Violet ray

Violet ray
Antique violet ray with glass electrode and control box.

A Violet ray are antique or medical devices that many find to be useful in electrotherapy. They use a combination disruptive discharge coil construction with an interrupter to apply a high voltage, high frequency, and low current to the human body for therapeutic purposes. Their basic construction was invented by Nikola Tesla prior to 1900, who introduced their first prototypes at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Most of the antique violet rays in the US were produced before the Depression era and some of the larger US manufacturers of violet rays were Renulife, Fitzgerald and Fisher. Companies who manufactured violet ray devices, made many other types of electrical appliances as well, e.g. Star Electric, which also manufactured stock ticker machines. Many of the companies who were able to continue manufacturing violet rays after the depression, stopped making them due to World War II when they began manufacturing radio coils or other electrical components for the war instead.

A typical violet ray device consisted of an ungrounded electrical control box that controlled the interrupter and which housed the magneto coil, and an attached bakelite or other handle housing which contained the high voltage coil and an insertion port for attachments. Glass evacuated tubes of varying shapes and for different therapeutic uses could be inserted into the bakelite handle to apply the resulting current to different parts of the body.

Colorful cover of Virex manual with recommended violet ray treatments for various diseases and conditions, about 1900.

Violet ray treatments were said to cure everything from lumbago to carbuncles. From an antique Master Violet Ray manual c. 1920 comes this treatment advice: Brain Fog - Use Applicator No. I over forehead and eyes. Also treat the back of head and neck with strong current in direct contact with the skin. Treat the spine and hold the electrode in the hand. Ozone inhalations for about four minutes are also of importance.

For catarrh, this treatment was directed: Catarrh, Nasal - In this condition the Nasal Tube is used within the nose with a mild current within the nasal passage, two to five minutes on each side, followed by an application with the Surface Electrode externally over the area of the nose. Use Ozone Generator.


Legal Actions

During the 1940's and 1950's, makers of violet ray devices were subjected to numerous lawsuits and multiple actions by the US government including recalls, seizures, forfeitures and orders to have them destroyed. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

The last manufacturer of violet ray devices in the US was Master Electric. The company was subjected to a 1951 lawsuit in Marion, Indiana, and the devices were seized by the FDA.[8] While their manufacture was prohibited in the US by case law, violet ray devices are still manufactured by companies outside of the US and are still widely used in Europe.

Other Uses

The violet ray was recommended by Edgar Cayce, who was considered by many to be the father of holistic medicine, in some 200 of his readings. Violet ray electrotherapy proponents point to its oxygenation and stimulation properties as therapeutic. A related device called a High Frequency aesthetic machine is currently used in beauty salons today for its ability to oxygenate the skin when it is used, but their use is restricted to licensed aestheticians in all states of the US.

Chicago Police Department detectives working under Jon Burge are alleged to have used a violet ray to torture suspects in the 1970s and 1980s.[9]

As antiques, violet rays can be popular medical and historical collectibles. A related modern device, known as a violet wand, is used by some as a sexual stimulation device.


  1. ^ 3505. Misbranding of Violetta kits. U. S. v. 21 Kits, etc. (F. D. C. No. 30942. Sample No. 25412-L.), Condemnation plus destruction.
  2. ^ 2807. Misbranding of violet ray device. U. S. v. 13 Cases, etc (F. D. O. No. 26995. Released under bond to the F.S.A.
  3. ^ 3458. Misbranding of violet ray device. U. S. v. 2 Cases * * *. (F. D. C. No. 30801. Sample No. 3858-L.) Surrendered to the FDA.
  4. ^ 6932. Violet ray generator device. i( F.D.C. No. 45940. S. No. 20-531 R.) Seizure by the FDA.
  5. ^ 4178. Misbranding of Master violet ray outfit. U. S. v. 14 Packages, etc. (F. D. C. No. 35294. Sample Nos. 50206-L, 50207-L.), surrendered to FDA.
  6. ^ 981. Misbranding of R & R Ultra Violet Ray and Radiation Machine. U. S. v. August H. Riess (Lawndale Laboratories)
  7. ^ 2850. Misbranding of ultraviolet ray devices. U. S. v. 16 Devices, etc (F. D. O. No. 26972. Sample No. 41216-K.)
  8. ^ "4319. Misbranding of Master violet ray devices. U. S. v. Master Appliances, Inc. Plea of guilty. Fine of $2,000, plus costs.". DDNJ. 1951-10-10. 
  9. ^ "Police Torture in Chicago: The Mysterious Third Device". Chicago Reader. 2007-02-04. 

External links

See also

  • Violet wand
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.