OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
Title: Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc., Collection
Collection Dates: 1900-1985 (bulk 1920-1940s)
Extent and Forms of Material: 18 cubic feet (37 boxes)
Creator: Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc.
Abstract: The Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc., Collection includes advertisements, company histories, equipment purchasing proposals, batch orders, finishing production orders, packaging orders and records documenting the creation and advertising of several products, including Furacin, Asogen, Paracin, Unguentine, Necta Sweet, and Chloraseptic Pepto-Bismo, a popular liquid still used to relieve various digestive ailments. Founded in 1885, Norwich Eaton was acquired in 1982 by Proctor and Gamble.
Collection Number: AC0329
Processing Note: Processed by Robert Ageton, 1990 (volunteer); revised by Kimberly Rowe (intern), Neendomis Adams (intern), Alisha McCullick (intern),and Michael Stratmoen (intern) March, 2010; supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.
INFORMATION FOR USERS OF THE COLLECTION
Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
Preferred Citation: Title and date of item, Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc. Collection, 1920-1985, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX
IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT THE COLLECTION
Administrative History: Norwich-Eaton was founded in 1885 by a Baptist minister, the Reverend Lafayette F. Moore, who, with some rudimentary pill making machinery and a few proprietary formulas, set up shop as "L.F. Moore, Pill Manufacturer." Financial problems from the start forced Reverend Moore into a partnership with Oscar G. Bell, an employee of T.D. Miller's drugstore, to which Moore was heavily indebted. The company adopted a new name, "Moore and Bell."
In 1887, without warning or explanation, Moore left Norwich and eventually returned to the ministry. Bell quickly found two new associates and continued to manufacture medicines under the name of the Norwich Pharmacal Company. They became the world's largest producers of aloin from aloes, and resin of podophyllum from mandrake root, as well as a leader in the development of vitamin products. They brought to the market such well known products as Unguentine and Pepto-Bismol. By the 1920's, Norwich listed approximately 4,000 elixirs, tinctures, syrups, pills, tablets, extracts, suppositories, dressings, and even surgical instruments in its sales catalog.
In 1982 the company was acquired by Proctor and Gamble and continues to be a research-based manufacturer and marketer of prescription drugs and special dietary foods.
Scope and Content: The Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc., Collection includes advertisements, company histories, equipment purchasing proposals, batch orders, finishing production orders, packaging orders and records documenting the creation and advertising of several products. The bulk of the material consists of company advertising records such as Unguentine and Pepto-Bismol; but there are also several posters and advertisements devoted to other products such as Norforms and Zemacol. The advertisement records range in period from the mid 1920s to 1966, with the majority from the 1940s. Thus, it is possible to examine the marketing of these products over a 40 year period and view the changes in style, format, and content of the advertisements. There are several advertising campaign items (brochures and packets) referring to strategies or motifs for which examples exist within this collection. Some of the posters in the collection, such as the early ones with a surface textured to simulate paint, or several of the later silk screens, can be regarded as works of art. Some were signed by the artist. Batch orders, finishing orders, and package orders relate to quality control.
System Arrangement : The collection is arranged into seven series.
Series 1, Company History, 1940; 1980
Series 1, Company History , 1940; 1980, consists of two company histories and documentation about the materials donated to the National Museum of American History. Included is a 67-page history of the company by A. J. Galloway (1940) documenting major events starting with the company’s founding in 1885; a company memorandum on the company museum and an exhibit script prepared by former National Museum of American History curator Michael Harris.
Series 2, Company Publications, 1939-1982, consists of annual reports and company newsletters. Copies of News and Views (1968-1982) the company’s monthly newsletter, Scope (1959), another company newsletter, and Coffee Break (1978), a company newsletter for employees, are included.
Series 3, Advertising Record, 1923-1982, contains advertisements for medical products made by Norwich Eaton for public consumption, many with attached order sheets, rebates, and offers of prizes to dealers. Examples of advertised products include Furacin, Asogen, Paracin, Unguentine (an antiseptic ointment used to treat skin burns, cuts, and scratches), Necta Sweet, Chloraseptic Pepto-Bismol, and various vitamins. Furacin is synthesized from the pentose sugar of oat hulls. Furacin has been prepared for the prophylaxis or treatment of bacterial surface infection and was tested by Eaton bacteriologists for its antibacterial characteristics. Other products developed include Asogen (an amino acid-based aluminum compound) developed for peptic ulcer and hyperchlorihydria, and Paracin (a combination of DDT and benzocaine) developed to treat the most common parasites which attack the human body.
The advertising records include brochures, pamphlets, point of purchase ads, letters, broadsides, order forms, newspaper advertisements, public outreach event advertisements, advertising packets, veterinary products, questionnaires, catalogs, reports to stockholders, death notices, and postcards. The ads are both color and black-and-white and were aimed at druggists who could sell their products.
Series 4, Trade Literature, 1900-1980, undated, consists of correspondence between Norwich Eaton executives and heavy industrial equipment producers. It includes pamphlets and brochures, drawings, and trade literature that detail various aspects of the pharmaceutical industry. Many of these materials contain proposals by companies hoping to sell Norwich Easton machinery for use in the production of pharmaceutical products. Two folders contain miscellaneous trade literature about new machinery for factories. Among the topics are: air filters, thermostats, chainless conveyors, package filling machines.
Series 5, Batch Records, 1920s-1940s , consists of 5” x 7” order slips detailing product tests. A batch record follows a batch of a certain pharmaceutical product. Information contained in a batch record includes the quantity of ingredients, both active and inactive, and the quantities of each material used in production. It is printed from a master formula card on a blue print card, and each batch record has a lot number recorded on it. This allowed quality control officials to follow the production of each batch of product easily. Much of the collection consists of batch records, finishing production orders, and package orders which detailed the testing, production, and formulae of various pharmaceutical products produced by Norwich Eaton from the 1920s to 1940s.
In response to several injuries and deaths caused by taking tainted pharmaceutical products, many companies including Norwich Eaton, initiated quality control measures in the early 1940s. In partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the companies too measures that included batch records, finishing production orders, and package orders, and carefully followed manufacture and packaging procedures. If discrepancies occurred, these would be noted and allow the company time to dispose of potentially dangerous materials before they reached the American public for consumption.
Series 6, Finishing Production Orders, 1920s-1940s , consists of 5” x 7” cards with information about the product. Each card includes the order number, the quantity of product produced, the intended use of the product (e.g. cough suppressant in young children), production completion date, signatures of employees who accepted the product labels and packaged the products, and a stamp on the back listing the active and inactive ingredients of the product.
Series 7, Package Orders, 1920s-1940s , consists of 5” x 7” order cards detailing requisitions for the quality of materials to be delivered to the finishing department. Each order had a control number and was signed by company inspectors in the labeling department. This ensured the accuracy of the labeling operation.
Acquisition Information: In February, 1986 Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. donated pharmaceutical products, manufacturing records, and advertising materials to the Division Medical Sciences, now known as the Division of Medicine and Science.
Custodial History: On April 7, 1989, publications and advertising material were transferred to Archives Center from the Division of Medicine and Science.
Related Archival Materials: The Division of Medicine and Science still retains manufacturing records (1921-1950), photographs (1920-1970s), and twelve catalogues and price lists (1906-1932).