A Medical Curiosity

A Medical Curiosity‘Roger’s Electro Medical Appliance: Violet Ray High Frequency Vitalator’. Surreal and perhaps worrying, this antiquated medical treatment has raised a lot of interest and curiosity backstage at the ‘Things‘ exhibition.

The brown faux leather box, roughly 18cm cubed, contains four fixings resembling lightbulbs of different shapes and sizes: one ‘comb’ shaped, one round, one  elongated, and one V-shaped. These fixings would have been attached to the power source and with the turning of two knobs, the voltage can be turned on and increased or decreased accordingly. It’s hard to imagine using this heated device to alleviate pain, but, as the owner noted, 50 years ago when her mother used it to help ease pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, the only ‘official’ medical treatment offered was 28 aspirin tablets daily.

One thought on “A Medical Curiosity

  1. I have several of these. They are early vibrators – as well as their advertised purpose as massagers/pain alleviators they were also used by physicians to ‘cure’ hysteria through sexual stimulation. (See Rachel P. Maines: ‘The Technology of Orgasm)

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