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Dr Jerome Kidder's Electro-magnetic Machine
Category: FIRST PRINCIPLES.
Source: A Newly Discovered System Of Electrical Medication
On opening the machine-box, as it comes from the manufacturer, there
will be found a glass bottle, intended to hold the battery fluid when
not in use; a glass cup or jar, to serve as the battery cell; a pair of
insulated metallic conducting cords; two tin electrodes; a brass clamp;
and, under the helix-box, (which raise), the battery metals and two
connecting wires to unite the battery with the helix.
To put the machine in working condition--ready for use--proceed, step by
step, as follows, viz: Prepare the Battery Fluid by mixing twelve
parts, by measure, of water with one part of sulphuric acid, (good
commercial acid is pure enough), sufficient to fill the cell two-thirds
or three-fourths full, and place in it about one-third of an ounce of
Next, place the platina plate between the two zinc plates, standing on
their legs upon a table before you; and bring the top of the wooden bar
(in a groove of which the platina is set) up flush with the top of the
zinc plates. Let the brass post, standing on the top of this bar and
soldered to the platina plate below, be toward the left-hand side. Then
take the brass clamp and place it across the top of these metallic
plates, a little to the right of the brass post, or about midway between
the right and left sides, having its thumb-screw towards you, and with
it screw the three plates firmly together. The platina is shorter than
the zincs, to prevent its reaching the quicksilver in the bottom of the
cell; and the wax balls on its sides are to insulate it from the zinc
plates. This platina should never be allowed to touch the mercury or the
Let the plates, properly screwed together, be now placed in the cell
with the Battery Fluid. Then, with the two copper connecting-wires,
connect the post which stands on the wooden bar above the platina with
the post stamped P on the helix-box, and the brass clamp N with the
post N on the helix-box.
If, now, the screws regulating the vibrating armature be in perfect
adjustment, the current will commence to run, with a buzzing sound; or
it may be made to start by touching the hammer-like head of the flat
steel spring. If not, the screws may be rightly adjusted in the
following way: The top screw, which at its lower point is tipped with a
small coil of platina wire, should be made to press delicately upon the
center of the little iron plate on the upper side of the spring, so as
to bear the latter down very slightly. Then raise or depress the
screw-magnet, which turns up or down under the hammer, like the seat of
a piano-stool, until the vibration of the spring commences. The
rapidity of the vibrations, by which is secured the alternate closing
and breaking of the electric circuit (or rather what, in practical
effect, is equivalent to this--the direct and reverse action of the
current in alternation) is increased by raising the screw-magnet and
diminished by lowering it. When it is raised above what is required for
ordinary use, the noise becomes too loud and harsh for many nervous
patients to bear. It should then be depressed a little.
With respect to curative power, I have discovered but little perceptible
difference, produced by the various degrees of rapidity in the
vibrations, effected within the range of this magnet.
The force of the current is regulated by means of a tubular magnet,
which slides over the helix, and is called the plunger. It is
approached under a brass cap at the right-hand end of the machine. The
plunger is withdrawn, more or less, to increase the force; pushed in to
diminish it. If in any case the current can not be softened sufficiently
with the plunger, the quantity of battery fluid in use must be made
After a time the current will become weak, and fail to run well. Then
renew the battery fluid. When the quicksilver is all taken up by the
zinc plates, the machine may be run for a while without adding more. But
after it has considerably disappeared from the inside surface of the zinc
plates, the latter will begin to show more rapid corrosion, while the
current will be less. Then let a small quantity of quicksilver--one-fourth
to one-third of an ounce--again be placed in the fluid.
When the machine is not in use, let the metals be removed from the
fluid; and, if not to be soon again used, let them be rinsed with
water, carefully avoiding to wet the wooden bar in which the platina is
The posts, with which the conducting-cords are to be connected, are
arranged in a row near the front of the helix-box, and are marked A, B,
C, D. Either two of these posts may be used to obtain a current; and
since they admit of six varying combinations, six different currents are
afforded by the machine, viz: the A B current, the A C current, the A D
current, the B C current, the B D current, and the C D current.
Whichever current is used, it may always be known which of the two posts
employed is the positive and which the negative, by observing the
letters stamped upon their tops. The one whose letter comes first in the
order of the alphabet is positive; the other is negative. Also, the one
standing towards the left hand is positive, and that at the right hand
is negative. The qualities of the several currents are stated in a
descriptive paper on the inside of the lid of the machine, which see. It
will there be found that three of the currents--viz, the A B, the A C
and the A D currents--are electrolytic: that is, dissolving by
electric action. These electrolytic currents require to be used--one or
another of them--whenever any chemical action is needed; as, in
decomposing or neutralizing virus in the system, destroying cancers,
reducing glands when chronically enlarged, removing tumors or other
abnormal growths, and in treating old ulcers and chronic irritation of
mucous membranes. The other three, being Faradaic or induction currents,
and having no perceptibly chemical action, are used where only change of
electro-vital polarization is required. These Faradaic currents differ
from each other in respect to being concentrative or diffusive in
their effects, and in their sensational force. B C is concentrative
and delicately sensational. C D is also concentrative, though less so
than B C, and is more strongly sensational. B D is diffusive, and the
most energetically sensational of the three.