Infant Food, Nestle's Lactogen

Infant Food, Nestle's Lactogen

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This example of Nestle's Lactogen, a pediatric food product claiming to be "highly suitable for nursing mothers, convalescents and others in delicate health," was collected from the shelves of Tupper's Pharmacy, a neighborhood drugstore that existed in Summerville, S.C., from 1902 to 1977.
Lactogen is manufactured by the Nestle Company, the Swiss firm founded by pharmacist Henri Nestle, inventor of the first fully artificial infant milk formula, "Farine Lactee." Farine Lactee, a malt- and cow milk-based product, was first introduced in the 1860s. It and other commercial pediatric formulas of the time attempted to reproduce the nutritional formula found in breast milk.
Companies continued to try to create synthetics that more closely replicated human milk. Gerstenberger and Ruh introduced SMA (Synthetic Milk Adapted) in 1919; Nestle introduced Lactogen, and Franklin Foods, Similac, soon after. These new products gained the trust of the medical establishment, and the 1950s saw a sharp increase in infant formula use within the United States. Use of infant formula peaked within the 1970s, when approximately 75 percent of American newborns received formula instead of being breastfed. The reasons for this increase include successful marketing campaigns, including the provision of free products; mid-century consumer confidence in "scientific products"; the acceptance of infant formula's nutritional value by nurses and pediatricians; and the increase of women in the workforce.
The use of infant formulas has decreased greatly in recent years; today only three out of ten newborns in the United States are given formula. This change is primarily due to more recent medical studies determining that while babies can thrive on formula, breast milk is superior, especially in that it strengthens the immune system. Nestle and other commercial infant food manufacturers have come under worldwide censure for the aggressive marketing of formulas within third-world countries.
Currently not on view
Object Name
infant food
nutritional product
Other Terms
infant food; Food Supplements; Pharmaceuticals; Drugs; Non-Liquid
founder of the company
Nestle, Henri
Tupper's Pharmacy
Nestle Company
Place Made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
spray dried cows' milk (overall material)
milk fat (overall material)
milk proteins (overall material)
milk sugar (overall material)
ash (mineral salts) (overall material)
iron citrate (overall material)
overall: 4 1/4 in x 4 3/8 in; 10.795 cm x 11.1125 cm
overall: 11 cm x 11 cm; 4 5/16 in x 4 5/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Mary E. and Joseph F. Melfi, Jr., Tupper's Drug Store, Summerville, South Carolina
Infant & Children's Products - Pediatrics
Dietary/ Nutritional Supplements & Reducing Aids
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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A very interesting piece. Seems to be in excellent condition. You have to wonder how a product name of "lactogen " would do today.

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