The Equalizer

The Equalizer as seen in the 1873-1874 Lancaster City Directory

Feeling a bit sluggish or stiff? Need to get your circulation going? If it’s the 1870s, take a stroll on over to Dr. Frank F. Frantz’s office at 226 West King Street in Lancaster and try out The Equalizer. You’ll be feeling better in no time!

 Beginning in January 1873, Dr. Frantz purchased the exclusive license to use the device first created by Dr. John G. Hadfield. It was, in essence, a giant cupping machine. An attendant would operate what looked like a bicycle pump and gradually suck the air out of the box. Or so it would seem. The Equalizer was touted as the best way to cure poor circulation, rheumatism, general malaise or pretty much anything. By July 1873, Dr. Fritz’s newspaper ads included testimonials from patients claiming to be totally cured after just a few uses of the box. Did it actually work? Probably not. But the Equalizer was so popular, Dr. Frantz ran an ad in the 1873-1874 Lancaster City Directory and a photograph taken by J. T. Reading ran with an ad for his photo gallery and studio in the same directory. Dr. Frantz even had to hire extra help and acquire additional Equalizers.

Ad for The Equalizer from the 1873-1874 Lancaster City Directory

Dr. Frantz continued to have a very lucrative practice. He was a graduate of both Jefferson Medical College and the Hahneman Medical School in Philadelphia, as well as an 1866 graduate of the Millersville Normal School, Millersville University. It’s known if Dr. Frantz himself used The Equalizer, but he died on July 2, 1946, just a few weeks shy of his 100th birthday. Maybe the contraption worked after all!


From PhotoBlog