Mechanical Heart Vintage Medical Instrument Elec-Treat Quack Medicine Device

Mechanical Heart Vintage Medical Instrument Elec-Treat Quack Medicine Device

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This great piece of quack medicine history is a vintage Elec-Treat Mechanical Heart; ca. 1930. Cool old device claims to treat Arthritis, Constipation, Sore Throat, Polio, prostrate, etc. with electrical shock.

Mechanical heart is contained in a black leatherette box with gold lettering on the top "ELEC-TREAT MECHANICAL HEART Patented and Trade Mark Reg. Made in U.S. A. Peoria, Ill. For Relief of Pain and Muscular Soreness.” In interior of box is Elec-Treat mechanism, internal (anal/vaginal) wand and incredibly illustrated promotional handbill & booklet with information and diagrams of how to use the machine to cure different ailments, manufactured by the Electreat Manufacturing Company of Peoria, Illinois.

“The Electreat Mechanical Heart is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device first patented in 1919 by Charles Willie Kent and manufactured in Peoria, Illinois. It has been estimated that as many as 250,000 of the Electreats were sold over 25 years. The device operated on two “D” cell batteries and a mechanical inductorium. A roller was built in at the top to be applied to the skin and plug-in sponge pad electrodes were supplied.” ***Please note the sponge pad is not included here.***

“Historically, the Electreat carries great significance, as Charles Willie Keat was the first person to be prosecuted for the misbranding of a medical product under the Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act of 1938–the first U.S. legislation to combat quack medical devices, and false advertising. Keat had charges brought against him in 1947, and in 1950, he was given a verdict of guilty for making false and misleading statements about the medical effects of his product. In his trial, legend has it that when asked what a battery was, Keat answered that “there are 10,000 batteries and no two are alike.” When asked to describe the workings of an electrical transformer, he replied “I am not a walking dictionary. It is an unanswerable question.” And finally, when asked if he had used the Electreat himself, the medically ignorant Keat replied, “Yes sir, for menopause!” (

Runs on 2 D cell batteries - not tested, but appears to be in good condition.

Main device measures H–2.75 W–3 L–11.5 inches. Box is chipped, stained and faded. Previous owner has handwritten notes on a few pages of instruction booklet. There is some minor corrosion on the machine, handbill is folded, with some loss/holes/tears/stains. Great addition to any quack medicine medical collection!

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