'Livingstone' medicine chest covered in cow hide, England, 1900-1910

Burroughs Wellcome and Company Limited

The Livingstone medicine chest, wooden box covered with natural coloured cow hide. Has a hinged lid with a metal latch to close, and a leather strap attached to the sides of the chest. There is an extendable textile sleeve attached to the roof of the lid, printed with the words 'The 'Livingstone' Medicine Chest Burroughs Wellcome & Co. London'. The main body of the chest divided into 14 subsections. 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).

Related people


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
glass, leather, textile
medicine chest
Wellcome Trust

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