6th Stop: Arizona's early statehood

The sixth stop on the Pharmacy Museum tour recalls Arizona’s early days of statehood. The first item featured is an exquisite prescription counter from the 1930s. The case came from the Ray Drug Store in Ray, Arizona. As the open pit copper mine there expanded, the whole town moved about two miles, at which time the owner of the pharmacy donated his old prescription counter to the college.

On the front side of the display are a number of over-the counter remedies of the day. The tiles on the floor originally decorated the Winslow Drug Store. Tile work like this was commonly used as a backsplash in drugstore soda fountains. Pharmacists at the time also offered entertainment to their customers such as punchboards and pinball and slot machines, as seen in the smaller case. Players could win small store discounts or cigarettes.

On the backside is the pharmacist’s work area for filling prescriptions and managing the business of pharmacy. Note the doctor’s prescriptions for alcohol, written during the days of Prohibition! The pharmacist’s counter holds balances, a glass tile for mixing ointments and powders, and other tools of the trade for a 1930s drug store. The drawers were usually filled with bottles and extra medication.

Pharmacies also sold other items such as cameras and flash materials, tobacco and herb cutters, suppository makers and balances; many are displayed in the case on the north wall. Of course, no soda fountain would be complete without a Bromo Seltzer display.

Nearby is a display cabinet filled with a wide variety of mortars and pestles. Made of wood, stone, porcelain, glass, marble, clay, bronze and iron, mortars and pestles were originally used for compounding materials, but have since shifted to being mostly symbolic of the practice and history of pharmacy.

Originally posted: August 21, 2013
Last updated: December 15, 2014
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