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Fultz House Museum

Machine, Electrotherapy - Stimulator


Accession number: 1986.07.26
Date: before 1936
Materials: Plastic, metal
Measurements: 32 cm L x 21.5 cm W x 14 cm H
Narrative: Used to apply shock treatments for rheumatism. Popular when electricity came out.
Description: Black box, covered in "wall paper" material, latch with key; machine is black with a knob and a plug, has two electric posts. Price 45.00
History of Use: Used to treat various ailments (neuritis, arthritis, rhumatism, etc.). 

The 20th century saw both the rise of modern medicine and growth of electricity. With the proliferation of household electricity and newfound public availability, the industry of electric health machines flourished. Among these machines were electrotherapy stimulators. The stimulators seemingly offered more than the homely remedies of the past, and their branding promised medical miracles.

The stimulator at the museum was to be plugged into a wall outlet, and at the owner’s discretion (by way of controlling a small hand dial) an electric current would flow through two handles. While holding the handles, the machine would stimulate the patient’s heart and circulatory system. As advertised on the inside of the museum stimulator’s case, the machine treated rheumatism, arthritis, headaches, eczema, insomnia, and “nervous troubles”. The stimulator also offered pain relief.

The machine was sold for $45.00. There is very little available on the manufacturer and distributer (American and Canadian) of this electrotherapy stimulator.

 

 

The electrotherapy stimulator on location at the Fultz House museum once belonged to the Maxwell family (or a descendent of the family). The Maxwells were a prominent Sackville family, descended from Loyalists. Born in New Brunswick, James Maxwell moved to Upper Sackville with his family near the beginning of the 20th century. In 1918 a school was built (on land donated by James Maxwell) for seven Maxwell children. The school year would have been from the end of August through to the end of June (an average of 200 school days). By 1923, children from other families in the community were attending the school. Over the decades the Maxwell School grew until in 1951 the school had to be given a new foundation and it changed location.