The Radiendocrinator (ca. 1930)

According to American Endocrine Laboratories, the Radiendocrinator (pronounced Ra-di-en-do-cri-na-tor) was "the last word in scientific manufacture." It had to be to justify its $150 price tag. The latter, believe it or not, was the lowest it ever sold for. Initially, the Radiendocrinator was priced at $1,000.

Check out the beautiful dark blue embossed leatherette case! Opening it up, you see the gold plated Radiendocrinator nestled in its velvet lined pocket (photo below left).

Size:  2"  x  3"

Exposure Rates:  Nothing above background is detectable now that the radium source has been removed. Prior to the removal of the source I believe the beta-gamma GM detector response was ca. 200 mR/hr on contact.

Donated by the Texas Department of Health, courtesy of Robin Houston.

The Radiendocrinator was intended to be placed over the endocrine glands, "which have so masterful a control over life and bodily health."

As one example of its use, men were advised as follows:

The pictured Radiendocrinator was sufficiently radioactive that I had to remove the source before it could be displayed. The source consisted of seven or so radium-soaked blotter-like pieces of paper about the size and shape of a credit card. These were covered with a thin piece of clear plastic and two gold-wire screens.  As might be expected, the device leaked with the result that the inside of the case is mildly contaminated.

American Endocrine Laboratories appears to have occupied several locations in New York City. The earliest address I have for them was 15 West 44th Street, and the last was 113 West 42nd Street. They had another address that I can't attribute a specific date to: 270 Madison Avenue.

American Endocrine Laboratories was the creation of William J. Bailey. For more information about him and Radithor (his best known product) click here.

The other key player seems to have been Ward (Howard?) Leathers who, I believe, was an attorney. At the time that American Endocrine Laboratories closed its doors (ca. April 25, 1930) Leathers was identified as its sole proprietor. A document (dated 8-3-29) listing the companys' final assets and liabilities described the American Endocrine Laboratories as a manufacturer of special machinery - I suppose you could call the Radiendocrinator "special machinery." When it was dissolved, the company's net worth was almost $85,000. Not bad. The aforementioned document states that Leathers "commenced business under the above style in the early part of March 1922." Nevertheless, the earliest advertisements and newspaper articles that I have found referring to American Endocrine Laboratories or the Radiendocrinator appeared in 1924. The last year that American Endocrine Laboratories actually manufactured anything seems to have been 1929.

Dr. Herman H. Rubin was another associate of William Bailey. According to Robert Holmes, American Endocrine Laboratories shared an office with two of Rubin's companies: Vitamon Corp. and Mastin Co. It was Rubin's business interests in patent medicines and devices like the Radiendocrinator that resulted in him being expelled from the medical Societies of the State of New York and the County of New York in March of 1924. Although Rubin was not identified by name, a 1924 newspaper advertisement featuring William Bailey included a photograph of Rubin next to what was sometimes referred to as the "Clinic Type Radiendocrinator." The latter device was pretty substantial - about the size of a football and mounted on a stand. Also in 1924, several newspaper articles appeared that featured Rubin and what was variously identified as his Radiendicinator or radiendrinator.


Holmes, R.W. Substance of the Sun: The Cultural History of Radium Medicines in America. Dissertation. University of texas at Austin. 2010.

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Last updated: 02/17/09
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