A sometimes penetrating look at antique medical quackery and electrotherapy devices

Welcome to the fascinating and somewhat creepy world of antique medical quackery and electrotherapy devices. What follows are descriptions and pictures of the various types of devices that I (and others) have been able collect over the years. I am always interested in hearing from others who collect or appreciate such weirdness and I am especially interested in sharing info and pictures of devices others have in their collections. Feel free to contact me if you have any interesting devices to sell (see want list). Please send any comments or suggestions to David Rickert at

faradic battery
Faradic battery
Popular-turn-of-the-century high voltage elctrotherapeautic devices that could produce anything from a pleasant tingling sensation to a “hit the ceiling” jolt of pain.

Radio Disease Killer (RDK)
Radio Disease Killer (RDK).
Flashing multicolored lights. Nerve racking electronic buzzing. Electrical shocks. Mysterious radio waves. Who wouldn’t think that the Radio Disease Killer could cure whatever ailed you?

Galvanic Batteries
Galvanic Batteries.
It’s the amazing Galvanic pendant that shoots electricity through your body and cures paralysis, rheumatism and heart disease.

Electreat, Electraply, Vitapulsar.
Electreat, Electraply, Vitapulsar.
It’s long. It’s chromed. It delivers high voltage shocks and it’s guaranteed “to increase the flow of mind energy.” Hold on to your seats folks it’s the amazing Electreat.

Strap on the pads, drop it in some water, and sit back while the miracle of “Diaduction” cures any and all diseases.

The Big Stuff.
Here is the stuff that makes collecting exciting. The big machines! The Diathermy, High Frequency and Sinusoidal cabinets. This is where things start looking like Frankenstein’s laboratory.

The Attic.
This is my repository for all the pictures I have taken of other stuff in my collection but have not gotten around to describing. Feel free to go ahead and snoop around.

The articles in this section are written by Dean Currier. Comments and corrections to build on the history and improve accuracy are invited. He may be reached at

Whats ia a trade logo. A facinating description of the Waite and Bartlett company and the names and devices pictured in its beautiful electrotherapeutics catalog cover.

The Components of a Faradic Electrical Medical Machine

A Biographical History of Induction Coils

Components of the Electric Belt

A Biographical Sketch of Dr. Golding Bird a Pioneer of Electrotherapy

Some People I Have Met Along the Way
Isn’t this what it’s really about? Go ahead and jump into the collector subculture and (hopefully) find out you’re not that strange after all.

Pros & Cons
Semi-coherent ramblings on some of the things that make collecting all the more interesting.

Books relating to health quackery and electrotherapeutics.

Please make my day.

Fellow collectors and other assorted weirdness. .

Page last updated 7/21/00
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