Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Inventiveness of Man

I recall making many visits to The Bath-House, Rotorua's Museum of Art and History, which as its title suggests was once a Victorian styled sanatorium and mineral spa. The opening of the Bath House in 1908 coincided with a visit to Rotorua by the American Rear-Admiral Sperry and 200 of his officers.

The Bath-House
Sited on the edge of a volcanic sulphurous vent, The Bath-House allowed local and overseas visitors to 'take the waters' as a cure for their aches and pains.

Unfortunately sulphur and and other minerals associated with volcanic activity are not conducive to the longevity of museum collections and the then directors had a long standing battle with these elements.

This was also the age of even stranger cures and health devices.  Most of the latter used electricity to deliver their curative effects. The fact that they were in most cases pseudo-science bordering on quackery mattered not a jot.

So it was with some delight that I came across online, the "Prostate Gland Warmer' which was manufactured in 1925 and promised 'healing below the belt'.

From the picture above it would appear that this 'warmer' was plugged directly into a normal lighting socket and I leave it to the reader's imagination to decipher where the other end was inserted.

According to the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices this device was originally invented in 1918 and came with the promise that it would "stimulate the abdominal brain".

This should not be confused with the The Recto Rotor, "The Latest and Most Efficient Invention for the Quick Relief of Piles, Constipation, and Prostate Trouble." Ouch!

Not all inventions of the time were for internal use.  Equally important was the promotion of good health through exercise.The Dumb-Bell Cane pictured below gave one 'the physique of an athlete without wasting a moment'.

Quackery still exists and the gullible are still taken in by promises of miracles cures.  I wrote earlier about some of these we came across in Singapore, such as the irradiated ankle socks which promised to improve circulation.
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