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The Medical Electricians

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About the author:
Robert K. Waits lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is a retired Silicon Valley engineer. He became intrigued with the mysterious Dr. Scott while researching the history of safety razors
(Before Gillette: The Quest for a Safe Razor). This led to unearthing the stories of the lives of George A. Scott, and his fellow "medical electricians," who afflicted mid-Victorian America and Britain with spurious "curative appliances."

The Medical Electricians

George A. Scott and His Victorian Cohorts in Quackery

Authored by Robert K. Waits

Dr. Scott and his Victorian Colleagues in Quackery

George Augustus Scott, although he gained notoriety (and riches) selling “electric” cure-alls, was a wide-ranging entrepreneur. Scott left behind legitimate legacies: successful manufacturing businesses in Massachusetts and London, and a famously unsuccessful mercantile cooperative in New York.

The story of ‘Dr. Scott,’ a quack peddler of Electric brushes, corsets, and belts, electric in name only, is intertwined with those of several other Victorian Medical Electricians. He mentored protégés who became infamous for quackery: Cornelius B. Harness, in England, and John R. Foran in America; and tangled with a feisty Brooklyn competitor, William C. Wilson, who later took up with Foran. George Scott was not a physician, and avoided referring to himself as Doctor except in his audacious advertisements. He did not seek personal publicity (an attribute rare among quacks) but was well known socially. Scott died a wealthy man at age 48, and his Pall Mall Electric business persisted for years, the last known advertisements appeared in the 1920s.

Here are the advertisements and adventures of Scott, Harness, Wilson, Foran and their colleagues in quackery during the latter part of the Nineteenth Century.

Publication Date:
1466346116 / 9781466346116
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
7.44" x 9.69"
Black and White
Related Categories:
History / General

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