Ortho-Novum 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.
This is the first DialPak manufactured by the Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation of Raritan, New Jersey, in 1963. The DialPak contained a monthly regimen of 20 white pills. The DialPak was the first oral contraceptive package to incorporate a “memory aid,” which Ortho advertised as “the package that remembers for her.” The circular calendar in the center of the DialPak reveals the day of the week and aligns with a pill on the outer ring. The user turned the dial to dispense the next pill, and the user could readily see if she had taken her daily pill.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1963
Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation
Physical Description
norethindrone (drug active ingredients)
mestranol (drug active ingredients)
overall: 1 cm x 6.5 cm; 3/8 in x 2 9/16 in
overall: 3/8 in x 2 1/2 in; .9525 cm x 6.35 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Company, Inc
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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