Steel pill divider with sharp teeth on both edges, English, 18th century
In the 1700s, pills were made by mixing all of the drug ingredients together – often with liquorice or a sugar solution – and then rolling the mixture out into strips. A pill cutter would be used to divide the strips up equally into small segments, which would then be rolled into a pill shape.
The sharp teeth on each edge of the steel cutter give a different number of pills. One edge gives twelve pills and the other cuts thirty pills. The tool would have been used by a pharmacist or apothecary. Once cut and shaped, the pills were hardened, coated and stored.