Pharmacy Equipment and Accessories : Preparing and dispensing remedies as well as medical advice for centuries
Object ID Number:
PH307
Object Name:
Mortar & Pestle
Manufactured from:
1779
Manufactured to:
1850
Description / History:
Early 19th century mortar and pestle. Ceramic mortar with porcelain and wood pestle. Upper lip has pouring spout molded into it. The bottom of mortar has a seal that is illegible but the words TRADE MARK are visible.
The pestle is long for the mortar, measuring 7.5 inches long. The mortar is 2.5 inches tall.
Dimensions:
H–2.5 Dia–0.004 inches
Additional Information:
Mortars and pestles were traditionally used in pharmacies to crush various ingredients prior to preparing an extemporaneous prescription. The mortar and pestle,with the Rod of Asclepius, the Orange Cross, and others, is one of the most pervasive symbols of pharmacology, along with the show globe.

For pharmaceutical use, the mortar and the head of the pestle are usually made of porcelain, while the handle of the pestle is made of wood. This is known as a Wedgwood mortar and pestle and originated in 1779. Later, marble and glass were also used. Today the act of mixing ingredients or reducing the particle size is known as trituration.

Mortars and pestles are also used as drug paraphernalia to grind up pills to speed up absorption when they are ingested, or in preparation for insufflation.

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