History of the Pill Fob - by Ron Marsh

Posted on September 12, 2014 by David Wagner

The Pill Fob; a way to carry your medications so they are always with you, because they are attached to your keys.

A brief history of the Pill Fob. During the eighties and early nineties the Marsh family of Sunnyvale, CA, owned a precision machine shop which fabricated components for the aerospace, microchip and medical industries. One of the boys had a friend that asked us to design and make him a device that could reliably hold his medication. His need for this medication was time critical. He said that the device had to be moisture proof, rugged and most important, always available.

The “Original” Pill Fob was developed around the specific size and dosages of his medications. The Original was introduced to some high end travel stores in the Silicon Valley and immediately began selling well. A sample was sent to the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA. The Museum chose it as one of their top design picks in the early nineties and featured it in their gift store and catalog, where it also sold very well. Over time, other configurations were developed by customer suggestion or demand.

The “Magnum” came about as a result of a customer calling, and saying, “I wish the container was larger in diameter because my pills and capsules are too big to fit in your product”. Subsequently, another customer called saying that he had hoped that the Magnum would enable him to carry his Nitroglycerin Tablets in their amber bottle. (This is the proper way to store this medication.) We elongated the cap and tailored it to hold the special bottle securely to minimize movement; hence the “Special”.

A physician wrote to us suggesting; “That if we really wanted to help people, we would make a Pill Fob that not only made the Nitroglycerin available, but would also provide a couple of Aspirin as well”. So we added the chamber which we call a sleeve, thus providing a separate chamber to hold Aspirin. This became the “Pairamedic”.

Another unique application came about when we were called by an Archeologist who said that he thought if he had a version that would enable him to safely store and carry Traveler’s Checks, he would be able to avoid the situation that he had experienced on a recent expedition where his Traveler’s Checks had been destroyed when a boat he was in capsized. We call this version the “Trekker”.

People have contacted us and told us many different uses that they have found for Pill Fobs. Here are a few of them: Storing Gold Coins, Storing Camera Batteries in the field, Ball Bearings to produce sound warnings under water for SCUBA divers, mad money, and unmentionables.

Once we received an old pocket knife in the mail that a gentleman sent us. He said that he was over eighty years old and his father had given him this knife when he was just six years old. It was his oldest personal possession. He wanted us to have it because he said that his life had been saved because he had a Pairamedic with both Nitroglycerin and Aspirin in his possession when he needed them.

This story made it all worthwhile.

Ron Marsh