Mystery Object – Sheffield

What is the name of this instrument from the Sheffield Hospitals History Group  collection?

What was it used for?

Who was the eponymous doctor associated with this device?

Answers will appear here in the middle of May.

submitted by Mike Collins

Answers 9/5/2018

What is the name of this instrument and what was it used for?

It is called Dr Macaura’s Blood Circulator. Previously it was known as The Pulsocon.  It was marketed in the early 20th century as a mechanical device that was operated by placing the disc at the head of the instrument on the skin of the affected area and cranking the handle to produce a vibrating effect. Working as a form of massage, it was claimed to improve the circulation to the affected area. Several thousand devices were sold in the United States, the UK and Ireland.  It was claimed to cure several disorders including those of the stomach and liver, gynaecological and rheumatic diseases, constipation, paralysis, sciatica, gout, goitre and many more. It was recommended that the device was oiled regularly. It was admitted that it did not help with baldness, consumption or cancer although successful in treating tumours. Macaura recommended fasting, drinking water, breathing deeply and the avoidance of alcohol.

Who was Dr Macaura?

He was a self styled American physician with an MD from the National Medical University, Chicago. Macaura also used the post nominals “FRMS and FRSA London” in the literature supplied with the device. In fact he was born in Skibbereen Co. Cork and his birth name was Gerald McCarthy. He emigrated to the United States in the late 19th century. He was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in Paris in 1914 for fraud.


Posted in instruments, Quiz, Uncategorized.

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