Thursday, February 21, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Granddad's Still

Old Water Distiller Used in Lee's Drug Store
Middlesboro, Kentucky, c. 1910
No, my granddad wasn't a moonshiner.  (But that would have made for a good story, too, wouldn't it?)  As I've told you before, Frank Lewis Lee was a registered pharmacist and owner of Lee's Drug Store in Middlesboro, Kentucky, from 1910 until about 1960. Back in the day when Granddad ran the drug store, a pharmacist was basically a chemist and made much of the medicine dispensed from his store.  When mixing many of his medicines, Granddad had to use distilled water, and to get distilled water, he made his own right there in the drug store.

The process of distilling basically purifies the water by removing the various microscopic particles of such elements as salt, bacteria, iron, calcium, etc.  The water is boiled until it changes to steam. The steam is collected and allowed to cool and return to a liquid state again.  The microscopic elements are left behind as solid residue while the pure, newly made liquid is distilled water. This old distiller is what my grandfather and later my father used to make distilled water, and it is one of the few items that my dad kept when he sold Lee's Drug Store. Thanks, Dad, for saving this treasure for me.


Otto J. S. Boberg,"Where Distilled Water is Absolutely Necessary," Bulletin of Pharmacy, Vol. 13, p. 115.

"How to Make Distilled Water," How Stuff Works, TLC/Discovery

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