Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in
The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
From the advent of antibiotics to successful organ transplantation, the 20th century has been witness to an amazing progression of medical miracles. Hudson Maxim's "life-enhancing" invention wasn't one of them. An excerpt from The Post of Sept. 12, 1908:
Special to The Washington Post.
New York, Sept. 11. --
"My new invention, when perfected, will unquestionably tend to lengthen human life, but the body is merely a republic of amoebe whose lives and ability to continue by reproduction cannot be very much longer than the tenure of human life."
So said tonight Hudson Maxim, inventor of the Maxim smokeless powder, high explosives, and torpedoes which are the most powerful life-destroying agents in the history of the world. He has suddenly turned his line of effort from the field of death and is working assiduously along lines entirely opposite.
His present efforts are being devoted to the perfection of a device that will cure all disease with a solution of chlorine, passed through the human body by the aid of electricity.
The great inventor was seen at his villa, situated picturesquely on the shore of Lake Hopatcong.
"I can hardly explain," he said, "how I turned from the manufacture of instruments of death to the invention of something that will prolong human life. I've seen the success of one, and perhaps I am tired of that, and desire something new. I have great faith in my newest idea, and hope that it will become a part of practical life, and before long, too. I wish to say frankly, however, that at the present time it is in embryo, but it is none the less, to my mind, perfectly practical.
"My idea is to pass chlorine, or an equivalent remedial agent, through the human body by means of a very high potential electrical current of low amperage."
"Then do you claim prolonged life for mankind?" he was asked.
"By killing the disease germs in a man's body, you naturally lengthen his life," responded the inventor.
"But do you claim or expect that you can prolong life indefinitely?" persisted the interviewer.
"No," quickly answered Mr. Maxim, "because death is as much a part of life as is birth: life can only be prolonged in the human body to a certain point. If my device proves successful, we shall be able to do what `Bob' Ingersoll said he would do if he was God Almighty -- `Make good health catching.' "
The main idea is to interpose the human body as a part of the diaphragm, in electro-osmosis, or cataphoresis, and in this way force the germ-killing chemicals into and through the human tissues, lymph, and blood.