Since the 18th Century, electric shock has been administered in attempts to revive those whose heart or breathing has stopped. The first successful resuscitation by this means was performed in 1775. Almost 100 years later, in 1872, two men working independently described respiratory resuscitation by electrical stimulation of the phrenic nerve. This nerve runs from the neck to the diaphragm (the muscle that causes the lungs to expand during breathing). The French neurophysicist, Guillaume Duchenne (1806-1875) administered electro-phrenic stimulation to a drowning victim. The English surgeon, Thomas Green reported the resuscitation of patients who had succumbed to chloroform. It is thought that this success was also due to electro-phrenic stimulation.
The faradic battery shown here was made by T. J. Robinson, of London. Originally introduced in 1870, this is a later, "improved" model. Unlike many batteries that were marketed as a cure for diseases, this was intended to stimulate the phrenic nerve "for the resuscitation of patients in danger from the effects of chloroform