This "Sketch of the Most Wonderful Prussian Philosopher" depicts Katterfelto at the height of his popularity in London in 1783. One of his "doctor's devils" or black cats attends while the natural philosopher's solar microscope reveals the agents of disease.
Madame Curie, an early experimenter with radioactive substances, is depicted here as an alchemist. Stuffed crocodiles were once draped above the entrances of medieval churches to remind visitors of the wonders of the universe.
The New York Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1853 was a modern wonder cabinet—the building itself was an engineering gem, filled with marvels of art, crafts, science, and manufacture. The building survived as a venue for concerts and events until fire destroyed it in 1859.
This handbill addressed "To the Diseased" by Dr. C. Came "The Great Electrician" and Dr. Vosburgh "Analytical Physician" of the "Eclectic School" were closely modeled after similar handbills from rival electrical healers.
This poster for Came's lecture on the "Beautiful and Sublime Science of Astronomy," which employed such biblical rhetoric as "the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the Firmament sheweth His handy-work," shows Came catering to the assumed intimacy between religion and science in the antebellum era.
In 1887, William J. Hammer, under Edison's auspices, lectured on "Electrical Wonders." Hammer here sits in the front row right with his arm propped up. Another lecturer George F. Barker wrote to Hammer that "I never had anything equal to your display, either of material of illumination or of good looking assistants."
The Goddess of Electricity in a rendering clipped from an electrical journal of the turn of the century. Trim and sensuous, she stands astride the globe in a pose likely to appeal to such journals' largely male readership.
The Edison float "Electra" in the 1892 Columbus Day parade in New York City offered a heroic vision of the electrician and his heavenly troops triumphant over powerful earthly forces. R. F. Outcault, the artist, worked as an illustrator for Edison and for Electrical World prior to cartooning for Pulitzer and Hearst.
The scantily clad siren in this advertisement is a Roaring Twenties version of the Goddess of Electricity. Emanating from a radio, her erotic presence could only inspire the young electricians told that this "wireless electrical cyclopedia. . . . is waiting for you."