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Infra-red and ultraviolet sun lamp, England, 1960-1970

Science Museum, London

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Credit: Infra-red and ultraviolet sun lamp, England, 1960-1970. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


Infra-red and ultraviolet light are emitted by this sun lamp from elements behind a metal grid. The lamp was made by the Health Ray Company during the 1960s. It comes with eye goggles and two boxes of replaceable carbon rods shaped like pencils. Two rods are attached to an electric current within the lamp. A bright light producing high levels of ultraviolet rays is emitted when the current is turned on and carbons touch. The eye goggles protect from the damaging rays. Large amounts of smoke are produced as the rods burn down. They need constant readjusting to ensure they touch. Infra red and ultraviolet rays are radiation wavelengths invisible to the human eye. Much of the sun’s energy output is in the form of these rays. We feel them in the form of heat even though we cannot see them. The lamp claims ultraviolet rays help develop ‘a quick healthy tan’ and treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne. It also claims ‘infra red rays kill pain’ and can be used for joint conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. It is true small amounts of ultraviolet light are therapeutic for skin disorders. However, overexposure can lead to ‘sunburn’ which may cause permanent cell damage and premature aging of the skin. maker: Health Ray Company Place made: Southampton, Southampton, England, United Kingdom


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