Phil Obermarck was kind enough to send over a link to an article in Slate on expedition medical chests. The Burroughs Wellcome company manufactured them for a number of expeditions, providing explorers with state of the art supplies while reaping a bonanza of positive advertising. The article links to the Wellcome archives, where you can find some glorious history porn on the subject.
Pictured below is the chest used on the 1933 assault on Mt. Everest, made from rolled and cast aluminum. It's a beautiful piece of industrial design that could probably survive a fall from the summit unscathed.