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August 2, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(5):333-337. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610310027009

PERKINISM AND BURQUISM  Toward the end of the eighteenth century a Connecticut physician, named Elisha Perkins, aroused much interest among the medical profession and the public, especially the latter, by a pamphlet in which he advocated the use of what were termed "metallic tractors" in the treatment of a variety of diseases. The tractors were small rods of different metals the extremities of which were applied to parts supposed to be diseased. Wonderful cures were reported and exhibitions of the value of the tractors were given throughout the country. The fame of the treatment crossed the ocean to Denmark, England, France, and other parts of Europe. Books and pamphlets concerning it were published, but after a decade or two it passed into innocuous desuetude.Many years after Perkins and his disciples, at first at Milan and afterward at Paris and elsewhere, one Dr. Burq appeared and advocated the use of

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