10 Vintage Ads Show How Pharmacy Has Changed


Pharmacy has changed a lot in the last 70 years, and these old ads prove it.

In 1944, the United States was in the thick of the second World War. But even as the country battled overseas, it still had to function on the homefront.

Taken from the Drug Topics archives, these ads show an America adjusting to wartime shortages. But they also show how pharmacies were right at the center of commerce in the 1940s. From soda fountains to aspirin, pharmacies had it all. Some of the companies here no longer exists anymore, but others are still household names after all these years.

We hope you enjoy these old ads as much as we do! And if you decide to open up a soda fountain or start stocking Dr. Salsbury’s Par-o-san, send us a picture!

Up next: Where do you get your bottles from?



“Death-dealing irradiation of Westinghouse Sterilamps protects every Sani-Glas bottle and cap from air-borne bacteria.”

Hopefully those sneeze guards worked!



“What can you do when trained personnel is  difficult to get … when customers want out-of-stock items … when equipment needs attention immediately.” This handy dandy booklet tells you how to cope!

The war helped begin the slow death of the soda fountain, but ads like these show just how important they still were.




“Yes, farmers who raise poultry are asking for this safe, dependable disinfectant that ‘doesn’t stink.’”

You might think that any extra scents on top of the scent of chickens wouldn’t be that noticeable, but apparently people had concerns. And this ad shows that pharmacies weren’t limited to human health concerns.



Miracle Tuft Toothbrush

“Over 30 million people, exercising the right of choice, bought Dr. West’s Miracle-Tuft Toothbrushes last year when they saw this famous label.”

How many ads still use “cigarettes” and “freedom” in the same paragraph?



Silk Dental Floss

“We all know there’s nothing like real silk for floss.”



Listerine Tooth Paste

“Listerine Tooth Paste is traveling in ‘hot’ company these days-Blondie, Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, Superman, and many other famous characters of the Sunday Comic Sections.”

Toothpaste is no longer 40 cents a bottle, but is still widely advertised!



First Aid Needs

“Put it in your window-and there is magic! Magic that says: ‘Stop!’ Magic that says: ‘Look!’”

In days when most publishing was done in black and white, a splash of color really did stand out.



Cash Register

“Even wartime help shortages haven’t been quite so hard to take - for customers or management - when the National ‘Pay-when-served’ plan is used.”

Can you imagine a pharmacy without a computer in it? And isn’t that “Serving the Nation by Saving Time!”




 “Make 1944 PAY with a Permanent Display of Plough Products.”

If you see any aspirin emitting music, report it to a supervisor or the FDA MedWatch hotline immediately.



Tooth Brush

“Peter Porker and his pals are doing a whale of a job in the country’s leading weeklies! Get some of these easy profits.”

Hopefully, these toothbrushes were not pork-flavored in any way. Interestingly, Peter Porker predates the use of Peter Parker’s (aka Spider-Man) first appearance in 1962.

Related Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.