Fraudulent Medicine in America

blood letting device
blood letting device

In 1905, Samuel Hopkins Adams wrote an expose in Collier’s magazine titled “the Great American Fraud” that discussed the plethora of quack medical devices that flooded the market at the turn of the century and the unethical “physicians” that peddled them. Concern over fraudulent doctors and medical devices has been present since ancient times. “The Great American Fraud: Quacks and Quackery in America” is a fascinating exhibit that documents the history of quacks and their “cures” in America from the birth of the nation to the present day. Through a broad spectrum of odd artifacts, coupled with photographs, graphics, and an array of period advertisements, the exhibit presents patent medicines, blood-letting instruments, magnetic cures, electrotherapeutic devices, violet ray machines, and other gadgets that claimed to cure just about any ailment. The exhibit closes with a presentation of attempts by the government, the medical profession, and others to stop the sale of quack medical devices and the practices of fraudulent physicians.

Davis and Kidder's Magneto-Electric machine for nervous diseases
Davis and Kidder's Magneto-Electric machine for nervous diseases
The Great Electric Remedy"
"Electric Bitters: The Great Electric Remedy"
Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound
Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound

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