The Gra-Maze Uranium Comforter (1955)
"This is your personal radioactive uranium comforter. Actually your own health mine in miniature," reads the inscription on the Gra-Maze Uranium Comforter, a device produced at the residence of C. A. Mazzurchelli in La Salle, Illinois in 1955. Whether or not any were sold or otherwise distributed is not known.
The 1950s saw a resurgence in this type of device, in large part because of the publicity associated with the opening of numerous radon mines in Montana. More specifically, the July 1952 issue of Life magazine published a substantial feature on these mines.
The Cosmos Radioactive Pad, also from the 1950s, was very similar.
The operation came to the attention of federal authorities when it was discovered that three drums of ore had been shipped in 1954 to the residence in La Salle from Salt Lake City.
Circulars, which had been distributed, indicated that in addition to providing good health, the pad would relieve arthritis, sinusitis, aching back, arms, legs and joints
The comforter was a 1950s version of J. Bernard King's Ray Cura, produced in the 1920s. The latter was a quilted pad containing what was supposed to be a new form of radium. However, the Ray Cura contained nothing but ordinary soil from Nevada, and King was put out of business for the misleading claims he made about the pad's radioactivity.
The maker of the Gra-Maze Uranium Comforter practiced no such deception. If you followed the suggestion on the pad and checked it with a Geiger counter, you would find it to be measurably radioactive. Nevertheless, production of the comforter was short-lived; the federal authorities were no fonder of the Gra-Maze Uranium Comforter than they were of the Ray Cura.
Size: 8" x 13"
Exposure rate: ca. 3-4 uR/hr above background at one foot
Donated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission courtesy of Darrel Wiedeman.
- Darrel Wiedeman. Personal communication.
- FDA. Notice of Judgement. Uranium ore and uranium comforter. FDC No. 38474. 1955.
- Newspaper article in the Freeport Journal Standard. "U.S. Orders Seizure of 'Health' Products Made from Uranium." October 1, 1955.