Ortho-Novum Oral Contraceptive

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 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 Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation of Raritan, New Jersey, produced this oral contraceptive around 1965. The monthly dose of 21 yellow pills are contained in Ortho’s trademarked DialPak dispenser. The DialPak, introduced in 1963, was the first oral contraceptive package to incorporate a “memory aid” and Ortho advertised it as “the package that remembers for her.” The center wheel of the DialPak reveals the day of the week and aligns with a pill on the outer ring. When the user turned the dial to dispense the next pill, the wheel in the center advanced a day, allowing the user to see if she had taken her pill. The manufacturer's label is missing from this object.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
ca 1965
Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation
Physical Description
plastic (packaging material)
overall: 8.6 cm x 7.6 cm x .8 cm; 3 3/8 in x 3 in x 5/16 in
overall: 3/8 in x 3 3/8 in x 3 in; .9525 cm x 8.5725 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Birth Control/Contraception
Health & Medicine
Birth Control
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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