On This Date in History:
In 1741, a well thought of physician and his wife introduced a new addition to Norwich, Connecticut. Elisha Perkins entered the world and seemed to have the world as his oyster. From his well to do roots, he too became a physician and built a pretty good practice. He was so successful that he became one of the founders of the Connecticut Medical Society.
But, Perkins was not only good at building a practice, he was also quite adept at building a family. I don’t think that there were any fertility clinics in existance at the time so old Elisha must have done it the old fashioned way as he produced 10 children. I’m sure his wife would suggest that she did most of the work. Nevertheless, it was Elisha’s job to figure out how to support such an army of kids. Around the time, a new theory having to do with “animal electricity” was going about. It was a theory put forth by Luigi Glavani regarding electric generation within animals. I suppose it had something to do with magnetism and the doctor with the sterling reputation decided to cash in.
On this date in 1796, Dr. Perkins received a patent for his miraculous Metallic Tractors! Now, remember this is 1796….this guy got $25 for a pair of metal rods that looked something like a couple of long hairpins. All one had to do was to move the device across an affected part of the body for the relief of any pain or ill that one may be suffering. His very own Connecticut Medical Society was non-plussed. He was summarily expelled. Nevertheless, he still kept a high profile client list including several congressmen, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth and some say even George Washington may have used the magic wand.
Undeterred by the Connecticut Medical Society, Perkins firmly believed in his device. I mean, why not? Twenty-Five dollars was a lot of money in the late 18th Century and with a list of customers like his, what’s not to believe? In 1799, a yellow fever epidemic took hold of New York and Perkins went to the scene to save the day. Not only did he bring his Metallic Tractor, but he also brought a touted “antiseptic”. The term “antiseptic” is interesting because I do not believe that the notion of germs had come into the medical scene just yet. Anyway, this magic potion was simply vinegar and sodium chloride. Perkins ride into the history books came to an abrupt end when he entered New York, promptly developed yellow fever and died.
But…his brilliant device did not die! No, his son was smart enough to know a good deal when he saw it. He continued to sell the metal rods at great profit. The Danes fell for it when a scientific committee in Denmark called the Metallic Tractor highly effective. In London, Perkins son decided to build on the potential promotional impact of the endorsement and he opened the Perkinean Institute! Not sure what it did, but it is said to have “flourished.”
Finally, the Metallic Tractors were left on the ash heep of history when somoene tested the device, finding that wooden bars instead of metal ones worked just as well. But, it wasn’t a total loss because the test helped build the notion that the power of suggestion can be helpful when looking to recover from an ailment.
Weather Bottom Line:
I’m knuckling under a little. I had said that we’d be above freezing maybe for a time on Friday. Okay, that still holds. But, much of the data now shows that the low swinging through the flow does so a little later. As it approaches early Saturday, it would draw up warmer air so we push up into the low 40’s for a time on Saturday morning before we dip back below freezing. What is more interesting than that is that the NAM is still insisting on a snow burst for the area. The 00Z Thursday run has moved the blob of heavier snow from our north to our south and east. It is calling for 3 inches in our area Saturday afternoon into Saturday night. The GFS is similar but has the heaviest snow in Eastern Kentucky. Since there is a warmer streak ahead of the precip with the NAM, then I would suppose that we would not have a 3 inch accumulation because the ground probably wouldn’t be freezing. Then again, it dumps it so fast that maybe it would still accumulate to that level. I’d expect 1-2 inches on Saturday. The GFS is still calling for light snow on Thursday but, as I said in previous posts, even if the more bullish GFS comes to pass, I don’t think accumulation will be an issue except perhaps for creating a few driving problems, especially on elevated surfaces. We stay cold through Monday and then moderate a bit on Tuesday.