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Novy Formaldehyde Generator

https://mhc.andornot.com/en/permalink/artifact15414
Dates
1898
1900
circa 1898-1900
Category
Hygiene
Classification
Hygiene
Antiseptic
Infection
Accession Number
019018001 a-r
Description
Cylindrical brass Novy Formaldehyde Generator with large rectangular brown wooden carrying case box (n); generator consists of a cylindrical stand (a) with circular base attached to hollow cylindrical top support by three evenly spaced vertical brass rods and has adjustable swinging handle with pai…
  5 images  
Accession Number
019018001 a-r
Category
Hygiene
Classification
Hygiene
Antiseptic
Infection
MeSH Heading
Anti-Infective Agents, Local
Antisepsis
Disinfectant
Equipment and Supplies
Description
Cylindrical brass Novy Formaldehyde Generator with large rectangular brown wooden carrying case box (n); generator consists of a cylindrical stand (a) with circular base attached to hollow cylindrical top support by three evenly spaced vertical brass rods and has adjustable swinging handle with painted black wooden grip attached to top; roughly conical removable container tank (b) attaches to top of base and has a flat bottom and rounded top with funnel, winged cylindrical funnel plug (e) and circular hole for cylindrical inclined tube (f) attachment; roughly cylindrical burner lamp (c) with extendable pump on side, cap and spout, and burner with removable cap (d) extending vertically from centre sits on bottom of stand; additional accessories include two cylindrical tube attachments (g,h), a cylindrical brass rod with ring handle (i), a cylindrical brass pump (j), a cylindrical steel plunger with ring handle (k), a cylindrical clear glass dropper (l), and an additional flat metal component piece; box has metal handle at top, hinged door on front with paper product label attached to inside, and small wooden box and leather straps for holding accessories on inside walls; four rectangular tan paper documents accompany the generator, including a generator instruction leaflet, a formaldehyde information leaflet, a burner lamp direction sheet, and a thick burner lamp direction tag.
Number Of Parts
18
Part Names
a - stand - Length 35.5 cm x Diameter 23.0 cm
b - container tank - Length 20.9 cm x Diameter 15.9 cm
c - burner lamp - Length 20.0 cm x Width 18.9 cm x Depth 18.0 cm
d - lamp cap - Length 5.6 cm x Diameter 2.4 cm
e - funnel plug - Length 4.3 cm x Width 2.5 cm x Depth 0.9 cm
f - inclined tube - Length 40.1 cm x Width 3.6 cm x Depth 1.4 cm
g - tube attachment - Length 10.0 cm x Diameter 0.8 cm
h - tube attachment - Length 10.1 cm x Diameter 1.0 cm
i - rod - Length 46.0 cm x Width 4.5 cm x Depth 0.3 cm
j - pump - Length 32.2 cm x Width 3.7 cm x Depth 2.1 cm
k - plunger - Length 21.0 cm x Width 2.6 cm x Depth 0.3 cm
l - glass dropper - Length 8.4 cm x Diameter 1.0 cm
m - metal piece - Length 11.3 cm x Width 1.7 cm x Depth 0.9 cm
n - box - Length 55.4 cm x Width 28.5 cm x Depth 27.0 cm
o - instruction leaflet - Length 17.0 cm x Width 12.0 cm
p - information leaflet - Length 17.0 cm x Width 12.0 cm
q - directions page - Length 26.7 cm x Width 12.2 cm
r - directions tag - Length 19.2 cm x Width 10.5 cm
Provenance
Owner bought object at the Toronto Downtown Antique Show from Lutie Ann Presley of Dunsford, Ontario, on November 22, 1997.
Maker
Parke, Davis & Co.
Site Made (City)
Detroit
Site Made (State)
Michigan
Site Made (Country)
United States of America
Dates
1898
1900
circa 1898-1900
Material
metal: brass, grey
glass: clear
wood: brown
paint: black
leather: black
Inscriptions
Engraved in in front of top support of stand: “THE NOVY // FORMALDEHYDE GENERATOR // PARKE DAVIS & CO.”; printed on paper label inside box door: “Formaldehyde // Generator // (DR. F. G. NOVY). // PARKE, DAVIS & CO., // DETROIT, MICHIGAN, // U. S. A.”
