The first public dispensaries developed from medieval stalls in the surroundings of the church or on the market-place to shops in solid buildings also situated at central areas like the market-places of the rising towns. Unlike the situation in a chemist’s shop of today it was usual until the 17th/18th century that the officina (area of sale and production) or officine offered no access to the client. He had to hand out the doctor’s prescription to the pharmacist through the shop window (on the left of the picture). So the table in the centre of the room can’t be considered as a counter but as a preparation table where the medicine was mixed on prescription. If the client couldn’t enter the room, then he could at least have a look into the shop. That’s why the furnishings were often impressively fashioned and very expensive. Subject of this section is the equipment, i.e. instruments, tools, and vessels with their differences, development, and new inventions from the officine of old to the modern chemist’s shop.
Two officines outstandingly well integrated in the architecture of the palace form the historical setting and take the visitor back to the 18th century. The so-called Bamberg-officine consists of original furniture, e.g. the exceptionally valuable preparation table of the rococo period from the “Court Pharmacy” at Bamberg, and of completions made in the same style. It stands for a dispensary which first produced for the prince-bishop’s court and later on for the public.
The second officina comes out of the Ursuline convent at Klagenfurt (Austria) which represents a monastic pharmacy which the public had no possibility to come directly to. The date of 1730 in the crowning mass of arabesques indicates the time of its making whereas the letters IHS are a symbol for Jesus Christ. The shelves of both officines are decorated with typical pharmacy vessels like the valuable faiences vibrant with colour that came from abroad and the impressive looking glasses with their enamel painting. Hot-water bottles out of pewterware with gaps left free in order to keep warm the delicate baby-bottles show in an exemplary way that the range of goods in a pharmacist’s shop consisted not only of medicaments but as well of peripheral products. There is always a valuable balance painted gold on the preparation table.
A variety of other equipment like spoons of horn, hand scales, sets of weights, spatulas, bowls for crushing solid materials, and many more things testifies to the work in an officina.