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PERKINS, Elisha, Dr. [1741-1799] -- American quack (metallic tractors)

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The well-known inventor of the "metallic tractors". He was of strong and vigorous constitution, and very active habits, being many years accustomed to ride on horseback an average of sixty miles a day, in pursuing this practice. He never used stimulating or spiritous drinks; and three or four hours' sleep daily sufficed him. The "tractors" were two small pointed instruments or pencils, one of steel and one of brass, and were used to relieve nervous affections, sprains, &c., by being drawn over the part, the points lightly touching it. Dr. Perkins was expelled from the Connecticut Medical Society in 1797, on account of his invention; and afterwards died of yellow fever in New York, whither he had gone to prove them in it. He lived in Plainfield, Conn., and m., 23 Sept. 1762, Sarah Douglas, of Plainfield, sister of his brother Simon's wife. She died of consumption, 10 Aug. 1795. [PERKINS, Frederick B., "Perkins Family of CT"; NEHGS Register 14:113, Apr 1860]

His wonderful invention could save neither his wife nor himself.  -30-
 

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