1st Stop: Main Lobby and Offices

The Pharmacy Museum tour begins in the administrative offices of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. These offices house several display cases containing a variety of pharmaceutical memorabilia, including historic medicines, syringes, jars and equipment.

Hanging near the window is a beautiful red show globe with an intricate bronze dragon hook. The use of show globes as a symbol of pharmaceutical and medical care dates back four centuries, and pharmacists through history have prided themselves on their ability to create and preserve vibrantly colored liquid. Sailors landing in England knew that a show globe in a store window meant medical treatment was available there. In early America, a red show globe could mean the town had some kind of quarantine or disease, while a green show globe indicated the town was healthy.

Just outside the administrative offices sits a display case featuring a variety of weights and balances. Also in the lobby is a 10-gallon ice cream maker. This machine came from the Winslow Drug Store in Winslow, Arizona, and was a predominant piece in the store during the 1930s, churning out hundreds of gallons of ice cream for hot and hungry travelers along Route 66. Originally, the device was powered by a hand crank, a chore certain to make the person at the crank ready to take a break with some cold ice cream.

Beside the ice cream maker is an old rolltop desk used by the first president of the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. The large display case holding apothecary jars and mortars and pestles originated in the Jones Drug Store in Superior, Arizona. Bob Jones, the owner, later became the sixth governor of Arizona in 1939, and the store was sold and moved to Tucson. The pharmacy moved to several sites around town, eventually changing its name to Reed’s Compounding Pharmacy, after Thomas Reed, a 1969 graduate of the UA College of Pharmacy.

Apothecary jars were very typical in early pharmacies in Arizona for storing the wet and dry materials for dispensing or prescription prepara­tion. Many jars are ornately decorated with gold labels, while others use paper labels. For early pharmacies, these jars were a safe and effective way to maintain drugs. Today, most all medicines are pre-packaged by manufacturers.

The brass and cop­per object beside the large display is an old autoclave, used to disinfect instruments. The door retracts on a track and as steam is applied to the autoclave, pressure seals the door shut. Beside the ice cream maker is an old rolltop desk used by the first president of the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. The large display case holding apothecary jars and mortars and pestles originated in the Jones Drug Store in Superior, Arizona. Bob Jones, the owner, later became governor of Arizona, and the store was sold and moved to Tucson. The pharmacy moved to several sites around town, eventually changing its name to Reed’s Compounding Pharmacy (currently located on Speedway Boulevard, just east of the College of Pharmacy).
 

Originally posted: August 21, 2013
Last updated: July 11, 2016
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