Overbeck Rejuvenator #2006.12


An electric shock treatment device, the unit consists of leatherette-covered case, 31 cm. by 12.6 cm., 14 cm. high, containing a tray holding four probes and a pair of connecting wires. Beneath the tray, the lower half of the case contains a battery pack with three selectable outputs of 4, 8½ and 12½ volts.


External sockets are provided tor each voltage level, into which a pair of fabric-covered wires, terminating in banana plugs on each end, are inserted to provide power to the probes. Each probe has an appropriate socket on one end, an insulated handle, and either a tubular or comb-shaped head. All metal probe parts are chromed brass. This specimen appears to have been manufactured circa 1930.

While the Rejuvenator is in remarkably fine condition, except for a dead battery, the usage instructions that originally accompanied it are missing.

The 1925 Canadian patent application (which seems to cover only the comb probe) explains that the double-sided comb probe is placed atop the head, while the second probe is placed on the afflicted area of the body, allowing voltage to pass from the patient's head, through the body, to the area to be treated. The length of the teeth on either side of the comb permit firm contact with the patient's scalp, regardless of hair growth.


Dr. Otto Gerhardt Christop Ludwig Joseph Overbeck, a native of England, was a chemist, researching yeasts in the brewing industry. He patented his first Rejuvenator in England in 1924 and continued to expand his patent base over the next five years, at least. The admonition to "ask for No. 5 Rejuvenator battery" may indicate this specimen was the fifth model in a continuing design series.

In the absence of a manual or instruction booklet, the claims to benefits offered by the Rejuvenator are unknown. Dr. Overbeck published a 246-page book, "Overbeck's electronic theory of life," but the only copy located to date (a 3rd edition, published 1931) is in the Bakken Library and Museum, Minneapolis.

It is apparent that the Rejuvenator achieved some market success. Whether it was a major contributor to Dr. Overbeck's finances cannot be determined at present, but he was able to purchase a quite stately residence in Salcombe, Devon, in 1928. At his death in 1937, the property was left to the National Trust and now, as the Overbeck Museum, houses his various collections and samples of his instruments.