Root pills


Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills were first made in 1854 in Buffalo, New York, and were distributed in Australia by the Comstock Company until the 1990s. The pills contained herbal ingredients that were claimed to cleanse the blood, and as blood impurity was believed to be the cause of all disease, it is no surprise that it was one of the most successful patent medicines ever made. I had never heard of Dr Morse’s root pills, but driving along the road to Morpeth, NSW, this barn was hard to miss. It’s a dramatic sight—a big old ramshackle barn surrounded by fields, painted on two sides, vibrant in the harsh summer sun—but I particularly liked the close up view of the rust and patchwork corrugated iron and its contrast with the much more recent paintwork. The letters are hand drawn, but they are Copperplate Gothic in style.

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