This Week in History: 1905 Electric belts that dispel gloom, and a full set of teeth for five bucks


Vancouver’s first electric lights were switched on in 1887, but two decades later, some homeowners still hadn’t installed them.

So B.C. Electric started an ad campaign.

“ELECTRIC LIGHT,” reads the ad in the March 16, 1905 Vancouver World. “No lamps to clean! No smell of coal oil! Just press the button, we do the rest.”

The company was confident of its success, noting “electric light once used is always used.”

B.C. Electric ad for electric lights in the March 16, 1905 Vancouver World.

Electricity was seen as a wonder at the time. There were two ads in The Province for an “Electric Belt” that promised a miracle health cure.

“Electricity dispels gloom, because it vitalizes the blood, and strengthens the red corpuscles from which the human body draws its energy and activity,” read one.

“If a man’s blood is impure he feels low-spirited and depressed; all the world seems to be against him, and everything seems to go wrong in business, in love, and in play. He becomes morose and taciturn, and by degrees so ill that disease gets a firm hold on him at last, and brings him to an untimely end.”

The full “Electric belt” ad.

The ad from Dr. N. MacDonald of Montreal offered a free trial for 90 days.

“This modern Belt is the only one that generates a powerful therapeutic current of electricity without soaking the battery in vinegar, as all other belts do, and it is guaranteed not to burn,” it claimed.

“It is a certain and positive cure in all cases of rheumatism, varicocele, dyspepsia, losses, weak back, nervousness, kidney, liver and stomach troubles brought on by abuse and excess.”

Oddly there is no price attached to the ad — interested parties were to write the good Doctor in Montreal and he would send a belt. The other electric belt ad was for a Dr. …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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