Used for the relief of nervous and other problems

A collection of electrical devices used by the Victorian era of doctors
to obtain relief by stimulating the nervous system with electrical pulses

About this website


The use of  electrical devices by Doctors to stimulate the nerves of people suffering from various ailments is well known.

The simplest modern machine is the “TENS MACHINE” and these devices are much more sophisticated than the original “witch doctor” devices , and will give varied programmes of shock treatment to suit the patient’s need, and they are not treated with such suspicion as the old devices, and they provide successful treatment for many people.( as did the old machines in their crude manner.) Most of the devices were powered by a small battery and looked innocent enough.

In my younger days we used to make similar devices which consisted of  a battery , a voltage step - up transformer, and a trembler device to excite the transformer. The high voltage end of the transformer was connected by wires to two handles  which our selected  ‘patient’ was instructed to hold.

The idea in our case was not medically based at all, it was merely to inflict what we hoped was unbearable agony to the ‘patient’  for the amusement of all. (The power was limited and no fatalities occurred)
A very plausible story with promises of reduced power and Scouts Honour and other promises had to be made before any of the girls would be ‘patients !!

( good lesson in why not to trust boys I suppose?!)

List  of  boxes collected


Type 1 Battery operated

Box  1 Faradic battery original from Cirencester
Box  2 Salanson & Co. Optician Glos. Car Boot
Box  3 Hancock & Co. Glos. Antiques Centre
Box  4 No makers name Glos. Antiques Centre
Box  5 No makers name  Glos. Car Boot
Box  6 No makers name Glos. Antiques Centre
Box  7 Cavendish Electrical Co. Chilton Antiques
Box  8 No makers name Berkeley Fair May 2003
Box  9 No makers name Internet  Nov. 2003



Type 2 Hand generator

Box  A No makers name Cam car boot  Aug 2002
Box  B No makers name Hungerford    Sept 2002
Box  C Rawson & Brailsford Wotton auction
Box  D Darlow & Co. Hook (Sue & Cath present) 03
Box  E F. J. Cox  Berkeley Fair May 2003
Box  F No makers name Glos. Antiques Aug. 2003
Box  G No makers name Glos. Antiques Sept. 2003



Type 3 Mains Powered

Box  A SUNCO Glos. car boot   Aug 2002
Box  B WAPA Cathy gift
Box  C C. ASH Sons & Co. Tetbury Antiques  Aug. 2003