This drug jar is marked BOLUS ALBUS. Bolus is a sticky clay-like substance which can be shaped into a pill. In Healing Earths: A History of Minerals in Medicine, W. Rudolph Reinbacher refers to Bolus Albus as a German pharmaceutical term.
George Urdang, author of The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy Catalogue attributes containers 1991.0664.0760 through 1991.0664.0825 to Hanau in the late 18th century based on the floral design surrounding the medallion and the initials HN on the bottom of many of the jars in the series. However, in a letter to museum curators dated August 1983, the pharmaceutical historian Wolfgang-Hagen Hein wrote that the containers without initials and those marked FH were made in Florsheim in the German state of Hesse.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 16.2 cm x 10.7 cm; 6 3/8 in x 4 3/16 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
European Apothecary
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Related Publication
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection
Estes, J. Worth. Dictionary of Protopharmacology: Therapeutic Practices, 1700-1850

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