Radium Spä (ca. 1926-1930)
|The Radium-Spa was manufactured by the American Radium
Products Company of Los Angeles.
Quoting a product brochure:
The label reads as follows:
The following quote is also from company literature:
An early advertisement (Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1926) proudly announced:
Size: ca. 15" high, 10" diameter at widest point
Exposure Rate: ca. 50 uR/hr above background at one foot.
American Radium Products Company
American Radium Products Company was located in Los Angeles, California. As best as I can determine, they operated from 1926 until 1932 or so, but the last few years of their existence might have been in name only. After 1929, the company was no longer included in the Los Angeles City Directory.
The company's upper management:
The following company addresses are from the Los Angeles City Directories:
They also had an office in Pasadena:
American Radium Products Company vs. the Federal Trade Commission
In January of 1930 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused the company of falsely claiming that the Radium Spa had “any therapeutic or curative value for any bodily ailment or disease whatsoever.” In October of 1932, the complaint was upheld and the American Radium Products Company was issued a cease and desist order (Federal Trade Commission Decisions Vol. 17, Docket 1752).
The ruling was based on the inability of the Radium Spa to produce water that was sufficiently radioactive:
A notice titled "Beware of "Radium Spa"" appeared the next year in the Los Angeles Times (May 7, 1933). It reported that the American Radium Products Company had agreed to forgo any future claims regarding the therapeutic and curative properties of the jar's water.
Neil M. Jones
Neil Meredith Jones was born October 2, 1894 in Jasper, Missouri. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1922. While a student there, he met and married his wife Ruth. By 1925 they were living in Los Angeles and he was in the process of founding the American Radium Products Company. Following the collapse of the company, approximately 1929/1930, he moved from LA to nearby Gardena where he worked as a mining engineer. He died of cancer in 1963.
R.W. Thomas's ore-lined jars (e.g., the Thomas Radium C.R. jar and the Revigator) undoubtedly served as the inspiration for the Radium Spa. The innovation that Jones introduced with the Radium Spa was the manner in which the radioactive lining of the jar was applied. Jones developed a cement-like material that could be mixed with radium ore and then applied to the walls of the jar. The mixture would adhere to the walls with no additional treatment, i.e., firing the jar at high temperatures. This process was described in Jones' patent (1,645,599) "Radioactive Adhesive Plastic Composition" which he filed in 1925. The patent was granted in 1927.
According to Duval Edwards (2007), the science fiction writer Steve Cartmill once worked for American Radium Products Company where he "studied radium and its properties." Later, Cartmill "branched out into uranium, discussing U-235 and atomic energy with science-fiction writers and scientists Robert Heinlein"
In 1944 he published a story called "Deadline" that dealt with an atomic bomb plot on another planet. The U.S. Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) were not amused because editors and broadcasters had been warned to stay away from any references to atomic energy or the radioactive materials that might be employed to release it. As a result, the editor of the pulp magazine that published "Deadline" and the story's author, Steve Cartmill, were subjected to some unpleasant interviews with CIC agents.
Edwards, D.A. Jungle and Other Tales: True Stories of Historic Counterintelligence Operations. 2007.
Copyright 1999, Oak Ridge Associated Universities