Permanent Location
Storage Room 0007
0007-
Unit Of Measure
centimeters
Condition Remarks
Minor corrosion all over brass, especially on undersides and not readily visible areas; iridescent discolouration in several areas of brass, possible from over cleaning or cleaning residue; moderate inactive corrosion all over ferrous metal parts; rubber on ; approximately 2.0 cm crack in front of circular brass base
Copy Type
original
Reference Types
Artifact
Website
Reference Comments
“Formaldehyde Generator.” Instruction leaflet, 019.018.001.
Dr. F. G. Novy. Nature 138, 67 (1936), Nature.com, Springer Nature Limited, 2020.
Research Facts
Formaldehyde was used during the late 1800s and early 1900s as a disinfectant; generators like the Novy model produced by Parke Davis & Co. vaporized the formaldehyde using a kerosene lamp as a heat source to disinfect entire rooms; other models required that the generator be placed inside the room, activated, and then the operator would have to quickly leave and seal the room; the Novy model utilized an attachment that was designed to pump the gas into a room through the keyhole, making it possible to operate the generator from outside the room.
The generator was developed by Professor Frederick George Novy, pioneer in the field of bacteriology who studied under both Kach and Pasteur; he was a professor of bacteriology and dean of the Medical School of the University of Michigan.
Images
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Lysol Brand Disinfectant

https://mhc.andornot.com/en/permalink/artifact15220
Dates
1967
1985
circa 1960-1985
Collection
Tumak Collection
Category
Home Health Care
Hygiene
Pharmacy and Drug Artifacts
Classification
Hygiene
Pharmacy, General
Home Health
Treatment, General
Accession Number
015011004 a-b
Description
Rectangular box (a) for Lysol Brand Disinfectant; the two largest sides of the box are printed to look like the brown bottle with a yellow cap and inverted triangle label which sits inside the box; the smaller sides of the box are yellow, and the directions for use are printed on them in French on …
  5 images  
Accession Number
015011004 a-b
Collection
Tumak Collection
Category
Home Health Care
Hygiene
Pharmacy and Drug Artifacts
Classification
Hygiene
Pharmacy, General
Home Health
Treatment, General
MeSH Heading
Disinfectant
Disinfection
First Aid
Home Health
Hygiene
Description
Rectangular box (a) for Lysol Brand Disinfectant; the two largest sides of the box are printed to look like the brown bottle with a yellow cap and inverted triangle label which sits inside the box; the smaller sides of the box are yellow, and the directions for use are printed on them in French on one side and English on the other; the top and bottom of the box are red, and the top contains the product name printed in white, as well as residue from a sticker and the number 89; the bottle (b) is nearly full of a liquid and is brown glass with a yellow metal screw cap; the glass is almost flat on the two largest sides, and contains small decorative ridges in the glass; the smaller sides of the bottle are more rounded and the bottle tapers inward so that it is thinner in the middle than at the top and bottom; the bottom of the bottle contains three raised symbols; the bottle's label is an inverted triangle, printed in French on one side of the bottle and in English on the other; the label contains the product name, its purpose, usage directions, amount, warnings, and manufacturing information.
Number Of Parts
2
Part Names
a - box - Length 5.4 cm X Width 2.9 cm X Height 11.4 cm
b - bottle - Length 4.9 cm X Width 2.5 cm X Height 11.2 cm
Provenance
Belonged to donor.
Maker
Sterling Drug Ltd.
Site Made (City)
Aurora
Site Made (State)
Ontario
Site Made (Country)
Canada
Dates
1967
1985
circa 1960-1985
Date Remarks
Date based on advertisement on December 17, 1975 in The Chilliwack Progress from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, Page 32, and when Sterling Drugs acquired Lysol.
