Time Magazine

What can this Band-Aid® advertisement, printed in Time during the 1940s, tell us about Americans’ image, expectations, and experience of medicine at this time?

"Sulfa-thiazole BAND-AID is your old friend BAND-AID in a new form! Sulfa-thiazole, you know, is one of the Sulfa-Drugs -- those modern drugs used in war hospitals at the front..."
BAND-AID ad in Time Magazine, 1943.


Time Magazine contained many references to penicillin and other wonder drugs. Published since March 1923, Time editor-in-chief at the time was Henry Luce. By 1942, circulation figures topped one million. Conceived by its founders, Luce and Briton Hadden, as way for ordinary Americans to get a lot of news in a little time, the magazine was intended to bridge gap between the detail of daily newspapers and overly selective weekly digests.

Carefully examine the following representations of penicillin and other important drugs during this period. Consider the imagery, tone and content of each. Who is producing each of the images and ads and why is this important? How do advertisers in Time Magazine frame the drugs in each? What do these images reveal about the way this particular magazine portrays the importance of penicillin, as well as the way in which they, and possibly their readership, perceive science, medicine and technology? What cultural currency does penicillin have at this time? How do you know? Hint: what other images, events and concepts are used and invoked when referring to penicillin and other important drugs of the time?

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