Where does the word “tabloid” come from and What does tabloid mean?

In 1884 a British manufacturer of medical and pharmacal supplies, Messrs. Burroughs, Wellcome & Co., registered a trade-mark for a name that the Company applied to certain of its products.

These were, generally, chemical drugs compressed into tablets.

The name which the Company had devised was Tabloid, a name which, by process of registry, was then legally restricted to the preparations made by that firm.

But the Company succeeded better than it had supposed in acquainting the public with its trade-mark. Tabloid, instead of denoting only the compressed tablets of Messrs. Burroughs, Wellcome & Co., came to be applied to various things other than drugs which appeared to be compressed or concentrated.

The Company made many efforts in the law courts of both England and America to stop other use of the term, but is now protected only to the extent that the name may not be legally applied to products which interfere with its trade rights.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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