Artifact of the Month

Davis and Kidder's Magneto-Electric Machine for Nervous Disorders

Magneto-Electric Machine

Magneto-Electric Machine illustrationAbove: Illustration from the interior of the box lid.

Magneto-Electric Machine instructions, also from inside the box lid.

Harper's New Monthly, November 1885
Patient receiving treatment with a device similar to the Magneto-Electric Machine. From"The Singular Case of Mr. Samuel Spoolin" by F. Anstey, Harper's New Monthly Magazine, November 1885.

This medical device was patented August 1, 1854 by W. H. Burnap. It was designed to ease a variety of ills by treating the patient with an electric current generated by the use of a magnet (the big dark thing in the back of the box).

Electricity is created by turning the crank on the front of the box.  The poles (metal cylinders) attached to the box by wires are placed on various parts of the body, depending on the disease being treated.

We don't know any history behind this particular Magneto-Electric Machine. It was purchased by the Shiloh Museum Board of Trustees at an auction in Springdale in the 1980s.

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