Norlestrin Fe 1/50 Oral Contraceptives

Description (Brief)
The popularity of “the Pill” created a new market for pharmaceutical companies. For the first time, healthy women would be taking medication for an extended period of time. Pill manufacturers developed unique packaging in order to distinguish their product from those of their competitors and build brand loyalty. Packaging design often incorporated a “memory aid” to assist women in tracking their daily pill regimen, as well as styled cases to allow pills to be discreetly carried in bags and purses. The National Museum of American History’s Division of Medicine and Science’s collection of oral contraceptives illustrates some of the changes that the packaging and marketing of the Pill underwent from its inception in 1960 to the present.
The Parke Davis Corporation of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, produced these Loestrin Fe 1/50 brand oral contraceptives around 1981. The white and green box contained five green plastic compact cases. There is an embossed image of a woman with long hair imprinted on the front of each compact. Each compact contains a gold blister pack holding a monthly prescription of 28 pills and a pamphlet with directions for use. The monthly dosage was arranged in four rows of 7, with 21 yellow hormonal pills and 7 iron pills. Some companies included a fourth week of iron supplements to keep women in the habit of taking a daily pill.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
ca 1981
Parke-Davis Laboratories
Physical Description
plastic (blister pack material)
paper (box, leaflets material)
ethinyl estradiol, 50 mcg (drug (yellow tablet) active ingredients)
plastic (dialpak material)
norethindrone acetate, 1 mg (drug (yellow tablet) active ingredients)
ferrous fumarate, 75 mg (drug (brown tablet) active ingredients)
foil, aluminum (blister pack material)
overall: 6.7 cm x 9.4 cm x 4.5 cm; 2 5/8 in x 3 11/16 in x 1 25/32 in
overall, box: 2 3/4 in x 3 3/4 in x 1 3/4 in; 6.985 cm x 9.525 cm x 4.445 cm
overall, pill case: 2 1/2 in x 3 5/8 in x 1/4 in; 6.35 cm x 9.2075 cm x .635 cm
place made
Puerto Rico: Carolina, Fajardo
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Birth Control/Contraception
Health & Medicine
Birth Control
Georgetown Pharmacy
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Matthew E. Donahue, M.D., in memory of Francis Donahue
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.