Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

The Carolina Oxypathor Company

N_53_16_4749 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

Pictured is the office of the Carolina Oxypathor Co. located at 124 W. Martin Street c. 1913, just a few doors down from the original News and Observer building. The photograph above was likely taken for an advertisement.

Oxypathor—It already sounds bogus, right? Well, your suspicions are well-founded. In the early 1900s, as the marvels of electricity continued to permeate the everyday lives of Americans, the science behind electricity was a mystery to most people—it was magic. This presented a lucrative opportunity for quacks and charlatans across a variety of fields.

N_53_17_519

Women are seen inside the office of the Carolina Oxypathor Co. N.53.17.519 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

One quack in particular, E. L. Moses of Buffalo, NY, developed the Oxypathor in 1910. This device consisted of a piece of tubular shaped metal filled with sand while its attached wires were fitted to a person’s wrists and ankles. The metal part sat in a bowl of water while the “patient” enjoyed the benefits of large quantities of oxygen absorbed through the skin. The Oxypathor claimed to heal a variety of conditions including disorders of the blood, pneumonia, typhoid fever, etc.

 

Oxypathor device seen in display case at NC State Fair. N.53.16.4746 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

Oxypathor device seen in display case at NC State Fair.
N.53.16.4746 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

In reality it was a better paper weight. A 1914 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated, “The Oxypathor belongs in the same class as the left hind foot of a rabbit caught in a graveyard in the dark of the moon.” The device retailed for $35 and cost just over $1 to manufacture. The company was basically printing money. Between 1909 and 1914 approximately 45,000 units were sold for a profit of over one million dollars—around 30 million in today’s dollars. In 1914 criminal proceedings were brought against E. L. Moses and he served an 18 month prison sentence. The fate of the proprietor running the Raleigh location is unknown, but surely karma caught up with him.

 


Discuss Raleigh

  • Recent Comments:

    • Gary Burr: Not bad art on the retaining wall. Interesting peice to the museum.
    • Stuart Plant: It is uncomfortable to ride on, is there any way to fix this? The stone looks alright but doesn’t...
    • Fabrication: Nice but not easy because. When we start making it, then before that we have to take care of many...
    • Chris D'Arco: During a construction demolition my son found a Hugh Morson yearbook for 1942. The book belonged to...
    • berlytea: Dear hollywoodgirl, The pile of trash that murdered your friend and her friend, was my mother’s...
    • Bill free: Stayed n Raliegh Cabana back in 60s while building the Branch bank an trust . Later stayed there while...
    • Emily: Hey, I used to pass this place ask the time and now I finally need some gargoyle statues but I see the lot is...
    • benh vien da lieu bien hoa: I don’t know if it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with...


  •