Advertisement for 'Harness' Electropathic Belts'
The Electropathic and Zander Institute (1885-1894)
The Electropathic and Zander Institute, founded by Cornelius
Bennett Harness in 1885, offered electricity based therapies and
was based above the Medical Battery Company's showrooms at 52
Oxford Street, London, both of which are illustrated towards the
foot of the advert.
Electricity was something new and strange to the general public at
the time, and was seized upon in many ways for commercial and
therapeutic purposes. Harness' Electropathic Belts were supposed to
generate 'new life and vigor ... for weak men, for delicate women'
as well as cure 'nervousness, debility, sleeplessness, rheumatism,
sciatica, lumbago, torpid liver, organic weakness and kindred
ailments' but actually produced no sensation whatsoever (despite
testimonies from Dr Herbert Tibbits and Dr Arthur Harries on the
reverse). They were supposed to be charged by being plugged into a
device incorporating a magnet. A combination of disreputable retail
practices and the fact that their electropathic belts did not work,
increasingly embroiled the Company in litigation until a compulsory
winding-up order was handed to them in 1894.