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'Tabloid' medicine chest used on Dr Hamilton Rice's Amazonian Expedition in 1919, England, 1900-1919

This chest was carried by Alexander Hamilton Rice (1875-1956), an American explorer, during his Fifth Amazonian Expedition in 1919. The chest contains quinine products to treat malaria, Aspirin, sleeping tablets, bandages, syringes and opium pain killers. Opium is an addictive drug made from poppies. Rice began exploring the Amazon Basin in South America in 1907 and mapped a large number of previously unknown rivers in the north-western area of the basin. He carried out seven expeditions in all, the last in 1924-1925. ‘Tabloid’ medicine chests made by Burroughs, Wellcome & Co were given to influential people and explorers in a shrewd attempt to advertise the product. The tradename ‘tabloid’ referred to the compressed nature of the drugs and the name lives on today in the world of daily newspapers.

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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

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