Inside a Mid-Nineteenth-Century Pharmacy
Although the role of the apothecary differed slightly from country to country, by the 1800s the profession was broadly similar across the Western world. In the mid-nineteenth century the French pharmacist and the British or American chemist-druggist would have operated from a shop something like this one. They would have prepared medicines for customers, and sold ready made goods on their shelves. They may even have had a laboratory attached to the premises, where they would have compounded their own mixtures, and processed botanicals and minerals to make drugs.
Hover over the image to find out more about the pharmacist’s tools of the trade. When you're done, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to move forward in the exhibit.
Interior of a pharmacy. Oil painting by Jos. van Brée, 1860. Image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection (CC).
All tools featured are from the Apothecary Jar Collection of Rosalind and Elbert McLaury, M.D., and Suzanne and Harold Spear, M.D., held in the Harvard Medical Library at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Images courtesy of the Center for the History of Medicine.