Alternative "Quack" Medical Devices : Great For What Ails You
Object ID Number:
EH101016
Object Name:
Elec Treat Mechanical Heart
Date of Manufacture:
/ /
Manufactured from:
1919
Manufactured to:
1940
Description / History:
Electreat, "Mechanical heart " – (2) – For relief of pain & muscular soreness.
With pamphlet & directions.
One in a box

The Electreat Mechanical Heart
This cure–all device was patented by Charles Willie Kent in 1919, and was designed to relieve chest pain, improve circulation, and regulate internal organs, among many, many other reputed therapeutic effects. The device was one of the first transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS), devices which claimed to offer pain relief as a result of the application of electrical shocks to a person's skin. It has been estimated that, in the 25 years following its patenting, the Electreat Manufacturing Company was able to sell over 250,000 of these devices. 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!"
Dimensions:
H–2.75 W–3 L–11.5 inches
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