Measuring Scales for Medicinal Ingredients at Dow’s Pharmacy

60 Objects Dow's Pharmacy

The drawer beneath the scales still contains personal items belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Dow, including Mr. Dow's spectacles.

Before mass production, medicines were made by pharmacies – who compounded the pharmaceuticals they supplied to their customers.  Compounding means to prepare medicines. Before pre-packaged, manufactured tablets became the norm in the mid-twentieth century, all pharmacies made their own medications.

The pharmacist assembled the ingredients, weighing and grinding them according to a recipe to fill the doctor’s prescription. It was important to weight and measure them accurately.  These scales were once a crucial tool for the pharmacist’s trade.

In June 1988, Mrs Hilda Dow donated Dow’s Pharmacy in Chiltern to the National Trust, this included the pharmacy and dispensary. The building had been occupied by a succession of chemists since 1870. Hilda M.Dow nee Grey is listed in the Pharmaceutical Register (Victoria) as occupying the building from 1930 to 1936 and John R. Dow, apprenticed to his wife, became registered in 1936 after completing a course at the Melbourne College of Pharmacy. The pharmacy closed in 1968.

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