Dr Scott's electric hair brushes!

By Michael Monto

Dr. Scott, an Englishman, was known for being a advertiser and maker of "electric hair brushes". He received his first U.S. patent for a brush handle in 1872, and introduced his line of "electric brushes" in 1880. The Scott brushes and other devices all contain slightly magnetized iron rods in their handles, thus, the curative power could only have been provided by magnetism. However, Scott apparently preferred using the term "electric" in all of his advertising. Although, hair growth and relief from headaches are the two obvious claims that would come to mind for the possible use of an electric hair brush, Scott went on to make many wild claims for the curative power of his electric brushes.

None of Scott's patents directly addressed the curative power of his brushes and other gadgets. In his March 1,1881 patent, he claimed a brush with embedded magnet. While the patent claim did not mention the medical purpose of the brush, he did mention this in the third paragraph of the patent specification "The object of the invention is to secure within the interior of the brush one or more natural or artificial magnets, which, according to the belief of many persons, founded upon a theory of magneto-therapeutics which has become widely prevalent, have the effect of rendering brushes to which they are applied advantageous in use for relieving headache, preventing baldness, and other similar purposes. His first two patents, granted in 1872, were actually for something useful - a molded brush handle, with the holes for attaching bristles and the decoration both molded in one step.
Several other patents granted to Scott were for the elaborate designs on the backs of his brushes. His design patents may have served to prevent others from making exact copies of his widely advertised brushes. They also served the purpose of allowing the term "patented" to appear in his ads, thus suggesting that the U.S. Patent Office had approved his devices on their medical merit. Scott's last patent, in 1889, for his improvements in his electric corsets, again alludes to the magnetic curative power