Indianapolis Monthly Magazine - Indianapolis Restaurants, Shopping, Concerts, Events and more. EXTRA: Historical Medical Tools at IMHM - Magneto Electric Machine, circa 1850s: In an age when we barely understood what electricity was, we were already deliberately shocking ourselves with it. Physicians believed that electric current could cure a variety of ailments: toothache, neuralgia, depression. Patients would hold the hollow brass tubes and plug them into the box. When the doctor turned the crank, it produced a mild shock—about 500 to 1,000 millivolts. But despite the testimonials from (possibly fictitious) doctors on the lid of this device, it didn’t last. Except for depression, for which electroshock therapy is still used today, the treatment had a placebo effect at best.
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