Ovulen-20 Oral Contraceptive

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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.
G. D. Searle and Company of Chicago, Illinois, produced this Ovulen-20 brand oral contraceptive around 1978. The 20-pill blister pack is in a trademarked Compack plastic case. The days of the week are written in silver around the rim of the Compack, with three pills descending to the center under each day except Saturday, which has only two pills. This object was donated to the Museum as a dispenser that fell under the claims of David Wagner’s patent (seen in object 1995.0057.01).
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1978
G. D. Searle and Company
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
plastic (container material)
foil (container material)
overall: .7 cm x 8.3 cm; 1/4 in x 3 1/4 in
overall: 3/8 in x 3 1/2 in x 3 3/8 in; .9525 cm x 8.89 cm x 8.5725 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
David P. Wagner
Birth Control/Contraception
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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