Canned Sunshine

The idea of using sunlight to kill viruses inside the body has recently been in the news. That made this old invention I posted about last month seem topical.

Edward W. Boersteler, of Watertown, MA, was the inventor of the ‘Curay Light Applicator,’ aka ‘Canned Sunshine.’ Back in the 1920s and 30s, he marketed it as a cure for the common cold. It emitted ultraviolet light, which people were supposed to shine down their throats, killing the germs.

In the selection of text below (taken from an article in the Chilicothe Constitution Tribune - Oct 16, 1925), I didn't correct any of the misspellings. In particular, I wasn't sure whether the phrase "ultra violent light" was a mistake, or intentional.

“Previous cure has ben hampered by the inability to get directly at the germs in these darkened passages, but in the new invention the curative rays are played directly onto the germs, being transmitted through a smal rod of the marvelous substance known as fused quartz.

“Fused quartz transmits ultra violent or invisible light without loss, whereas ordinary window glass shuts out ultra violent light which is the curative agent in sunshine.

“In the Curay Light aplicator,” Boerrsteler continued, “we have produced a source of radient energy closely approximating concentrated sunlight in the upper altitude, with an equivalent ultra violent content. Though it is a potent germ killer, it is harmless to the cels of the body.

image source: Harvard University Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

Chilicothe Constitution Tribune - Oct 16, 1925

     First Posted: Mar 03, 2020
     Reposted By: Alex - Fri Apr 24, 2020
     Category: Health | Inventions | Cures for the common cold | 1920s

Right: "harmless to the cels of the body." That thing looks like it could pass 50 amps. Don't plan on having children afterward.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 03/03/20 at 12:20 PM
While on an outing to the local farmers market and swap meet when I was a wee lad, we came across one of these. I had no idea what its function was but I thought it looked really neat and futuristic. The price was pretty cheap and I asked my daddy if we could but it. Dad looked at it and said that it was too dangerous. I could have been the only kid on the block with a sunburn in the middle of the winter, but, alas, it was not to be.
Posted by KDP on 04/24/20 at 10:22 AM
"Ultraviolet blood irradiation: Is it time to remember “the cure that time forgot”?"

Posted by Phideaux on 04/24/20 at 01:11 PM
In 1987 or thereabouts I bought a UV-heavy sunlamp at the thrift store and set it up pointing at me from pretty close while I sat at the Osborne computer, writing. For hours. Worst face sunburn of my life, and I have to partially attribute my current problems of developing cataracts to that.

And the X-rays from the high voltage experiments. And spending outdoors in the sun all day all summer every summer in Southern and Central California as a child. But the sunburn from that sunlamp included blisters and hurt like hell. And I knew better, too. I mean, what was I thinking?
Posted by Marco McClean on 04/24/20 at 06:29 PM
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