Tray and moulds from Chapireau cachet machine, 1850-1900
Tray from a Chapireau cachet machine, 1850-1900 with moulds for making ten cachets. The tray is also the lid of the wooden box.
Cachet machines were used by pharmacists to prepare powdered medicine for customers. They were developed in the late 1800s, partly as a way to make taking bitter medication easier. The machine was used to sandwich the medicine between two rice paper discs. One disc was placed in one of these moulds and then a specific dose of medicine would have been poured in with a funnel. The top disc was moistened so it would seal and then finally it was pressed onto the bottom disc, using a wooden press and the correct size attachment.
The customer would have taken the cachet by dipping it in water to soften it and then swallowing the cachet with glass of water.