penicillin, an orange powder which has been freeze dried. The penicillin is mixed with sterile water before it is injected into a patient. The difficulty in growing and extracting pencillin meant that each ampoule probably cost about £80 at the time. Penicillin is an antibiotic, a chemical effective at very low concentrations which can kill or stop the growth of a disease-causing microbe. Penicillin is produced naturally in moulds of the genus Penicillium, from where the drug gets its name.