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Magnetic Healing Batteries

Quack Medical Device or a True Cure?


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The 1870s and 1880s saw a new medical device that promised wonderful cures for almost anything that ailed you. This was just before the electrical revolution that began in the 1880s to 1890s when the new "wonder product" electricity was being applied to everything.

The most famous of the medical batteries was the Boyd's Battery. They are fairly easy to find and they polish up nicely. They were made with different metals that promised to create a healing electrical current when pressed against your skin. The galvanic properties were released by the different metals reacting to the moisture in your skin. Some people claimed that they tingled as they worked to drawn out the bad energies from your body and replace them with good energy.

Boyd's Battery came out in 1878 and was "improved" in 1879. He writes in his book "Boyd's Battery", that two of his employees stole his idea and created the Sagendorph Battery which was a direct knockoff of Boyd's design. Boyd claimed that their battery was just a combination of metals that did not do anything as opposed to his battery that was a combination of metals that did cure ills.

Whatever the truth, others followed and produced their own batteries - Richardson and Downing were the two that I have found. There were also magnetic belts, shoe inserts, and other products that used either magnetism or batteries to provide some relief to your ills.

An interesting 1870s CDV photograph and advertisement for a doctor who did magnetic healing.

Note the information warning against the Imitators

The original Boyd's Battery. Feel its energy! Only an inch and a quarter in diameter.
The Improved version of 1879

Sagendorph even claimed that his battery was the first and that Boyd copied him.

The original box that the Downings Battery came in.
The Downings Improved Battery

The 1881 Richardson's Battery. It was 1.5 inches in diameter.

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