A Victorian Campaign Style Induction Coil Electro Therapy Shock Machine c.1890

Origin: English
Period: Late-Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890
Depth: 6.25”
Height: 7.75”
Width: 6.75” (all at extremities)

The nineteenth century electro therapy shock machine, with induction coil with two brass tubes attached to cables through which the current flows, used to treat ‘nervous diseases’ and housed in a good oak campaign style dovetail jointed box with the original brass carrying handle and catches.

The condition is entirely original with expected amounts of associated wear and a beautiful colour to the oak. The battery of sorts that would have powered it is absent. Obviously therefore it is untested. The campaign style case is of this type for ease of travel.

The first practical machine of this type was made by M. Hippolyte of Paris in 1832.  They were enormously popular in the second half of the nineteenth century, coinciding with the excitement generated by new discoveries in electricity, medicine, and science. In the late nineteenth century it was claimed that electricity could treat almost every conceivable ailment, and one could buy an electric helmet, an electric corset for ladies who wished to shed a few pounds, gents could purchase “Dr Moffats Electropathic Belt for Extra Vigour”, electropathic socks, or even “Dr Scott's Electric hairbrush”.

A superb example of Victorian experimental insanity.