Museum of Vision

Dedicated to preserving ophthalmic history

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Sectional Navigation

  1. Selections from the Sherman Collection
  2. History of Ophthalmology in the Asia Pacific
  3. Their Eyes to the Sky
  4. Great Insights and Great Thinkers in Ophthalmology
  5. Beyond Ophthalmology, Beyond the Clinic
  6. Extreme Vision: Science Fiction or Truth
  7. Contagion! Epidemics in Ophthalmic History
  8. The Eyes of War
  9. Spectacular Spectacles
  10. To Fool the Eye
  11. Windows to the Soul
  12. Picturing The Eye: Ophthalmic Film and Photography
  13. Collecting Ophthalmology: 30 Years at the Museum

Patent Medicine and the American Civil War

Revenue Stamp
Private die proprietary medicine stamp, 1862

Revenue stamps were issued by the United States as part of a tax on "patent" medicines to help raise money for the Union Army to fight the American Civil War.  During the Civil War patent medicine was big business and the government saw a way to make some money from their popularity.  Revenue stamps were required long after the war was over.  The Proprietary Medicine Manufacturers and Dealers Association finally lobbied Congress to repeal the tax in 1883.



  1. Nostrums and Patent Medicines
  2. Patent Medicine and the American Civil War
  3. To Strengthen the Eyes
  4. Sight Restorers
  5. Electrotherapy
  6. Violet Ray Machines
  7. Color Therapy
  8. Quackery's Demise

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American Academy of Ophthalmology