Penicillin, by Kemball, Bishop & Co., in a glass container with cork stopper, 1943. Label attached.
A brown label that once accompanied this bottle of penicillin powder read “Penicillin 1943 from a batch brewed by Kemball Bishop & Co brought to Oxford by truck and extracted in the plant”.
Once penicillin’s potential was discovered, vast amounts were needed. Kemball Bishop & Co was one of the very first manufacturers of the drug. It carried out the first stage of production, manufacturing a weak impure solution which was then purified at Oxford University. This process produced some of the first penicillin to be tested for its clinical effects. The brown-yellow colour is due to impurities in the sample.