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Today's radium WTF



Revigator (ca. 1924-1928)

Intended to add radioactivity to drinking water.

Advertised by the company as "an original radium ore patented water crock," it sold in the hundreds of thousands between 1922 and the mid-1930s.

As a company brochure stated, "Results overcome doubts." "The millions of tiny rays that are continuously given off by this ore penetrate the water and form this great HEALTH ELEMENT--RADIO-ACTIVITY. All the next day the family is provided with two gallons of real, healthful radioactive water . . . nature's way to health."



The tan version shown here is the most commonly encountered style of Revigator.

Users were provided the following printed instructions on the side of the jar:

1. Fill jar every night.

2. Use hydrant or any good water.

3. Drink freely when thirsty and upon arising and retiring. Average six or more glasses daily. Scrub with a stiff brush and scald monthly.


The glazed ceramic jar had a porous lining that incorporated uranium ore. Water inside the jar would absorb the radon released by decay of the radium in the ore. Depending on the type of water, the resulting radon concentrations would range from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand picocuries per liter.

Considerable confusion persists about the correct pronunciation of "Revigator." The solution can be found in the question-and-answer section of a 1928 sales brochure of the Revigator Water Jar Company. The answer: "re-vig-a-tor. Accent on the vig."

Produced by the Radium Ore Revigator Company (aka the Revigator Water Jar Company) of San Francisco California. Although the address on the jar itself is 260 California Street, their headquarters were at Sutter and Taylor in the Revigator Building which is still there. Their Hayward offices were located at 519 Castro Street, and 641 Castro Street. Some of their regional offices included the following addresses:


Park Row Building (regional office)
New York, NY

601 S. Clarence St. (regional office)
Los Angeles, CA

1002 (and 1302 and 1807) Mallers Building (regional office)
5 S. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL

Bone Building (regional office)
800 N. Main
Wichita, KS

820 Union Street (regional office)
New Orleans, LA

Suite 201 (regional office)
Merrill Building
211 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI

Size: Approximately 9" diameter at base and 12" high
Tags: 1920s, quackery
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