Ortho-Novum SQ 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 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 Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation of Raritan, New Jersey produced this Ortho-Novum SQ brand oral contraceptive around 1965. The DialPak, introduced by Ortho in 1963, was the first contraceptive packaging to incorporate a “memory aid.” When the user turned the dial to dispense the next pill, the blue wheel in the center would advance to display the next day of the week. The pack includes three cycles of 20 pills.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
ca 1965
Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation
Physical Description
mestranol, 0.08 mg (drug active ingredient)
norethindrone, 2 mg (drug active ingredient)
plastic (tablet dispenser material)
paper (instructions material)
overall: 7.3 cm x 6.4 cm x .6 cm; 2 7/8 in x 2 1/2 in x 1/4 in
overall: 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in x 3 in; 1.27 cm x 6.35 cm x 7.62 cm
place made
United States: New Jersey, Raritan
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Birth Control/Contraception
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Margaret Sanger Center
Additional Media

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