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Calotabs Laxative

Calotabs Laxative

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Usage conditions apply
The indications or uses for this product as provided on its packaging: For a gentle laxative and for relieving constipation
Currently not on view
Object Name
otc preparation
Date made
ca 1950
Associated Name
Tupper's Pharmacy
Calotabs Company, Inc.
Place Made
United States: South Carolina, Greenville
Physical Description
cardboard box (overall packaging material)
dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (drug active ingredients)
casamthranol (drug active ingredients)
overall: 8.8 cm x 5.5 cm x 1.4 cm; 3 7/16 in x 2 3/16 in x 9/16 in
overall: 2 1/8 in x 3 1/2 in x 1/2 in; 5.3975 cm x 8.89 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Mary E. and Joseph F. Melfi, Jr., Tupper's Drug Store, Summerville, South Carolina
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Balm of America
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I still have a thermometer hanging on my wall that hung in our South Carolina home in the 30's advertising Calotabs for biliousness, sour stomach, gas and headache due to torpidity. The price listed was 10 cents or 25 cents. The thermometer is wooden and approximately 5 inches by 18 inches. If it could only talk.
I research Medicine of the Lewis & Clark and Fur Trade Era. I have collected well over a 100 period chemicals and herbal medicines and look for patent meds when I get a chance since a few were used in 1800 and a lot more later. Calomel was used as a laxative and an alternate treatment for syphilis. The down side of calomel as opposed to mercury ointment was that it was a powerful laxative and it was harder to keep the patient healthy during a debilitating course of mercury. I bought a small pack of Calotabs at an antique store in Butte MT where I will be giving a PowerPoint on mercury found in two the latrines of the Lewis & Clark expedition in Montana, correcting all the mistakes made by the archaeologists who interpreted mercury at the sites. I fabricate the more famous "Rush's Bilious Pills" which contained 10 grains of calomel and 10 grains of jalap.
These were small, round pills, white, hard coated. They were dynamite in the bowel, and as bitter as gall when cut in half, exposing a black interior. My Mother used them as the laxative of last resort, and they were greatly feared.
My uncle Dr. Dillard Jacobs was connected with Calotabs Co. in the 1930s. I remember well he thought it was cure for everything. My mom took his advice. A good cleaning out kept you healthy!

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