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'Livingstone' medicine chest, England, 1900-1910

This battered medicine chest was taken by Algot Lane, a Swedish-American explorer, on his 1911 expedition to the Amazon jungle in Brazil. Lange wrote a book about his exploration of the area in 1912 called In the Amazon Jungle: Adventures in the Remote Areas of the Upper Amazon Basin. Unsurprisingly, the chest contains a large amount of quinine to help prevent and treat malaria, which was common in that area. The medicine chest was advertised as the ‘Livingstone’ chest after David Livingstone (1813-1873). It was made by Burroughs, Wellcome & Co, who provided medicine chests suitable for a wide range of expeditions – these were often provided free of charge for publicity reasons. It is pictured here with another ‘Livingstone’ medicine from the same expedition (A700027).

Object number:

A700016

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Glossary:

Glossary: medicine chest

Small chests fitted for bottles and intended to hold medical supplies; of a type made in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Glossary: exploration

No description.

Glossary: malaria

Parasitic disease transmitted by certain kinds of mosquito. Malaria is characterized by fever and enlargement of the spleen. Each year, there are approximately 515 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people.

Glossary: quinine

A substance taken to fight malaria. Quinine is found naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree. It is also an ingredient in tonic water.