This workplace was for a long period of time the most important one for the pharmacists: the laboratory.
Our Laboratory is situated in the “Apothecary’s Tower”, which is part of the fortifications of Heidelberg Castle. Due to its historical architecture, built in the 15th century, entering the impressive tower with its mighty walls and high vaults is experienced as overwhelming and fascinating by many visitors.
Alchemy had a dominant influence on the development of a laboratory and its equipment. But unlike their alchemist colleagues, 16th and 17th century pharmacists only used their knowledge for the preparation of effective medicaments. Since the middle of the 18th century pharmaceutical chemistry took the place of the old alchemist techniques.
In the centre of the room we find a model of an athanor, a typical slow combustion stove which was customary in many dispensaries until the 18th century.
Some of the museum’s technical laboratory glasses which were mainly used for distillation are arranged on the walls as a representative part of one of the biggest collections worldwide. There can be found retorts, alembics (distillation flasks), vessels for catching liquids, flasks and phiols of most different shapes and colours, for example.
In addition, a lot of other pharmaceutical equipment is presented in this area, such as sets of filtration, an apparatus for making ointment, different tincture presses, crucibles of all sizes and as examples for modern time tools, Berzelius burners, Woulff bottles, a polarization apparatus, and many other instruments.