Bottle for ‘Tabloid’ Phenobarbitone, England, 1933

1933 in London
Burroughs Wellcome and Company Limited

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Box containing bottle for "Tabloid" Phenobarbitone, 100x1/2grain tablets, dummy pack, by Burroughs Wellcome and Co.,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Blue cardboard box containing glass bottle for "Tabloid" Phenobarbitone, 100x1/2grain tablets, dummy pack. 75 mm x 45 mm x 33 mm. Box with blue lettering reads, '"TABLOID"/Phenobarbitone/ compressed/ gr. 1/2.../Burroughs Wellcome & Co./ (The Wellcome Foundation Ltd.)/ London (ENG.)/...' Green paper label on interior bottle reads, 'TABLOID'/ Phenobarbitone/ compressed/ POISON/.../Direction.- One to four,/ taken in a little water or milk/ as ordered by the physician/...' Interior bottle also includes labels in French, German, Spanish and Italian. Handwritten note on box and bottle bear the date 19/5/33. Prepared by Burroughs Wellcome and Co., London, 1933.

Phenobarbitone was a drug used to treat epilepsy. It reduced the severity and frequency of seizures and would only be prescribed by a physician. This glass bottle of ‘Tabloid’ phenobarbitone tablets lists the contents as poisonous. The anti-seizure effect of phenobarbitone was realised in 1912 and it fast became one of the most prescribed drugs for epilepsy.

‘Tabloid’ was a brand name for compacted medicines. These were patented in 1884 by Burroughs, Wellcome & Co, the makers of this drug. The instructions on the box are in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, illustrating how the company aimed for and delivered to a global market. Phenobarbitone is no longer prescribed, having been replaced by newer epilepsy treatments.


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
cork, empty, glass, paper
overall (box): 75 mm x 45 mm x 33 mm,
overall (bottle): 70 mm x 35 mm x 25 mm,
  • drug
Wellcome Trust

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.