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2003/31/1 Homoeopathic medicine chest, containing homoeopathic medicine bottles, wood / metal / leather / glass / paper / plastic / medications, makers of medicines include Fisher & Co, Homoeopathic and Dispensing Chemists, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and Ashton & Parsons Ltd Homoeopathic Che. Click to enlarge.

Homoeopathic medicine chest

Made
The practice of homoeopathy was founded in the early 1800s. It was a new kind of medicine based on the system that 'like cures like'. The patient was given extremely small quantities of drugs that were capable of producing the same symptoms as the disease being treated. It reached its height of popularity in the late part of the 19th century before its popularity faded, but nevertheless is still practised by some today.

Homoeopathic medicine chests generally follow a standard arrangement …

Summary

Object No.

2003/31/1

Object Statement

Homoeopathic medicine chest, containing homoeopathic medicine bottles, wood / metal / leather / glass / paper / plastic / medications, makers of medicines include Fisher & Co, Homoeopathic and Dispensing Chemists, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and Ashton & Parsons Ltd Homoeopathic Chemists, London, England, United Kingdom maker of chest unknown, [Australia / UK], 1880-1970

Physical Description

Homoeopathic medicine chest, containing homoeopathic medicine bottles, wood / metal / leather / glass / paper / plastic / medications, makers of medicines include Fisher & Co, Homoeopathic and Dispensing Chemists, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and Ashton & Parsons Ltd Homoeopathic Chemists, London, England, UK, maker of chest unknown, [Australia / UK], 1880-1970.

The chest is a standard form seen in many homoeopathic medicine chests. It is wooden with a brass catch and fittings, and with a black leather lining. The lid lifts to reveal a shallow tray (that would have originally contained a rack of small medicine bottles). Behind this there is a deeper slot (originally for the instruction manual) and two lidded compartments. There are two lower drawers, originally for more medicine, now empty. The lining of the lid has slots and pockets for accessories and plasters.

It is unlikely that the present contents of the chest are as old as the chest itself. The original contents have been replaced by nine medicine bottles, which are lying in the upper compartment. Six of these are brown glass bottles with plastic screw caps and paper labels. Four of them contain 'Mercurious Bin-Iodide 3x' for 'diphtheria and ulcerated sore throats [etc]', while two contain 'Tab. Aconite N. 3x' for 'anxiety physical and mental restlessness internal heat [etc]'. These were all dispensed by Fisher and Co., Homoeopathic and Dispensing Chemist, Sydney.

The other three medicines are in brown glass bottles with cork stoppers, each in a cardboard cylinder with a paper label. They are: 'Baptisia T[inctoria] 0 pilules' for 'blood poisoning Typhoid and Typhus fevers [etc]'; 'Cantharsis 1x' for 'inflammation of the bladder, urethra and kidneys, retention of water [etc]'; and 'Dulcamara 0'. These were dispensed by Ashton & Parsons Ltd, Homoeopathic Chemists, London.

Dimensions

Height

175 mm

Width

285 mm

Depth

200 mm

Production

Made

Notes

The maker of the homoeopathic chest is unknown. The dispensers of the homoeopathic preparations are printed on the bottles' labels as noted in Description above.

The chest is a standard type of homoeopathic chest produced from the mid-19th century onwards. It is from the estate of Mrs Annie May Hounslow, born in 1890 and married in 1910. The donor, her youngest child, was born in 1927. He remembers his mother administering medicines to the family when he was child in primary school and perhaps also in high school. It is possible or even probable that she continued to use these medicines herself, and keep the box stocked, beyond this time. The bottles in the chest when it was donated to the Powerhouse are not likely to have been amongst the original contents of the chest. The examples from Fisher & Co. Chemists have plastic screw-on lids. I have not been able to get definitive information about when plastic lids were first used on pharmacy bottles in Australia. It may have been as early as the 1940s. I have chosen the dates 1880-1970 as likely to encompass the dates of production of the various components of this donation.
Megan Hicks, curator of health and medicine, September 2002

History

Notes

Donated to the Powerhouse Museum by Mr Arthur David Hounslow of Ingleburn, NSW, from the estate of his parents both deceased, Henry Ernest Hounslow b. c.1886, and Annie May Hounslow nee Nepean b.1890. According to Mr Hounslow, his mother administered medicines to the family from this chest.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Mr Arthur Hounslow, 2003

Acquisition Date

10 February 2003

Cite this Object

Harvard

Homoeopathic medicine chest 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 14 May 2021, <https://ma.as/12032>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/12032 |title=Homoeopathic medicine chest |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=14 May 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}