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Dr Macaura’s blood circulator, Leeds, England, 1890-1910

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Two thousand vibrations per minute are produced by cranking the handle of this massager, which was applied to the body. Advertised as a blood circulator, the massager was claimed to cure pain, deafness, anaemia, heart disease, cramp, polio and ‘women’s problems’. It was invented by Gerald Joseph Macaura, who freely admitted his device was useless against cancer, tuberculosis and baldness. He did, however, recommended a good diet, breathing deeply and avoiding alcohol. Thousands of the devices were made and this example was produced by British Appliances Manufacturing Co, based in Leeds, England.

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Glossary: massager

Instrument used to give or accentuate impact of massage.

Glossary: anaemia

A shortage of haemoglobin (the pigment carrying oxygen in red blood cells). Symptoms include weakness, pale skin, breathlessness, faintness, palpitations, and lowered resistance to infection.

Glossary: polio

An infectious disease affecting the central nervous system. Affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the polio virus enters the blood stream.