Filter used to produce radioactive water

1901-1930 in England

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Radium water filter with upper reservoir vessel, English, 1901-1930. Full view, graduated matt black perspex background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Radium water filter with upper reservoir glass vessel, by Radium Limited, England, 1901-1930.

In the early years of the twentieth century, some people drank radioactive water in the hope that it would improve their general health and thereby prolong their life. These types of drinks were often known as elixirs. This glass filter, marked with the maker’s name, Radium Ltd, was infused with radioactive matter, which would make any water that passed through it mildly radioactive.

At the time the health dangers associated with radioactivity were not appreciated and it was believed to have a range of beneficial applications.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Laboratory Medicine
Object Number:
cork and glass
upper reservoir vessel: 142 mm 109 mm, .26 kg
filter: 222 mm x 150 mm 130 mm, .6 kg
water filter
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • filtration equipment - particulates
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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