Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Volume 2, Series 3 of the Dr Pepper Museum Intern Interest Peice Series

Written by Adrienne Joseph, Baylor University Public Relations Student

Naturally, when I was walking around the museum trying to decide which single item to write about, I had a hard time narrowing it down. That was until I stumbled upon a mortar and pestle in a case next to the elevator.
I think back to career day in elementary school, and I think of my mom coming to school to talk about her career as a pharmacist. I remember all of my classmates thinking her presentation was the coolest, because we go to play with a mortar and pestle to smash up smarties candies in order to create a new “medicine” of our own.

Thinking back to days of crushing candies to make my own special medicine seems so long ago. Then I think of who all may have used the actual one sitting in that case in front of me, and I think of how that must have been much longer ago.

People would use the one in that case, next to the old medicine bottles, for a real purpose other than that of destroying candy pieces. It is fun to sit and think of the hands in the past that may have used that pestle in order to mix up medicines. Now you may wonder why the Dr Pepper museum has a mortar and pestle on display, and the answer is this.

Pharmacists in America and Europe experimented with ingredients with the intent of finding new remedies for various aliments. Pharmacies were equipped with soda fountains and here people would often go to get their soft drinks. Flavored soda water was popular not only for medical reason but for the taste also.

Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist who worked at Morrison’s drug store here in Waco is said to be the inventor of Dr Pepper. He’d spend his says making medicines for the people but would also serve carbonated beverages at the soda fountain. He would mix the fruity flavored syrups together in his spare time, until one day found a drink to his liking... hence Dr Pepper. Pharmacists were the inventors of many of today’s popular soft drink flavors. I could just see my mother today filling her high volume of prescriptions and then mixing up some soda behind the counter of a soda fountain all in a single days work.

Now the mortar and pestle on display here at the Dr Pepper museum is much fancier than the one I would play with as a child, as that one was boring and plain white, where as the one here at them museum is a pretty silver. It has detailing along the bottom and Rx written on its side, much more appealing to the eye.

After talking to my mom she informed me although mortar and pestles aren’t used as much today, they are still kept in pharmacies and used when its necessary to crush up a tablet for any reason. Who knows all my days as a child mixing up my own creations with that mortar and pestle I could have stumbled upon a soft drink flavor of my own.

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