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One carton and vial for Penicillin, United States, 1944

The introduction of the antibiotic penicillin in the early 1940s saved a large number of lives, especially those of soldiers wounded during the Second World War. A number of factories were dedicated to penicillin production both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Commercial Solvents Corporation (active 1918-2000) based in Indiana, USA, built the world’s largest penicillin plant. The carton and its contents are shown here with a similar example (1984-1089/1).

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    Glossary: penicillin

    The first antibiotic drug to treat infections which is made from the mould penicillium. Its discovery is attributed to Alexander Fleming in 1928.

    Glossary: vials

    Small or moderate-sized vessels mainly for medicinal and toilet preparations. MCKWBF.

    Glossary: cartons

    Cardboard or plastic boxes used typically for storage or shipping, especially those which are relatively small and that when filled with merchandise are enclosed in a larger or stronger container for transport.

    Glossary: bottle

    Vessels having a neck and mouth considerably narrower than the body, used for packaging and containing liquid and dry preparations

    Glossary: antibiotic

    A substance that is used to treat infections.