Connecticut physician Elisha Perkins developed “Perkins” tractors to cure a variety of ailments, such as rheumatism, gout, and inflammation. He theorized that these iron or brass pins, when drawn across the painful area, would ease discomfort.
In 1796, Perkins applied for a U.S. patent for his tractors. That same year, he sold a license to David Linfield for his wife to practice this healing method.
“Hocus! pocus! up and down!
Draw the white right from the crown!
Hocus! pocus! at a loss!
Draw the brazen rod across!
Hocus! pocus! down and up!
Draw them both from foot to top!”
—Poem from Terrible tractoration. A poetical petition against galvanising trumpery, and the Perkinistic Institution
License to practice Perkins’ healing method
Signed on February 19, 1796
Pins made between 1798-1810