Tabloid medicine chest with medical supplies, 1910.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm

Tabloid medicine chest with medical supplies, 1910.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


This chest was made by Burroughs Wellcome & Co for the American aviator Walter Wellman's 1910 transatlantic airship crosing attempt. Burroughs Wellcome patented their proces of manufacturing compresed tablets of medication in 1884, calling the preparations 'Tabloids'. Lightweight metal medicine chests such as this example were produced by the company from the 1880s onwards and were used on many famous expeditions by explorers including Scott, Nansen, Amundsen and Stanley, as well as pioneering aviators such as Lindbergh and Wellman. In 1910, Wellman (1858-1934) tried to cros the Atlantic by airship, but after 1000 miles, engine trouble caused him to abort the attempt near Bermuda, the crew being rescued by a pasing ship.

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