Warner’s Safe Pills

  Warner’s Safe Pills were one of the original five products that H. H. Warner introduced in 1879. In addition to being one of his first products, his Safe Pills were one of his most enduring products, surviving into the 20th Century. I have included a portion of one of the Artist’s Albums from 1888 that featured the Safe Pills. According to that, “[t]hey are compounded on the formula of a successful British army physician in India, and are the best and safest pills in the market.”

The Safe Pills were packaged in a small, clear glass vial with a paper label and inserted into paper packaging. Sealed and opened packages of Safe Pills appear from time to time on Ebay. However, because the packaging would not survive exposure to the elements, only labelled examples can be verified as Safe Pills.

I have included two pictures of Safe Pills containers. One is clearly from the 1880’s and the other from the early 1900’s. If you look closely, you will see that the first has a plainer appearance. The Safe on the packaging includes the word “Tippecanoe” across the top, which means it dates 1883 or after. The second package is much more cluttered. The Safe on the package includes the words “Warner’s Safe Cure” across the top rather than Tippecanoe. More significantly, it includes “Guaranteed Under the Food and Drug Act June 30, 1906”. It also includes the word “Sugar” along the side of the package possibly to suggest wholesomeness.

The description on the package suggests that Safe Pills were designed to treat constipation as well as diarrhoea. Warner later introduces Log Cabin Liver Pills and Cathartic Pills. The picture of the tin suggests that he provided free samples of his pills to the public.


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