Quack Medical Apparatus

Phrenology Chart

"I need hardly recall to mind, that until quite recently, to venture to speak of electricity as a curative power was pretty certain to result in the speaker being branded as little better than a quack."
 - Herbert Tibbets, M.D., A handbook of medical and surgical electricity.   1877

Medical applications of electricity have never been an area of focus for me, but occasionally I come across a piece that is just too unusual to pass up.  Below are a few of the "Quack Mecial" devices in my collection:



Electric Phrenology Apparatus
4th qtr 19th century

d'Arsonval spiral helmet
4th Qtr 19th Century

Early phototherapy apparatus
4th Qtr 19th Century


Apps Medical Dynamo
Last half 19th Century

Pulvermacher Galvano Co.

Signed "Pulvermacher Galvano Co. Electricity is Life" in black cloth covered box measuring 8-5/8" x 61-3/8" (h) and accompanied with instruction book and catalog by the Pulvermacher Galvano Company. Belt is made of a brass weave.

Medical Coil with grounded footrest
1st Qtr, 20th century

A. Gendron, Bordeaux

 Quack medical device used to stimulate hair growth. Made of gutta purcha, brass and nickel plated brass. Signed "A. Gendron, Bordeaux" and stamped "F. 72". The eight sided gutta purcha handle is 4-1/2" in length and leads into finely turned brass column (3-5/8 " length) which is attached to the nickel plated brass plate of numerous brass spikes, the plate is 3" in diameter.

Oidin Coil
Early 20th century

Bonetti Influence Machine

This impressive apparatus stands over five feet tall and contains ten 32" disks.  The Bonetti device and others like it were used for medical therapy and to power early x-ray tubes.