Pharmacy equipment- Pill machines

The word pill is now used of almost every solid form of medicine, but it really refers to a spherical object. The usual modern flat “pill” should be called a tablet.

Pills were made in the pharmacy with a pill machine. The medicine in powder form was mixed with flavourings and sweetening and a binder such as glycerine or tragacanth and rolled out into a “sausage” of a certain length. Formerly the roll was cut with a knife into individual pills according to measurements on a ceramic tile. The machine was used to make pills of the correct size for the dose with one action. After cutting, the pills were rounded and sometimes were coated with a sugar crust or even, for prestigious customers, with silver or gold leaf. The pills were then packed into cylindrical card pill-boxes.

The Museum has several machines of various sizes that were used to cut pills of different doses.

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