Medicine Chest

This small wooden drug chest has a hinged lid with a bale handle and two hinged side compartments. The exterior of the chest is embellished with metal straps, hinges, and incised stylized flowers. Inside are four drawers with stamped pewter knobs and three compartments for bottles. The chest and drawers are lined with marbled paper. All of the bottles are blown and molded glass. Five of the bottles have pewter caps, and two have glass stoppers. The four pewter containers have pewter caps. One drawer is filled with a white powder.
By the 18th century medicine chest of this type had become more or less standardized and available to the general population. They were used in the home as well as for travel over land and on the water. The Deutsche Apotheken Museum has a similar but slightly larger medicine chest in their collection which is illustrated in Das Deutsche Apotheken Museum, figure 256.
Currently not on view
Object Name
medical chest
medicine chest
date made
18th century
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
glass (overall material)
paper (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 20.5 cm x 17.5 cm x 16 cm; 8 1/16 in x 6 7/8 in x 6 5/16 in
overall, chest: 6 1/2 in x 6 7/8 in x 6 3/8 in; 16.51 cm x 17.4625 cm x 16.1925 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 1063
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & 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
Additional Media

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