Wooden pill varnisher, English,1850-1900
Circular wooden pill varnisher, English, 1850-1900
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the bulk of a pharmacist’s work was to prepare medication for customers on site. Medication was sold in a variety of forms including as pills. Pill varnishers, like this one, would have been used as a final step to improve the appearance of pills after they had been pressed and formed using a machine. This object has two halves and the pills would have been placed and rolled between the two. Pills were coated in things as simple as talcum powder or varnish, but for wealthy customers it could also be as ornate as gold or silver leaf.