Ortho-Novum 1/80 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 1/80 brand oral contraceptive in 1974. The 28-pill regimen came in Ortho’s patented DialPak dispenser. The dispenser displays the day of the week, which changes as the patient rotates the rim to dispense the next day’s pill. To maintain the routine of taking a daily pill, many manufacturers began including a fourth week of pills that were inert. This Ortho-Novum regimen contains 28 pills, including 7 tablets that were inert.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation
Physical Description
norethindrone, 1 mg (drug active ingredients)
mestranol, 0.08 mg (drug active ingredients)
paper (packaging material)
plastic (packaging material)
overall: 13.4 cm x 9.6 cm x 1 cm; 5 9/32 in x 3 25/32 in x 13/32 in
overall: 1/2 in x 3 3/4 in x 5 1/4 in; 1.27 cm x 9.525 cm x 13.335 cm
place made
United States: New Jersey, Raritan
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Birth Control/Contraception
Birth Control
Health & Medicine
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 Gladys Abell and Lester D. Johnson, Jr., M.D.
Additional Media

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