“Animal magnetism, also known as mesmerism, was the name given by the German doctor Franz Mesmer in the 18th century to what he believed to be an invisible natural force (lebensmagnetismus) possessed by all living/animate beings (humans, animals, vegetables, etc.). He believed that the force could have physical effects, including healing. He tried persistently but without success to achieve scientific recognition of his ideas.
The vitalist theory attracted numerous followers in Europe and the United States and was popular into the 19th century. Practitioners were often known as magnetizers, rather than mesmerists. For about 75 years from its beginnings in 1779 it was an important specialty in medicine, and continued to have some influence for about another 50 years. Hundreds of books were written on the subject between 1766 and 1925. Today it is almost entirely forgotten.[2
Ask the Dealer
Michael and Roberta Gordon have been dealing in medical and dental antiques for more than four decades. They have helped build a number of major private collections and have contributed to the holdings of many museums. They also deal in other scientific and technology related items, including calculating instruments, office machines, patent models and wine-related accessories such as corkscrews. ROBERTA GORDON IS A SKILLED RESTORER WHO CAN HELP YOU WITH ANY INSTRUMENTS AND CASES THAT NEED ATTENTION. Feel free to contact them for details at: [email protected] or 718-623-6777