Material
paper: tan
glass: brown
ink: red, white, black, yellow
metal: yellow
Inscriptions
Printed on front of box (a): "Lysol* // BRAND // DISINFECTANT // KILLS GERMS // DEODORIZES // PREVENTS MOULD & MILDEW // DEEP CLEANS // Walls · Floors · Kitchens // · Sickrooms · Baby's room // · Porcelain · Linoleum // · Bathrooms · Woodwork // · Floor tiles · Refuse // pails · Diaper pails // 2 OUNCES // CONCENTRATED // MAKES // MORE THAN // 1 // GALLON // OF CLEANING // SOLUTION // *TRADE MARK REG."; printed on side of box: "Lysol // TRADE MARK REG. // BRAND // DISINFECTANT // DESTROYS DISEASE // GERMS AND ODOUR- // CAUSING BACTERIA // DIRECTIONS // HOME DISINFECTION — Toi- // lets, Floors, Walls, etc. Add // 3 tablespoonfuls to each // gallon of water. // DIAPERS — Soak diapers in // solution of 3 tablespoonfuls // to each gallon of water. // FIRST AID — Cuts, scratches // — Add 1 teaspoonful to 1 // cup of water and apply. // PHENOL COEFFICIENT 5 // CONTAINS PHENOL .015% // Distributed by // Sterling Products // Division of Sterling Drug Ltd., Aurora, Ont. // C82B"; printed on label of bottle: "L46B // Lysol* // BRAND // DISINFECTANT // KILLS GERMS // DEODORIZES // PREVENTS MOULD & MILDEW // *Trade Mark Reg. // DIRECTIONS // HOME DISINFECTION- Toilets, Floors, Walls, etc. // Add 3 tablespoonfuls to each gallon of water. // DIAPERS- Soak diapers in solution of 3 table- // spoonfuls to each gallon of water. // FIRST AID- Cuts, scratches- Add 1 teaspoonful // to 1 cup of water and apply. // PHENOL COEFFIECIENT 5 // CONTAINS PHENOL .015% // Distributed by // Sterling Products // Division of Sterling Drug Ltd. // Aurora, Ont. // 2 FLUID OUNCES // NEVER USE UNDILUTED // CONCENTRATED // MAKES MORE THAN // 1 GALLON // OF CLEANING // SOLUTION"
Permanent Location
Storage Room 0010
0010-A5-6 Box 3 Row D
Unit Of Measure
centimeters
Condition Remarks
Minor sticker residue and scratching on top of box; minor scratching and liquid damage on bottom of box.
Copy Type
original
Reference Types
Websites, newspapers
Reference Comments
Advertisement on December 17, 1975 in The Chilliwack Progress from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, Page 32: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/77091686/.
https://timeline.com/sexist-history-douching-bcc39f3d216c
https://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/03/when-women-used-lysol-birth-control/
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21724/21724-h/21724-h.htm
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11644980
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/lysols-vintage-ads-subtly-pushed-women-to-use-its-disinfectant-as-birth-control-218734/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrbill/albums/834100/with/37387729/
http://magic.msu.edu/search~S39?/cHQ766%20.S32%201917%20Online/chq%20%20766%20s32%201917%20online/-3,-1,0,B/frameset&FF=chq%20%20766%20s32%201917%20online&1,1,
https://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/a-brief-history-of-vaginal-douching-and-women-cleaning-themselves-with-disinfectants/
https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/sterling-drug-inc
"Fight Spanish Influenza With Daily Disinfection" (advertisement). The New York Times. 30 October 1918, p. 9. (Accessed via ProQuest, New York Times (1857–Current file), Document ID 97039401)
Research Facts
Beginning in the early 20th century, women would often use Lysol, a household disinfectant, as a douche. Lysol advertised this purpose, claiming that it would guard against odors (believed to be a euphemism for birth control).
Before 1911, there were a reported 193 poisonings and five deaths from Lysol douching, and women often complained of burning and blisters. In 1952, Lysol's formula was changed from cresol to become a quarter as toxic as before. The Lysol used in homes today is not the same as the one historically used for douching, and is no longer owned by the same company.
Advertisements for Lysol as a feminine hygiene product often targeted women's insecurities about their bodies and caused them to feel badly about them and feel the need to use a douche to remain clean and fresh. Lines used in different 20th century Lysol advertisements include: "Often a wife fails to realize that doubts due to one intimate neglect shut her out from happy married love", "Day after heartbreaking day I was held in [...] a web spun by my husband's indifference. [...] Was the fault mine?", "No woman who has a normal foundation of good health can be forgiven for failing to "stay young with her husband.""
Lysol was advertised in 1918 as a way to fight the Spanish Flu Pandemic; it was recommended that everything in contact with flu patients, including their rooms, be cleaned with Lysol to prevent the spread of the disease.
Lysol contains phenol, another term for carbolic acid, an early disinfectant employed by Joseph Lister.
Images
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