Station: [19] Pharmacopoeias

Books, books and more books...

... yes, the Obertor Pharmacy Museum has a large collection of the most important pharmacopoeias in the German-speaking world. 

As well as standard works on pharmacology by the French pharmacists Nicolas Lémery and Pierre Pomet, and Michael Bernhard Valentini's beautifully illustrated catalogue of medicines entitled "Museum museorum", pharmacopoeias were of special importance in a dispensing chemist’s everyday working life. 

That includes the Augsburg Pharmacopoeia, an official volume published in numerous editions from the end of the 16th to the middle of the 18th century. Our collection also includes the Württemberg Pharmacopoeia, which was very important during the 18th century and was distributed far and wide. 

Pharmacopoeias, or dispensatories, are official collections of regulations that apply to a city, a territory or the whole of Germany. Medicinal substances and medicines are prepared and tested in accordance with those regulations.

Pharmacopoeias contain such pharmaceutical rules governing the preparation, quality, storage and designation of medicinal products as are recognised during the period in question. They also list descriptions of the substances, materials and methods used during preparation and testing. In many cases, a compulsory fee was included. The sales prices were also set officially.

The Prussian pharmacopoeia, the Pharmacopoea Borussica of 1799, rigorously stripped out a lot of questionable remedies and methods. This standard work established benchmarks for scientific pharmacy and included contributions by leading pharmacists such as Sigismund Friedrich Hermbstädt and Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who discovered the elements uranium, zirconium and cerium. 

You’ll find more pharmacy literature at your final stop. Please retrace your steps and re-enter the materials store.

All depictions: © Trüpschuch