1931

The Neu-Vita, Limited

London, England

 

On November 20, 1930, Leonard Russell Lacy (1876 - 19??) of London, England applied for a patent for the device he called an "Improved Apparatus for Massaging the Eyes." Patent no.363,101 was awarded to him in the U.K. for the apparatus on December 17, 1931. Lacy would market it as the Oculizer.

The Neu-Vita, Limited, located at the time on Southwark Street, was the company that sold the Oculizer. It was formed by Leonard Lacy sometime shortly after October 25, 1929, which was when a Mr. Horace Richardson, partner in Neu-Vita Health Associates, had severed ties with Lacy and their old company. In the public announcement declaring the termination of their partnership, the two men referred to themselves as "Health and Beauty Culture Specialists."

One of the more interesting devices offered by Neu-Vita was the Pneumo-Ear Massager. It had an aspirator for self-irrigation of the ear.

Have more info? Comments? Have a Neu-Vita product for sale? Email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com

Oculizer

There were two different models offered of which the one on this page (with the hand crank) was the deluxe version. They came packaged with a few accessories and instructions. It also came with a copy of The Naked Eye Truth, which was as a cheap, 48-page imitation of a medical journal published by The "Neu-Vita" Health Associates. Though it covered "the eyes, their function, care, ills [and] cure," the booklet was nothing more than an advertisement for the Oculizer.

When marketing the Oculizer, Lacy falsely claimed that regular massaging of the eyeballs with the Oculizer, for just a few minutes daily at dusk or dawn, a user could strengthen his or her eyesight while increasing necessary blood to the eyes. To execute these claims, the Oculizer offered two methods of stimulation. The first was pneumatic. While the plastic eye cups on one end were pressed against the eyelids and the red rubber bulbs were squeezed, the apparatus would poke the eyes.

The second method was by the massaging of the eyelids except with the other end of the apparatus. With the eye cups pressed to the eyelids, the user would use the hand crank to rotate the eye cups and, in turn, stimulate blood flow. Ultimately, neither method was effective because all of the claims were false. The Oculizer was no more than a quack medical device.

The Oculizer was not the only piece of quackery offered by Neu-Vita. The company was actually started in the early 1910s selling Dr. Harlan's Beauty Cups under the name of the Neu-Vita Institute. I also found records of the company being named the Neu-Vita Hygienic Institute.