Historical information

This box contained Seidlitz Powders. These powders were used for indigestion and constipation with the name coming from the village of Sedlec or Sedlitz which was the source of a bitter mineral water once used for indigestion. The 19th century product was produced by many chemical factories with nothing to do with the original Sedlitz town. The powders were a mixture of tartaric acid, sodium bicarbonate and potassium sodium tartrate. This box contained powders distributed by the chemist firm of Sambell and Son. John Sambell came to Warrnambool in 1886 and three generations of the Sambell family conducted chemist shops in four different locations in Fairy Street. Sambell and Son were operating at 151 Fairy Street in the late 1910s and in the 1920s.


This is an item of interest as it not only shows us the type of box used by chemists t0 package their medicines in the 1920s but also reminds us of the days when Seidlitz Powers were commonly used for indigestion and constipation. It also has a strong link to the Sambell family, chemists in Warrnambool for over 40 years.

Physical description

This is an empty cream-coloured cardboard box with a lid with blue edgings and printed material in blue type and a British crest and an ornamental pattern around the edges of the lid. The sides of the box are torn and the box is discoloured and dirty.

Inscriptions & markings

Superior Genuine, Seidlitz Powders, prepared by Sambell & Son, Dispensing Chemists, Fairy Street Warrnambool, ‘Phone 90, Directions – Dissolve the contents of one of the BLUE papers in half a pint of cold water, add the contents of one of the WHITE papers, and drink during a state of effervescence’