Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

CHAPTER 3 [Medical Conditions]

Containing practical rules for administering medical electricity, in several cases - formed from a process of experiments.


IN whatever habit, or from whatever cause fever may originate, I suppose it will be granted, briefly, that fever doth consist in tension and retension; that this is what constitutes fever in all and every person, of every age and in every clime, whether it is termed nervous, bilious, intermittent, remittent, &c. they are but terms to express different circumstances, or different manners in which the subject of fever is affected by tension and retension. This being granted, we will proceed to the application of the infallible remedy of tension and retension, as it respects several important circumstances.

When the operator comes to his patient, he must inform himself of the peculiar circumstances of his patient; notice the habit, strength, &c. peculiar to the constitution. if a woman, and pregnant, all these circumstances will require minute attention, and a different manner of treatment - if the fever is bilious, and the stomach is much exercised therewith, it will be necessary to administer an emetic, prior to electricity - if costive, a cathartic may be given at the instant of commencing the electrical

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Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)
Benjamin Franklin was the Leonard daVinci of Colonial and Revolutionary America. Fascinated by everything, he knew more than a little about more than a lot. His "Poor Richard" established his reputation, and it was followed up with a long series of inventions (lightning rod, Franklin stove) and appointments (petitioned the king in 1764; Cmt of 5 that drafted the Declaration of Independence; ambassador to France) that made him, by the time of his death, one of the most well-known and well-loved figures in the world. Is there a child alive who doesn't know about Franklin's kite and key?

Experiments and observations on electricity, made at Philadelphia in America
Benjamin Franklin and Electricity

Richard Lovett (1692 - 1780)
Richard Lovett, a lay clerk at Worcester Cathedral, was an early experimenter with medical electricity, and the first English author to write about the subject, publishing John Read's letters describing the the first experiments and machine made by Read.

The Shocking Bag: Medical Electricity in mid-18th-Century London

John Wesley (1704-1791)
John Wesley was the son of a minister and Oxford graduate, who followed in the steps of his father along both those paths. A friend of George Whitefield, he came to America to preach, returning to England with an interest in the preaching to the masses for which Whitefield was so renowned. John's brother Charles was one of the founders of a "holy club" at Oxford that became known as Methodists for their methodical habits. Wesley is known as the founder of the Methodist religion. The Methodists were socially active, and Wesley became interested in the potential of electricity for inexpensive medical care, setting up a program to distribute medicine to London's poor.

Pioneer Electrotherapist: A History of Medicine Study
Experimental Method in the Practical Theology of John Wesley
Revealing Sparks: John Wesley and the Religious Utility of Electrical Healing
John Wesley
The Desideratum, or Electricity made Plain and Useful by a Lover of Mankind and of Common Sense, 1760

Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793)
This extremely famous French Revolutionary, if only for his death in his bathtub at the hands of Charlotte Corday, was a physicist and experimenter who was born in Switzerland, studied in France, and practiced in England. His specialty was the treatment of eye diseases with electricity.

Recherches physiques sur electricité, &c. (1782)
Recherches sur electricité medicate (1783)
Notions elementaires d'optique (1764)

Tiberius Cavallo (1749-1809)
Cavallo, the son of a physician, was a physicist who wrote extensively on the early experiments with electricity. He was known contemporaneously as the inventor of Cavallo's multipler.

Essay on the Theory and Practice of Medical Electricity
Account of New Experiments
Lots of etchings

James Graham (1745 - 1794)
James Graham studied at the University of Edinburg, but didn't graduate. He moved to Philadelphia and became interested in Franklin's experiments in electricity. Convinced that it had utility for medicine, Graham returned to England and set up an electrical medicine practice, eventually opening his Temple of Health. In later life, he escewed electricity for mudbaths as the secret to longevity.

Sex Quack
Graham's Celestial Bed


John Wesley and the Eighteenth Century Therapeutic Uses of Electricity

The Shocking Bag: Medical Electricity in mid-18th-Century London

Pioneer Electrotherapist: A History of Medicine Study
Pieter (Petrus) van Musschenbroek (1692-1761)

Electrodes and Applicators

PDF of Medical Electricity by Henry Lewis Jones

The Development of Medical Electricity online exhibition

Books on Medical Electricity

19th C. Medical Electricity Trade Catalogues

Early Developments in Electroanalgesia

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1 Title page
2 Preface
13 Chapter 1 - Animal and Vegetable Electricity
26 Chapter 1 - Astronomical
70 Chapter 2 - Of the Conductors
   97 Chapter 3  [Medical Conditions]   People and Links   Theory Links
97 People 97 Links 97 Fever
108 Peripneumony 171 Cholic 210 Involuntary motion
      of the eyelids
111 Pleurisy 174 Asthma 210 Hemmorage
114 St. Anthony's Fire 176 Diabetes 217 Hemorroids
115 Inflammatory Rheumatism 178 Urine suppressed,
  bloody and hot
217 Ulcers and Abcesses
115 Inflammatory Sore Throat 182 Menses obstructed 220 Rickets
122 Madness 185 King's Evil 221 Locked Jaw or Joints
131 Ague 186 Cancers 224 Bruises
138 St. Vitus's Dance 194 Quincy 229 Nerves contracted
140 Hysterics 195 Head-ache 230 Sprain or Strain
144 Epilepsy 196 Deafness 231 Felon or Whitlow
149 Consumption 197 Inflammatory Eyes 231 Pains in different parts
153 Palsy 197 Film 232 Wounds, etc.
158 Dropsy 199 Gutta Serena 234 Drowning
164 Gout 207 Cataract 237 Suppressed Perspiration
166 Dysentery 209 Fistula Lachrymalis 237 Burns and Scalds
242 Chapter 4  [Equipment]   Equipment Links
277 Thoughts on the Times
Electricity, or Ethereal Fire, Considered is presented here for historical purposes only, and should not be interpreted as medical advice.


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