Thousands of Pills for Human Ills Turned Out Each Minute by Whirling Machines (Jul, 1931)

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that all the poison ivy and bee’s stingers went into the homeopathic pills, even though the author thinks the only difference is in how hard the pills are.

Thousands of Pills for Human Ills Turned Out Each Minute by Whirling Machines

WHERE do the pills that you take for a headache or a stomach pain come from? The pictures on this page, made especially for Popular Science Monthly in a New York City pill factory, tell the story of how raw drugs are turned into finished pellets for human consumption.

Blue pills and pink ones, large and small, pour out of machines in this factory by thousands—1,300 a minute from one machine, 3,000 from another. Batteries of mechanisms seize the raw drugs and reduce them to a powder before stamping and molding them. All processes in their manufacture, except weighing and portioning the ingredients for each batch of pills, are carried out by machinery.

Strange and unfamiliar to the layman are the names on labels attached to bags, boxes, and jars of raw drugs in this firm’s storeroom. Most of them are long Latin “jawbreakers” that only druggists could understand. Among them, however, are some old friends, such as chestnut leaves, marigold, poison ivy, and bees’ stingers, which go into special pills for calming the nerves. They are picked by hand from dead bees. A good bee-stinger picker can collect as many as 500 a day.

Two separate types of pills, are made, allopathic and homeopathic. The first are stamped out under pressure and are hard and firm. Homeopathic pills are molded, resulting in a pellet that can easily be crushed to a powder between the fingers.

2 comments
  1. Hirudinea says: October 25, 201211:50 am

    “A good bee-stinger picker can collect as many as 500 a day.” Wow, just when you think you’ve heard of the weirdest jobs you see Bee-sting picker.

  2. patrick2612 says: October 26, 20123:14 am

    Wish I could ask the bee-stinger man the question frequently posed by Walter Brennan’s character in the Bogart/Bacall film To Have and Have Not: “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?”

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