Grossinger’s saccharin tablets

Object Number: 
ca. 1950s-1960s
Paper, cellophane, [4] saccharin tablets
Open: 3 15/16 × 2 in. (10 × 5.1 cm) Closed: 2 1/8 in. × 2 in. × 1/4 in. (5.4 × 5.1 × 0.6 cm)

Noted on cover (recto): “Grossinger’s” in white script, with graphic of airplane in black. Marked on cover (verso): “No metallic taste / ‘SAXIN’ ® brand / SACCHARIN / A sweetening agent / without food value / Sweetness unaffected by cooking / [graphic of unicorn in silhouette] BURROUGHS WELLCOME & CO. / (U.S.A) INC. Tuckahoe 7, N.Y. Marked inside cover: ‘SAXIN’ ® brand / SACCHARIN / Each compressed product contains / gr. ¼ (0.016 Gm.) Each ¼ gr. Product is equivalent / in sweetening power to one tea- / spoonful of sugar. / For beverages and foods. / Recipes available upon request.” Marked inside cover: “NO METALLIC TASTE”

Gallery Label: 

Saccharin was invented in 1879, but officially debuted at the 1893 World’s Fair. It did not become commercially widespread until WWI, when sugar shortages inspired consumers to seek alternate sweeteners. Saccharin was reputedly three hundred times sweeter than sugar, and little was needed to sweeten food. Consequently, saccharine was very cheap to purchase.

Saccharin became popular in the US in the 1950s and 1960s, when fad diets led many women to avoid sugar. Although tablets like as these were sold by the bottle, hotels and resorts, such as Grossinger’s, often provided free travel-sized packs to visitors. The substance, however, became controversial, as many decried it as unsafe and unnatural, and during the 1970s research linked it to cancer in rats. This resulted in the Saccharin Study and Labeling Act of 1977, which required the substance to carry a warning label. Public uneasiness about saccharin continued until 2000, when the FDA concluded that the compound was not carcinogenic to humans and posed no health threats.

Credit Line: 
Gift of Vivian Awner
Place Made: 
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group