Improved Patent Magneto Electric Machine for nervous diseases

Made:
1862 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Improved Patent Magneto Electric Machine for nervous diseases, dynamo with steel magnet and brass and ebony terminals to apply to patient, all in polished wood case dated, unsigned, Europe, 1862

In the 1800s, mild electric shocks were a popular treatment for a range of aches and pains, especially those associated with the nerves. Although little more than medical quackery, thousands of these machines were made. Electricity was produced using the large magnet and the strength of the electric shock was controlled by how fast the crank was turned. The ebony and brass handles were placed on the patient’s body to deliver the shock. To prevent the patient feeling too much pain, it was recommended that a wet sponge be placed between the handle and the body.

Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
1980-804
Materials:
box (wood), brass (copper, zinc alloy), copper (alloy), ebony, ink, leather, mahogany (wood), paint, paper (fibre product), rosewood, steel (metal), textile and velvet
type:
electrotherapy
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
credit:
London Hospital