Aardvark Art Glass

more quackery
January 18, 2009, 11:38 am
Filed under: Bloggidy Blog | Tags: , , , , , ,

Don got a violet ray generator for his birthday from Brad and Carrie. It is non-functional which is unfortunante though not unexpected as they found the unit in an antique store’s garbage pile. I couldn’t quite grock what this was used for at first but it turns out it’s a fairly famous example of questionable medical equipment circa 1920. It even appears in the Museum of Quackery. The Renulife device consists of a bakelite handle into which one inserts any number of blown glass vacuum tube accessories designed to deliver electricity to pretty much any area of your body, inside or out. We were fortunate to receive the model with accessories that are probably too large to have ever been inserted anywhere. We hope, anyway. Here’s a close up of one of them:

That’s some craftsmanship on that sucker-that glass is thin. Someone really knew how to join tube. According to the accompanying booklet, this particular accessory was probably used to treat an ailment known as “Falling Hair”. Gray hair can also be cured with it, especially when the gray hair is caused by bacteria or poor circulation. The booklet warns against using alcohol rich hair tonics being a fire hazard when treating your scalp with electricity.  Here is a picture of the accompanying  booklet:

As long as you have the proper glass accessory and you’re not afraid to electrify it and stick it up your nose or rectum, you can cure pretty much anything with this device, including the Grippe, Lumbego and Barber’s Itch. I can’t imagine why someone would throw this away, you know? It’s only non-functioning if it worked at one time.


6 Comments so far
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Now there’s something for the Antique Roadshow!
It’s amazing the stuff they tried to sell people.
My Mom, many years ago bought this machine that you hooked up these electodes to the places on your body that you wanted to reduce. There were knobs that you turned and it sent electric impulses and you jerked all over the place! We would torture ourselves with it for laughs! Weird…that and the machine that you strapped around your hips and it shimmied till you stuttered. Some pretty weird memories…thanks for reminding me of them. Maybe that’s why I’m a little strange…ya think?

Comment by Rosanne

Well, that dose of electricity as a child probably didn’t do you any good strangeness-wise. (LOL! Insert smiley face emoticon.)I thought Antiques Roadshow too, when I saw the thing–it’s a little piece of history. People really dug electricity back then. It’s amazing this thing is still intact after 80 years. The little booklet is priceless.

The thought of donating the Renulife to a place where many people could see it crossed our minds, but we’re considering starting our own museum here with all the stuff people bring us from the garbage. Don posed that we call the museum “the Old Shit Collection” so we can answer the phone “Old shit collection, how may we direct your call?”. I like that.
Thanks R!

Comment by cathylybarger

And I always assumed that the lumbago was a dance step! Now I fear even to type its or even “Grippe”‘s name into some wiki search…Oh the many things one doesn’t want to consider…
Anyhow, I just saw that the Antiques Roadshow was soliciting emails for their UPCOMMING MADISON APPEARANCE! – (not shitting you) –
Signed, still shimmying and stuttering, SP.

Comment by sp

There you go Cathy…maybe you’re sitiing on a something worth a fortune. It’s the Antigue Roadshow for you!

Comment by Rosanne

Cool, Madison, that would be an episode to see.
Have some fun — borrow back something you sold 10 or so years ago and have Don take it in (so you can take in the Renulife). See what their appraisers say.
Last millennium has to be antique, right?
Second thought … this is Wisconsin, anyone got any antique cheeses?

Comment by phil

Bad news, you guys. Despite their frail appearances, intact Renulife machines exist all over Ebay and they don’t sell for all that much money. There must have been tons and tons of them produced. BUT, what’s really funny is that modern incarnations of this machine are also being sold on Ebay. They don’t promise to cure anything, really, I guess they’re more for “entertainment” purposes. It sounds kind of dangerous but whatever keeps the glass blowers in business, I say.

If we were to make this an Old Shit Collection contest, I think giant metal dollhouse would probably trump Renulife machine, monetary value wise. Whoever inherits all our crap will be the real winner, though. They can drive a semi load to the Roadshow.

Comment by cathylybarger

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