Electrotherapeutic chair, London, England, 1890-1900

Made:
1890-1900 in London

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Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

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Electrotherapeutic chair, by C.B. Harness, English, 1890-1900. Full 3/4 view, graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Electrotherapeutic chair, by C.B. Harness, English, 1890-1900. Detail view of inside of chair
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Electrotherapeutic chair, by C.B. Harness, English, 1890-1900. Detail view of gauge on the back of chair.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Electrotherapeutic chair, possibly a modified dentist's chair, probably for auto-conduction, with metal grip electrodes on chair handles, adjustment dials on back, and the remains of some electrical apparatus in panel underneath seat, by C.B. Harness, English, 1890-1900

Torture or treatment? This imposing wooden and velvet chair is an electrotherapeutic chair. Electrotherapy was a popular treatment during the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was used for a range of ailments. It was believed electric currents passed over the skin stimulated the body to recovery. The fold-down carpeted footrest hides a compartment. This houses the battery-powered electrotherapy unit. The unit produced a current that was passed through wires to the metal hand grips. The patient sat in the chair and held these grips while an electric current was applied. The reclining chair also has an adjustable headrest. This indicates it had other medical uses such as dentistry. The ornate nature of the chair suggests there was a wealthy clientele prepared to pay for electrotherapy.

Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
A602153
Materials:
fittings, metal, frame, mahogany, upholstery, velvet, red
type:
electrotherapy equipment - component
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • electrocardiograph
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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