Perkins's Patent Metallic Tractors

From Kook Science

Perkins's Patent Metallic Tractors
Perkins's Patent Metallic Tractors - illo.jpg

Illustration of the front and back of the tractors as well as their container box, c. 1801

a.k.a. Dr. Perkins's Patent Metallic Instruments, Dr. Perkins's Metallic Points
Creator(s) Elisha Perkins
Caricature of Elisha Perkins using one of his tractors by James Gillray, dated 1801.

Perkins's Patent Metallic Tractors (or Metallic Instruments, Metallic Points) are sets of three-inch, single-pointed metal rods, designed and patented by Elisha Perkins in 1796, which were sold for use as an electro-therapeutic cure of various "local inflammations, pains in the head, face, teeth, breast, side, stomach, and back." Through contact with the afflicted area, the tractors would, according to the inventor and his promoters, act as attractors, "drawing off the noxious electrical fluid that lay at the root of the suffering" to bring about "blessed relief."[1]



20th Century


  1. Young (1961), The Toadstool Millionaires, which cites as the source: Perkins, E. (1797), Evidences of the Efficacy of Dr. Perkins's Patent Metallic Instruments, Philadelphia,