This finger jointed display box for Johnson & Johnson Red Cross Kidney Plasters is an interesting piece of medical history. The company was founded in New Brunswick, N.J. Boxes or drawers like this were made from materials used for cigar boxes purchased from the neighboring William Black Co. Johnson & Johnson’s medicated plasters were made from an rubber compound from India that was then infused with medications which were then rolled out into flat pieces. One side provided the adhesion and one side the topical medication. The plasters treated and blocked pain from a variety of ailments including kidney disorders, sciatica, and rheumatism and “do not induce drug habits.” Ingredients such as capsicum, found in peppers was is in one such plaster compound. Other plasters listed on the drawers include Belladonna, Belladonna Capsicum, and Cough. The drawer pulls are not only decorative, but functional.
The details in the lithographs are priceless and range from the familiar red cross and Johnson and Johnson logo to the slogan “Feels Good on the Back” and depiction of a couple enjoying a lazy day on the shoreline under a wide umbrella. The thin wood on the back panel has split, probably decades ago. The lithograph on this panel has “split” with it. The graphics are still legible, regardless. Other panels describe the specific benefits of the use of their plasters. The front drawers’ lithographs detail the specific types of plasters that would have been stored within. Someone made a pencil notation on one of the drawer fronts.
A great resource on the web for Johnson & Johnson history and its people is the Kilmer House.
Measurements: 9″ tall X 9.5″ wide X 8″ deep