Holloway's Ointment Jar (no top); Unknown; Unknown; CR1988.077


Holloway's Ointment Jar (no top)

About this object

Holloway's Ointment Jar (no top). Small white ceramic ointment container (no lid) found at European House site Kawarau Gorge on 31/1/84 F3 level 1, 0-10cm by Fiona Cameron.
Holloway’s Ointment was a popular ‘cure all’ made and sold by ‘Professor’ Thomas Holloway (1800 – 1883). The ointment was first made in London in about 1840 and by the 1850’s it was being made and sold in the United States. Thomas Holloway was probably the best known of all ‘snake-oil’ salesmen in England – his ointment and various other dubious preparations sold in vast quantities. His success was largely due to enormous expenditure on sophisticated advertising schemes – by 1842 his annual spending on advertising was a staggering 5,000 British pounds.

The Holloway’s pot declares that the ointment is for the cure of gout and rheumatism, inveterate ulcers, sore breasts, sore heads, bad legs etc. Other generations of the pot variously included chilblains, chapped hands, boils and insect bites. Holloway’s trademark was a seated woman, Hygeia (the goddess of health), a snake (a symbol of healing) and an infant Telephorus (the demi-god of convalescence).



Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made

United Kingdom, England, London

Medium and Materials

glazed ceramic

Inscription and Marks

"Holloways Ointment, For the cure of Gout and Rheumatism - Inverterate Ulcers, Sore Breasts, Sore Heads, Bad Legs" "Manufactured only by the proprietor 533 Oxford St London" plus trademark graphics and a line detailing the cost per pot.


H 38mm x Dia 40mm (bottom) x Dia 47mm

Subject and Association Keywords


Credit Line

From the Collection of the Cromwell Museum

Object Type

Medication container

Object number



All rights reserved

This object is from