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The copper collection
Photos by Colleen MacPherson
These two copper vessels are part of the MacCulay Pharmaceutical Collection in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. The pitcher would have been used to store and heat water in early pharmacies and to dissolve or dilute ingredients that were compounded into medications. It has also served as a flower vase for special college events.
The copper still came in handy for producing alcohol needed in the preparation of medicinal tinctures, particularly herbal tinctures. Alcohol apparently makes the membranes in the mouth more permeable, allowing ingredients to pass more easily into the bloodstream. A small plaque on the still reads, “The Federal law requires that this still is to be registered at the revenue collector in your district before using same.”
The still was not used to produce alcohol for special college events.