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Picture of the Month (April 2010)
Dedicated User Captions:
1. Fräulein Schmitt kurz vor dem Abstransport zu Hagenbecks erster Völkerschau in Deutsch-Südwestafrika...
2. even though rather bulky, this brand new piece of furniture improves the spouse-mother-in-law relationship dramatically
3. Unfortunately, the concept of isolation was not yet known when Faraday built his first cage. His wife was instrumental for the context of its discovery...

Read more captions (not voted, latest on top)

Large solenoid for auto-conduction
This curious contraption, designed for a controversial therapeutic method called dielectric heating, comprises a large solenoid and an internal area in which the patient is allocated for treatment. Solenoids are three-dimensional coils, which create controlled magnetic fields when an electric current is allowed to pass through them. In the case depicted above, the patient can completely step into the coil by lifting it like a curtain. Once positioned for treatment, the patient is submitted to high frequency electric currents, which were considered by some in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to be powerful curative agents for a variety of ailments. Because motor and sensory nerves are not responsive to electrical undulations that exceed a frequency of twenty to thirty millions a second, patients subjected to the procedure do not experience any involuntary movement or strong sensory stimulation. This peculiar form of electrotherapy did not attract much attention internationally at the time of its inception, but gained some popularity in France, where it first emerged. The procedure was also known as Arsonvalisation, after the French physicist d'Arsonval (born 1851), a pioneer in the field of electrophysiology. He first described the supposedly beneficial effects of dielectric heating in a paper addressed to the Société de Biologie in May of 1891. However, the effectiveness of this new therapeutic method was challenged by some scientists, since it could not be proved that high frequency electric discharges do actually penetrate the human body. In analogous experiments using copper wires, the electric currents were observed to flow over the surface of the material.

Related Items:
Announcement for more therapies from that time in the catalogue of the Electricitätsgesellschaft "SANITAS", Berlin 1908.
Schaerer, M. n. d. Spezial-Apparate für die Heissluftbehandlung (incl. light baths)
Wendschuch, Carl. 1910. Haupt-Katalog, Ausgabe 1910. Dresden (Electro-massage)

Picture Source:
Reiniger, Gebbert und Schall Akt. Ges. n. d. Katalog-Abteilung X: Hochfrequenz-Therapie: Arsonvalisation - Fulguration. Utrecht (Collection Paolo Brenni)

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