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St. Croix Landmarks Society | Apothecary Hall Footnotes | Apothecary Hall | Research | Preserving the History and Culture of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands

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Apothecary Hall

Apothecary Hall in Christiansted, St. Croix

Excerpt from "Christiansted Apothecary Hall," continued

by George B. Griffenhagen, Pharmacist,1996

Footnotes

1. Theriaca, Dansk Farmacihistorisk Selskab, Copenhagen, Denmark, 375 pages, August 1967. (This pUblication is devoted to a Danish language transcript of the diary and letters of pharmacist Peder Eggert Benzon during his stay in Christiansted.)
2. The following products were manufactured in quantity by Benzon:

Acidum Huriaticum Oxygenatum was first reported as having been prepared in quantity by Benzon on July 25, 1821. The preparation was official in the Danish Pharmacopeia of 1805; the name was changed to Aqua Chlorata in 1840, and to Sodium Chloride in 1868. The 1831 American Dispensatory identifies the product as Huriate of Sodae or Common Sea Salt. Benzon apparently believed that his product was more pure than sea salt.

Alcohol Vini was first reported as prepared in quantity by Benzon on December 13, 1819, for Peter Ravn (1788-1839), a pharmacist from Aarhus who settled in St. Thomas. The 1831 American Dispensatory describes the product as Spirit of Wine or Alcohol Dilutus.

Bay-Spirit or Bay-Water was first produced by Benzon on April 1, 1819, which he described as "a new product." Many years later pharmacist A. H. Riise of St. Thomas claimed to be "the original manufacturer of Double Distilled Bay Rum." In 1888, Dr. Charles Edwin Taylor (see footnote #7) personally visited the Riise pharmacy, and described the product as "an invaluable antiseptic in the sick room."

Liqvor Ammonii Caustici was first reported as having been prepared in quantity by Benzon on February 10, 1819. The preparation was official in the Danish Pharmacopeia of 1805, 1840, and 1850. The 1831 American Dispensatory describes this product as Water of Caustic Ammonia, and recommended it as a liniment.

Liqvor Anodynus Hineralis Hoffmanni was first reported as having been prepared in quantity by Benzon on January 26, 1819. According to the Danish Pharmacopeia of 1805, 1840, and 1850, this preparation is the same as Spiritus Sulphurico-Aethereus. The 1831 American Dispensatory describes it as Sweet Spirit of Vitriol or Sulfuric Ethereal Liquor.

Naphtha Vitrioli was first reported as having been prepared in quantity by Benzon on October 10, 1820. The product was called Aether Sulphuricus in the Danish Pharmacopeia of 1805, 1840, and 1850. The 1831 American Dispensatory describes Naphtha as Bitumen Petrolatum or Barbadoes Tar. Aether Sulphuricus or Vitriolic Ether was prepared by distilling sulfuric acid with various compounds such as Naphtha.

Spiritus Lavandulae Simplex was first reported as having been prepared in quantity by Benzon on September 1, 1820. This preparation was official in. the Danish Pharmacopeia of 1805, and is described in the 1831 American Dispensatory as Spirit of Lavender. It was employed as a "warm stimulating aromatic."

Spiritus Henthae Piperate Concentratus was first reported as having been prepared in quantity by Benzon on December 4, 1820. The preparation was called Pebermyntedraaber in Denmark, while the 1831 American Dispensatory describes it as Spirit of Peppermint.

Spiritus Nitri Dulcis was first reported as having been prepared in quantity by Benzon on July 27, 1819. Saltpetre Ether was official in the Danish Pharmacopeia of 1805, 1840, and 1850. The 1831 American Dispensatory describes the product as Sweet Spirit of Nitre or Spirit of Nitrous Ether, recommending it to "strengthen the stomach."

3. Among those for whom Benzon was distilling medicines were Dr. Jarvis Rhoebuck (1779-1857), a Philadelphia physician who settled in St. Croix; Peter Ravn (1788-1839), a pharmacist from Aarhus who settled in St. Thomas; and pharmacist Albert Heinrich Riise (1810-1882) of St. Thomas.

4. In 1818, Benzon wrote in his diary that he was impressed with the pharmaceutical preparations of pharmacist Tjeneste, but by 1821 Benzon was calling for Tjeneste's expulsion for dispensing defective preparations. As early as 1819, Benzon had inspected Varelager's pharmacy finding defective preparations.

5. Dansk Vestindisk Rigierings Avis, January 1, 1827. It is interesting to note that Benzon's first newspaper ad promoted "Wine, Bay-Spirits, Liquers, &c. as usual," but he makes no mention of pharmaceuticals. It is also significant that Benzon's ad was published only in English, while most other ads were published in both English and Danish. This suggests that Benzon was prepared to compete with other pharmacies in St. Croix in the event that his "royal privilege" was not forthcoming, and he was promoting his products to the English-speaking residents rather than to the Danish-speaking residents. Benzon wrote to a colleague in Copenhagen dated September 7, 1827, that his pharmacy was called the Central-Apotheket, but his 1827 newspaper ads describe it simply as "Pharmacy" or "Pharmacie."






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