When electricity was new, people had high hopes that it had curative powers. Unlike other "magical" cures, electricity could be felt. Electropathy, very popular from 1850-1900, promised to cure most diseases and conditions including mental illness. The patient held a metal cylinder, a hand electrode, while the healer applied a second electrode to the ailing body part. Electrode attachments were manufactured in a variety of shapes. The electrodes connected to an electrical source such as a magneto, chemical battery or battery box.
Early Chemical Battery Generator
The battery was made by the Nonpareil Co. founded in 1855. The instructions were:
Add 8 oz Sulphuric acid,
The Davis Kidder Magneto
The Davis Kidder Magneto, patented in 1854, is a simple machine which generates electricity using a magnet. A hand-turned crank operates gears (connected by a thin leather belt) which spin a velvet-covered armature. This generates an electric flow conducted over cloth-insulated wires to the 2 inch brass electrodes. The current produced is low voltage - using the machine briefly is not unpleasant. Use causes involuntary muscle contractions.
See also our Violet Ray Generators page.
History through Today
Batteries and Motors
Quick Links to Electrical Quackery