McCoy, 2000 (x-ray epilation)

Title: The Tricho System

Author: McCoy, Bob

Publisher: Museum of Questionable Medical Devices Online

The physical collection of devices is on display at the Science Museum of MinnesotaL

The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices maintains an online collection of ephemera, including original promotional material for The Tricho System, a popular x-ray depilatory system now banned for causing cancer, disfigurement and death. I have excerpted passages, but you should go there just to see the pictures.

Some of the passages (especially the summary) read as if they were taken from electric tweezer promotional literature today. (bold passages – emphasis mine).


“By 1925 there were over 75 installations of the Tricho machines in beauty shops across the country including Minneapolis and Duluth. These ‘studios’ used direct x-rays focused on th cheek and upper lip of the woman who wanted to permanently remove superfluous hair. Women had an average of 20 treatments each. A single large dose or smaller doses repeated over long periods of time could cause damage to tissues that were not noticeable at the time but often came to light years after the administration of the Roentgen rays. This injury often became manifest as pigmentation, wrinkling atrophy, keratoses, ulcerations, carcinoma, and death. In 1929, the AMA alerted its members to Tricho injuries and collected dozens of case studies – most of the victims were young women, ages 18-30. Reports of women injured by Tricho treatments appeared in the medical journals into the 1940’s.”

Excerpts from Tricho Literature (circa 1920)

“All normal women desire to be beautiful, or at least to attain the highest degree of beauty that can be achieved by any practical means. Impelled by this desire, great numbers of women have resorted to futile, dangerous and injurious means of removing disfiguring superfluous hair. It was the existence of such conditions that impelled Albert C. Geyser, M.D., to devote his knowledge and ability to the perfecting of a practically safe and thoroughly effective method of removing superfluous hair hair. That he was entirely successful in this is shown by the fact that in the course of the past six years, in New York City alone, 20,000 areas of superfluous hair have been cleared permanently, and without a single failure. Equal success has been achieved in thousands of cases throughout the country, by means of this Tricho System of Treatment.”


Medical Director of the Tricho System, Formerly Professor of Physiological Therapy and Chief of Clinic at Fordham University; Lecturer and Chief of Electro and Roentgenray Clinic at Cornell College; Lecturer and Chief of the Electro and Radio Therapy Clinic at the New York Polyclinic, Etc.

Everybody knows that success and happiness in life have been denied to multitudes of otherwise lovely women through growths of disfiguring hair, and that mental distress suffered in consequence has served to break the health of many. It is generally known, also, that various treatments with chemicals, wax, electricity and other methods frequently have produced effects worse than those they were intended to correct.

Many years ago the discovery was made that the X-ray would destroy hair roots, preventing further growth. It was found, however, that serious injury might be cause by S-ray treatment for this purpose. Albert C. Geyser, M.D., internationally famous X-ray expert and lecturer on radiology in various universities, devoted himself to the perfecting of means to make the X-Ray treatment as safe and harmless as it was effective, and in this he was brilliantly successful. The Tricho System of Treatment is the result. This dries up the hair roots in a manner similar to that of gradually getting bald, instead of attempting their sudden and violent destruction.

Tricho System Endorsed by the Medical Profession

The apparatus of the TRICHO SYSTEM and the technic of its operation have been examined by many leading physicians, all of whom have endorsed the method. The attitude of the medical profession is well illustrated by the fact that Tricho treatments have been given to the wives, daughters and sisters of physicians.


  1. TRICHO SYSTEM removes superfluous hair permanently.
  2. No scars or other injury to the most delicate skin.
  3. No pain-no inconvenience. Treatments are void of any sensation whatever.
  4. All treatments given by operators trained under personal supervision of Albert C. Geyser, M.D.
  5. Treatments last but a few minutes.
  6. Endorsed by physicians and beauty experts.
  7. Treatments given not oftener than every two weeks.
  8. Scientific-safe-sure.
  9. Fifteen treatments sufficient in the great majority of cases.
  10. Permanent removal of superfluous hair guaranteed.

Note: formerly available at
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices
201 Main St. S.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota
612-379-4046 (museum) 763-545-1113 (office) 763-540-9999 (fax)
Hours: Tues-Thurs: 5-9 PM, Fri – Sat: Noon-9:00 PM, Sun: Noon to 5:00 PM