Coronado CA | December 30, 2012— Recovered from basement of Central Drug Store when it closed last week after being in business since 1893.
I’m seeking information about the origin and uses of this mechanical device. Its purpose is to compress compounds, perhaps into tablet form or to fill tubes with prepared ointments. Made of cast iron and brass. Turning the wheel provides leverage, allowing the piston to create considerable pressure within the cylinder, which is removable for filling and cleaning.
Manually operated, probably used by early compounding pharmacies or aboard ships.
The brass piston is designed so that it spins freely, to not rotate within the cylinder as pressure is applied by the screw-shaft. The piston may have had some type of compression rings in the three grooves. The 3-compartment brass end unit threads into the far end of the cylinder, and is removed with aid of the hook spanner wrench. The holes are 3/8” wide, concave at bottoms, ending with 1/16” holes at the piece’s threaded end.
An iron plate, 4 13/16”L x 1 ¾”W x 3/8” Thick is fitted with stop pins which protrude ¼” at each end of the plate. The plate has a milled hole which is tapered from 1 3/8” to 1 1/8” on the pins side. This tapered opening is offset, with the edge of the widest side exactly centered on the plate. The plate easily slides crosswise between stops in a polished groove.
No manufacturer’s markings or other data. Dimensions of cast iron body 9 ¼”L x 5 ¼”W. Diameter of cast iron wheel is 6 3/8” and it is secured to the ¾” machine-threaded shaft with a squarehead set screw. Ready for desk, store or museum display. No clue as to value.
Gerald L. Toci
Restoration of Antique Furniture,
Machinery and Tools
Hand Lettered Signs(619) 522-0510 | firstname.lastname@example.org