1. The RelaxacizorIf you’re familiar with the show Mad Men, chances are you probably remember this device. Though the concept on the show was slightly different, there was an actual device called the Relaxacizor that was marketed by Relaxacizor Inc. in the 1950s until its FDA shutdown in 1970.
The Relaxacizor was an electric muscle stimulator. Users would strap a belt and electrodes to their body and electrical pulses would stimulate muscles and cause muscle contractions, which would result in what the company called a “relaxing” feeling. Buttons and dials on the device allowed users to adjust the frequency and strength of electrical stimulation.
Relaxacizor devices were created for both men and women and were built inside of a suitcase to make it easier to use in the home. In 1964, the device costed $400. If they were still around today, that would equate to roughly $3100. The device was marketed for weight loss and fitness and was sold in beauty salons.
The company sold well over 400,000 devices in the U.S. over a 10 year period. After the success of the device, the FDA stepped in.
A five month trial ensued and at least 40 witnesses testified that they were harmed by the Relaxacizor. Medical experts agreed that the device could cause a number of complications, including miscarriage, and would aggravate other medical conditions like epilepsy, hernia, ulcers and varicose veins. In April 1970, a judge declared the device was dangerous and said that the device is no longer allowed to be sold or manufactured.