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Electrostatic machine, London, England, 1801-1820

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The machine creates static electricity and is likely to have been used in electrotherapy or physiology experiments. Electrotherapy became increasingly popular in England in the second half of the 1700s and in 1767 the Middlesex Hospital became the first hospital to install an electrostatic machine. Robert Banks, who invented and made this example, was an instrument maker based in London from 1796 to 1834. The Prince of Wales, later George IV, King of England, was among his customers.

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    Techniques and Technologies:


    Glossary: physiology

    The science of the functioning of living organisms and their component parts.

    Glossary: electrostatic machine

    mechanical device that produces static electricity, or electricity at high voltage and low continuous current.

    Glossary: electrotherapy

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