Glass bottle containing codeine and benzoic acid pills

Burroughs Wellcome and Company Limited

Stoppered glass bottle, empty but with pink residue inside the bottle. Labelled "Tabloid' brand Codeine and Benzoic Acid Compound (Without cocaine) (Codeine, Gr. 4 1/2 per ounce)'. Hand written inscription on label reading 'l. q. h. for cough'. Stored inside the 'Livingstone' medicine chest. Produced by Burroughs Wellcome and Company Limited, 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 is 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 chest from the same expedition (A700016).


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
glass and paper (fibre product)
Wellcome Trust