London Galvanic Generator in Gagate

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An English example of the London Galvanic Generator, circa 1881. This electro-therapeutic medical medallion was sold through the Pall Mall Electrical Association in England and by George A. Scott in the United States.

The pendant is constructed from copper zinc inlay in a jet black gagate frame with a brass loop. On one side within an art nouveau floral border, an ornately carved winged putti clutches lightning bolts in each hand. The reverse features a copper centerpiece with a zinc fist producing lightning bolts, four directed upward and four down. The jet frame reads London Galvanic Generator and Pall Mall Electric Ass’n.

The knowledge that electrical currents were created when certain metals were juxtaposed was the basis on which many such quackery devices were said to have widespread therapeutic effects as galvanic generators (galvanism).

The American advert quotes an 1881 testimonial and claims that the “Generator” (which the purveyors emphasise is not a Battery, Pad, or Medal) promises quick cures to Stomach, Liver & Kidney Complaints, Constipation, Gout, Debility, Heart-burn, Rheumatism, Neuralgia, Weak Stomach, Dyspepsia, Aches And Pains, Weak Back, Malaria, Chills & Fever, Nervous Troubles, Sciatica, Vertigo, Indigestion, & all their Complications.

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