On Prostrate Fixes, Glasses, and Shoe-Fittings

I'll need a few days to recover from the vacation, and as you'd guess, the long return drive with little ones--glad we only do this once a year. 

As a result, I'll have a Missing Person Monday post ready to go next week.

In the meantime, I offer this...
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If I am ever in the St. Paul, Minnesota area, one stop that I want to make is the Science Museum of Minnesota to see their collection of Questionable Medical Devices.

Online, the collection is referred to as the "Collection of Quackery" and offers quite a few laughs.

Tired of wearing glasses and contacts? 

Try the Natural Eye Normalizer which massages tired eyes so that vision will improve.  Or, at least that was the claim made in the 1930s--a proclamation that was later described as an ineffective and nonsensical treatment for vision impairment.

Attention men with prostrate problems!

Look at what you could have purchased in 1925: The Prostrate Gland Warmer which was promised to "stimulate the abdominal brain."

Um... Yeah.... 

My favorite piece from the collection is this contraption called the Shoe Fitting X-Ray Device:



It is believed that there were 10,000 of these machines in use and taking X-Ray images of a customer's foot so that the perfect shoe fit could be determined.  And for no additional charges, the customer was also provided with intense blasts of radiation leaking from the device into the immediate area.

Who knew that good health used to be related to those who avoided the shoe store.

The X-Ray shoe fitting gadget was banned in over half of the states in the USA by the 1970s, but surprisingly, the one in St. Paul's museum was actually found in operation in a shoe store in West Virginia in 1981.

Reading these medical insights, I am suddenly motivated to look into that all natural tapeworm diet that was advertised in the 19th century--and remarkably is still looking for customers today.   

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Photo Credit: Museum of Quackery.

14 comments:

jinksy said...

Eek! I used to have me feet 'measured' by a contraption similar to that...Only lucky part - I didn't need new shoes very often, as the recommended size always turned out to be so huge, it took me months and months to grow into it!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Scary medical devices!

I wonder if there is anything in the medical profession now that in later years people will look back and wonder why they ever thought of using it!

And what about those "old wives tales"? Some of those are just as scary as the contraptions you posted about!

Sister Copinherhair said...

Based on the title for this post, I thought you were going to tell us stories of how much fun you are having getting old! ;)

J. J. in Phila said...

I remember my 7th grade science teacher talking about the foot fluoroscope in 1974-5. They were exceptionally common and show the lack of understanding about the dangers of radiation in the early to mid 20th Century.

I was surprised to hear that they were operating as late as 1971.

Eternally Distracted said...

Those xray machines look SCARY!!

SuziCate said...

Ha, these are funny. I think we even have a few modern day calims that we can put in that museum!

Portia said...

My mother-in-law totally used one of those x-ray shoe thingies when she was a little girl! She grew up in a tiny town in Iowa, and she told me all about looking through it to see if your shoes fit.

LadyFi said...

Oh, those medical devices! Glad those days are over.

Hope you recover from the long journey.

WomanHonorThyself said...

lolz I had to recover from my vacay too! Happy Monday :)

Theresa Milstein said...

These facts are one of the fun parts of studying history. Makes you realized not to jump on the bandwagon every time Science comes up with something new - especially beauty treatments.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Sounds like a fun museum! The town I went to college in had a psychiatric museum...showed all the things inside one patient's stomachs, the things that she swallowed!

angelcel said...

I was told, in confidence, years ago of an heiress to a major well-known company who had deliberately infected herself with a tapeworm in order to lose weight. I thought she was a on-off nutter. Well, apparently not! Sure I'd like to lose weight but the thought of a parasite growing and feasting off me inside my body just grosses me out.

BTW, I feel sure there was one of those foot X-Ray machines in the local shoe shop here when I was little (...and I'm not *that* old)! :)

Momma Fargo said...

The Science Museum is the most awesome-est ever. I could spend days in there. You and your family would love it!

Diana said...

Wowwwwwww, isn't it amazing how far we've come with the shoe department technology... now it's just that little metal thingamajig! Well, in the fancy stores anyway, what few are left like that... not in Walmart, though, just try 'em on!

Um, not gonna look at the tapeworm thing. Just the thought is givin' me chills. Ewwwwwwww! LOL!

Have an awesome Friday! :D