Theory of the World

Can the world be captured by a string of symbols? For this late-18th century manuscript, a list of symbols was key to understanding its theory of the world, the title’s namesake. Text and symbols are interwoven throughout the manuscript, its author crafting what he believed was an important breakthrough in

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Electrosleep Machine Prototype

While “electrical stimulation” probably makes most people think about shocks and jolts, this device actually uses electrical stimulation to help people fall asleep. The trick is this device sends very gentle pulses rather than discharges that cause shocks. This particular device is the prototype for the first electrosleep machine made

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Cole’s Radium Water

Soon after Marie and Pierre Curie discovered Radium in 1898, doctors figured out radium-steeped water could be used to successfully treat cancer. If radium water could do that, folks wondered, what else could it do? Around the country, stories spread of ordinary people becoming extraordinary by drinking radium water. But

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The Master Key: An Electrical Fairy Tale

L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, wrote this “electrical fairy tale,” dedicating it to his teenage son, Robert. The main character, also a young boy, experiments with electricity, wires, and batteries. When he accidentally touches the “Master Key of Electricity,” he is granted gifts of

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Electropsychometer

Electropsychometer

Originally designed and built in the 1940s, chiropractor Volney Mathison used his device, commonly known as an E-meter, to measure the “degree of physic trauma” of his patients. The machine uses electricity to measure physiological responses of the body and relates them to supposed psychological conditions. In the 1950s, L.

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Earth Inductor

Designed by Charles Edouard Joseph Delzenne in the 1840s, this demonstration device from around the turn of the 20th century can be used to indicate the presence and orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field. By spinning the round coil of wire, a voltage is produced at the copper brushes attached

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BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN

In response to the successful 1931 film, Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff, Universal Pictures made a sequel entitled Bride of Frankenstein. The film revolved around the creation of a mate for Frankenstein’s monster. This action figure captures the character’s iconic lightning-streaked hair. Accessories include a dungeon stone base with an engraved

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X-ray Display

X-Ray Display

X-rays were discovered in 1895 by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. He was the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. Like visible light, X-rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but with shorter wavelengths. Shortly after Röntgen’s discovery, X-rays were used for medical imaging. Today, they

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Liquid Variable Resistor

Liquid Variable Resistor

This Bailey Current Controller was used to regulate the voltage between a battery and patient during therapeutic treatments. The “wings,” usually made of conductive carbon, can be lowered or raised into a liquid, such as salt water. By doing so, the amount of current applied to the body can be

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Polygraph

Polygraph

A polygraph, commonly referred to as a lie detector, was designed to measure and record physiological responses of a person under different conditions. Starting in 1895 in Italy, it was used in criminology to determine if a suspect was telling the truth. Additional modifications were made over time and, in

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