Zoom May 2014

Throughout history, man has swallowed, applied, jabbed, inhaled and—ahem—inserted a cornucopia of curatives. But certain medicines require certain conditions to work properly once they go down the gullet. For such cases there is the hard capsule. Invented by Parisian pharmacist J.C. Lehuby in the 1840s, the oblong vessel is created in two halves by dipping molds in molten gelatin or a vegetarian cellulose material. A smaller diameter “body” is filled with the medicine and the larger “cape” caps it off. The molds contain contours that interlock when the capsule is assembled and a band completes the seal. The pharmaceutical filling is typically in powder or pellet form. Both are created by grinding up the active ingredient, then mixing it with binders and other additives to help digestion once swallowed.

michael isenbek

Michael Isenbek, Associate Editor, dabbles in both fiction and nonfiction writing, coordinates the Pulse event listings and writes the text for "Zoom," among other editorial tasks. He has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Journalism from SUNY Empire State College.