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J Collins & Son offers this pill-making machine in mahogany that would have been used by a 19th century chemist.

The pill ‘mass’, which was bound with syrup to give it a paste-like texture, was made in a mortar. It was then rolled on the flat part of the machine into the correct length and placed on the grooved plate where it was cut and divided by pressing down and sliding the top section back and forth.

The example at J Collins & Son is English, dated c.1840, and measures 18in (47cm) long. It is offered for £185.

The next step in the process would be to round the pills by rotating them in a dedicated rounder and then silver when they were hard. Examples of pill rounders and silverers can also be found on the J Collins & Son website.

Established in 1953, the business is run by Jonathan Biggs, fourth generation in the trade. The dealership opened its current Bideford premises in 2008 and also offers its wide selection of furniture, treen and paintings via its website. It is a member of BADA, LAPADA and CINOA.

collinsantiques.co.uk