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. Emanating shafts, beams, and ‘pencils’ of light depicted as white or black graphic lines were also standard representations for electricity’s powers. In number they were exceeded only by lightning bolts, as Carolyn Thomas de la Peña showed. 38 Importantly, both beams and bolts were also used to illustrate the powers of X rays and radium, in Britain and abroad ( Fig. 4.9 ). Analysing an American advertisement for the ‘Revigator’ radium jar, a product

in Soaking up the rays
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periods in darkrooms illuminated by red light. Thomas Nogier, in his 1904 medical dissertation, La Lumière et la vie , described the workers as displaying ‘all the symptoms of an abnormal cerebral excitement: they talked, gesticulated, sung and… manifested in their actions a certain bawdiness that harmed the good [working] order of the factory’. 24 Earlier, in 1898, Dr Léon Bouchacourt stated that red lighting was

in Soaking up the rays
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[ Plate 1 ] and 5 [Plates 2–5]), I urge you to pay even closer attention to them. Carolyn Thomas de la Peña, analysing contemporaneous popular devices such as galvanic suspensory belts and prostate massagers marketed to men fearing sexual inadequacy, has perceptively cautioned against dismissing these seemingly ridiculous novelty items too lightly. 41 We might say the same for early forms of vibrators, as parodied in the film

in Soaking up the rays