A Horlicks tin, which once would have held 20 tablets priced at 9d (9p). One tablet would have been dissolved in the mouth and was advertised as giving as much nourishment as a full meal. These days Horlicks is found mainly as a drink that water is added to rather than in tablet form. It is still advertised as a healthy drink full of vitamins and minerals that aids nourishment.

The ingredients for Horlick tablets were:
Full-cream milk, wheat flour, malted barley, potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate and salt. The net weight of the tin was 1 ½ ounces.

Horlicks was created by two bothers James and William Horlick in 1873 while living in Chicago. In 1903 they returned to England and built a manufacturing site in Slough, Buckinghamshire.

Large advertising campaigns during the two World Wars promoted Horlicks tablets as an emergency ration for soldiers. It was advertised as a way for soldiers to remain fit and well. Families were encouraged to send a tin to the front-line and Horlicks covered the postage. Emergency rations of these tablets were also sent to hospitals, factories and miners who were carrying out vital work during the war years. The tablets proved to be so popular that those not on the front-line were encouraged to purchase the powder for the drink instead of the tablets so not to deplete the stocks.

Horlicks was promoted as a wonder drink that could be drunk at any time of the day and helped all manner of ailments. These included: a good night’s sleep, aiding a better day’s work, children performing well at school and helping babies to stop crying.

Although the drink was never popular in America it was taken on North and South Pole expeditions by American explorers. One mountain range in Antarctica is named Horlick Mountains after a founder member of the company who supported the expedition. Today Horlicks sales have declined in the UK but in India it is the second most popular drink after bottled water.

More information:

Date 1940s, 1950s, 1960s
Material(s) Tin
Item number MBPO352

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