The Center for Inquiry Libraries has many interesting and unusual items in our collections. This particular item is part of the Renner Collection, which features materials on quacks and quackery, food faddisms, and other health related items.
The Vitozone Ozone Generator combined oxygen from the surrounding air with household electrical current to create ozone, thought to be beneficial for health. The Vitozone was touted in the company’s literature as a cure for the following ailments: “treatment of asthma, respiratory disease, other illnesses due to breathing impure air, hay fever, heart disease, high blood pressure, sinusitis, arthritis, rheumatism, cancer, virus invasion, influenza, migraine, and cancerous tumors “ (FDA Court Case Notices of Judgment Pertaining to Drugs and Devices, October, 1959. Case Number 5618, FDC Evidence Numbers 40958. S. No. 73-821 M. Located online at https://archive.nlm.nih.gov/fdanj/handle/123456789/14401.)
As seen in the picture, there are tubes connected via wires to the main unit, and these tubes could be placed above specific body parts.
The Vitozone Company was located, at least for a time, in Fullerton, California, and it was not the only purveyor of this type of machine. These devices were somewhat popular following World War II until the late 1950s.
Ozone, however, is considered a toxic gas, and in high concentrations it is detrimental to human health. Some medical sources indicate that the combination of cholesterol and ozone actually lead to heart disease.
This particular Vitozone was featured as part of a discussion on preservation of electrical devices at the Institute of Museum and Library Services conference in Buffalo back in 2009.