The violet ray generator was a wellness gadget from a time long before we thought wellness gadgets existed.
Their basic construction was invented prior to 1900 by Nikola Tesla, who introduced his first prototypes at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Most of the antique violet rays in the US were produced before the Depression era, and some of the larger US manufacturers of violet rays were Renulife, Fitzgerald, and Fisher. Companies who manufactured violet ray devices made many other types of electrical appliances as well, e.g. Star Electric, which also manufactured stock ticker machines. Many of the companies who were able to continue manufacturing violet rays after the Depression stopped making them due to World War II, when they began manufacturing radio coils and other electrical components for the war instead.
A typical violet ray device consisted of an ungrounded, electrical control box that controlled the interrupter and housed the magneto coil, and an attached bakelite or other handle housing which contained the high voltage coil and an insertion port for attachments. Glass, evacuated tubes of varying shapes and for different therapeutic uses could be inserted into the bakelite handle to apply the resulting current to different parts of the body.
Colorful cover of Virex manual with recommended violet ray treatments for various diseases and conditions, about 1900.
Violet ray treatments were said to cure everything from lumbago to carbuncles. From an antique Master Violet Ray manual c. 1920 comes this treatment advice:
Brain Fog - Use Applicator No. I over forehead and eyes. Also treat the back of head and neck with strong current in direct contact with the skin. Treat the spine and hold the electrode in the hand. Ozone inhalations for about four minutes are also of importance.
This example is made by Fitzgerald MFG. Co in the 1920's and looks to be complete but is untested. Hook up a power source and stay young forever with this vintage gadget!
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