Full Chisel Blog

November 13, 2011

Nineteenth Century Pill Making Machine and…

a 12 gang large candle mold are what I picked up at an antique store, I was looking for a vintage cocktail shaker.  I went with a friend lets call him George Stapleford and I spotted the new candle mold, marked $39.00 on sale for $19.00, much less than I paid for a 6 gang mold.

My beeswax/tallow candles burn for 12 hours with proper attention to the wick.

But the real find was this ‘slicer’ or that is what the sticker said.  Then it got confusing it looked like it was marked $14.00 and that was marked through and 7.– was marked.  I took it to the counter and asked the price, $7.00 it was and after I paid I told them it wasn’t a slicer.

As I was paying George pointed out the name on the end WIRZ, sounded famaliar, could it be Dr. Henry Wirz the commandant of Andersonville?

On the top edge is is marked 3 Gr., and 346 [the top roller bar is also stamped 346] with 4 stars and then the letters WIRZ.  Made of mahogany and brass with iron screws this 24 gang pill making machine is 19th century, there are hand planing marks and plane blade chatter marks on the tool.

Have to look into the association with Wirz.



  1. How does the pill maker work? Perhaps if you have time you can show us curious types.

    Comment by Philip R — November 13, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  2. That pill machine was patented by August H. Wirz of Philadelphia on October 1st 1867. US Patent 69,379.
    Great find!

    Comment by Jeff Burks — November 13, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

  3. There is an illustration of the pill machine in:
    The practice of pharmacy – 1886

    And some A.H. Wirz advertisements:

    The Spatula, Volume 2 – 1895

    Practical druggist – 1897

    Comment by Jeff Burks — November 13, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

  4. Oooh! I’ve been looking for a pill maker! (I’m a pharmacist interested in Victorian history) I don’t suppose you’re looking to resell that gem?

    Comment by Jean — November 27, 2011 @ 2:43 am

  5. Jean,
    The pill maker is for sale, send me an email at stephen@fullchisel.com


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — January 6, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  6. If anyone is interested the pill making machine is for sale on ebay.



    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — June 30, 2012 @ 10:48 am

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