Electrokinetica The Electro-mechanical Museum

The Bedroom

A suprising variety of electrical appliances can be found in the bedroom. From creature comforts like electric blankets and tea-makers, through grooming devices such as shavers and hairdryers, to the weird electromedical devices that were once popular regardless of their unproven benefits...

Teasmade!

As a tea-drinking nation, Britain has had a long affinity for the bedside automatic tea-making device. Invented in a non-electric form, the teasmade (actually a Goblin trademark but now genericised) became a practical proposition with the appearance of electric versions in the 1930s. Combining a timeswitch and a kettle arranged to deliver boiling water into the teapot before sounding an alarm, the teasmade integrates the functions of beverage-maker, alarm-clock, bedside light, and even radio in some models.

Goblin Teasmade 854

Goblin Teasmade 854

Goblin Teasmade 870

Goblin Teasmade 870

Goblin Teasmade D25

Goblin Teasmade D25

Hairdryers

One of the earliest applications of electricity to personal care was the hairdryer. Nothing more or less than a diminutive fanheater, they have changed little since becoming popular in the 1930s. New dryers tend to have rather higher heat output and improved safety features - something that was conspicuously absent in the early models!

TXO hairdryer

TXO hairdryer

GEC hairdryer

GEC hairdryer

Ormond E1022 hairdryer

Ormond E1022 hairdryer

Sunlamps

Because sunlight was widely considered to be a revitalising and curative panacea, ultra-violet lamps were made with the specific purpose of promoting the users’ health, rather than giving them a tan. An effective source of UV was the carbon-arc lamp, made in a compact form like a bowl-fire for taking ‘sun-baths’. Just like the carbon arcs used in searchlights and cine projectors, the sunlamp required manipulation to strike the arc each time it was switched on, periodic replacement of the carbons, and once running emitted a characteristic 'sooty' odour. Users could choose from a bewildering array of different kinds of carbons with constituents for emitting more or less ultra-violet and infra-red, advertised as offering relief from different ailments.

Raysol sunlamp alight

Raysol sunlamp alight

Wonder Health Ray lamp alight

Wonder Health Ray lamp alight

Various sunlamp carbons

Various sunlamp carbons

Electro-galvanic machines and other dubious remedies

For centuries, electricity and magnetism were so famed for their healing capability that the forward-thinking quack of the late Victorian or Edwardian era lost no time in procuring a selection of weird and wonderful apparatus to foist on his long-suffering clients. Having been convinced of the efficacy of the treatments, perhaps by the placebo effect, the enterprising client could go and buy a machine of his own, thereby saving the quack’s fees. Some of the most popular home devices were induction-coils or magnetos arranged to deliver a shock via a pair of electrodes, with which almost anything could supposedly be cured.

Horne induction coil

Horne induction coil

Magneto Electric Machine

Magneto Electric Machine

White‘s electric comb

White‘s electric comb

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