Ahh, the anachronistic quackery of yesteryear! I’ve not seen anything this good since the The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in Minnesota.

The blog Modern Mechanix brings us an old-timey advertisement from a 1924 edition of Popular Mechanics hawking an impressive gadget called the “Psycho-Expander.” Surely crafted from the finest gutta-percha and Bakelite available at the time, it promises to grant “GREAT LUNG POWER” and the possibility of adding inches to your chest:

Ad for the Psycho-Expander (1924)

Why that’s so Jake, it’s the bee’s knees. And that gal up there looks like a flapper so you know what that means. After a few shots of squeezed Sterno and bathtub gin at the speakeasy, it’s 23 skidoo!

Anyway, let’s see what the Psycho-Expander does:

This wonderful new invention will enable any man or woman to thoroughly master correct breathing; increase the chest expansion 2 to 5 inches; enlarge the chest to its full beauty; fill out the hollows of neck, shoulders, arms, develop a beautiful classic figure, recharge the system with renewed strength —power—vitality. Nothing like it ever invented before— registers automatically your correct chest expansion and cubic inches breathing capacity.

The principle of the PSYCHO-EXPANDER is that which gives to Great Singers and Grand Opera Stars such perfect health and charming physical development.

Wonderful Invention for Singers, Speakers, Teachers, YOU!

SCIENCE! Is there anything it can’t do?

I can understand why people back then would want to improve their speaking voices. Have you ever heard the recordings from that era? Everyone sounded so tinny and they crackled all the time.

Well I, for one, hope this product will one day stage a proud comeback.

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