In the 1960s, swindlers pushed fake radioactive medicine


What would you think of a device that promised to cure cancer, soothe arthritis, and even irradiate your baby’s milk? Interesting, right? OK, how about if I added that this miracle gadget could do all these things with the power of radioactive gas? Sold!

Sorry to say, but if that piqued your interest without a smidge of skepticism, Popular Science would’ve called you “hopelessly gullible” 60 years ago. In our latest video, we dig into the quack devices of the early-to-mid 20th century that claimed to be medical breakthroughs but were just flashy, expensive scams.

Consider the Atomotrone, which looked like a mini fridge and claimed to “irradiate” your food using colored lights and radio signals from a transmitter on the top shelf. Shut the door, push a button, and boom. That’s pretty much what we do with a microwave, but the Atomotrone didn’t do…anything. Or maybe you’d like a type of device called “radon emanators” that did exactly what their name promised–expose the things you eat and drink with radioactive gas. Yum.

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