Margaret McKenzie (“Scientist” with a capital “s”) wrote this simple
treatise in 1934, claiming that she had discovered what caused baldness and
knew how to “grow hair with ‘Natural-Science’ ”. Answering her own call to baldness, and “after
eighteen years of exhaustive study”, Margaret “emerged triumphant…and uncovered
this thing baldness [sic]” with her discovery which would “banish baldness
forever and thus wipe out the bald head which is my aim [sic]”. Margaret’s
gift to “Man-Kind”, her discovery, boils down to fifteen words:
don’t rub your hair when washing your face, and do not smooth your hair
down with your hands. That’s it. Or almost it: we are told later that it is best to shampoo
your hair in a sink, and then if one must shower or bathe to use “a rubber
shower cap so as to not expose your hair to water”. I’m not sure how that holds together.
The great art of Margaret McKenzie is that that like any great salesperson she was able to spread this tidy discovery over 15 pages. She strays off-topic only a few times, once when discussing her cure for dandruff, and another when she states with sublime magnificence that “the bald head era dates back to the 15th century”. The cause of the great onset of baldness, by the way, was the invention of the haircut, which led to smoothing down the hair and to rubbing the scalp (at the temples) when drying your face after washing. Evidently haircuts didn’t exist before 1400.
Sometimes all one can do is say “wow!”.
And a trailing, eyebrow-arched, questioning "wow..." is about all you can say about Pulvermacher's Electric Belts &c/ Electricity Natures Chief Restorer, Self-Applicable for the Cure of Nervous and Chronic Disease without Medicine (printed ca. 1880), which features an electric "chain" in a belt connected to a "suspensory" for a man's vitals. It is one of many, perhaps hundreds, of electrical geegaws that climbed aboard the principles of Michael Faraday's monumental invention of the induction coil (1831)--one can hardly imagine what Mr Faraday would've thought of this application of his great addition to the history of technology. This electrical stimulus was supposed to cure all manner of unspeakably lingering medical tragedies, including spermatorrhea, exhausted vital energy, female complaint, inflammation of the prostate gland, seminal weakness, kidney disease, cramp, lost manhood, paralysis, indigestion, dyspepsia, spinal complaints, nervous debility, and of course the "debilities of sexual self-pollution" ("the sexual sin (which) is the most destructive of all human vices...the greatest outrage against Nature's sexual ordinances that man can possibly perpetrate". Isaac Pulvermacher's (which is German for "gunpowder maker") electrical medico-contraption was popular for several decades in the mid/late 19th century until it faded and trailed away at the turn of the century, though it was not for the lack of trying. Pulvermacher had all manner of glowing letters of support for his product, though one wonders if they
weren't mostly cooked up on the back burner of a two-burner stove top, much in the way he invented this bizarre electrical device and pathologized aspects of male sexuality.