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 Post subject: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:20 pm 
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The Radium Ore Revigator was a pseudoscientific medical device consisting of a ceramic water crock lined with radioactive materials (carnotite uranium ore).
It was intended to be filled with water overnight, which would be irradiated by the uranium and radium in the liner, and then consumed the next day. This was marketed as a healthy practice which could prevent illnesses including arthritis, flatulence, senility...The obtained water was loaded with radon but also arsenic, lead, vanadium, and uranium.
It was manufactured by the californian Radium Ore Revigator Co., which sold thousands of the devices in the 1920s and '30s.

the following quotes and pics are from theororegray.com website:

Quote:
http://theodoregray.com/periodictable/F ... igator.pdf
A Most Amazing Booklet about Revigators.
This book is just incredible. I can't even begin to describe how hilarious it is in places, knowing what we know now about radioactivity. The beautiful thing is, it could have been written today, if you just substitute your favorite current alternative health fad for the substance they are extolling (known in the book as "niton" or "emanation"). All the same arguments, proofs, and fundamental confusions about how the world works are there, right down to the claim that it can't possibly be harmful because it's not a drug or medicine, it's all natural. The "it" being radon gas, which is now known to be one of the most powerfully toxic substances in the world, so toxic that even barely measurable concentrations from natural sources are a problem in many people's houses.

This 20-page booklet is an ad for a product called the "Revigator", which charged your drinking water with radon gas, in case you were missing the benefits of this all-natural substance in your daily life. And it really did emit radon: The product was, unfortunately for its users, not a fraud. It was lined with carnotite (Hydrated Potassium Uranyl Vanadate), a uranium ore which, like any uranium or thorium ore, emits radon gas at a steady rate as a decay product of the uranium.

I've listed the item under radium as well as uranium, because although it's lined with uranium ore, the Revigator is glazed with the words "Radium Ore Revigator". This is largely due to the fact that at the time "Radium" was the popular name that represented any kind of (good) radioactivity. And radium is, in fact, found as a small component in uranium ores, so it's no doubt present in some quantity in this Revigator too.


Quote:
http://theodoregray.com/periodictable/S ... x.s12.html
An actual Revigator.
Revigators sell on a regular basis on eBay. (See above for a description of what a Revigator is.) I've seen them go for almost $500 for one in perfect condition. That's outside my price range, especially for samples that don't even have the element in pure form. But fortunately I found this ragged old one, missing its lid and spigot, for a much more reasonable price.

And it's just as radioactive as the others! Holding the probe outside it registers only about 2-3000 counts per minute, but if you stick the probe down into it, you get almost 100,000 CPM. Of course neither of these measurements is a meaningful reflection of the total body dose you would get from standing near it, let alone drinking water out of it. That's an experiment I may yet do. (I.e. let water stand in it for a couple of days, then pour it out and measure the radioactivity, if any, of the water as a function of time. I am not going to drink that water!)

Here are some fascinating close-ups of the lettering glazed on the outside of this old pot:
http://theodoregray.com/periodictable/S ... x.s12.html
http://theodoregray.com/periodictable/S ... x.s12.html
http://theodoregray.com/periodictable/S ... x.s12.html



I can think of a few nerds like me on this forum that are gonna badly want one for christmas :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:37 am 
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Cascaillou,

Very interesting.
If she was still alive, the Radium Ore revigator would have been the perfect Christmas present for my mother in law and some other "loved" ones!


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:41 am 
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The misconception about radium and radioactivity, killed some fine people in the old days and was still prevalent in Brazil in the early 1970s. I was offered radioactive water at all the fine eating establishments etc. I went to while I was in Brazil in 1972. I wonder if it is still produced today for human consumption.

Bruce

I never drank it and I also checked the bottles of water they served me.


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:54 am 
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An old chemistry teacher of mine could tell different uranium isotopes by tasting the dilution. :roll: He would tell us which ones were bitter or salty or whatever, but I don't think any of us ever decided to try it.

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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:33 am 
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When you're old enough, does it matter if you glow in the dark.

When I dealt with an industrial site contaminated with uranium, I found out that uranium is much more toxic as a chemical agent than from its radioactivity.

Bruce


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:14 pm 
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brucetourm wrote:
I was offered radioactive water at all the fine eating establishments etc. I went to while I was in Brazil in 1972. I wonder if it is still produced today for human consumption.


I don't know for sure, but it is possible the water was irradiated to kill microbes in order to avoid "Montezuma's revenge". Much like the irradiation of vegetables today.


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:44 pm 
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That is a healthy idea Brian, but the little bottles of water had a guaranteed level of radioactivity in the water on the bottle. You could get the same bottles without radioactivity and with or without gas. I was rather amazed as it was 1972 and I thought the damage done by significant doses of radioactivety was well known. I was offered it at just about every place that offered water.

Bruce


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:47 pm 
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Wow, "guaranteed radioactivity", that is amazing Bruce. Personally, I always prefer the "frizzante" water. But I too would have to decline the water with guaranteed radioactive level.


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:39 am 
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Unfortunately their VERY powerful coffee was almost as toxic to my body, I felt, as I knew the effects of radioactivity were on my body, intellectually. Fortunately I found a whole group of carbonated soft drinks that are made from an Amazonian fruit. It comes in everything from very sweet to quite dry, sort of like ginger ale. I did not realize that it is very high in caffeine until I returned to this country and found it being imported as a "power enhancing" drink. I really ended up drinking mostly plain old bottled water with perhaps just a touch of radon for flavor.

Bruce


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 Post subject: Re: A good laugh: the 'revigator' and radium drinking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:41 am 
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One of the first things I found on the internet when I got a fast connection at home was the book referenced here:

http://periodictable.com/Files/LivingWithRadiation.html

It has lots of pictures and descriptions of Revigators and many other radiation quack devices. The link is part of the website mentioned above.


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