LAST week’s Craven Curiosity, kindly supplied to us by Grassington Museum, brought forth some suggestions, which were variously very close, and imaginative. Suggestions included it being a device for marking and shaping butter, and a game for children. One reader put forward the idea it was an early version of the kind of exercise roller one might see in a gym.

It is in fact an early type of gadget used by people to massage tired or aching muscles.

Grassington Museum, tells us: “This is a self-massaging tool for the eradication of superfluous fat and consequent obesity, invented and promoted by Doctor Eugen Winter and sold by Boots the Chemist in the 1920’s.

“The tool consists of a rolling-pin shaped device with a wooden handle at each end, joined by a freely-moving middle section bearing rubber cup-shaped discs to be rolled to and fro over parts of the human body. The patient’s circulation was stimulated by creating a slight vacuum as the rubbery cups rolled over the skin. The rolling proceeded for five to ten minutes, at the patient’s discretion. Numerous physicians claimed great success when patients removed unwanted excess fat after a few weeks’ daily use. Loss of fat had more than mere cosmetic benefit, other advantageous results being lower blood pressure, amelioration in digestive function and a cure for constipation, leading to improvement in self-esteem and mental health.”

The self-massaging tool is just one of the many fascinating items in the collection of Grassington Museum, or to give it its proper name, The Upper Wharfedale Folk Museum. Situated in the centre of the village, the museum will be open from this weekend (March 23), as long as there are sufficient volunteers.

Suggestions for this week’s curiosity need to be submitted by 8am on Monday to news@cravenherald.co.uk



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