We have this piece of equipment in our attic. Those of you that have taken a whole house tour probably already know its purpose.
The machine is called the Radio-Vitant. It was built around 1918. Here is the thought behind it.
According to Enoch Mather, M.S., M.D., of Mount Clemens, Mich., in the March 1916 edition of National Eclectic Medical Association Quarterly, “Thus we see that people who are unable, due to their vocations of life, to receive the requisite amount of sunlight, must therefore resort to artificial means of obtaining these essential rays of light. We thus find our hospitals and sanitariums of today equipped with great outlays of various lights. In my own practice I have found light therapy an interesting study and of great benefit in my practice. I have a room on each floor of my sanitarium equipped with various lights, among which are the actinic rays, radio-vitant rays, deep-therapy lamp, ultra-violet rays, the solar therapeutic arc lamp, and others, besides mechano-therapeutic apparatus such as the electric vibrator, high frequency current, static machine, the therapeutic traction couch, etc.”
The Burdick Cabinet Company produced the machine. Mr. Burdick was a pioneer in the field of light therapy and electrical current as adapted to therapeutic uses. He had a conviction that light therapy was the natural way of relieving pain and suffering and spent the greater part of his life proving this theory to be correct.
Some did not believe in it’s usefulness. “During the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century quack devices like this were peddled coast to coast. They were sold as cure-all devices. Many claimed to cure everything for arthritis to baldness. The Radio Vitant included, in fact, this device was also supposed to cure “infant paralysis”! The Radio Vitant relies on light and heat to assert its healing properties on the patient. The afflicted would spend the prescribed amount of time in front, or under the light, and Voila! Cured! This type of light therapy was so popular that Walter Reed hospital had utilized versions of this same device and manufacturer on its patients during the early years of the last century.”
Would you like to see the Radio-Vitant in person and other wonderful things that belonged to the Hegeler and Carus families? Take one of our whole house tours!