Saturday, April 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 17 - North Pole expedition

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1418

1st Endorsement.
War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office

April 17, 1896.

Respectfully referred to Lieut. Col. D. L. Huntington, Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army, in charge of Museum and Library Division, for his action, in connection with previous papers in the case.

Geo. M. Sternberg
Surgeon General, U.S. Army


To the Minister of the United States of America
Mr. Thomas S. Ferguson

Dear Sir!

In answer to your request for the particulars of the medical equipment of the “Andrees Polarexpedition 1896” I respectfully beg to communicate to you the following:

In furnishing this medical outfit I had to consider two circumstances.

First, -the extent of the whole must be as limited as possible. Secondly, - the packing must [be] strong enough to stand jolting and water. For this purpose, I suppose it would have been most practical to have india-rubber vessels, but such articles are not manufactured in Sweden, and it would be very difficult to order them from abroad.

It was also requested that no object of metal should be used, Mr. Andree desiring to avoid metals wherever possible.

On this account no comparison can be made with the very nice medicine cases, (of American and English manufacture) provided for instance by Mssrs Burroughs Welcome & Co, London which are so highly approved by Stanley and Dr. Parker.

All the pharmaceutical preparations are with two or three exceptions in a dry form such as gelatin and tabloids.

For drawing up the schedule care has been taken to provide for the diseases occurring in earlier Swedish expeditions to Polar regions.

The medicines which are in small doses, are made up in gelatine, a form of medicinal preparations, invented many years ago by General direktor Almen, and is of a very practical nature, as a cover the size of a common envelope, can hold many hundreds doses. They are used in Sweden for such preparations as laudanum, morphia, and quinine, they are usually kept in their coatings, in this case, they have been put into glass tubes.

The rest of the medicines are in tabloids previously mentioned and which are also manufactures in Sweden.

Tabloids containing poisonous drugs are in addition enveloped in very thin paper to prevent them getting broken, it being impossible to use such tabloids unless they are in a perfectly whole collection.

The method for preserving and packing the medicine is as follows.

The gelatives and tabloids are put into tubes of thick glass, with corks especially cutted and prepared to resist damp and water. The labels are also prepared in a similar manner.

Each label is also supplied with a number – which is also given in the little book containing a list of the medicines, - and also the name of the expedition, the name of preparation and the dose to be taken, and finally the names of the diseases for which it is used, which are also given in the book above mentioned, in alphabetical order together with short advice given by the physician as to their treatment and the medicine to be employed.

Each of the glass tubes is fitted into a wooden case (turned?) lined inside with india rubber and cotton wool, a band of india rubber being fixed outside and finally the outside of the case is marked with the same numbers as the glass tube, and is burnt into the wood.

By this arrangement the most important medicines can be carried without further trouble as regards packing, in the event of a journey by sleigh, when everything in the way of baggage must be reduced to a minimum.

The whole collection is then packed in an air and water tight box of wood and india rubber, stamped on the outside with the name “Polarexpedition Andrees 1896,” the word “medicine” and the weight.

Respecting the above mentioned catalogue I herewith beg to enclose a leaf as a typical example of the whole.*

I am Sir yours very respectfully

C.F. Lundberg
Examined Apothecary
Hopapotcket Lejonet

Stockholm 31 Mar 1896

*Filed in a separate envelope

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