Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Your RPS 

Pill machine, 18th Century

Before factory production became commonplace in medicine, dispensing was considered an art and pill machines such as these were a vital component of any chemist’s collection.

Pill machine, 18th Century

Source: RPS museum

Pill machines such as these first appeared in the mid-1700s and quickly became a staple of the Victorian chemist’s shop. A ‘pill mass’ of medicinal powders mixed with a binding agent would be hand-rolled into a pipe on the tile at the back of the machine. This would then be placed across the grooved brass plate and cut into equal-sized pills using the corresponding side of the roller. 

Visitors to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum will have a chance to use a Victorian pill machine, along with several other historic medical devices from London’s other medical museums, at a special ‘Up close and medical’ event on 26 October 2019, which brings together many of London’s medical museums.


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207015

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
PJJ Static MPU
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.