Dr. Olgierd Lindan's Collection
Unusual Medical Devices
Antique Electronics

About the collections Items for sale
Dr. Olgierd Lindan was fascinated by radio since he first set eyes on a radio set in 1917, at the age of four. He began collecting early radios in the late 1950's when it was still possible to pick up Atwater Kent breadboards and Edison phonographs at the Salvation Army store for $5. He encountered his first 'black box' of quack electronics at an amateur radio hamfest and became hooked on the subject: it combined his fascination with radio - actually anything with glowing tubes sticking out of it qualified - and his profession as a medical research physician, with an entertaining dollop of flim-flam to top it all off. Over the intervening years his collection grew to thousands of items and books on the subjects of early radio, medicine, electrotherapy and quackery. Dr. Lindan passed away in March of 2009. Obituary Cleveland Plain Dealer story on the collection The collection is now being photographed and indexed. As items are processed they are being added to the web site, where they will be available for sale to satisfy the cravings of new collectors. The photographs and descriptions of the items will remain on the web site.

Items can be purchased by check. The price includes shipping within the continental United States unless otherwise noted. Items can be reserved by emailing, they will be held for 10 days for payment to arrive. Please wait for a confirmatory reply that the item is still available before mailing payment. All items have a 7-day return privilege guarantee.

Items from the Quackery Collection. Click on a photograph or description for more information and photographs.
New Items are added every few days.

If you are looking for something specific that is not shown, please email as there is a good chance we may have it.

A hand held electro-shock massager with electrodes on the bottom, made by the Massage Battery Company, of Columbus Ohio in 1905. The electric shocks caused the patient's muscles to convulse - resulting in a massage where the patient did all the work.
Dr. Guy Clifford Powell's Electro-Vibratory Apparatus for the Cure of Deafness, made in Peoria c. 1905, effected its cure by pumping air in and out of the ears and by sending shocks through the head with water soaked electrodes the patient had stuffed into his ear canals.

The #2 Oxydonor, made in 1897 or so, supplied oxygen to the blood through the flow of current created when the Oxydonor was dropped into a fish bowl and the elastic electrode was strapped to the patient's ankle. In actuality the only flow created was money into the pocket of a "Dr." Sanche.
The Womb Battery of 1890 was claimed to cure all manner of feminine ills by electrification of the uterus. Made of dissimilar metals, it decomposed inside the woman, producing a small electric current. Any curative powers were likely due to the poisonous effects of copper and silver metal salts on any bacteria and yeast that might be present.

Davis & Kidder Electro-Therapeutic Shocking Machine, c. 1870-1890; A mainstay of the Electrical Charlatan, this machine was a high voltage generator that produced shocks when the crank was turned. These shocks were applied with a wet sponge electrode for local treatment or by a pair of can-like hand electrodes that sent the stimulating electricity racing through the heart.
McKee & Johnson's Electricure of 1900 worked (or didn't) on the same non-principle as the Oxydoner and Electropoise. Much larger and more impressive than the competition, and sporting a selector switch to tune the therapy to the patient, the machine never the less did absolutely nothing. To its credit, unlike other quack cures, it obeyed Hippocrates's dictum to "Do no harm".

Dr. Scott's Electric Hair Brush provides everything your head needs: Keeps your hair from turning grey; Grows it if it's lacking; Makes headaches vanish in 5 minutes; Cures Neuralgia; and Immediately soothes your weary brain.
The Electreat of 1919-1940. A hand held roller massager that created electric shocks to relieve pain - a bit like beating your thumb with a hammer to make you forget about your headache. There is some truth to the matter, and modern devices go under the name 'TENS' Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Apparently a large amount of stimulation is needed to effect results - to this end the Electreat is capable of a level of stimulation that would make a cattle prod proud.

The EE Sterilizer - "Hospital Model HC for Cancer Research" - a name that implies the machine will cure cancer. A close reading of the instruction leaflet reveals nothing of the sort, and instead states the machine "is in answer to the question 'what will it do on cancer?'." Since the machine gives off high frequency radiation similar to a cell phone, the answer to the question might be that "it will cause it."
Snake Oil from the early 1800's. The real thing - made from rendered Rattlesnake fat in the hills of North Carolina.

Lineaments and nostrums labeled "Snake Oil" were sold from the late 1800's in traveling medicine shows, continuing to the 1950's in drugstores, and are not hard to find - they bear no relation to this substance.

The Reflexophone - the original 'black box' - of "Dr." Albert Abrams, was a central item in Radionics, one of the greatest health hoaxes and one that survives to this day. Radionics used a sample of blood or handwriting or a photograph to make a horrifying and bogus diagnosis - usually of terrifying combinations of diseases such as cancer, tuberculoses and syphilis all at the same time. The settings on the Reflexophone's dials indicated the patient's condition. How this was done has to be seen to be believed.
The Diagnostic Set of Albert Abrams incorporated all the black boxes that heretofore had been scattered across the Physicians' work table into one convenient instrument. The set incorporated colored lights and a heater to aromatically warm the patient's sample. Hopefully the patient had supplied only their signature on lavender scented notepaper, and not something fuming with the effluvium of the disease they suffered from.

In the interest of saving money many Radionics practitioners used standard electrical equipment, such as this $10 'resistance box' in place of Abrams' $200 down/$5 month lease for a Reflexophone.
A Precision Leeds and Northrup resistance box used by a Radionics practitioner. The quality of this instrument is outstanding and enough to put a Rolls-Royce to shame. When compared to the quality of Abram's resistance boxes, which sold for the same $200, one can appreciate the money Abram's was making on each of his black boxes.

After being diagnosed with syphilis, gout, cancer and post-nasal drip what is the patient to do? Why avail himself of Radionic treatment, what else. And what is it that the Radionic practitioner needs to treat his now hysterical patient? Why it is yet another box - the Oscilloclast - and another check, for $200 please, made out to Albert Abrams.
The Micro-Oscilloclast fine-tuned the treatment. The base oscilloclast with its three knobs could only supply 999 different treatments, with the Micro-Oscilloclast treatments became a super specific 'silver bullet' of nothingness.

With the Short Wave Oscilloclast, developed after Abrams' death, the patient was assured the latest technology was being used in relieving him of his cash. The box was claimed to produce a feeble modulated signal of 43 MHz - well at least it did something, unlike the Micro model, above. 10 pushbuttons across the top tuned in the right frequency. It seems 10 frequencies are all that are needed to cure every affliction known to man.
If you have an opening in your body, then a quack has something shocking to stick in it. A potpourri of probes, head gear and miscellaneous whatzits.