Alternative "Quack" Medical Devices : Great For What Ails You
Object ID Number:
Object Name:
Rectal Dilators
F. E. Young & Co. – Chicago, IL
Date of Manufacture:
1920/ /
Manufactured from:
Manufactured to:
Description / History:
2 cardboard boxes containing a total of 7 rectal dilators in 7 different sized. Inside lid of box has label reading: Dr. Youngs inproved Rectal Dilators with directions. Sold only by prescription and to avoid using in case of bleeding. Made from bakelite, the sizes range from 4 inches long to 3 inches long with varying diameters. Their advertised use if for the cure of piles and constipation.
EHMHF collection includes 2 sets of Dr. Youngs rectal dilators.
H–2 W–4 L–6 inches
Additional Information:
Patented in 1892 by Frank E. Young, these rectal dilators were not widely promoted until the early 20th century. They were promoted as a radical cure for piles and constipation, the idea being that well trained muscloes in the area in question would be able to cope with even the most solid solids. Advertised as a cure for even the worst cases and a guarantee to cure in the early part of the 20th century

Originally made from a hard rubber, which was warmed in warm water and then lubricated, they were later made from bakelite. Directions included with the dilators instructs the patient to insert the dilator and leave in place from one half hour to an hour for a cure.

The claims as a radical cure and a guarantee of a cure is what designates this product as quack device. These claims came to the attention of the federal courts after passage of the US Federal Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act in 1938 leading to the seizure of a large shipment of the devices in New York alleging that they were misbranded.

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