Quack Medicine Ultra Violet Ray Machine

Submitted by Douglas Wood March 15th, 2010

This vintage quack medicine device– the Elco Violet Ray Machine was made around 1910 and claims to treat (and I quote from material I found on the Internet…) “acne, alcohol and drug abuse, arthritis, asthma, baldness, birthmarks, bladder trouble, bronchitis, boils, brainfag, breast development and Brights disease,” and that’s just the A’s and B’s. It goes on to say it’s beneficial in the treatment of cancer, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea.

The Mad Scientist machine comes in an old black case with one metal attachment and five glass wand (like Crookes tubes) attachments. The case also contains an antique bottle of “Inhalant Solution for Ozone Generator” (which smells like really strong Vick’s VapoRub.) Supposedly these high-frequency machines were manufactured for household use up until the 1950s when, presumably, people developed common sense. I suppose they could also be used for drunken college hazing rituals.

5 Responses to “Quack Medicine Ultra Violet Ray Machine”

  1. Allee Willis

    I used to collect machines like this as I used them in tons of music videos I art directed. They weighed a ton and I would lug them to the set, stack them on top of each other and then they would end up never being in the final cut as despite the fact that my instructions were to build a full set most of the shots ended up being close ups. I know this was the case with a Cars video where I built a full spaceship interior and most of what you ended up seeing was a couple blinking lights behind Ric Ocasek’s head.

    It’s amazing how gullible humans are and how crafty those among us are who know how to rig these things up and then convince people their life will be improved by attaching themselves to it. I wish it was that easy!

    That pointy black thing attached to the fact cord looks most invasive…

  2. denny

    Douglas……this is unbelievable! No wonder so many people back then lived very short lives! I love this and you also post the most amazing stuff. Your such a ktischafile!

  3. windupkitty

    oh hey, this is incredible! i’ve never seen anything like it but am certainly obsessed with anything quack medical! wowie, wow, wow…we need more modern machines like this…..we really do! maybe this is what maude had in her trailer when she was turning harold onto odorifics!

  4. Douglas Wood

    Windupkitty– When I bought this I had no idea what it was. The guy who sold it to me at a garage sale said it belonged to his late father who was a Science teacher. It wasn’t until I got it home and Googled it that I found out what it actually was– essentially NOTHING.