Late 1800s Inventions ---- Some Useful-Some Not

People have always been inventing things to make their life easier. This is so true in the late 1800s (1880 to 1899).

One example was known as the ‘Tissue-Oscillator Machine’. A person wore a belt around their backside or their stomach and the belt vibrated the body’s tissue to improve the person’s weight and health. It could treat constipation, obesity and atrophy or withering. In reality, the machines were not successful at anything.

Most successful was the ‘stamp moisteners’. It is only recently that the US stamps have come self-adhesive. It had been forever that you needed to lick the back of the stamp before putting it on an envelope. Your ancestors might have had some interesting and even funny tales related to putting many stamps on a pile of envelopes. With the stamp moisteners, which were a ceramic device, filled with water and had a ceramic roller on top. You just place the back of the stamp on the damp roller, all done. Now that was a good invention and lasted for years.

For the ladies, there was the ‘magnetic or electric corset’, filled with magnetized metal that was supposed to cure a host of ailments, like a backache. The fact that women were already wearing corsets every single day made a product like this a lot easier to sell. However, since companies didn’t have to prove the efficacy of medical devices, quack remedies like these were rampant despite the fact that they didn’t work.

To help keep food warm during dinner, in the late 1800s the invention of a standard radiator could also be used to check dinner warm. There was a separate door on the ‘radiator grate for plates’ to put to keep warm. It was something more for the wealthy and didn’t catch on with the general public.

Also for the ladies was the invention of an ‘electric hairbrush’. It used magnetized metals they referred to as ‘electric’. These metals had a field of energy that changed matter they came into contact with – hair and scalp. The metal brush of the 1890s was said to be prescribed by physicians. It could cure a nervous headache, baldness or thinning hair, dandruff and scalp disease. It was pure bristles no wires connected.

Then there was the reading stand for the bed. Instead of holding the book or magazine, it was placed on a ‘stand that had an adjustable rack’ to hold the book. There had since been other forms of stands to hold items.

My grandfather, a dentist was one of the first dentists in Maryland in 1909 to use x-rays to examine a patient’s teeth. It was July of 1896, that Charles Kells took the first dental x-ray showing a living person’s mouth in the United States.

Photos: Tissue-Oscillator Machine; stamp moisteners; electric corset; radiator dish warmer; and electric hairbrush.

Related Blogs:

Female Inventors of the 1800s

German Inventions

Early Inventions Still Used Today

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