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Galvanic brooch, cased, London, England, 1890-1920

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The brooch has a picture of flying cupid whose hands are emitting an electrical charge. The brooch was sold as a form of electrotherapeutic treatment. It claimed to rely upon galvanism, which is both a form of treatment using electricity and electricity developed by chemical action. ‘Galvanism’ was named after Luigi Galvani, who first observed the phenomenon. Brooches and jewellery such as this were widely available to treat nervous complaints and rheumatism, and were perhaps used in a similar way to copper bracelets, relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

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    Glossary: brooch

    No description.

    Glossary: electrotherapy

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

    Glossary: galvanism

    Any form of medical treatment that uses electricity.

    Glossary: rheumatism

    A disorder where aches and pains affect the muscles and joints.