It’s Electrifying! Dr Scott’s Electric Corset




You’ve read about the Kardashians and all their waist cinching nonsense but I hate to bring the bearer of bad news but it is nothing different than what happened years ago.


The titillating Electric Corset was first designed and sold by none other than a Cornelius Bennett Harness, who was the proprietor of the Ammoniaphone. The Electric Corset wasn’t really electric, or science in action, but merely a magnetized steel busk . I can’t imagine wearing that sucker today next to my refrigerator literally zapping myself throughout the day.

Like Dr. Howard from Carleton Place, Harness was a bit of a quack and tried to cover up the fact that his company was in trouble financially. The good doctor was already being hauled over the coals for his hernia belts and now on a slippery slope for his electropathic empire.

Like most quackery medicine and devices in the day  one would say that Cornelius Bennett Harnesshad ‘alternative facts’ about his products. The Electrical Review however was not taking any prisoners in their opinions about Harness. The Medical Battery Company immediately began talks to the various publications that advertised his product less they repeat any of these “malicious comments” coming from consumers.

W.H. Smith & Co., did stop selling the corset, so the periodical’s owners took Harness to court and were granted damages of £1000. In October  of 1893, the Pall Mall Gazette stopped accepting advertisements from the Medical Battery Company and printed a series of articles headed ‘The Harness “Electropathic” Swindle’

In reporting the case, the Electrical Review described Harness’s activities as ‘one of the grossest cases of misrepresentation of the present day.’ In response, Harness sent a circular to newsagents warning them that he would hold them responsible for these ‘malicious libels’ should they continue to sell the Electrical Review. Many, including W.H. Smith & Co., did stop selling it, so the periodical’s owners took Harness to court and were granted damages of £1000. In October 1893, the Pall Mall Gazette stopped accepting advertisements from the Medical Battery Company and printed a series of articles headed ‘The Harness “Electropathic” Swindle’.

Of course this resulted in a lot of customers demanding their money back.  Wouldn’t you? In early November 1893, Harness and his business associate, Dr James McCully were arrested and charged with unlawfully conspiring to defraud. NO, really?

McCully was found not guilty but the jury couldn’t seem to decide the fate of Harness so the court ordered the company shut down. Of course Harness tried to open another business but no matter how often he advertised the general public had caught on to his shenanigans and the company went bust.


Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions!

Tales of the Chatteron House Corset — Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place

Did You Know Who was Cooking in Back of Lancaster’s Grocery Store? Dr. Howard I Presume! – Part 3

Part 1- Dr. G. S. Howard of Carleton Place — Just Call Me Master!

The Shenanigans of Dr. Howard of Carleton Place – Part 2

“Sex in the Pan” Memories – A RIP Fashion Violation Photo Essay


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun



About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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