In the decades immediately after radium was discovered in 1898 by the Curies, many people believed the new element to possess almost magical properties; some argued that
it could be of significant therapeutic value.
First patented in 1912, the Radium Ore Revigator was a ceramic pot lined with uranium and radium. The idea was that users filled the pot with water, which would be irradiated overnight and then drunk as a health tonic the following morning. The company producing the Revigator recommended drinking six or more glasses of their ‘refreshing’, newly radioactive water a day.
Revigators continued to be sold into the 1930s until people began to realise that they were far more likely to damage health than to improve it.
Answered by: Nick Rennison