Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/498

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There can be no question of the curative powers of electricity, since there is now extant a scientific literature, by the most eminent physiologists and thaumaturgists, affirming these powers; but, as we have said, electricity has been clumsy in its apparatus, and unpleasant in its action. These difficulties Mr. Pulvermacher has effectually overcome, to the satisfaction not only of most of the scientific men on the Continent, but also of such men as Sir C. Locock, Sir H. Holland, Sir William Ferguson, Sir J. R. Martin, Dr. Sieveking, Dr. Quain, Dr. Andrew Clarke, Dr. Golding Bird, Dr. Thompson, and a host of other English celebrities.

The great advantage of electrical action is, that it brings relief in a large number of diseases confessedly beyond the reach of the ordinary remedies of the physician. How powerless, for instance, is ordinary medical skill in tic-douloureux! Tic, tic, tic; it is a recurring gentle monosyllable, suggestive of something peculiarly quiet and peaceful; but, madam, that tic shoots through your head like a shot from a nine-pounder, the only difference being that after the "tic" you have your head ready for another, while after the shot you would have no head worth mentioning. Or, see the tears rolling down the cheeks of that pretty girl, whose ideas of love and romance and sentiment are scared away by the wearing pain of neuralgia; or, racking with the pain of gout and rheumatism, the man of middle age passes his restless nights, gaining temporary respite from pain by colchicum, or a fitful repose from morphine, and buying present ease at the cost of an unhappy and painful old age. Why, madam, do you endure this tic? Why, dear young lady, do you pine under neuralgia? Why, old man, do you writhe in gouty or rheumatic agony, when help is so near? It is the vis inertiæ, the unbelief in the face of facts, the idiotic negligence of remedies which appear simple. If they had been bid to do some great thing, would they not have done it? But these little chains, that can be worn like a piece of ribbon, what are they in the face of tic, and neuralgia, and rheumatism? These chain-batteries, that look like pieces of jewelry, what can they do to strengthen the trembling hand, or revive the withering limb?

We will tell you what they are, and what we have seen them do. We have seen this little band, which you seem to think so little of—you, the sufferer from acute pain—we have seen it with only four or five elements—that is, about a foot long—dry and unexcited, placed for one second to the upper plate of an electroscope, and it has produced the phenomena of attraction and repulsion on the gold-leaf. We have seen a band half an inch wide prove the power of the electric current, by passing through two persons and decomposing water in a test-tube. We have seen the little glittering chain-battery, which could be carried in the waistcoat-pocket, produce a continuous current that diffused a perfect glow of warmth through the system; and with a little instrument, called a "contact-breaker," appended to the same