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Induction coil with electrodes for electrotherapy, England, 1900-1910

Placed on the table in the foreground is an induction coil with electrodes used for electrotherapy. Electrotherapy was used to diagnose and treat illnesses and disorders of the nerves using electricity. The coil produces electricity that is applied to the body using the electrodes. Originally owned by Alexander Bruce (1854-1911), a Scottish physician and neurologist, the coil is shown in a scene demonstrating his electrotherapy room in the early 1900s. The equipment in this photograph was set up in his house in Edinburgh, Scotland. After his death, the equipment remained unused until his son bequeathed it to the Wellcome Institute in 1968. The coil was made by Siemens Brothers and Co. Ltd.

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Glossary: electrotherapy

The passing of electric currents through the body's tissues to stimulate the functioning of nerves and the muscles.

Glossary: induction coil

A type of electrical transformer used to produce a high-voltage alternating current from a low-voltage direct current source.