No, no, you haven’t strayed into another chemist’s here; you’re in what used to be our materials store. This is where we stockpiled larger quantities of the ingredients used to prepare medicines. Things were different in the past. Unlike today, pharmacists couldn’t place orders several times a day and have them delivered within hours. Often, a delivery might be made just once a year, so every pharmacy needed a large storeroom.
The fixtures and fittings in our materials store were made between 1870 and 1880 for the Obere Hofapotheke in the neighbouring town of Wertheim. In the 1920s, they were sold on to another pharmacy, the Burg-Apotheke in Rothenfels, where they were in use until it closed in 1975.
Do you remember that we mentioned you’d be seeing a beautiful marble mortar? It’s here in this room. The tisane cupboard in the corner on the left is from the 1850s and comes from the Hirsch-Apotheke in Rüthen, Westphalia – which was run by a great-grandfather of the Martin family. There are some smaller mortars standing on the poison cabinet. It’s marked with a skull and is on the right, on this side of the top-mounted shelf unit.
On the compounding bench in the middle of the room, we have a display of pharmacists’ scales, including micro-scales and hand-held scales. As you may remember, that’s where medicines used to be prepared.
Take a look at the prescription copy book we have on display – it’s quite instructive. Our example is from the years 1898 and ‘99. The prescriptions prepared daily were entered here, along with the recipient's name, the formula, and the fee. The book incidentally records the fact that pharmacists worked 365 days a year, public holidays included. And it shows that the financial gains were modest. That was why every pharmacy also manufactured and sold pretty much anything to do with chemistry – from ink and paints to fireworks. It was the only way to make a living.
Please go ahead and open the cupboard drawers in this room. You’ll come across a wide range of packaging materials and implements from the period from 1900 to 1920.
Your next stop is next to the glass display cases.
All depictions: © Trüpschuch