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2005/7/1 Electroconvulsive therapy machine, in case, plastic / metal / electrical components, made by Both Equipment Pty Ltd, Sydney, used at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, probably 1955-1965. Click to enlarge.

Electroconvulsive therapy machine

Made by Both Equipment Pty Ltd in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1955-1965.

Electric shock has been used as a treatment for mental illnesses since the 1930s. Even in ancient times it was noticed that convulsions and high fever could improve mental disturbances. It was between 1917 and 1935 that convulsions (or 'seizures') deliberately produced by chemical or electrical means were first used to treat psychoses. The success of these treatments led to a wide acceptance of the view that mental illnesses had a biological basis. Electroconvulsive therapy became an important...

Summary

Object No.

2005/7/1

Object Statement

Electroconvulsive therapy machine, in case, plastic / metal / electrical components, made by Both Equipment Pty Ltd, Sydney, used at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, probably 1955-1965

Physical Description

The purpose of electroconvulsive, or 'electroshock', machines is to induce a generalized seizure by applying an electric current to a patient as treatment for various mental illnesses, notably depression. This 'Both' machine is a portable unit enclosed in a suitcase-like box with leather handle. The lid unclips to reveal a control panel. Dials and knobs on the panel are marked with their purpose. A telephone dial works as a timer. There is an elastic strap inside the lid to secure both the unit's electrical flex and a pink plastic headband that would hold the electrodes in place on the patient's head.

Marks

Maker's information on plate inside lid of case, 'BOTH EQUIPMENT PTY LTD / Both / TYPE No. BST / SERIAL No. - / APP. No. 190 / 240V 50 ~ 25W / ADELAIDE & SYDNEY'.
Plastic tape adhered to inside, 'WAGGA WAGGA BASE HOSPITAL'.

Dimensions

Height

210 mm

Width

330 mm

Depth

300 mm

Production

Notes

Made by Both Equipment Pty Ltd, in Adelaide & Sydney, Australia.

History

Notes

This unit and another one like it were found by staff of the hospital Engineering Department while cleaning out the back sheds behind Wagga Wagga Base Hospital in 2002. Presumably these machines had been used in the psychiatric ward on the hospital grounds. The hospital biomedical engineers estimated the date of the machine to be late 1940s to late 1950s whereas, judging from the look of the fittings, Megan Hicks estimates mid-1950s to mid-1960s.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Engineering Department, Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, 2004

Acquisition Date

7 January 2005

Cite this Object

Harvard

Electroconvulsive therapy machine 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 January 2020, <https://ma.as/347085>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/347085 |title=Electroconvulsive therapy machine |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 January 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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