Items and Equipment

Pharmacy Labels used on bottles and containers

Label Dampener

When a pharmacist packaged up a dispensed item, there was a legal requirement to label the item’s container with specific instructions for use, as well as a caution if classed as a poison. In the early days many pharmacists had their own preprinted and gummed bottle labels, and for the larger and more established businesses, would have possibly up to 100 preprinted for the most common compound or medicine being dispensed. Labels were usually stored in a chest of small drawers, and a Label Dampener was used to moisten the gummed label for affixing to the bottle.


Terry has collected these historic labels like postage stamps, and has several albums with many towns and cities in New Zealand represented. There is a wide range of styles and types, but as you will see from the samples displayed, there is much beauty and interest in the composition of the font, images, colour and information used. Terry has also included a few personalised prescription envelopes.

Label Drawers

These labels are great relics of our New Zealand pharmacy social history. If you can assist in adding to this collection, or seek further information, Terry would be pleased to hear from you.