Vibrating stool, Paris, France, 1890-1914

Made:
1890-1914 in Paris
maker:
Gaiffe et Cie
and
Adolphe Gaiffe

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Electric vibrating stool, Charcot's, by A. Gaiffe, Paris, 1890-1914

Jean-Martin Charcot is perhaps the most celebrated clinical neurologist of the 19th century. He approached patients as if they were pathological specimens, to be observed and measured with an expert’s objective eye. His method combined clinical observation and post-mortem dissection. However, he also developed therapeutic techniques. Some of these incorporated vibration. This was based on an observation by Charcot and several contemporaries. Charcot claimed vibrations applied to skin, joints or the whole body eased a number of neurological disorders. These included Parkinson’s disease.

There is insufficient information about this object to confirm Charcot used it. However, he is linked to it. It is more of a platform than a ‘stool’ and the motor caused it to vibrate. It is believed a patient either stood directly on the platform or sat on a chair of a suitable size to be placed on top of it.

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Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
A602315
Materials:
base, oak, legs, rubber, hardened
type:
vibrating stool
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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