In 1918, you could buy radioactive golf balls for $1 a pop

Illustration for article titled In 1918, you could buy radioactive golf balls for $1 a pop

Back in the day, you could shove all sorts of goods containing that miracle chemical radium in your body. There were radium-infused beers, chocolate, and suppositories. But radium-mania didn't stop with quack remedies.

An advertisement in the May 17, 1918 edition of the New York Observer touted the benefits of radium-infused golf balls. Was this just hogwash by hucksters looking to ride the radium wave?


According to the radium-good archivers at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, "An analysis by gamma spectroscopy clearly shows that it does indeed contain radium: approximately 150 Bq (4 nCi)."

It's not entirely clear if the radium was enough to harm old-timey golfers looking to improve their range, but hey, at least no one was shoving them up their rectums. Presumably, at least.

[Via Improbable Research]

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In Roger Ebert's memoir he talks about how, as a child, he would have radioactive rods stuck up his nose. Seriously. This was some pretty standard treatment for middle ear infections and tonsils. Ebert thinks, with good reason, that it contributed to his salivary gland cancer.