It is well documented that Nikola Tesla suffered from OCD (numbers, utensils when eating, etc.). OCD can be very easily controlled (ERP method) but -- left untreated it can mushroom completely out of control. An example is Howard Hughes whom reportedly personal physicians escallated into full insanity to grab his wealth. A blemish forever on Mormon church infrastructure which reportedly hugely benefited.
SpeedEvil --The amount of current needed to magnetise, even when very close to a DC wire is really quite high.
The story actually came from a magazine for watch collectors. I do not have a copy on hand so can not look up the actual reference. Most of the article was on the effects the direct current had on watches, which are sensitive to small amounts of magnetism. It could be that the pins were becoming magnetized.
Edison's system must have had high currents. I think it ran about 80 or 90 volts. There was a lot of line loss. Reports also indicated that the ground returns in earth were actively charged. That walking over such could cause a tingling sensation. None of this was regulated, so practices in the 1880s may have been quite different than they are now.
Many of early electrical items were used for therapeutic purposes. See the film _Road to Wellville_ for examples.
My personal take on the corset story is that it is much like cellphone radiation exposure. There was a propaganda war over which system was the least leathal.
This is a charming, quick read about Tesla and Van Gogh; interesting premise. You could go back to school and use it for your thesis (if you are studying history). I didnt realize the mental health issues with Tesla. Has anyone read a good biography of Tesla they can recomment?
@Sheepdoll...I never thought that I would be learning about the history of women's undergarments on EETimes! But then I forgot, you're an "Active historical costumer" to quote your profile. Thanks for the insights :-)
Edison's DC actually changed what women wore. Corsets in the 1880s used steel "bones" to form the hourglass curve. (actually they are needed for proper support of the bosom.)
DC current causes steel or iron moving through it to become magnetically polarized. Since most of his installations were in upper class houses, this had the effect of magnetizing the corsets.
Pins and other objects would stick to these society ladies mid sections. About this time rubberized elastic was being developed, which allowed us to no longer need steel, whalebone or reeds for support.