PULVERMACHER’S SELF-RESTORABLE POCKET CHAIN BATTERY Pulvermacher Galvanic Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, March 8th,
1879. 8vo, pp  pamphlet printed in red, black and gilt, 255 x 168mm, together with accompanying, seemingly hand-written though possibly facsimile, two-sided letter on headed paper 285 x 216mm, and with original stamped envelope 90 x 155mm; pamphlet and letter with evidence of previous horizontal and vertical folds, envelope a little soiled and stained. A most striking pamphlet, partially printed in gilt, promoting one of a number of electro-galvanic appliances offered by this noted firm. First patented in the US in 1853 by the Viennese Doctor, Isaac Lewis Pulvermacher, (though previously demonstrated in both London and Edinburgh), the "electric belt" was a battery-powered flexible series of linked cells worn wrapped around parts of the body as a form of the new medical treatment called "electrotherapy". It became particularly popular with quack practitioners, though received considerable criticism from the medical establishment, though some respectable physicians (whose names were sometimes used in Company ads without permission) had to admit that the Belt had some scientific usefulness. The Chain battery here advertised was yet another device, which could be used in conjunction with the belt and a suspensory appliance for the specific treatment of ‘impotence’. The various bands, belts and battery sets were advertised for cases of nervous debility, lost energy, spermatorrhoea, female complaints, epilepsy, paralysis, kidney disease and ‘other chronic disorders’.
We believe the accompanying letter to be hand-written - though there is a hint of a facsimile about it and it does feel rather like a form letter - supported by the stamped note on the rear that ‘Owing to the vast extent of our business and the necessity for a routine of departments, all Letters of Advice are dictated by our Examining Electrician to his associates, and then referred to our mailing department, there to be addressed and dispatched by our Corresponding Secretary’.
Bibliography: See Atwater 2899-2902.