Apothecaries were the pharmacist’s of years past. They were medical professionals knowledgeable in formulating and distributing medicines. An interesting profession with many interesting tools!
As we sorted through the old wood-working shop we certainly were not expecting to find apothecary items. In fact, we were sorting through old woodworking tools and hardware and were a little overwhelmed at all that the owner’s father kept and could not bear to throw away.
The shop was so packed with tools and hardware that we didn’t see the obvious. It was sitting on the counter top, a fantastic 18 drawer apothecary chest with dove-tailed drawer constructions. It came apart in 3 pieces, the crown, the top smaller drawer body and the 3 larger drawer’s base. This made it easier to transport from place to place.
Perhaps we overlooked it since it had betters days. It really was in poor condition, however, the owner’s father was not one to “get rid” (much to our appreciation). He made it into a very practical hardware chest. The top smaller drawers were missing some pieces and not all of them closed without a friendly shove but it had an amazing patina build up that could not be replicated. Constructed in solid oak, the apothecary chest had label holders on the bottom three drawers marked “furniture hardware.”
This sparked the owner’s memory, as later on she brought out the Cenco apothecary scale, beakers, jars, mortar and pestle that went with the chest. The mortar and pestle really pulled it all together as they were symbolic of the trade. The Cenco apothecary scale had porcelain discs and was set on top of a heavy cast iron base. The beakers and jars were quite dirty but in otherwise excellent condition, free of cracks or chips.
It was officially an apothecary museum and we were allowed to interact with the exhibit!
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