Dodgy medical devices

2 Aug

Here’s a reminder of how easy desperate people can be to con money out of, from November 1960 Popular Science:

Gadgets to Gyp the Gullible

Consider, for instance, that in California the other day investigators for the Public Health Dept. found a modern witch doctor administering to cancer patients by letting them feel the vibrations from a tape recording of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.”

California’s Food and Drug inspectors recently caught up with a man peddling an Electronically Active Steel Ball. It was only a ball bearing, but the pitch was that it had been energized with 81,000 volts of electricity. Any person gullible enough to buy one was assured that the ball had since been grounded, so it was harmless. Nevertheless, it was said to retain the ability to “cure pain permanently” if one only rolled the little steel marble around over the area that ached.

  • The Pathoclast looks like an ancient radio, but isn’t that useful. It was touted as able to diagnose and cure any ill.

  • Thre’s nothing in the $545 Radionic Machine but lots of rheostats and switches. It was said to be able to treat diseases.

  • The ridiculous Atomotrone sold for $300. It “irradiated” food and water with colored light and signals from a tiny radio transmitter on the top shelf.

  • With a price tag of $75, the Uranium Ray Pad sold as a cure for arthritis. All it had in it was crushed rock, a bit radioactive but not a bit beneficial.

  • The Electro-Metabograph was alleged to be able to pick the proper drug for a cure from the rack in front of it. Behind the panel was nothing but rotary switches.

  • Mice were killed by gas from this ozone generator, which cost $150 and was claimed to help benefit 47 human ailments.

  • The Radon Bell held a trace of radium and iron oxide. It was supposed to convert tap water into a cancer cure and stop falling hair.


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