The Old phar­macy equip­ment and its use

Isis Town and Country - - NEWS | WELCOME - Noe­lene Naughton

THE car­boy is a recog­nised sym­bol of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pro­fes­sion.

It dates back to the 1600s when they were used to dis­tin­guish be­tween phar­ma­cists and apothe­caries who used a pes­tle and mor­tar as their sign.

Some his­to­ri­ans believe they be­came more im­por­tant dur­ing out­breaks of the plague in the 1600s.

Peo­ple needed to reach phar­ma­cists quickly, lit­er­acy lev­els were low, so the car­boys were used as a guide.

Some car­boys are made of spec­tac­u­lar coloured glass and oth­ers con­tain coloured liq­uids.

There are many ex­pla­na­tions for the use of cer­tain colours. Med­i­cal ori­gins say: I “blue and red – rep­re­sents ve­nous (de-oxy­genated) and ar­te­rial (oxy­genated) blood”

I “green and red – green was used to in­di­cate a town was healthy”

I “red showed the town was un­der quar­an­tine”

These glass car­boys iden­ti­fied a phar­macy in the same way red and white poles iden­ti­fied a bar­ber shop.

Car­boys were still pop­u­lar in the 1900s, es­pe­cially the swan neck ex­am­ples.

Dur­ing this pe­riod the use of gas burn­ers be­hind the car­boys be­came wide­spread.

This al­lowed them to light up the street. In the 1920s car­boys started to go out of fash­ion.

Phar­ma­cies used their win­dows for prod­uct and pack­ag­ing-based dis­plays.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

OLD PHAR­MACY: The shopfront on Churchill St.

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