The Tabloid model taken by Stanley to Africa is advertised by Burroughs Wellcome & Co., in their undated (but c. 1914) catalogue of wares ('Tabloid' A brief Medical Guide, Lerner, p.28) where it is described as 'A most comprehensive outfit.... Made in pigskin, and in extra finish cowhide morocco leather and crocodile leather; and including 59 phials of 'Tabloid' and Soloid' Brand products, as well as syringes, needles, tubes of hypodermic products and a stoppered and capped ether bottle.
Explorers in Central Africa were assailed by a multitude of diseases. Malaria, sleeping sickness, bilharzia, filariasis, hookworm infestation and river blindness, amoebic and bacillic dysentry, skin ulceration and worm infestations, yaws and leprosy, yellow fever, cholera, smallpox (which killed 200 of Stanley's 260 'rear column' at Yambuya on the Emin Pasha Expedition), plague, trachoma, beri-beri, scarlet fever, dropsy, mumps and ophthalmia to name a few. Stanley boasted he had survived more than 200 fevers in Africa and was a pioneer user of Burroughs Wellcome's new specially prepared and compact medical equipments for travellers: 'After H.M. Stanley returned from his hazardous exploits in Darkest Africa, he made, in his own words, "the acquaintance of Burroughs Wellcome & Co.," and his medical equipment problem was solved. This firm, impressed by the sufferings of early explorers, the lack of knowledge of tropical diseases and the impossibility of carrying adequate medical supplies, had instituted scientific research into the causes and treatment of tropical ailments and had made special studies of the problem of medical supplies and equipments for travellers. As a result, they were able, not only to supply compact medicine cases fitted with compressed medicaments which were impervious to climatic influences, but also to give intending travellers and explorers expert advice as to the character and quantities of the medicines they would need in accordance with the part of the world in which they proposed to travel, and the diseases by which they would be able to be attacked. Stanley was one of the first to avail himself of the result of this specialised research. In his later expedition, he was always equipped with 'Tabloid' Medical Outfits...'
As Stanley himself said:
"I made the acquaintance of Messrs. Burroughs Wellcome & Co. As soon as I came in sight of their preparations... I found the consummation of my secret wish. On my later expeditions, I had all the medicines that were required for my black men, as well as my white men, beautifully prepared, and in most elegant fashion arranged in the smallest medicine chest it was ever my lot to carry into Africa". (The Romance of Exploration and Emergency First Aid from Stanley to Byrd, Chicago, 1934, pp.11-25).
The case includes the famous 'Livingstone Rousers' bottles ('After his first attack from fever on 30 May 1853, Livingstone tried a remedy with quinine, then decided that the most effective treatment was its combination with purgatives. He noticed that with the first bowel movement the perspiration burst from the skin and the headache vanished. Thus were born 'Livingstone Pills' or the 'Zambezi Rouser'. This consisted of three grains of calomel, three grains of quinine, two grains of rubarb, four grains of essence of jalop, mixed with a little opium. Livingstone was convinced he had found a panacea for malaria proper'. F. McLynn, Hearts of Darkness, The European Exploration of Africa, London, 1992, p.234). Stanley's 'Livingstone's Rousers' in the present case (two empty phials) were made from powdered jalop, calomel, powered rhubarb and quinine compound 'Cathartic, tonic and anti-malarial. One to three may be taken with a little water when an attack of malarial fever threatens, and repeated in two hours if necessary. Especially adapted for use as a purgative in the Tropics? ('Tabloid'. A Brief Medical Guide'). The present case also contains Warburg Tincture ('Used in the treatment of malaria and other fevers, associated with extreme exhaustion'), Ipecacuanha Powder (for dysentery), calomel with piperine ('remarkable stimulant of stomach in cholera') and others.